Monday, November 25, 2013

Nokia Lumia 1020 Photo Review Compilation

Even after a year of releasing the 41MP Nokia 808, the 41MP in the Lumia 1020 still wowed the crowd with this year's announcement. The Lumia 1020 is the first time Nokia has attached a 41MP camera into a Windows Phone 8 device. That's a lot more pixels than any point-and-shoot commercially available right now and steps into DSLR territory. A lot has been said about the Lumia 1020 being better than a DSLR or better than a point and shoot so I compiled some comparison reviews that I found to do a fair comparison of the photos and gave my thoughts to them.

Camera Specifications
Although they both the Lumia 1020 and Nokia 808 sport 41MP, the Lumia 1020 camera is different than the Nokia 808. The Lumia 1020 gains optical stabilization but loses the NP filter.
  • Main camera sensor: 41.3-megapixel BSI CMOS image sensor
  • Optics: Carl ZEISS
  • Sensor size: 1/1.5 inch
  • Main camera f-number/aperture: f/2.2
  • Camera focal length: 26 mm
  • Camera minimum focus range: 15 cm
  • Camera image formats: JPEG, Adobe DNG (RAW)
  • Maximum image size at a 4:3 aspect ratio is 7136 × 5360 pixels (38.2 MP)
  • maximum image size at a 16:9 aspect ratio is 7712 × 4352 pixels (33.6 MP)
  • Flash type: Xenon flash, white LED focus light
  • Flash operating range: 4.0 m
  • Flash modes: Off, Automatic, On
  • Camera Element Lens: 6

Performance Times
  • Start-up time: 4 seconds
  • Focus time: 0.7 seconds
  • Shot-to-shot 5MP: 3.6 seconds
  • Shot-to-shot 38MP: 4.2 seconds

Feature Comparison to an Older Point-and-Shoot
FunctionNokia Lumia 1020Canon SD850 IS (Older Point-and-Shoot)
ISOYes (Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800,
1600, 3200, 4000)
Yes (Auto, High Auto, 80, 100, 200,
400, 800, 1600)
Shutter SpeedYes (1/16000-4s)Yes
White BalanceYes (4 presets: cloudy, daylight,
fluorescent, incandescent)
Yes (5 settings: cloudy, daylight, fluorescent, fluorescent high, incandescent, and 1 programmable)
Xenon FlashYesYes
Fill FlashNoYes
Focus Assist LightYes (white)Yes (red)
Self-TimerYes (2, 5, 10 seconds)Yes (2, 10 seconds)
Optical Image StablizationYes (mechnical)Yes

My Usage Impressions:
  • Unlike a point and shoot, with the shutter button half pressed, Nokia Camera doesn't lock the brightness.  It just locks the focus.
  • Taking "close up" photos require you to be at least 16cm away from the subject.  That's a lot further away from typical cameras or even camera phones.
  • After holding the camera key half way to focus, there are occasions that pushing it fully down will causing a re-focus again then takes the photo.  It doesn't happen when you touch the screen to focus and take a photo.
  • There is no visual indicator that focussing was successful or failed (because the focus circle looks the same in both situations) so if you're taking a photo of something far away, remember to review your photo before away.
Photos I Took:

eric.images' Nokia Lumia 1020 photoset eric.images' Nokia Lumia 1020 photoset

Photo Comparison Reviews and my Thoughts:
These photo reviews cover different aspects of the camera.  One way of comparison that I find poorly written photo reviews by phone bloggers to do is compare details of a fully zoomed in 38MP photo compared to a fully zoomed in 12MP photo.  Here are some better reviews.
Comparison ReviewMy Thoughts
Nikon D800e vs. Lumia 1020 (part 1, part 2)When the Nikon D800 uses the same type of lense (an older 28-105mm Nikon Macro) as the Lumia 1020, the Lumia 1020 captured sharper details than the D800.  The D800 fared better in the night with better details and freezes moving water better.
Lumia 1020 compared to Canon PowerShot G12 and Nikon D90 (translated)The Lumia 1020 produced sharper photos with more detail than the PowerShot G12.  The xenon flash on the Lumia 1020 is also stronger than the one built into the PowerShot G12.  The Nikon D90 still captures subtle details better and cleaner than the Lumia 1020.  The external flash on the D90 blows away the Lumia 1020's flash.
Zoom Review of Lumia 1020 compared to Canon S120When the Canon S120 is zoomed in to the same level of the Lumia 1020, the S120 has slightly better details.  And full zoom of the S120 exceeds the ability of the Lumia 1020.  But unzoomed, the Lumia 1020 captures much more detail than the S120.
Color Accuracy Lumia 1020 vs. Olympus E-PL5The Lumia 1020 colors are more saturated.  The E-PL5 has more accurate colors and better dynamic range.  The Lumia 1020 doesn't handle macro the way you'd expect.  You have to take the photo further away than other cameras and rely on cropping the 41MP photo.

My Overall Impressions:
The Lumia 1020 is impressive as a camera.  Its 41MP Carl ZEISS lens is comparable to 2 year old point-and-shoot camera in photo quality and detail.  The larger sensors found on DSLRs are still able to capture better details than the Lumia 1020 even when they have a lower pixel count.  While color and saturation in the Lumia 1020 are not exactly true to life like photos taken by point and shoots and DSLRs, they do give photos more "pop".  Although the Lumia 1020's 41MP photos provide a zoom level that's comparable to 3x on a point-and-shoot, current point-and-shoots usually have more than 5x zoom which the Lumia 1020 cannot match.  The xenon flash built into the Lumia 1020 competes well against typical point and shoots but can't compare to the external flash modules normally found on DSLRs - and you can't easily direct the flash to a wall like you can with an external flash.

For most photo situations, the Lumia 1020 can take as good photos as point-and-shoots from 2 years ago while DSLRs are 7 years ahead of the Lumia 1020, much more flexible, and have larger sensors.  DSLRs are not dead yet but more people will find less reason to bring a bulky camera with them on trips.  And just don't count on fashion or wedding photographers to drop their DSLRs for a camera phone.

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