Three months ago I excitedly purchased the new Nokia Lumia 1020 phone. I was interested in it as much for the camera as the Windows Phone OS to replace my Android phone. Which now makes me a completely Windows 8 shop with two workstations, a laptop as well as long as were not counting the Debian Linux file server. Ok so for those of you with your mouth wide open please close, yes I don’t use Mac products for retouching. Moving on.
Aside from the Windows Phone OS, which does everything I need application wise, I wanted a camera on a phone aka. Camera Phone that could deliver great images … the kind worth keeping around. To date, in my opinion as a retoucher, there has not been a device embedded camera that captures good enough images to consider printing except for the Lumia 1020. Nokia has come close to perfection (for the moment) with this camera and I continue to be nothing but impressed with the quality of images that are produced. Without further delays I want to show off a few images to those of you who think I’m crazy for not getting the new iPhone 5s with some features that I really like about camera aspect to the Lumia 1020.
First off this behemoth 41 mega-pixel sensor with an image stabilized Zeiss lens captures at the 4:3 aspect ratio a full resolution file with dimensions of 7136 x 5360 pixels. The tonal range and detail of the captured images rivals stand alone compact cameras but at several times the resolution. This resolution is enough to print an image that is sharp and taken at the ISO 100 setting at 13″ x 19″. Now if you intend on printing something that big you should probably stick with an SLR or better and of course it doesn’t replace a 40 mega-pixel digital back but if the best camera is the one you have with you, I couldn’t imagine not having this one and the resolution and sharpness is enough to get a great image when my phone is all I have on me.
The Zeiss lens used is sharp enough to allow enough detail in the light to pass through the small glass elements to make use of every pixel on the high resolution of the sensor. A good lens is always key though. As can be seen on the image below, a cropped image at a 1:1 pixel ratio zoom, every element of St. Mary of the Lake Parish in Chicago is accurately shown. A task that no other device embedded camera is capable of. Also notice the detail still in the shadows in the arches of the parish … perfect.
The image below of Streeterville in Chicago was taken as the thunder clouds were turning the whole area dark as a pretty nasty storm was approaching. The suspended lens element, image stabilization, allowed me to easily take a very crisp image of this scene moments before the downpour of rain started. Unfortunately it didn’t help for the 6 mile bike ride home though. Even though the image may not look dark there seemed to be very little ambient light left and I would have struggled to get an acceptably sharp image with anything but a SLR camera with a f/2.8 aperture lens. The suspended element compensated for any motion perfectly giving an image that shows no motion blur at all in both of the two captures I made. #superhappy
Limited Depth of Field
Due to the wide aperture and the focusing lens the Lumia 1020 is capable of creating beautiful out of focus areas to draw your attention to one area of the image. Lack of this just leaves something to be desired with any camera. As you can see this is not limited to just super macro images but allows soft backgrounds for small objects even half body portraits will have a gently soft background to them. You can not adjust the size of the aperture in the current version of the software to adjust the depth of the in focus area but you can use the manual focus and distance from the object to find the ideal amount of in-focus vs out-of-focus area to achieve a specific look and amount of detail. Then crop in on the image if necessary. The flower in the image below was about the size of a dime for reference.
The Shutter Button
The phone has a dedicated button shutter button that also launches the camera application of your choice while using the phone or if the screen is off. This allows for taking quick photos of fleeting moments or being inconspicuous #spyphotography. I would have missed this favorite image below had the phone not had the button on the side to launch the camera application and take the picture with a second click. This image also shows the impressive tonal range and shadow / highlight detail from the clouds, highlight on the ball and shadows of the woman there is detail across the whole image which as a retoucher I love seeing.
Nokia Pro Cam Application
One of the application that comes standard on the Lumia devices is Nokia Pro Cam, although there is many that can be downloaded. The application allows you to adjust (in order left to right) the white balance, focus, iso, shutter speed and exposure adjustment(EV). The auto focus and auto exposure is set by a taping the area of the image to read, the center is default. The application has two viewing modes the one below allowing you to adjust all of the sliders in one view and the default with a toolbar at the top allowing adjustment of settings one at a time. In the settings is options for a shutter delay and exposure bracketing. I do wish the length of the delay could be adjusted though (cough cough Nokia). Given the oval sensor design the camera settings allows you to choose between a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio image which is 38 mega-pixels and 35mp respectively. You also can choose from three framing grids; rule of thrids, golden ratio (pictured), crosshairs and a square (for perfect Instagram compositions). As with any good camera application you can also switch to a video mode which this device does very well with … but I’m not into video.
Full Resolution Images
The thumbnails below are links to full resolution unedited images from the Nokia Lumia 1020. All images were captured with the Nokia Pro Cam application. Images open in new tab/window. Please only use these images or any on this page specifically if you give a link back to this post!
I hope you have enjoyed this post and check it out on Amazon where they have more specification related information and a price better than AT&T along with an easy setup process. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments and I will reply as best I can. Love this phone!!