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Nokia Lumia 1020's camera deemed best in class by DPReview

Nokia Lumia 1020 Camera

It may be a fore gone conclusion that the Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone camera is an impressive piece of hardware. That conclusion has been re-affirmed by DPReview.com's thorough review of the Lumia 1020. A review that concludes the Lumia 1020 is best-in-class in a few categories.

For those not familiar with DPReview.com, it's a photographic website that's been around for a while. It provides comprehensive reviews of photo gear, reports on industry news and has a discussion forum that covers just about every aspect of photography (digital and film). The review actually pops up on Connect, DPReview's website that focuses solely on mobile photography technology.

In a nutshell, DPReview considers the Lumia 1020 as the best-in-class for overall image quality and low light performance. The Lumia 1020 also gets high marks for it's zoom quality, flash performance and video quality.

Commenting on image quality, DPReview concludes,

"The Lumia 1020’s image quality is best-in-class: in both bright and low light conditions, it delivers impressive performance. In good light, the high-resolution sensor captures a tremendous amount of detail, even in darker, low-contrast parts of a scene that many competitors tend to smear with noise reduction. Colors are punchy but generally well rendered. The 5MP images are nicely sharpened and ready for sharing."

The downsides noted by DPReview on the Lumia 1020 include slow camera app startup time, long shot-to-shot times, the lack of HDR and burst modes and image softness in the corners.  Points we all recognize and hope will improve.

Nokia Lumia 1020

DPReview gave the Lumia 1020 a final score of 8.8. How does that compare with other smartphone cameras?

It's nice to see digital photography sources recognize the quality and capabilities of the Nokia Lumia 1020.  Recognition that not only shines a positive like on Nokia's efforts but also shines positively on the Windows Phone platform.

Source: Connect by DPReview; Thanks, Mike, for the tip!

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Reader comments

Nokia Lumia 1020's camera deemed best in class by DPReview

47 Comments

I love the Lumia's but I stick with my Ativ S for the simplest of reasons, 16:9 screen, nothing else

Really want Nokia to embrace 16:9, just makes a world of difference in my eyes

That's really interesting I never thought about that and I've never heard anyone talk about that being a deal breaker.
It's pretty cool that you were able to find a phone that had that for you. 

Couldn't disagree more fundamentally: I hate 16:9 on cellphone screens. Somehow looks oddly proportioned to me.

I agree with wizzacker: I really find that the tall and narrow screen of 16:9 makes using email, web, Word, etc is too narrow and doesn't benefit anything other than watching movies (which aren't 16:9 anyways).
I am very happy that Nokia pushed for the 15:10(?) aspect ratio since it makes for a better experience when viewing ANYTHING in the standard portrait mode.

I am the exact opposite. I can't stand 16:9 on anything other than TV screens.
Phones, tablets, laptops and anything else where reading is something you do regularly, 16:10 is the preferred format. If not 4:3.
In tablets, 4:3 is clearly superior to anything else. I couldn't buy any tablet except for the iPad and iPad Mini because they are the only ones with that screen format that aren't cheap trash with cheap, outdated, Chinese SOCs. All other tablets have 16:9 and are ridiculously small. Everyone always compares inch numbers, instead of comparing the actual useful screen size. Go to displaywars.com and put in the screen size and aspect ratio, and see how the iPad Mini has a twice larger screen than the ridiculous 7 inch tablets.
In phones, laptops and pc monitors, 16:10 trumps 16:9 by a mile. 16:9 is just TOO narrow to read anything in horizontal, you always have to scroll and can't see anything, especially since the chrome of applications and the OS takes away what feels like 1/3 of your screen on 16:9.
I make it a point to purchase 16:10 products, I look for it in phones (Nokia has them across the line) and in laptops Apple has them, but I don't want an OSX machine, for OS reasons and price reasons. I just wish some Windows manufacturer would come to their senses and start producing laptops with 16:10 screens... Sony or whoever - all I ask is that they be quality made and with quality components that don't break after a few months or 1-2 years.

