Nokia 1020 - the best shooting experience?


Not so long ago the idea that my favourite images would consistently be coming from a mobile phone would have been preposterous. That this would have a very small sensor and a fixed wide-angle lens, one aperture (also fixed) and no viewfinder would have made such a proposition ridiculous. The notion that somehow I would be largely ignoring the nine great cameras on my shelf, plus all the lenses of course and going out shooting day after day with two smartphones in my pockets was plainly ridiculous and I would have wondered what on earth I was consuming, or whether I needed to book an appointment with a therapist ASAP.

But that is exactly what is happening. From the set up portrait of my wife Ann (top) which we both like very much, to the  flower shot below, I am consistently producing the work I enjoy looking at most with my Nokia 1020. And no, as I constantly write, these are not the best pictures I can produce currently in terms of image quality, but they are the pictures that give me the most satisfaction and pleasure when I view them on my screen. I'm also coming up with ideas for new pictures all the time, setting up shoots, exploring new ways to edit, experimenting more and pretty much changing the way I see pictures, the way I create them, process them and upload them to the picture libraries who market my work. I'm spending more time on my iPad rather than my laptop these days, using Snapseed rather than Photoshop and getting through an incredible workload every day. I can't wait to get up in the morning to start shooting again and for the first time in years I'm actually relishing the thought of going through my captured pictures to see how I can interpret and present them. And all of this is because of the Nokia 1020.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly the fixed wide-angle lens makes me get closer. To paraphrase Robert Capa, if my pictures aren't good enough, it's because I'm not close enough.

Secondly the Nokia is the best camera I've ever used for composing with. The screen is just amazing. Sharp and clear, even in bright sunlight and BIG! I see the picture in front of my eyes before I press the shutter and I never thought I'd write this, but I prefer it to a viewfinder. Because no matter how good they are, either OVF or EVF, it's still looking down a tunnel. Plus using the screen means the camera isn't stuck to my forehead. I can hold it at arms length, up in the air, down on the ground and still I can see the image I'm composing clearly. This makes for a very flexible shooting experience. And because the Nokia has such a terrific image stabilisation system, there is no problem with camera shake.

Quite simply, all digital cameras should have screens like this. Because the Nokia screen just makes shooting easy and allows for precise compositon. No loss in the corners because I wear glasses, 100% coverage, no surprises when the image is captured because I'm seeing the preview which is EXACTLY what will be captured. It's no wonder that when I take out other cameras alongside the Nokia, as soon as I start using it the other gear stays in the bag. It is as good as I can get currently. And it shows quite dramatically in the results I get. Because I do far less editing on my captured images. The reason for this is that they are spot on to begin with. Apart from the fact that the Nokia has great accurate colour and very accurate metering and exposure, the images are composed as I want. They are straight, have in the picture what I want in the picture and it's now very rare that I have to do a lot of editing on the images.

(However having said that a 4.1mm lens is hardly what most people would consider the ideal choice for portraiture. So I did have to remove some pretty unflattering distortion from the picture of my wife at the top of the page. However, that didn't take long and using that close up wide-angle composition has worked very well.)

This is why I go on and on about the Nokia and use it all the time. Because I really do take better pictures with it. And the trade-offs of reduced dynamic range, less sharpness and poor high ISO results are compromises I'm happy to make. Slightly flawed images I love looking at is a much better alternative to technically high quality files that I have to spend an age in Photoshop trying to get to look like I want. Content over style every time for me. 

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