The Finnish phonemaker's latest device is so good at capturing images that users really will be able to throw their digital cameras and even their HD video cameras away. In fact, it's so good, don't be surprised if professional photographers start using it too.As widely predicted, the Nokia Lumia 1020 boasts an incredible 41-megapixel image sensor, giving it pretty much professional levels of image capture even in the most dimly lit conditions.
This imaging ability is further helped by a suite of dedicated apps that eliminate judder and camera shake plus a number of mechanical improvements.
The handset's six lenses float on a bed of ball bearings that allow them to float, counteracting any camera movement caused by the user or the environment, say a rocking boat.
But that's just the start: Nokia claims that the Lumia 1020 reinvents the zoom and for once, it's not just marketing speak.
The 41-megapixel sensor is the biggest ‘back side' sensor not just on a smartphone but on any consumer electronics device currently available. It takes two images -- one at 34 and one at 38 megapixels -- and then oversamples both images in order to create a single 5-megapixel shot that has five times the depth of visual information because each pixel contained within it was created from five pixels.
This oversampling also means that a user can take a still and then zoom in and keep zooming into the original image, digitally, without losing any detail. Nokia calls it lossless zoom, and, during the unveiling of the phone at a July 11 presentation in New York, demonstrated it by showing a picture of a haystack and then continuing to zoom in until the audience could clearly see a needle. These features and processes carry over to video, which the phone can shoot in full HD and at 30 frames per second.
However, from a photography point of view, probably the most impressive features are actually optional accessories. The Lumia 1020 can be snapped inside a ‘Nokia camera grip' casing that makes it feel more like a true camera when held -- it even has a dedicated shutter release button, contains a second battery and features a real screw mount for fixing to a tripod. In this mode, launch the professional camera app and there is access to white balance, shutter speed, ISO settings, exposures, super short or long, and manual focus, just like on a top-end DSLR camera. It means that photos can have depth of field and can capture even the fastest-moving subjects.
Like the Lyco Camera, images captured with the 1020 are always alive. Even after they have been shared they can be revisited, focus and zoom can be changed and the fun starts again.
Away from photography, the phone has a wonderful 4.5-inch AMOLED HD+ display that's treated so that it's equally legible in direct sunlight as it is indoors. Like all high-end Lumias, the 1020's screen is also super sensitive and will respond to a touch from a gloved hand. Inside the camera has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM.
However, its internal storage is a mere 32GB -- not great for users who will want to push the phone's camera to the limit -- but the handset will also ship with 7GB of free cloud storage via Microsoft's SkyDrive platform.