I won't dispute what works for you. Afterall, you are the only one who can make that decision. For me, however, I like the 16:9 on my Surface RT. I rarely use Portrait and when I do, the 5.25 inch width works well for ebooks and web browsers and the 16:9 in landscape is great for movies, and viewing images, browsing, spreadsheets etc.

Amen to this. My monitor is 16:10 and I watch movies just fine on it. The 16:9 aspect ratio is only good for movies and sucks for productivity. At least that's my opinion.

As a developer, I find both 16:10 and 16:9 to be a huge boost to productivity, because the navigators and inspectors are out of the way of the code/design window.

I totally agree with you on the perfect usable size of tablets. The iPad mini is the most handy tablet out there.

Love the 16:9 ratio on my Surface. Absolutely perfect when using the onscreen keyboard or handwriting recognizer in portrait mode.

I'll cast another vote for 16:10. 16:9 is just to narrow... only benefit is better match for movies and video. Something not done much on my smartphone.

This is a proper photography site, not hack sites like the verge and Engadget that don't know their camera exposure from exposure to the elements. Between this review and Steve Litchfield of AAWP's one there is no doubt that Nokia is king of smartphone cameras.

I agree. I've been using their site for years when I get ready to buy a new DSLR (Nikon!), and I have the greatest respect for their reviews. Honest and as unbiased as anyone can really be.

Probably due to the larger sensor. But it's a trade off, since that phone was also quite chunky by comparison. Plus, it doesn't look like they considered OIS a big enough deal here.

Spot on Daniel. Larger sensor and ND filter on board. On a tripod the 808 produces better images. I'd still take the 1020 though because of the OIS and slimness.

I wonder about the ratings -- are they a reflection of when that review was done? (like, if they did the 808 now, would it measure up -- seems like with the OIS and backlit sensor the 1020 should beat it in any suboptimal situations).

Yes, but the 808 also had a dedicated image processor for the camera function - something that Microsoft doesn't permit on their platform. :(

I'm surprised the purview 808 was considered better than the 1020. From what I've read and sampled it appeared that the 1020 was superior.

Review scores can often drift over time...
 
It it likely that the 808 was SO impressive for it's time, that it seemed a 9.0 was justified.  Now, the 1020 has stiffer competition (which it still handily destroys).  But the point being, that the comparitive landscape has changed.  I'm guessing that if the 808 was judged by today's mobile phone photographic standards, it might match the 1020's 8.8.  Yes, the 808's 41MP sensor is slightly larger, but it lacked backside illumination and OIS, which the 1020 has.
 
I think when you put the whole package together tho, the 1020 is the clear winner.  The zoom-and-re-crop later feature is simple yet ground-breaking.... well worth the slight pause when saving the big image file to memory.  And that's not even getting into how crazy good the ProCam app is, or the modern OS and image sharing offered by WP.

For it's time? No. that's not how cameras work.
 
That's how video game reviews and other tech work.
 
Picture quality is picture quality, no matter what era. The 808 has a 9.0 based on the same factors every other camera phone is judged on.

Yes I raised an eyebrow there too. Even my 925 makes my friends iPhone 5 snaps look pretty laughable

I'd say that in the case of hardware, you need to take into consideration of when the tech was released. When those phones were released the 8 score is probably accurate. At the time, they were considered great for phone cameras. If the iphone5 or s4 were released the same time as the 1020, their scores would probably be lower, or the 1020 higher.

as a 808 owner I really don't care about ratings or what others deem as the best nor should 1020 owners, if you're happy with what you have that's all that matters. Especially when the money came outta my pocket

On a scale of 1 to 10, 0.8 is pretty significant, especially when you figure even a mediocre camera is going to score at least a five or six. So realistically the 0.8 difference is based on a spread of about 4 or 5 points (5 to 10 or 6 to 10). And from a phtography perspective, time lag deserves to bring a score down. I have a 1020, and if you ignore the time lag issues it's an absolutely incredible camera; easily a 9+. Taking the lag into account an 8.8 score is still pretty damn good.