Lumia Camera: A tale of three, very confusing apps

Earlier this morning, we reported that Lumia Camera Classic was updated in addition to Lumia Camera.

However, many of you running certain Lumias noted that there was no update to Lumia Camera. As it turns out, there are now three 'Lumia Camera' apps although you cannot download all of them. The one updated this morning is for non-PureView and Legacy PureView Lumias while Lumia Camera Classic is for new PureView phones that are not yet on Denim.

Confused? So are we, so let's break it down.

Lumia 435 camera

Lumia Camera (Non-PureView, Legacy PureView)

This app is the original Nokia Camera renamed to Lumia Camera. It can only be used on non-PureView Lumias like the Lumia 530, Lumia 630 and Lumia 730, older non-PureView phones and "legacy" PureView devices with the S4 processor like the Lumia 920 and Lumia 1020.

The one exception to this that we know of is the new Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL, both of which run the new Lumia Camera 5.0 app even though they are not PureView phones.

What makes a phone PureView? The usage of Zeiss Optics (lenses) and Optical Image Stabilization (OIS).

Lumia Camera (Non-PureView, Legacy PureView) Store link

  • Phones: Lumia 430, Lumia 435, Lumia 520, Lumia 525, Lumia 530, Lumia 532, Lumia 535, Lumia 620, Lumia 625, Lumia 630, Lumia 635, Lumia 720, Lumia 730, Lumia 735, Lumia 810, Lumia 820, Lumia 822, Lumia 920, Lumia 925, Lumia 928, Lumia 1020, Lumia 1320
  • Restrictions: New PureView phones cannot download this app.
  • Limited functions: Cannot do Living Images on older phones with S4 chipset (Lumia 730/735 being an exception), Surround Sound for video, HD video (Lumia 730/735 being an exception)

QR: Nokia Camera

Lumia 830

Lumia Camera Classic (New PureView)

This app is a sort of placeholder for those phones that are PureView but are "in between" like the AT&T Lumia 830 (which has Lumia Denim but still needs an OS update to run Lumia Camera 5.0).

Devices with a Snapdragon 400 or Snapdragon 800 processor and PureView can run this app.

Lumia Camera Classic Store link

  • Phones: Newer PureView devices like Lumia 830, Lumia 930, Lumia Icon, Lumia 1520 with or without Lumia Denim
  • Restrictions: Non-PureView phones cannot download this app. However if you have the full Lumia Denim and a new PureView phone you should run the Lumia Camera 5.0 version below.
  • Limited Functions: No Rich Capture (Dynamic Flash, HDR, Dynamic Exposure), no 4K video, not optimized for speed, cannot press-and-hold to record video

QR: lumia camera classic

Lumia Camera 5.0

Lumia Camera 5.0 (PureView + Full Denim)

This version of the app is the crown jewel, the one that was re-written to take advantage of newer hardware. It opens super-fast, can do dynamic HDR and flash, and 4K video on the Lumia 930, Lumia Icon and Lumia 1520.

Lumia Camera 5.0 Store link

  • Phones : Lumia 640, Lumia 640 XL, Lumia 830, Lumia 930, Lumia Icon, Lumia 1520
  • Restrictions: Non-PureView phones cannot download this app; All PureView phones can download this app, but only the Lumia 830, Lumia 930, Lumia Icon, and Lumia 1520 with full Lumia Denim can use it. If you get a warning message that your phone needs a software update, then you do not have the full Lumia Denim software package and will need to wait for your carrier to release it.
  • Limited Functions: Lumia 640, Lumia 640 XL, and Lumia 830 cannot take 4K video, just HD or Full HD

QR: lumia camera 5


Update: This stuff is so confusing even we had some of the information wrong regarding the first Lumia Camera app. We think we have it correct now, sorry for the confusion!

One thing is for sure, in 2015, Microsoft's Lumia Camera situation is chaotic and confusing, even for us.

However, we should note that if you are just using one phone and you never read our site, you likely would not be bothered with all the different versions. Those with non-PureView phones cannot even see Lumia Camera Classic or Lumia Camera 5.0 in the Store, so there is never an issue.

It is a bit different, however if you have a Lumia 830 on AT&T and you wonder why you cannot use Lumia Camera 5.0.

Microsoft is aware of this messy situation and with Windows 10, our bet is a unified app for all Window Phone devices. It will be interesting to see if there are still 'Lumia exclusive' apps or even 'PureView exclusive' as separate entities in the Store.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.