Ever since Nokia announced the development of a new 41 megapixel sensor, reviewers have been waiting to get their hands on this device, which has some amazing features built into it. Finally it is time for us to explore the new device, the Nokia Lumia 1020 PureView, better known for its capable imaging device.
Design and Build Quality
The 1020 carries the brilliant monoblock design that is the hallmark of the Lumia series. The screen is made of scratch resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The lens protrudes a bit, but it is still sleek and easily fits in your shirt pocket. The camera features a Xenon flash along with a focus assist light. The device has dimensions of 130.4 mm x 71.4 mm x 10.4 mm and weighs 158 g.
The Lumia 1020 was launched with the tagline ‘Zoom Reinvented’, and this is the main feature of this Smartphone. And because the camera features need elaboration, we are keeping the general phone features confined to the specifications section. The camera uses a very high resolution imaging sensor along with pixel oversampling to reinvent zooming (more about this later). The phone features Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) that is quite different from cameras and other smartphones. Nokia uses the entire lens instead of just one element to effectively compensate for camera shake. The lens assembly is suspended on ball bearings and controlled by the camera using input from a gyroscope. The camera uses a 41-megapixel, 1/1.5-inch Type (approximately 11 x 8mm) back-side illuminated (BSI) sensor. This is larger than most compact camera sensors. The BSI sensor allows more light to be captured by the sensor, making it possible for the camera to amplify the signal more efficiently which results in reduced noise. The camera features a Carl Zeiss f/2.2, approximately 25-70mm lens constructed with six elements (one glass moulded and the rest moulded highperformance plastic).
The 41-megapixel sensor can provide an effective resolution of 34 or 38 megapixel depending on the aspect ratio. In addition to these full-resolution images, the Lumia 1020 captures oversampled images at 5 megapixel. But the difference is that this 5 megapixel image is created using the data from all 41 million photo diodes. This means that each pixel is created with the data from seven photo diodes on the sensor (this process is called oversampling). This ensures that the image is sharp, natural-looking and having low noise. The camera can be made to save both the full resolution and the oversampled image, thus performing a dual capture. This allows you to send a high-quality, small file straight after shoot, while still retaining a full-resolution image for post-processing. But do note that the high-resolution image will not show the effect of zooming. In other words, if your native frame shows a whole building and you have digitally zoomed in to a window of the building, the fullresolution image will show the whole building and the 5-megapixel image will show the window as you captured. In short, though the Lumia 1020 has 41 million photo diodes, the final resolution is only 5 megapixel if you use zoom. Now coming to the ‘reinvention’ of zoom. In digital cameras and Smartphone cameras, the image quality deteriorates while using digital zoom. This is because when you use digital zoom, the device enlarges the central portion of the image and the pixels on the sides of the image are discarded. Thus the final output is of much lower resolution than the native resolution of the sensor. In most cases, this final output is then upscaled back to the original resolution by extrapolating the pixels, which leads to image quality deterioration. But in the case of the Lumia 1020, to create a final resolution of 5 megapixels, it is safe to discard the pixels up to a very high level of digital zoom range. So image quality does not deteriorate till the digital zoom reaches the final output resolution of 5 megapixels. Do note however, that the quality of the full-resolution image can suffer when you do this, just as in the case of digital zoom in cameras and Smartphones. The PureView method of zooming also challenges traditional optical zoom in two ways. In the optical zoom of conventional compact cameras and low-priced lenses, the maximum aperture becomes narrower towards the telephoto end. But in the case of PureView, this does not happen. So the 1020’s f/2.2 aperture stays constant throughout the zoom range. Also, in optical zoom lenses, macro focussing distance changes with zoom. But in the case of 1020 PureView, it remains the same at approximately 15cm. While these features will surely fascinate you, there is still more you can do with PureView. If you choose to save the full resolution file along with the 5 megapixel standard resolution image, you can ‘uncrop’ or ‘unzoom’ an image even after capture. You can also straighten the image without losing any corner detail or zoom in to details you might have missed during the shoot. This is a feature hitherto unheard of in any camera.
The Lumia 1020 uses a Xenon flash that can provide up to three metres of effective illumination with a very short flash duration to provide crisp images.
The Lumia 1020 has various features to suit everyone. Nokia Pro Camera lets you control exposure, shutter speed, ISO, White Balance and focus. If you want to capture a full resolution image along with the 5-megapixel image and make use of re-framing and such adjustments, this is the mode for you. This also lets you capture an HD video with high-quality stereo sound. Nokia Smart Camera shoots a sequence of photos so that you can readily apply some built-in effects. You can choose your Best Shot or combine the photos into one picture, make a strobe effect to emphasize motion, remove unwanted objects or choose the best faces for group shots.
