Nokia Lumia 1020 Phone Camera Review - Part 3 - "Real World Use' + Is this the end for the compact camera?

After my first 'real world' shooting trip / outing with the Nokia Lumia 1020 Phone Camera, there is really only one word to sum up my feelings about it. WOW!!

It's become obvious that camera phones and phone cameras (there is a difference apparently) have destroyed the small sensor compact camera market. On the evidence of this however they are well on the way to destroying the compact market full stop. And before you mention interchangeable lens compact system cameras, with 41MP of resolution you can do this.

Cropped from the same file.

And then there's this.

Anyone want to buy a near mint Panasonic GM1?

My first excursion with the 1020, taking pictures in a typical environment for me, in this case the world famous Hidcote Gardens in the Cotswolds, exceeded my expectations. In terms of the quality of the still images and the ability to heavily crop them and still have a useable, saleable stock image, in terms of the video which is stunning quality aided by the cameras terrific image stabilisation for hand holding, in terms of the fact that the camera is totally silent and nobody paid me any attention whatsoever and in terms of ease of use and the enjoyment I got from using it. 

That screen is a thing of beauty. And boy does it work. It works so well that my compositions are spot on every time. I'm adjusting these images far less than any I take with a 'proper' camera. Metering and levels are also right on the button. Sharpness isn't Sony A7r standard, but it's satisfactory, which is mind-boggling considering the sensor size difference. And yes there is some highlight burn-out and some softish corners, but I can compensate for that and in actual fact it's really not that much worse than many other larger sensor cameras. 

I knew before I started that I would like the 16:9 crop ratio. The 1020 in fact has a GH1 / GH2 type multi-format sensor. Something like this. 

This means that the 16:9 isn't just a crop of the 4:3 sensor and in fact turns out files almost as large in size and resolution.  

Now all of this would be impressive for a mirrorless / CSC camera, which makes it all the more impressive that it's from a mobile phone. But then units like the Nokia 1020 are far from mobile phones. They are media / communication devices in their own right. And Nokia won't be the last to prioritise the camera in their offerings. 

Add to this the time savings in editing and uploading I'm already experiencing and you can see how I'm getting very enthusiastic about this. The Nokia 1020 will make my photography work easier, quicker, cheaper as well as giving me significant weight and bulk savings plus giving me operational advantages.(And in fact not making it work at all)

Not everybody will feel the same of course and for many it's completely useless. But for what I do, it's a revelation and as I keep writing let's me concentrate on what's important, picture creation, rather than spending time in menus and adjusting dials and buttons. As I also keep writing there's nothing wrong with 'point and shoot' if there is the quality to back that up. And in the case of the Nokia Lumia 1020 there is little doubt of that. 

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