Nokia Lumia 1020 Photo Sample
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Nokia Lumia 1020 – Low Light photos samples and comparison shots to Lumia 920, 925

We know a lot of you have been itching for some low-light camera samples from the Nokia Lumia 1020, a device that should be landing on your doorsteps as early as today if you pre-ordered from AT&T.

Last night, we hopped into mid-town Manhattan to grab some samples with the 41MP beast and they’re posted below. We also have four samples comparing to the Lumia 920 and Lumia 925, so you can see the differences therein and two video clips as well.

The images have been resized for the web (click to enlarge) but as always, we’ll give you the full resolution ones here on our SkyDrive (link, 149MB ZIP), should you want to pixel peep...

Lumia 1020 at night

Nokia Lumia 1020 Photo Sample

The following photos are just some random pics we took while perambulating around the city. All were taken with the Lumia 1020 set on Auto except the one with the taxi and blur, where we had purposefully set a long exposure (1/4 second).

Nokia Lumia 1020 Photo Sample

Once again, it should be clear: the Lumia 1020 is much sharper and provides greater detail. It’s still no full-frame DSLR shooting at f/1.4 but then again, it’s not supposed to be. Likewise, the Lumia 925 prevailed over the Lumia 920, which is probably a combination of Nokia’s Amber update and that sixth lens element to improve sharpness.

Nokia Lumia 1020 Photo Sample

We also used the PD-95G camera grip with outstanding results. We shot for roughly 3.5 hours, often with the display on for extended periods and just toying around. By 1AM we were still at 100% battery on our Lumia 1020, which was a pleasant surprise after shooting so much. As you may recall, the PD-95G has an extra 1020mAh that discharges to keep your Lumia 1020 peaked on juice. It also has a larger shutter button and tripod mount in addition to the convenient grip.

Nokia Lumia 1020 Photo Sample

Also, some to seem to think that the Lumia 1020 produces more noise. We haven’t seen that per se, especially when compared to the Lumia 920 and Lumia 925, but with the ability to shoot at 3200 ISO, that shouldn’t be a surprise either.

Nokia Lumia 1020 Photo Sample

Nokia Lumia 1020 Photo Sample

Nokia Lumia 1020 Photo Sample

 

Lumia 1020 night video

In addition to the above photo samples we also shot two, short videos. These were set at 24FPS to give them more of a cinematic look (we’ll be doing more a more in-depth look at the 1020’s video capabilities later).

Like the photos above, the clarity, detail and color representation are quite accurate. In short, it looks real good to us.

Lumia 1020 vs. 920 vs. 925

Shootout: Lumia 1020 vs. 920 vs. 925

Finally, for those who have the Lumia 920 or 925, you can finally see some direct comparison shots between them and the Lumia 1020 (make sure to click to enlarge).

It should be clear that the Lumia 1020 brings more details to night images than the other two devices with better colors and white balance. At least that is our interpretation and experience thus far.

Shootout: Lumia 1020 vs. 920 vs. 925

Don’t get us wrong, both the Lumia 920 and 925 do a stellar job in these adverse conditions and we’d gladly take the Lumia 925 anywhere, anytime. But the Lumia 1020, as expected, trumps them. Does that matter to you? Well it depends on how much imaging is important to your routine. Part of the problem is that the Lumia 920/925 are “good enough” for the average consumer, which is why they’re so awesome.

Shootout: Lumia 1020 vs. 920 vs. 925

Shootout: Lumia 1020 vs. 920 vs. 925

But for the non-average consumer who wants more? Then the Nokia Lumia 1020 is your answer.

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Reader comments

Nokia Lumia 1020 – Low Light photos samples and comparison shots to Lumia 920, 925

200 Comments

Start holding your breath....now. 

But seriously, due to time and money (we don't have one) and the fact no one bought an 808, it won't be happening here. Sorry.

Bro you should have taken the pic of big hoarding board of "s4- next big thing is here" when u did goto shoot at 7th Av. That will be my first pic when I order my 1020. N as always u did good job and your all devices 1020,920 and 925.

