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Nokia Lumia 1020: Every Pixel Counts

Nokia Lumia 1020’s 41-megapixel camera is the best so far.

Nokia Lumia 1020’s 41-megapixel camera is the best so far.

When you visit the Himalayas,your eyes are the best cameras. Unless you carry a high-end DSLR,no ­photograph can come close to capturing all that you can see. The best pictures capture only a fraction of the splendour. I had nearly given up trying to click misty mountains as a combination of poor lighting and hazy atmosphere would produce grainy pictures. Portability is another issue. Lugging heavy camera gear is not ideal for trekking. Over the years,the number of pictures I clicked in the Himalayas declined steadily as I did not feel comfortable trekking with a camera dangling from my neck. That is when I began looking for an excellent camera phone.

Nokia has made some great phone cameras over the years,such as N82,N93 and 808 PureView. When we reviewed the 808 PureView last year,its 41-megapixel camera impressed us more than its operating system – Symbian Belle. Using Belle in 2012 was pretty much like running Windows 95 today. The OS was ancient,and the phone was poor for today’s always-online crowd. Most people felt the phone was too bulky and wished for a modern OS. It seems Nokia was listening,and in less than a year,the company launched Lumia 1020 — a Windows Phone 8 device with a 41-megapixel camera.

Some phones catch the eye for good looks,while others do so for an unconventional appearance. The Lumia 1020 is a mixture of both. Having a 41-MP sensor leads to a protruding camera component and ensures that it cannot lie flat on its back. But Nokia has designed a sleek cover for the lens,and overall,the Rs 49,999-phone looks good and isn’t too heavy at 158 g.

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The megapixel race is meaningless,as most manufacturers try to mislead buyers by packing a higher megapixel count in tiny sensors. But Nokia’s 41-MP sensors are no gimmick. The picture quality is excellent,especially in low light. When you have to test a camera this good,you must take it to a location that sparks your creativity. Like the Himalayan town of Nainital,where we tested the 1020. And we got very good results.

When you click a picture,the camera saves a high-resolution (34 MP) and a low-resolution (5 MP) copy. Users can choose to click at 5 MP to improve shooting speed,as saving high-resolution pictures takes more time. This camera is excellent at capturing details,so most users would like to shoot at 34 MP,but the downside is that it takes up around 10 MB per picture and the phone only has 32 GB internal storage,with no scope for expansion other than the cloud.

Lumia 1020 comes with Nokia’s Pro Camera app,which lets you shoot as you would while using a DSLR’s manual mode. You can adjust shutter speed,exposure value,ISO,white balance and focal length. All of these appear as dials on the screen and you can easily adjust them before clicking. But it takes time to adjust the options and we found ourselves using auto mode most of the time,especially when shooting moving objects.


The major problem with this phone,though,is the ecosystem. Windows Phone does not have the apps to support Lumia 1020’s camera. An Android or iPhone user can choose from a host of excellent apps for storing and sharing photos,such as Instagram,Everpix,Google+ photos,etc. These are still missing from Windows Phone,but it has cloud storage apps such as SkyDrive and Dropbox. The 1020 could have sold much more if Windows Phone had supportive apps.

If you want the best smartphone camera in the market,go for the Lumia 1020. If you are looking for a smartphone with a good camera,look elsewhere.

First published on: 27-10-2013 at 05:02:40 am
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