A closer look at the Lumia 950 XL camera

The Lumia 950 XL has the best camera Microsoft has ever created. That's what Juha Alakarhu tells us. He's responsible for imaging technology development in Phones at Microsoft. We spoke with him during the launch in New York City and he explained (and showed) the reasons behind the bold statement. Check out the 10-minute video!

Lumia 950 and 950 XL camera highlights

  • 20-megapixel
  • F/1.9 aperture
  • 1/2.4-inch sensor
  • 1.12-micron pixel size
  • ISO up to 12800
  • Zeiss optics
  • 5th generation Optical Image Stabilization
  • Triple LED natural flash
  • 4K video recording
  • Rich Capture automatically chooses the best camera mode
  • Completely new color processing algorithm
  • Seems faster

Juha showed a couple of image comparisons with the Samsung Galaxy S6. In one of the sample images, the Lumia 950 XL appeared to have more details and more natural colors. In another sample image, the Lumia 950 XL handled motion better, resulting in a sharper image of an object that is moving in low light. We were very impressed, but we'll have to test it out ourselves.

And in case you were wondering about camera speed, Juha showed us how fast the camera app opened after clicking the dedicated camera button from the Start screen. He also showed how quickly the Lumia 950 XL captured images by tapping the onscreen camera button multiple times.

What are your thoughts on the Lumia 950 XL camera after watching the demo? Are you convinced? What are your concerns? Let us know in the comments!

Editor's Note: I had a chance to talk to Juha about the new cameras and even saw some of the latest builds. Interestingly, the "processing" delays seem all but gone in the latest versions of the Camera app. This is in contrast to some of the demos on the floor, which had older builds on them still. At least from what I saw, when this phone and the final release of the Camera app come out, the experience should be much better than it is now in the Insider preview. What I saw was very inspiring and gave me confidence that these will be great cameras.

Also, it is worth mentioning that the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL cameras are exactly the same, despite outward appearances.

Regarding Panorama and slow-motion video recording, Windows Phone users will have a little while to wait, which is the bad news. Rewriting all those algorithms and software for Windows 10 is quite the undertaking, but the Lumia camera team still have big plans. -Rubino

Mark Guim

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.