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


Still Pictures Quality - Flash, Long Exposures and Zoom

Flash Performance:

Xenon flash on Lumia 1020 just performed outstandingly when the subject in the specified flash range. It’s really lovely looking at this picture, a phone just took. ISO 100 was set to get less noise where the phone took the shot in 1/50th of the second. It’s really crisp specially in 5 MP shot – thanks to pixels oversampling.

Flash On: ISO 100, 1/50th sec.Download untouched:

100% crop from 5MP Image. Very sharp image reserving the shiny elements intact with the detail.
100% from the high resolution doesn’t show that much sharpness as it’s in the lower resolution version. However the image keeps the detail without noticeable noise.

I was afraid of the flash performance as I experienced before updating with Lumia Black software update. It was totally unaccepted for me with a messy red tone spread all over. Specially after seeing the improvements in flash, I believed that Nokia seriously pushed the camera improvements into Lumia 1020. The skin tone is just looking as it was real.

One limit is that its range can cover the closer subjects with in a meter very well. The distant subjects will lose the light thrown by the flash and will be less illuminated. Raising ISO would increase the flash performing range but of course you will see increased noise as well.

Another thing was the absence of red-eye reduction feature, which we can do later on computer but, would have been appreciated built-in. Hope it would be provided in later software updates.

Long Exposure:

We have seen the feature on top notch digital cameras and DSLRs. But it’s worth mentioning when it comes handily in a phone. Nokia first let it happen with Nokia 808 PureView with a built-in ND filter on the lens which, when turned on, could take the shutter speed down to 2.7 seconds but we never could handle it manually. Taking over the control on the shutter speed is always preferable. Lumia 1020 gives it to you but not more than 4 seconds. Checkout the following shots.

Manual, ISO 100, exposure 4 sec.Download untouched:

100% crop from the 5 MP shot.

ISO 100 in above image was set manually to minimize the digital noise and gaining much detail on in the jar. You can see that in the crop on the right side. There is a need to mention that it’s not like something natural you are looking into, you would have already imagined if you knew such stuff in photography. There is no light source in a closed dark room other than a blinking red light (focus assist LED light on a camera) from one side and a white screen of a phone on the other side. Look at another shot below with the same setup but a different subject.

Lumia 1020 performs great job with ISO to completely vanish the noise from the image while reserving the detail. 4 seconds long exposure collects enough light light to produce such an image.
100% crop from 5MP image (a little bit zoomed): Really no need to explain the sharpness and detail of the image without noise.
100% crop from high resolution image. There still we can’t see any noise that could be said as bad. Detail is still there with a little less sharpness.

With a fixed aperture opening at f/2.2 wider, you can’t use longer shutter speeds in bright daylight without ND filters which is not present in Lumia 1020. You can get one additionally but have to put it somehow on the phone covering the lens. I couldn’t try with that anyway but it should not be so difficult

But one requirement for taking long exposure shots is of course to put your phone steady on something. A camera grip with a tripod is the option for Lumia 1020. But there could be situations where you can put the phone just on anything giving, Like the above shots were taken by putting the phone against the wall or some bigger object supporting the phone.

A phone holder with standard tripod mount may be needed with the tripod at some situations like below. I used the camera grip with a tripod to take the outdoor shot of mosque minaret during the late hours with a few in-home lights in surroundings.

Following shot was taken at ISO 200 and shutter speed at 4 sec for long exposure to get enough light to produce a viewable image. It was completely dark around. A tripod was used with the camera grip on Lumia 1020 to take this shot.

5MP shot: 2.5x zoomed in (a little lower than the maximum zoom capability)

34MP High Resolution wide angle of view.

100% crop of the high resolution image

100% crop of the high resolution image

That’s what Lumia 1020 produced outdoor in dark night with a few light sources. The noise noticeable but not over so. The image is detailed and sharp loosing no information.

Zoom Quality:

Nokia’s “zoom reinvented” term is used for zooming but kind of some other thing than of a conventional digital zoom. It does work as explained by Nokia. A conventional (or we’d say traditional) digital zoom actually crops the image that is captured by the sensor and then upscale it to the native resolution of the camera. That is, you get a zoomed image with disturbed pixels because upscaling/upsampling/enlarging can not create extra image data pixels that are real. And that’s what we call digital zoom.

“Quality Digital Zoom” is one of the purposes of Lumia 1020’s massive resolution. As Lumia 1020 serves with a 5 megapixels shot for most of the usability and it gets a bunch of detail with heavily reduced noise being an oversampled from the huge 38MP image. There you can zoom-in up to 2.7x (equivalent to 69mm in 16:9 and 74mm in 4:3 mode) in 5MP image. That’s where you get a 100% crop from the native resolution. That’s also where the image does not have oversampled detail but as well is not upscaled, hence is called “lossless” zoom. We have seen that above and it really is, we believe.

5MP shot with 2.7x zoom: That’s the maximum you can zoom-in with Lumia 1020 to fit 5MP shot. It won’t allow more to keep the lossless zoom in place.

High Resolution image without zoom in effect. Which can be used for reframing the later. The 5MP image will be replaced with the new reframed image.

That’s the 100% crop from the 5MP zoomed-in image which now matches exactly to the crop from high-resolution image.


Download untouched:

100% crop from 38MP shot above. This crop however doesn’t involve Nokia Camera app. You can see some noise level and detail difference in both the crops. Nokia Camera seems to work even more than just cropping the image. The crop on the left hand looks sharper with more detail but the edges are softer in crop above. However there is no difference in the field of view.

Simply the detail with traditional digital zoom can not be achieved, that’s what we believed. Still it can not be; technically, as Nokia did it with putting a massive resolution sensor to produce lower resolution lossless zoomed image rather than equal to the native high-resolution. Sure 5MP is what mostly usable now a days specially for web, online, sharing socially etc. In fact condensed information from the whole 41MP sensor, in 5MP shot can be printed on A3 with high image quality. So to this “Zoom” we say yes! It’s really an achievement in smartphones.

Load More Related Articles
Load More By Khurram Ali
Load More In Camera & Photography