And you are right bro. Seriously comparing 1020 n 808 its not worthy as 1st of all production of 808 and Symbian update is stopped already. 2nd comparison and battles always with your competitors which are in the market. Even Nokia does not compare the best photo between twos and haven't , but speaks for improvements made on their new venture. People are dumb enough not to understand and not to appraise the product for its qualities rather pulling its leg for silly reason. And this goes to all Nokia (fake) fans.. Who says they r nokians but made stupid comments on Nokia progress.

Hmm is it just me or does in your shots the 1020 have a slightly blue tinge when taking pure white photos? :)

Hahaha, that was the first thing i noticed!
But seriously the pictures look jaw droppingly amazing then again the 920 and 925 still take great pictures too in low light and thats no easy feat either for the competition that is.

Don't really like the stabilization.. actually makes it look more shaky I think. Like you're constantly zooming in and out a tiny bit, or refocusing.

Really? The L925 is one heck of a nice device. Camera wise as well. Plus if you bought it now come the holidays when all the new WP8 devices come out "because you know they are" you are ready for the upgrade...

you do realize you wont be able to unlock it for 6 months while they have the exclusivity rights. Same thing as how when the 920 came out. Ppl who used it usually got the rogers unlocked one, and there are other ways but they are sketchy and you could end up killing features in your 1020 so I'd just settle for the 925. Only real difference is the camera (someone correct me if I am wrong) that I see. it has a few exclusive apps that after a month or two most lumias if not all will be able to use.

apart from the camera, there are other two differences in hardware :) ram and storage - both are half the size.

I got the phone full price 530 dollars plus taxes , I would have gotten the 1020 full price and unlocked it and taken it to mobile feel me , too late now don't get me wrong look wise I like my 925 way better .

as I just said they won't unlock it for you until 6 months later and other options are not advised unless you hate money and wanna throw it at the phone cuz you could be losing features and what not for the other methods of freeing it from AT&T plus they are complicated

Absolutely no , that's just an expression we used here in this planet , too bad in your galaxy the don't know that yet lol.

Yes He did do something for you, and me! He died for our sins, bringing salvation to all who claim HIM! Using HIS name for anything other than prayer is considered blasphemy on this planet and universe! So shame on you!

To be honest, having seen the comparisson shots, I'm even happier with my 925 considering what I paid for it. I had worried that even for normal sized images the 1020 would blow it away, but aside from some slightly better colour balance I don't think the 1020 is so much better as to make me regret getting the 925. 
 
Obviously the pre and post photo zoom features and the more manual settings are appealing but for what I want to use my phone to take pictures of (nights out, general wandering around shots) the 925 matches that need without breaking the bank, which the 1020 would do for me. 
 
Also I prefer the design and slimmer build of the 925 to the 1020. Don't get me wrong if I had unlimited money I'd have the 1020 in a heartbeat, but the 925 is a more than capable and satisfying device for me.

And that's totally cool.

I think Nokia has built up a great lineup of phone models. I'm still rockin my Cyan 920 on AT&T I got last November.

Basically, any Lumia with a PureView camera is pretty great.

If you mean this then you are on of the top 5 realest people on earth. How many people would say this. You have a lifetime of respect!

I am extremely impressed.  I can't wait to see what they'll be getting ready to come out with when my contract is up in the beginning part of next year.

But.....but the 920 caught the person in front if the pillar!!!!!!! ;)

I'm stunned by the 1020 but great job for the 920/925 bros too.

520, 620, 625, 720, 820, 920, 925, 1020.

Any version not listed there is a carrier exclusive variant. (The 928 is a 920 for Verizon, and has the same camera. No need to compare it with a 920.)

NICE! I can already imagine all the nice perv shots this phone will take.
14 seconds into "Lumia 1020 night video". Nice shot!

Can someone explain the 24 fps cinematic look compared to 30 fps? Don't think I really noticed a difference from that video.

The soap opera/live tv effect happens with interlaced video or video shot with 48fps and above. 30fps looks like a slightly smoother 24fps.

Low light is great for the club scene and p%rn, I know your busy but some time can we see comparison of shots at a football match or things in bright light? Plz...

