Latest Nokia Lumia 900 gives the camera a boost and we have the pics to prove it

Nokia Lumia 900 camera

The Windows Phone Tango update brought a few minor improvements to our Windows Phone but it may have served up the most noticeable improvements with the Nokia Lumia 900, well specifically Nokia's firmware that came with the update. Out of the box, we weren't' overly excited about the Lumia 900's camera performance. Comparatively, the HTC Titan II's camera was a joy to use and was rather impressive.

Enter the Windows Phone Tango update. It included a Nokia firmware component for the Lumia 900 that tweaked the camera just enough to elevate the camera's performance from "lacking" to "rather nice" status. The HTC Titan II still rules but you won't be cringing every time you take a photo with your Lumia 900, hoping things come out right.

We held a photo contest the other day highlighting the improvements to the Lumia 900's camera performance. While the winners were chosen at random, there were plenty of quality images submitted, which we'd like to share with you.

We still think that Nokia should adopt the BSI backlit sensor HTC is using on the Titan II and Radar. Regardless, these images submitted by our readers are a pretty good indication that Nokia is on the right track for improving their Windows Phone photo chops.


Photo by smcburney

Scipio Magnus

Photo by Scipio Magnus


Photo by LucasLumia


Photo by gorebashd


Photo by fakeshady2100


Photo by cmayo.org


Reader comments

Latest Nokia Lumia 900 gives the camera a boost and we have the pics to prove it


Is "boost" the new word of the day? :)
On topic: These shots are kinda useless without a direct comparison with the previous version.

While that would have been nice, we just don't have "extra" 900's laying around to do that. In addition, these pictures imo stand for themselves in terms of quality.

Anyone who has a 900 and did the update will right away notice the difference. As far as these being as good as an original Focus, that I would have to disagree with. The original Focus's camera was actaully quite terrible and not very sharp. It was the "best" at the time but it falls way short today.

Not only that, I can achieve better quality with my ol' Samsung Focus. Were the Lumia pictures that bad before?

I would say my old Samsung Focus. has about the same quality as the 900 before the update. Of course still far away from those super Symbian camera phones, but hopefully we see N8 or PureView sensors someday in WP. 

Ok you guys are going too far now. The samsung focus was a blur cam I don't know what kind you guys got, but it is like one out of 7 shots to get one in focus.

My Focus "CAN" take great shots but they have to be still and the lighting has to be good.  I have many blurry under exposed shots to delete on my phone, lol.  But I've also taken some really good pics with.  Just has to be right conditions.

Mine has always been good enough outdoors. Indoors it's really poor, especially by night under artificial light.

Yes, mine too. And the tango update hasn't fixed that. Tested it last night & mine still look like they were taken with a 10 year old digital cam. In other words it STILL takes lousy pics.

This is very positive news! Now give us awsome cameras for all Nokia Lumia WP8 devices out of the box!!! My second ever WP phone will be a Nokia Lumia WP8!!! Nokia, are you listening? Please don't disappoint!!!

I have the impression that after the update on my Lumia 800, the white balance in automatic mode was better. I noticed this when I ran towards my train that was arriving, stopped in my tracks when I saw the beautiful sunrise, took out my phone, quickly snapped a picture and caught my train. Even though I wasn't paying attention to any camera settings, the picture came out really well.

The picture of the glowing buttons looks very nice, Nokia could serve that up with their wallpaper package. Very....*cough* *cough* Metro....oops I did it again (In a 90's Britney Spears voice).

I do like the glowing buttons photo, but for more reasons that just the quality of the pic.  I happen to work for the company that makes the product shown in the picture.  NewTek TriCaster!

The TV station I work for loves it.  We used to have the Toaster system and, while I knew my way around it quite well, I hated it.  Fickle little thing.

For me it's how the light is absorbed or reflected from the internal lenses and Macro shots and how easy it is to use the camera button!

LucasLumia's Picture looks really nice.
I also like that the Lumia 900 does seem not to oversaturate colors like most other phones do. The colors in fakeshady2100's picture look really natural to me.

I would have to say I agree :)
...also for those in the earlier posts who'd like to see a comparison pre/post Tango I have a very similar picture to the one above that I can share.
Pre: http://sdrv.ms/NFyjcO
Post: http://sdrv.ms/NFyepo
Based on these I would definitely agree with Localhorst86 as far as saturation and i'd also add the color balance seems much improved. 

The sensor is crap though. They can improve the software but the photos from Lumia 800/900 can never be "good" compared to most other phone.
The interesting thing is that I have a Nokia N9 now. The exact same body as Lumia 800. Still the N9 kicks the Lumias camera in the butt. Must be another sensor in it.

Lowlight/indoor settings still suck. 
The amount of color change after taking the picture has reduced though, IMO. 
At times, i would take a picture and the picture i see on my phone prior would dramatically change colors after takign the picture.  Essentially, i was not taking what i see. 
So basically, the color change has been reduced, can't say much about the quality. 

Manually force the ISO to 100 or 200 and hold it steady. Very low noise. Also, the flash ain't half bad. Toy with the White Balance to get the best color balance.

This is what annoys me. You have to toy with it to get great shots. My Radar needs nothing but to point & shoot and it's a perfect shot. No need to switch to macro for up close shots. No need to play with white balance or colors, they just look perfect out of the box. I feel like my 900 should do all this better, without all the stopping to tweak/adjust this or that setting. It just makes me feel like the whole "antennaegate", "You're holding it wrong." fiasco.

I agree, i had no issues pulling out my focus S and snapping a shot and to have the quality be very good. 
I cant do it with the nokia, while it may be good with still shots, i shouldnt have to tweak settings everytime i want to take a quick shot.  I should be able to get a good quality shot out the box and great with tweeks.  Now, i get average pics out the box and good with tweeks. 

It's obvious that Nokia is rushing these devices, so it's either make everyone wait months before release or fix it later. 

Would the 900 have done better coming out last week rather than in March? Probably not. Fact is, it's not like Nokia didn't want the camera to be better but engineering takes time. HTC and Samsung have more experience with Windows Phone than Nokia, although Nokia is going to leapfrog them very soon.

And what about the Lumia 800????
The camera is still poor after the Tangoupdate.
The whitebalance is so to say not in balance and it takes blury pictures.
I hope Nokia puts more features in the Cameraekstra app that can improve it or make an update so the Lumia 800 can take pictures like the Lumia 900.
I tried to write this to Nokia on their Facebook site but they just erased it.
So maybe it could be a case for WPcentral to confront Nokia with this??

I can say that my picture of the rainbow is a huge improvement over the earlier firmware. Before when using default settings the center of a sky would always be washed out, and now even the colors in the distant rainbow were accurate...
It is a great improvement.

The update didn't seem to change my camera quality at all. In fact it actually made focusing normal/macro worse. :(

No difference to me on my L900. I'm convinced the Lumia 900 simply came up short when it came to the camera. Sure, it got a great name when it comes to lens makers, but just because you own a paint brush, doesn't make you a Da Vinci. Nokia simply did not do their best work for the camera. I still love my phone but the camera, not so much.

Anyone know what firmware version was supposed to have the fix? My 900 came with Tango, so wondering if I'm up to date on that?

The two first photos still show one of the Lumia cameras weakness. The terrible green tint in the photos. The sky does not have a natural blue color at all.