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Camera:

Taking a glance at today’s flagship smartphones, they’re all packing some fantastic cameras that would easily make them point and shoot replacements. Some emphasize low light performance, while others manage to shine thanks to their exorbitant amount of shooting modes and control. Well folks, you get the best of both worlds with the Nokia Lumia 1020’s 41-megapixel PureView camera, but on top of that, it’s gunning to capture the absolute best details on any camera phone out there. Let’s find out why that’s the case!



Technology:

The camera sensor on the 808 measures 1/1.2” in size, the 1020 has a 1/1.5” sensor, while most other phones have 1/3.2'' sensor - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review

The camera sensor on the 808 measures 1/1.2” in size, the 1020 has a 1/1.5” sensor, while most other phones have 1/3.2'' sensor

The Nokia Lumia 1020 actually has a very large by smartphone standards, but it’s still a smaller sensor than the one in the 808 PureView. While the one on the 808 measures 1/1.2” in size, the 1020 has a 1/1.5” sensor. What this means is that you have less space and smaller pixels. Without the oversampling, the physical size of pixels on the Lumia 1020 is 1.12µm compared to the larger 1.34µm on the 808.

Pixels are like buckets, but instead of collecting water, they collect light. The bigger the pixel, the more light it collects, and the more light it collects, the better the images at night time and other situations where light is scarce. At first sight, that means the Lumia 1020 has a slight disadvantage when fared against its older sibling, the 808 PureView. 

The Nokia Lumia 1020 has some key advantages that come with that smaller sensor. The most obvious is the physical size of the device, it’s much slimmer than the chubby 808 PureView. Next, the small size made it possible for Nokia to include optical image stabilization (OIS) that allows for longer exposure times and ultimately better video and low light shots.

Finally, this is not the same sensor as on the 808 PureView. Despite its larger sized, the 808 used front-side illumination, a more primitive camera technology where wires connecting the camera pixels with the phone got in the way of light and stopped some of it. The Lumia 1020 has a modern backside-illuminated (BSI) sensor with those wires not getting in the way, and allowing for the full lightstream to hit the pixels.

Just as the 808 PureView, the camera can capture full resolution photos (38MP at 4:3 ratio or 34MP at 16:9) or a sharing-friendly 5MP photo. For the latter, the camera combines 7 pixels into one "super pixel" with better quality, reducing noise and improving detail. Shooting at the lower resolution also allows for up to 3x of lossless zoom. 


Nokia Pro Cam:

Even though you can choose the standard Windows Phone camera app for all your photo taking needs, there’s really no point anymore to use it. Why’s that? Well, it’s because the Nokia Pro Cam app has an extensive set of features and controls that put the standard camera app to shame. In fact, hardcore photo enthusiasts will be pleased by the level of manual controls it has to offer – like shutter speed, ISO, focus, white balance, and exposure control. Simply you can modify each one individually by tapping on the associated icon in the top section of the interface – or merely access all of them by pulling the on-screen shutter screen towards the left.

The Nokia Pro Cam app has an extensive set of features and controls - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review
The Nokia Pro Cam app has an extensive set of features and controls - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review
The Nokia Pro Cam app has an extensive set of features and controls - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review
The Nokia Pro Cam app has an extensive set of features and controls - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review

The Nokia Pro Cam app has an extensive set of features and controls


With so much control presented to us, we can get some pretty nifty composition. For example, we can set its shutter speed to 4 seconds, which can produce those nifty light trail effects under low lighting conditions. In contrast, it can be set to 1/16000 to capture fast moving objects. However, we have one gripe with this – it’s that we don’t get a preview of what our shots will look like prior to the shot. Essentially, we’re left to simply snap the shot and adjust the settings to get the composition we want, which is something that many popular DSLRs offer on the fly.


Nokia Smart Cam:

Whereas the Nokia Pro Cam allows us to modify certain aspects of the camera, the Nokia Smart Cam app is what we need to use to get those cool shooting modes. Specifically, it relies on burst mode to produce the amazing effects with its shots. We’re essentially given the following shooting modes:
  • Best Shot for the best looking photo in the sequence of taken images.
  • Action Shot for the cool image that overlays everything to produce action.
  • Emphasize Motion Shot blurs out everything except specific areas to emphasize motion.
  • Perfect Shot delivers the best faces on people in the shot.
  • Remove Shot can delete any unwanted things that you might not like.