Looks like the biggest difference is that the 1020 does not try nearly as hard to have at least something be a true 'white'. The comparison photos show the 920 and 925 trying to bring a full white balance, while the 1020 looks more true to life and is not as scared to let yellow light be yellow. This also shows up well in the video with the elevator with all of the colored lights in the scene; My 920 freaks out at the slightest change in color temperature, and will often switch back and forth between 2 rather than picking one and sticking with it. The video of the elevator has a little bit of variance as the colors on the scene change, but it is not with the wild swings that happen in the 920. Hopefully this is something that will simply be fixed when procam is released for the 920.

Outside of that though I honestly don't see a phenomenally huge jump in picture quality between the devices. Perhaps it is just the re-sizing done for the web, or artifacts introduced in saving the pictures, but it seems that the 920 keeps up pretty well with the 1020 for low light image quality. I mean, there is a little bit... but not enough to make me want to upgrade.

I think there is a huge jump in picture quality but it is not be as obvious because they are low light pictures.  It may not be quite the jump as my 920 had with low light over my HTC Titan-II (Or iPhones for that matter) but its incredible how much more detail the 1020 captures while at the same time keeping the available light more natural. The 1020 even appears better than what I can do my old Canon Rebel DSLR and my fastest lense but it came out before they really made some strides with the high ISO, low noise models.  I still am pining for one of the new Canons but afaic the 1020 looks amazing and will be very much appreciated by me I am quite sure so I will definitely be getting mine first thing in the morning ;-)

This is why Daniel said "... the Lumia 920/925 are “good enough” for the average consumer, which is why they’re so awesome."  Almost everyone viewing 920 pictures sized to a phone, tablet, or PC display are thrilled.  The 1020 is for those who like to zoom, crop, pixel peep, or simply want the best quality images available from their phone.  I love my 920 but these pictures really have me wanting to upgrade.

Daniel, can you tell us what camera settings you are using? I for the life of me can not get my pictures to look anywhere near this good. And I'm using an L925 too.  :-/

The same here, bro. I own a 925 as well and don't come close to photos like these. I had someone explain to me if the ISO made a huge difference, but I can't seem to get it right...

You should be getting the Nokia Pro Camera software that the 1020 comes with eventually which should help.

As much as I'd love to acquire the ProCam app, Nokia never really said anything about extending this app to other Lumia devices. Pretty sure it's an 1020 exclusive, isn't it? (God, I hope I'm mistaken!)

I've noticed with my L920 using steady hands to soft press the camera button to focus then hard press to shoot, yields better results than tapping the screen. Once soft pressing, you can then take your time to hard press. Pictures usually come out blur free and georgeous.

Was the 920 rocking GDR2/Amber? Would that improve the output of that device? 
I'm not against a 1020, but given how I have heard nothing for Canadians and the lack of unlocked AWS devices right now, I will hold off. 

No, it was not Amber/GDR2 on the 920 but yes, it should improve the camera via new algorithms for jpg processing and presumably white balance/color, etc.

great device indeed.. can you tell what color reperesentation of pink building in second shootout was more natural?

Daniel, really important question (at least to me) - does the 1020 have the display calibration tool that the 925 has? I.e. the tool to correct white balance and saturation for the display (not the camera)??

When you get the chance, can you take some photos of people indoors? I'm interesting in seeing how this works inside locations that have lighting, but not "full sunlight lighting," if you know what I mean.
Thanks!

this phone is the best by far I love it bad...but i'm gonna wait until nov to see what else is coming.

I know what it is, I'm just asking the question.. Its a newer phone than the 920 with a better flash so why is it left out all the time. ?? That's my question

Simple. It's redundant. The 928 has the same camera as the 920. The 925 advances it by adding a 6th lens element + Amber. The Lumia 1020 goes further with the 41MP sensor.

Explain to me: Why do you expect a difference with the 928 compared to the 920 or rather, what value does it add? Has there been any evidence, any at all, suggesting that the 928 camera is at all different? 

Just wondering why u would use one phone rather than the other?? If they the same why use the older phone?

Its a simple question, do u like the 920 more?,,,, if not why not just say 920/928 people are thinking u have something against the phone,

And its not just BC of the camera, when the 925 and the 1020 came out its hardly no mention of the 928 with comparisons just the 920, trust me the 928 owners notice this

Holy crap is Nokia fan infighting a thing now?! Calm it down, Dirtball, don't push this new, unsettling trend! Daniel's explanation makes perfect sense; the conspiracy is all in your head.

