Nokia Lumia 1020 Phone Camera Review - Part 1 First impressions

So, is this the game changer, the one all serious photographers will want, the phone with a camera that takes us from shooting snaps to creating 'real' photographic images? Well to the first question no, the second probably not, and the third yes of course, any camera can do that. 

From a first picture taking session and studying the results, this isn't the revolution, but it is a useful evolution. The somewhat radical idea of slinging million of pixels on a very small sensor works to a certain extent. If you crop out the corners, downsize the image and do a bit of post-processing work, you can get an image that stands up to close scrutiny and gives many mirrorless cameras and CSC's a run for their money. If, that is, you're happy with a fixed wide-angle lens, a degree of corner softness, a fairly low dynamic range and an (admittedly low) level of noise reduction and smearing that shows up the camera's micro sensor deficiencies. 

You do however, despite all that, get an amazing, unique, image creating tool that can take your breath away with it's level of resolution, is terrific to use and if you have the imagination to use with it, can produce images that any other picture creating machine would find almost impossible to copy. And it does have one extraordinary wonderful attribute.

And no, that's not the 41MP, it's the screen. Quite simply the sharpest, clearest and photographer friendly view screen I've ever used. Why on earth can't camera companies produce something like this? When you hold the phone in front of you and select 16:9 ratio, all you see is this huge image in front of you. Even in very low light it's still good with an excellent refresh rate. In bright sunlight it's still clear and sharp, it's polaroid sunglasses friendly and it makes composing and shooting images a pleasure instead of a 'difficulty' which is what normally happens when using a live view screen outdoors in the sun. This screen is the first thing I noticed when I picked up the Nokia and it puts every other camera screen I've used in the shade. Literally!!

It's also very sleek, very stylish, very minimalist and yes very sexy!! And it takes a very decent snap.






At it's largest resolution it shoots 4:3 images, but I have to say I'm seriously in love with that 16:9 wide-angle look.

I'm planning to give it a serious workout today, but one thing is clear immediately. If you can't create pleasing high-quality images with this device, then maybe you could try origami as a hobby. Oh and it checks your emails, lets you post to social media instantly 'in camera', gives you internet access and let's you tell all those phone botherers who are so eager to tell us about the virtues of their double glazing and help us out of debt just exactly what you think of them, their parentage and where they can find a home for their annoying sales patter, as well. 

And it is of course enormous fun.


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