The Nokia Smart Cam app - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review
The Nokia Smart Cam app - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review
The Nokia Smart Cam app - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review
The Nokia Smart Cam app - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review

The Nokia Smart Cam app



Image Quality:

When taking shots with the Lumia 1020, it produces two sets of images, which tends to add some delay between each shot. To be precise, it saves a sharing-friendly 5-megapixel sample, and the higher 38-megapixel one. Frankly, it’s amazing at how much of the scenery that the Nokia Lumia 1020 is able to capture with its higher resolution sample. There’s nothing compromised whatsoever with the results, which particularly are best seen with snapshots taken with plenty of lighting. Details are astoundingly sharp, enabling us to view even some details that are sometimes softened the further back they are in the background. Better yet, it excels with macro shots as well, seeing that its focus can hone in on one particular point in the shot – thus, producing a pleasing bokeh effect to the background. In terms of color reproduction, we can’t complain either about its accuracy, as it’s able to cast a very neutral stance.

Under low lighting situations, the only time we find it struggling is when it’s completely pitch dark outside. Sure, its optical image stabilization helps to minimize blurring, but it’s not something we can entirely escape. Essentially, its details tend appear more soft in tone, but it’s able to significantly brighten up the shot – much better than what we see with comparable shots taken by the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4. However, when photos are taken when there’s a bit of lighting present, it’s able to draw out more sharp looking details with its shot, and at the same time, its Xenon flash casts a potent lighting to cover everything evenly – and without over or underexposing certain areas. Frankly, its quality is unrivaled at the moment!



Video Quality:

Likewise, there’s a lot to love about the Lumia 1020’s video recording quality, which can be shot in either 720p or 1080p resolution, at 24/25/30 frames per second. Using the standard shooting rate of 30 frames per second, we are absolutely in love with the results out of this beauty. Details are yet again a strong point with this, as everything has a higher level of sharpness and clarity to make things pop. On top of that, its rich and vibrant color production, clear audio recording, and gradual exposure help to emphasize more beauty into results. Now, if there’s one complaint we have, it’s that we can’t manually adjust the exposure on the fly – though, it’s set to continuous auto-focus by default. Instead, we need to set the focus prior to shooting the video, so its focus stays permanently on one point. Lastly, we can also zoom as well, without any hitch to its detail quality.

Switching over to the 24 frames per second shooting mode, it’s something known in the video world for producing more ‘cinematic’ videos. Again, we’re treated to all the beloved qualities we’ve seen already, but in this mode, there’s more of a flowy like look to videos. It’s neat, and something that’s not offered by today’s current smartphones – so yeah, it’s a pleasing addition to find.



Multimedia:

Choice, it’s something we get out of the box with this – just like any other Lumia device from Nokia’s stable. Naturally, you’ll have to choose between the stock Windows Phone music player or Nokia Music. Whichever you decide to go, they both employ the same Modern UI aesthetic to make them pleasing looking with their presentations. As for audio quality, the handset’s speaker is able to muster up tones that have a commanding presence at the loudest volume setting – with minimal strain or distortion.

Both music players employ the same Modern UI aesthetic - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review
Both music players employ the same Modern UI aesthetic - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review
Both music players employ the same Modern UI aesthetic - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review
Both music players employ the same Modern UI aesthetic - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review

Both music players employ the same Modern UI aesthetic

Out of the box, the Lumia 1020 supports all the popular video codecs – such as DivX, H.264, MPEG-4, and XviD. Performance is predictable with this one, as it’s able to play 1080p videos with relative ease. Furthermore, its AMOLED display aids in the process thanks partly to that vivid glow it’s able to produce.

Nokia Lumia 1020 is able to play 1080p videos with relative ease - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review
Nokia Lumia 1020 is able to play 1080p videos with relative ease - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review

Nokia Lumia 1020 is able to play 1080p videos with relative ease


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150 Comments

Birds

Posts: 1172; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

YESH!!!! YESH!!!! YESH!!!!! Now time to read the review...

Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4764; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Eh? Something tells me you commented before you read it.

_Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

There's quite a bit of noise at full res during daytime, interestingly a LOT of post-processing as well, softness and sharpening. Not as good as the 808, but an improvement over the 920. Dynamic range is a bit tight, there's just a few samples without some part burning out. This is a surprise, I'd guess it has an inferior lens (maybe the 920's). Night samples look... well, just bad, even downsampled to FHD. Right now, let's say this is pre-release test, but as of now Exmor RS beats the current 41MP PureView in raw capabilities, while the 808 laughs all over both, oh well, I might get that one.

_Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Wow, taking a shot took SIX SECONDS after the tap in the video. Saving was an additional 4. It takes TEN SECONDS to take a 2nd shot. That's just ridiculous.

sergiobr

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

Comments in dpreview.com (Pro photographer) ---------------------------http://connect.dpreview.com/post/1305711237/lumia-1020?page=4 --------------------------- By philinnz (7 hours ago) horrible noisy images even in good light. It seems it must be difficult to hold the camera level so you would lose 10mp straightening and cropping. I think I got better results 12 years ago with my old kodak dc-280 --------------------------- By ovibor (7 hours ago) I agree, horrible photos! --------------------------- By Zlik (6 hours ago) The point is to use it as a great 5MP camera which surpasses everything else in smartphone territory (except the Nokia 808). I agree that the full sized images don't look that good, but downsampled to 5MP, they are excellent.

Sarajevo

Posts: 38; Member since: Nov 30, 2012

:) PA rate for iPhone 5 was 9.0 - user rate was 8.5 PA rate for Galaxy S3 was 9.3 - user rate was 9.0 PA rate for Lumia 920 was 9.0 - user rate was 9.4 So it is obvious that PA prefer iPhone and Samsung (read Android) and PA is not tolerant toward Nokia :) I hardly wait to see user rate for this monster...

protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

actually that's dependent on the number of users on each device

dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

so youre saying we got more 920 owners than iphone5 and s3?

protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

No, I'm saying a higher amount of people the morel likely for people to find things they don't like (and more likely trolls to mess with the score if you have been on PA for around 4 years) Devices with lower profiles get more honest reviews from uses

protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

gazmatic

Posts: 799; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

good to know that professional trolls just love to f shiit up

protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

We had figured this out when a device that was supposed to start arriving to users was already getting low feedback with weird excuses... Its not a pleasant thing to say, also its a lie that a device turns into such a horrible experience that people give them a 1 point score...

skyguy7567

Posts: 148; Member since: Nov 17, 2012

Sony PA gave 8.5 for Sony Flagships (User 9.3) other phones 6.5 (Average user reviews are all over 9.2) Just move on and go for GSMArena. I used to highly recommend this site and now I'm telling my friends to just look at the USER reviews.

Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

My only concern would be how the phone rests on its back. From my experience camera-humps tend to pick up some wear-and-tear near the bottom.

UrbanPhantom

Posts: 949; Member since: Oct 30, 2012

Hump or no hump, this camera has balls (excuse the sexual metaphor). I would call it a first choice for anybody even mildly interested in photography. It's also a good all round device, even if it does have the same Krait CPU and Adreno 225 GPU as the 920. Personally, I think it deserves closer to a 9/10, but the Android community is always going to be biased against WP smartphones and tablets...

No_Nonsense unregistered

Nah, I'd personally call 8.5 fair. TBH, besides the 41MP camera, I expected a larger sensor (1/1.2 vs 1/1.5) and OIS included. Besides, the 1020 doesn't offer a more compelling hardware over the 920 and 925, which obviously matters when you are going to shell around $100 contract free over the 920/925. Also, since it ain't gonna come at less than $700 apiece contract free, I'd want WP more evolved or rather, evolving at a faster pace than at what it does currently, and I ain't talking about the app store.

UrbanPhantom

Posts: 949; Member since: Oct 30, 2012

No_Nonsense, you have been exposed for your lack of knowledge about the Lumia 1020: it does come with OIS, which is active even during 1080P video captures. You will have to do better in order to convince myself and the rest of the crowd that you actually know what you are talking about...

iushnt

Posts: 2998; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

u hv turned into a nokia fan..