@Dirtball I chose the 920 because it's sold worldwide and a lot of people in our audience have it.

The 928 is a Verizon specific device and hence less people will identify with it for our comparison. Thought that would be kind of obvious...

This phone will make people that don't normally want to take pictures break out and take a ton of shots. That is what it did for me this last week.

Hey Daniel why wasnt the 928 in the comparison? I'm with Verizon and it seems the Verizon phones get no love...the 822 is barely mentioned and now the 928 is cast out. Wassup with that?
Thanks.

Any chance of getting comparison shots with other phones?  iPhone 5, HTC 8X, HTC one, etc?
I have the 8X and I feel I get "good" pics but I would love to see how much better the Nokia 1020 is.

Believe me I know!!!  I still love the design but my Blue phone has gotten dirty corners, the body is loose on one side so it makes a weird noise and I have to factory reset is monthly due to the "other storage" issue.
It was the best choice on VZW in Dec but hopefully I will be able to find a cheap 928 soon and sell this to somone.

Looks like my 920 can roll with the big boys 925/1020.  Only thing is i get some slight movement blur when i use the camera button. 

Yeah I stopped using the camera button pretty quick for that exact reason. It's cool that the button is there, but in its current incarnation it's just not that helpful.

The 920 and 925 are on the same level (actually, the 920 is superior imo) so it's normal. But it's good to see that there's not that HUGE of a difference between the 92x series and the 1020.

A full comparison with S4, iPhone 5, HTC One in various condition would be nice just to make other platform users very jealous. :P

I was sold when I saw the first picture of the office building. Best smartphone camera, its everywhere on the news. Great job Nokia!

Excellent detail on the 1020 images, the 920/925 do very well still. I am content with holding out with my 920 now and with the amber update to make it more interesting. While I would love the 1020, the 920 is still a great device. Will wait and see what end of year adds to the mix. Perhaps the 920 update will be the aluminum variant with smaller sensor.

Daniel, amazing pictures from the camera and photographer :-)
Next please some indoor people shots with flash.  For some reason the ones from DPReview didn't look all that great to me.
 

Will do. Off the cuff, I really hate using a flash in mobile photography, but using the xenon on the 1020 and I'm hella impressed with it.

I thought the 928 had a 6th lens? I know the 920 does'nt correct? If so theres more than just the flash that is different.

It's the 925 that has a sixth lens. The 928 has exactly the same camera as the 920 so it's redundant to post comparison pics when flash isn't even involved...

Truthfully i was all prepared to be a naysayer, but these actually look pretty damn good. Right, not DSLR good ( i wish people woould stop saying that), but really nice.

I expected the 1020 to blow away the other phones and it has. So I was more interested in how the 925 fared versus the 920. From what I'm seeing they're comparable. In the first comparison the 925 is the winner but in the other two it's a bit of a wash with possibly a slight edge in favor of the 920.

The frustration I've had with my 920, after the last camera update is it's inability to focus. I have to take multiple photos, hunting around for a spot the camera will focus on. I assume the 925 doesn't have this problem.

The 928 has the exact same camera as the 920. So the images will be the same. The 920 is a global phone whereas the 928 is Verizon exclusive. Thus more people have the 920. But regardless, the images would be the same.

The pics on both 920 and 925 looks like the colours are washed out compared to the 1020, with or without amber. This is all software right? THIS HAS GOT TO BE SOFTWARE RIGHT??! T.T *envious 920 owner*

The 920/928 tries too hard to find a "true" white. That is why it seems washed out. That should be fixed in the coming updates.

Curious, has Nokia improved backlight exposure yet? One reason I absolutely love my Sony TX30 is its backlight exposure is almost always perfect, so I rarely need to use EV compensation.

Excellent. I love the camera on my 920, but it's great to see that Nokia is able to improve imaging with every iteration of the flagship Lumia series. I look forward to seeing where we're at when my contract is up! :)

Daniel, I'm in midtown NY and have about an hour before my reservations for dinner with my group. Can I buy my favorite WP journalist a drink?

The video is impressive...but the pictures...not so sure. In the first and last pack of images, the 1020 is clearly better...but in the Times Square ones (second and third) while the 1020 is sharper, the 920 has a better colour balance to me.

