41MP Camera Review: Nokia Lumia 1020 PureView, Sample Pictures and Videos


Still Pictures Quality - Daylight

Performance with low ISO speeds:

No doubt, Lumia 1020 captures the hell lot of detail in daylight with its base ISO without adding noise to the picture. On Lumia 1020, it’s ISO 100 which is used as auto in bright sunny day. Even if you are operating manually, you should stick with it to gain highest image quality. However it’s not always possible specially in low-light but the the slower shutter speed can help to maintain the low ISO speeds even in low-light, thanks to OIS in Lumia 1020 that can help taking shots at as slower shutter speed as 1/4th of a second when hand-held.

Daylight with Low ISO:

Even full resolution of 38 megapixels clearly give a lot of image detail comparatively if looked 100% view. As each shot generates 5 megapixels of image file on side that however doesn’t look as detailed as the full resolution being a downscaled version of the original. In-built zoom feature can be used to have 2.7x closer look to the field of view. This will generate the 5 megapixels image that’s zoomed on to some thing having exactly same detail of the full resolution image of the portion as it would always be a 100% crop of the sensor that gives loss-less dramatic zoom instead of the traditional digital zoom.

Sample 1: ISO 100, Auto Shutter Speed.

100% crop of 5MP image

100% crop of high-res image

In the above shot with sunny day, the high-resolution image shows incredible detail in distant subjects with amazing low noise. You can notice that in the 100% crops on the right hand where the high-res image shows a little bit noise which as well has been executed in 5MP shot.

Taking from the ground with textured grass to the plain blue sky, the tones are smooth where the bright side of the scene facing the sun as well as the opposite; the darker side of the image.

One more thing to notice was the base ISO performance on the blue sky to test with the noise. Well, it was impressive. Looking at blue color of the sky very close, even on the high-res image, the noise is just un noticeable.

100% crop from 5MP image

100% crop from high-res image

Sample 2:

One other thing I noticed was a little over saturation. I’ve loved the way Nokia devices used not to add colour saturations more than needed with almost real looking colours without any fancy – that’s what I am currently seeing Apple started doing with their iPhones, I appreciate that. With Windows Phone OS, as well as in Lumia 1020 the colours are bit too saturated but accurate at much extent not giving unreal look anyway. However, I’d have loved another control in the Nokia Camera app to adjust the saturation. Above shot was one of the pictures set taken after the midday when no clouds and clear weather with the shiny sun hitting the subjects on the side while leaving the other side with much darker area. Following shot can give you an idea how did Lumia 1020 managed to keep warm look of the scene. Well it was little less warmer to the eyes in real.

2.5x zoom 5MP (download untouched)

High-resolution (download untouched)

100% crop from high-resolution shot. You are looking at a view equivalent to 25x zoom and that’s without any optical zoom lens – that is amazing, and it tells that Nokia’s pixels oversampling technique really works – well I believed that the first day I tried Nokia 808 PureView. A lot more detail than conventional digital zoom, no noise, no nothing. What I notice is only a little sharpened edges on the darker side but not over so.

Sample 3:

One really would want to set the exposure when required in low light specially during the dawn and dusk. Auto shutter speeds mostly wont work to give you exactly what you want from the scene. Specially when the frame contains a mixture of closer subjects and background light. By look at the following shots. You will get an absolute idea of what kind of picture you would want at the end to have.

ISO-100, auto exposure (1/321 sec): the shot is completely over exposed on the background for the sake of the light on the foreground subjects.

Download modified (blurred faces) images:

ISO-100, manual exposure (1/2000 sec): That’s exactly what I wanted to shot and setting the exposure at faster shutter speed brought that up.

Download modified (blurred faces) images:

Remarks: Well, the camera apps on other platforms also adjust exposures according the part of the frame where you touch on the screen to focus but that also what is decided by the phone itself. Telling the camera how would you want to take the shot is of course preferable.

More shots below:

Auto Exposure, Auto WB: The shot gives mature cloudy white balance with cooler feel. Varying fog also couldn’t disturb the distant objects and the camera well maintained the detail. Well reduced noise and the detail is complementary on the front.

100% crops from 5MP shot are on the right.

Download untouched:


Outdoor Close-up 2.5x zoom: Auto Exposure: background blur with Lumia 1020 is worth talking about. It’s beautiful in pictures. There is a little bit noise in darker areas but not bad looking for being too smooth.

Download untouched:

100% crop from 2.5x zoomed 5MP shot. If you have read above carefully; when fully zoomed-in, the 5MP shot itself is a 100% crop from 38 MP image covering only 5 MP sensor area. The crop above is from 1:1 high res image.

5MP Image: Auto Exposure, ISO 100 – Mix of bright and dark areas, well managed contrast and detail. Look at the 100% crops on the right. Top 5MP crop, Bottom high-res crop. Of course the 5MP shot contains the detailed result of Nokia’s oversampling technique, While the crop from full resolution shot presents the loss-less zoom of 25:1 field of view. The detail is just impressive on the bricks

100% crop from 5MP shot.

100% crop from high-res 34MP shot.

Download untouched:

In a few situations, the lens flare becomes an issue when you don’t want it in your field of view. Well that’s because the bigger and wider lens with no cover on it. You can’t do anything other than shading the lens with your hands unless the light source is directly appearing in your field of view. On the other hands it’s good enough to give your photos a creative look.

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