No_Nonsense unregistered

Well, I'll simplify it for you then: I wanted a 1/1.2 sensor along with OIS and a better processor along with WP's fast pace of development in building an OS that is as feature rich as Android/Symbian back in the day. The 1020 is likely gonna be more expensive than the 920/925, and I can't justify the $100 more that I'll have to shell out if I bought one contract free. Besides, I already have the 808, and I wanted a total package that would justify shelling that amount of money. The 1020 is likely good, but I personally find it difficult to justify the premium it asks for, considering it isn't notches above in terms of h/w over the 808 (in terms of camera) and a bit of hardware increments over the 920 series, not just adding an extra gig of RAM. TBH, it's gonna be difficult to recommend it to anyone other than a smartphone enthusiast over a 920 if they wanted a WP device. It's one thing to like a company's devices and wanting them, but another to trying to want your opinion on a device to be the same as everyone else's. If the 920/808 didn't exist, and only the 925/1020 did, then it wasn't hard recommending it. And yes, I already knew that the 1020 had OIS. So before you say, someone's lack of knowledge has been exposed, why don't you comprehend what he's written above?

UrbanPhantom

Posts: 949; Member since: Oct 30, 2012

No offense, but the 808 is a bulky machine running on a now obsolete OS. It weighs more, does less, and does not compare well to the new L1020 in terms of true value. The L1020 is far slimmer, and the OIS video feature is a big plus not to be discounted. The L920 was already an excellent smartphone, and adding the 41MP camera to it has made it an even better solution... Also, the difference in sensor size between the 808 and 1020 is marginal at best, and is hardly worth taking into consideration. You are basically hanging onto an older prototype that has been perfected. It's up to you to decide if the 808 is worth keeping, but Symbian is a dead platform. Those who want the best camera available on a smartphone are unlikely to buy an outdated 808; the L1020 should be their one and only option.

No_Nonsense unregistered

56.25% smaller area isn't marginal by any means. Symbian is a dead platform, w/ arguably no support from Nokia for the time being, agreed upon, but there's no denying Symbian is more feature rich than WP. Lumia 920 was good for its time, and for the price it sells here, its great. But the same hardware offered 10 months later, (this sits on MS's head, not Nokia's) isn't great. Those wanting the best camera on a phone are gonna buy the 1020, agreed.

EXkurogane

Posts: 863; Member since: Mar 07, 2013

808PV does not have BSI sensor, remember than, 1020 has BSI sensor to allow more light in, to make up for the smaller sensor.And to maintain slimness, this change makes sense.

Altair

Posts: 367; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Not to mention 2GB ram which will be in great need in Amber update (better multitasking).

utopium

Posts: 5; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Yes, 808 is thicker/heavier, but easier to hold in hand as it is 10 mm less in width. And it does not do less, it's quite the opposite: 808 has HDMI, SD Card, FM Transmitter, USB OTG, replaceable battery, profiles, real multitasking, widgets, file browser, offline alarm, bigger sensor, ND filter, sharpness/contrast settings, more image resolutions to chose from, other browsers beside the one offered in the box, etc. Sure, 1020 has better/bigger screen, faster processor, more apps, more developer attention, OIS, BSI, bigger apperture, manual focus, shutter time setting, it's slimmer/lighter, it has that interesting grip with extra battery, but 808 is still a tough competitor for it and 1020 is not quite an obvious upgrade from 808, esspecially considering the price. I am tempted to wait for 1030 or something, or at least for its price to drop seriously and WP to evolve more before even thinking of droping my 808. Maybe in 9 months 1020 will be more attractive for me (WP updates, smaller price, Flipboard, Instagram, more premium software, etc), now it is not yet enough.

No_Nonsense unregistered

You hit the nail on its head.

EXkurogane

Posts: 863; Member since: Mar 07, 2013

And, phonearena says bad battery life, engadget says good battery life... =.=;

snowgator

Posts: 3614; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

Battery life is so subjective from device to device. Who knows if you will win that lottery or lose it. Fingers crossed everytime you get a new device.....

mi55u unregistered

same old design, same old processor, same old everything... s4 zoom is way better than this

arsenaljimenez

Posts: 196; Member since: May 03, 2012

delusional

Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Well all power to you if you want to walk around with a digital camera pressed up against your face all the time.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Lumia 1020
  • Display 4.5" 768 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 41 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus, Dual-core, 1500 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 2000 mAh(13.3h 3G talk time)

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