Creative Studio is a quick and easy photo editor, which lets you to quickly adjust colour balance, remove red eye, and apply filters. Then you can share your pictures directly on Facebook and Twitter. Cinemagraph is a combination of photo and movie-like animation, creating pictures that seem almost alive. PhotoBeamer is an innovative and easy way to show your pictures on any screen that has a standard browser.
Nokia has included various filters to apply to your images, which they call lenses. Nokia Glam Me Lens lets you enhance portraits with toning, eye resizing, teeth whitening and all sorts of artistic effects. The Panorama Lens automatically stitches your images into a panorama.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 runs on Windows 8 platform. If you are using it for the first time, it will take some time, finding your way through the features. Even the various camera options such as Pro Cam, Smart Cam, and regular Camera are not clubbed together because of the alphabetical arrangement. But once you get a hang of things, it is very easy to use the various features, though not as simple as Android.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 is essentially a 5 megapixel camera when it comes to final image quality. But the process of creating this 5-megapixel image is what differentiates the 1020 from the competition. The Nokia Lumia 1020 provided very good results in terms of general Smartphone photography. We did not find it necessary to assess flare, chromatic aberration, and darkening of corners since we do not expect a Smartphone camera to be used in these demanding conditions. So here is a general assessment.
The lens produced slight barrel distortion, which is normal even for compact cameras. The native print size was 10.24 x 5.76 inches at 300 ppi. At 25 percent screen size, the images appeared free of noise up to ISO 800. Above this, the pictures were extremely noisy, as expected. Viewed at 50 percent of the screen size, noise appeared from ISO 800 onwards. When viewed at 100 percent, noise was evident throughout the ISO range. We found the images to be soft at all sensitivity settings, probably due to the aggressive Noise-reduction. The Nokia Lumia 1020 reproduced true colours in daylight. Though it produced colour casts under all other light sources, these were easy to remove in postprocessing. The camera performed very well in general everyday photography.
Value for Money
The Nokia Lumia 1020 retails at an MRP of Rs.49,999. This seems rather high for this device.
Operating System : Windows Phone 8
Sensor : 41 MP, 1/1.5-Type Back-illuminated
Focus type : Auto focus
f-number/aperture : f/2.2
Focal length : 26 mm
distance : 15 cm
Image format : JPEG
Flash type : Xenon flash
Flash operating range: 4.0 m
Flash modes : Off, Automatic, On
Other features : Optical image stabilization,
6-lens optics, High resolution
Digital camera : Nokia Smart Camera,
add-ons Cinemagraph lens, Panorama lens,
Bing vision, PhotoBeamer, Creative
Studio, Nokia Glam Me,
Nokia Pro Camera
Scene modes : Automatic, Night Portrait, Sports,
Night, Close-up, Backlight
White balance modes: Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent,
Light sensitivity : Automatic, ISO 100, ISO 200, 400,
800, 1600, 3200
Secondary camera : 1.2 MP wide angle
Music format : Codecs: MP3, AMR-NB, WMA 10
Pro, GSM FR, WMA 9, AAC LC,
Radio : Internet Radio, FM Radio
Video : 1080p (Full HD, 1920 x 1080), 30 fps
Video playback : MP4, WMV, AVI, 3GP, 3G2,
file formats M4V, MOV
Display size : 11.43cm
Touch screen : Super sensitive touch
Processor name : Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
Display resolution : WXGA (1280 x 768)
Display colours : TrueColor (24-bit/16M)
Display technology : ClearBlack, AMOLED
Screen material : Corning Gorilla Glass 3
SIM card type : Micro SIM
Charging connectors : Charging Pads, Micro-USB
AV connectors : 3.5 mm audio connector
System connectors : Micro-USB-B
USB : USB 2.0
Bluetooth : Bluetooth 3.0
Wi-Fi : WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n
NFC : Secure NFC for payment,
Sharing, Pairing, Tagging
WCDMA network : 850 MHz, 900 MHz,
1900 MHz, 2100 MHz
GSM network : 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz,
Battery capacity : 2000 mAh
Removable battery : No
User data storage : In device, SkyDrive cloud storage
Expandable memory : Not Available
RAM : 2 GB
Mass memory : 32 GB
Free cloud storage : 7 GB
Dimensions : 130.4 mm x 71.4 mm x 10.4 mm
(H x B x T)
Weight : 158 g
Though Nokia pitches the Lumia 1020 as a high-end Smartphone with a 41-megapixel camera, this provides only 5 megapixels of effective resolution. What distinguishes the device from others are features such as lossless digital zoom and unzooming and re-cropping after capture. Consider this phone if you need a sleek and highend Smartphone with an unobtrusive camera and if you are in the habit of using digital zoom extensively.