That said, this is not enough for me to switch from a 920 to a 1020. Maybe when the 1030 is released in a couple of months I'll consider it though.

Thanks for the great review!
I enjoy WPC reviews more then all the other sites out there. WPC (and yes you Daniel) give comprehensive and context driven analysis of these new Windows Phone devices that seem to be churning out more and more rapidly these days (which is a good thing) while delivering feedback to your avid readers and followers in a simple, digestible fashion.
As for the 1020... I am absolutely backing Nokia as my Windows Phone of choice and will be for the foreseeable future.
I think the Lumia 1020 is a stunning device and will boost our ecosystem not just in sales and perception but in reputation as well, something Microsoft still sorely needs!
I will not however be getting this phone as it is simply the love child of a Lumia 920 and a good point and shoot (taking nothing away from Nokia and all the amazing tech they crammed in there) The camera is outstanding but is the only truly revolutionary advance.... I will anxiously be waiting for the true successor to the Lumia 920 throne the end of the year!

925 was great improvement over 920 in low light and it even beat 808. Now 1020 beats 925 by great margin and leave 808 in the dust. When shooting using tripod things obviously level out, but when just hand holding phones there is no match to 1020.

Why is it that everyone is putting this beast against it's brothers, put it against the S4 and HTC One and the iPhone 5. That's what people want to see. You have to show that this phone is better than the competition, not better than other windows phones which people already hardly look at. You want to generate sales not make the other WP8 handsets look bad.
Make a fair comparison between all flagships and let people decide. 
P.s I have the HTC One and I can't wait to get my hands on the Lumia 1020. :)

It's a little sad that after decades of making great cell phones all Nokia can make now is phones that have a great camera. My first cell phone was a 3310, than a 8110 followed by a 5610 and than a N97 mini. My last nokia was a lumia 800. Today I have a motorola droid maxx HD (just recently moved to the USA) and I'm very disappointed by the phones available by NOkia. I went to the Microsoft store near by and all those lumias just looked the same! I understand that the camera has become more and more relevant in a cell phone (hence, more and more relevant when planning what phone to buy) but it feels like Nokia has put all the eggs in that one basket. Maybe part of the fault is in the lack of customization possible for WP8 devices as compared to Android?? In all honesty, I find Lumias to be rather boring phones (in terms of looks and feel). Unfortunately, sales so far seem to indicate that the path chosen by Nokia hasnt been a very profitable one.

i agree with your comment that all of the lumias look the same. ive got a l800 and am upgrading within 3-4 months. all phones look the same to me with only slight improvements. i love my l800 look and feel but when i buy something new i would like something new. 
i do understand why because not many ppl jumped on the early nokia devices (as i did) so for alot of people it is new. owell...

Also, it would be very refreshing to actually read some critical comments on a device (phone or laptop) reviewed by Mr.Rubino. Very often these reviews feel like advertisement campaigns since nothing even slightly negative is ever said (or if it is it's immediately downplayed in the following sentence). I'm sure criticizing a device or acknowledging some of it's weaknesses would create a more interesting discussion rather than the usual comments: "this phone is great".. "+1" .. "yeah yeah it's really cool"...

"to criticize" and "to hate" are two different things... maybe not for you tough: it looks like "critical thinking" is something they didn't teach you in high school. I'm sorry for that!!
 

If you're looking for cynicism in your journalism you may want to try one of the other blogs. For the most part we at WPCentral are a pretty enthusiastic lot

One can be "enthusiastic" and "objective"... I just don't see the contradiction... also, not sure what did you mean by "cynicism" in my journalism?

I would like to know why the photos are being shot in 16:9?

This hinders the camera from showing its full potential. On the 92x series you lose almost an entire megapixel by using 16:9. I imagine it does much the same on the 102x series, though much more due to the 41 megapixel nature.

Because of the vast differences in resolution, however, it harms the 92x series more in a comparison.

Hey Daniel wanted to let you know, your reviews/articles are top-notch and I always use WPCentral as my reliable source of info about WP. Keep up the great work, you and your team! You guys are great!

This 925 has a totally different camera than my 925!

My 925 photos look even worse than the 920 photos shown here :(