Nokia Lumia 1020: where’s Android’s 41 MP camera?

July 11, 2013
23

Nokia has announced the new Nokia Lumia 1020, the company's first 41 megapixel PureView smartphone running on Windows Phone 8. Yes, a 41 MP camera all on a smartphone that is basically as thin as everything else available today. Our friends and sister site SlashGear have more details, but our first thought was where's a 41 megapixel cameraphone for Android? And do we even need one?

The Lumia 1020 builds on Nokia's pixel-oversampling technology from previous devices, tosses in a Xenon flash, and blends it into a high-end Windows Phone 8 handset. The latest trend has been throwing upwards of 13 megapixel cameras on Android phones, save for Samsung and their 16 megapixel Galaxy Camera, so what gives?

The 1020 is a bit of a engineering achievement to say the least. Considering they've managed to pack that impressive 41 megapixel camera into a smartphone and keep it relatively thin. Compare that to Samsung's latest Galaxy S4 Zoom smartphone, which has a huge hump on back for the lens. That isn't all either. The 1020 has a 4.5-inch 720p HD AMOLED display, a powerful Snapdragon processor with 2GB of RAM, 4G LTE and more all while staying somewhat thin. Even the Galaxy S4 Zoom doesn't have specs that good.

20130711_055522-XL

Lumia 1020 in Yellow next to the Galaxy S4 Zoom

So how did they do it? Will the photos be as good as a quality camera like we have on the Samsung Galaxy Camera? How well will it zoom? We'll have to test it out to see. The Lumia 1020 41MP camera features optical image stabilization and a backside-illuminated sensor, Zeiss optics, and even a Pro Camera app for manual control over settings like exposure, ISO, and more. Samsung's options can be tweaked, but they're more about the pre-built settings than they are letting you make the choice.

For more details check out our Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom hands-on from yesterday, as well as SlashGear's hands-on with the Lumia 1020. Obviously we'd rather have Android on board, and we've been waiting for Nokia to make the jump, but that doesn't appear to be happening anytime soon. Does the 1020 give you reason to switch?

Motorola's upcoming Moto X offers a "Clear Pixel" camera with a new technology on a 10 megapixel shooter, and devices like the Galaxy S4 and upcoming LG G2 have 13 megapixel cameras. Do we really need 41 megapixels, and more importantly, is the camera THAT much better? We don't know, but would love to find out.

It's an interesting device, that's for sure. We figured a quick look at the competition was in order today, as Nokia is aiming for Samsung pretty hard with the Lumia 1020.


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  • LiiIiikEaBau5

    41 mp of ass! Come on dude, make smartphone to compete with my SGS4, S Xperia Z or HTC One not to compete with DSLR cameras!

    In the future if u ask a photographer what kind of camera is he using, he will answer Nokia!

    • Jacob Engelbrecht

      Hardly, it’s REALLY good for a smartphone camera, but FAR FAR FAR from any recent DSLR.

      • bitflung

        maybe just one “FAR” would do – they actually do imaging exceedingly well at Nokia. I actually hope to migrate my wife from her Nokia N8 (symbian) to the Lumia 1020; just need to make the N8 stop working first! (she likes to use things up entirely before replacing them, and the N8 has barely a scratch on it after years of abuse)

    • Justin Black

      Ask manufacturers of point and shoots how phone cameras have impacted sales. Then ask phone owners if the quality has lived up to point and shoot. There’s clearly a technological gap that needs to be filled. With this, Nokia comes closest.

  • Jacob Engelbrecht

    The 41 mpixel is a marketing scheme, it uses the 41 mp to downsample and uses some cool algorithms to get better light sensitivity and better non-optical zoom. But it doesn’t save the 41mp pictures, and if it did it would be a crazy waste of space.

    • Justin Black

      It saves 32-38 (depending on aspect ratio) MP and 5 or 8 MP for sharing. The great part is that after the shot, you can zoom in OR out. But yeah, who would want to make that adjustment after capturing? We all get perfect pictures with our smartphones the first time, right?

    • bitflung

      actually – at least in the previous 41mpixel PureView 808 – you CAN take full resolution 41mpixel images. yes, huge waste of space. unless you want to print them out on 12′ wide banners maybe.

      the previous generation devices are fantastic cameras. nothing else in the cellphone world even comes close. high-end cameras are still better, but PureView beats out most mid range cameras and blows cheap point-and-shoot cameras out of the water.

      i’ve become entrenched in the android ecosystem myself, but fro a while i was floundering. i came from symbian and considered WP, iOS, and Android. nokia gave me a WP7 device (lumia 800) and that almost swayed me, but in the end i picked android so i could try out the Republic Wireless service. now i’m fully entrenched in the android ecosystem, but if THIS phone were available before i made the jump to android i know i’d be entrenched in the WP ecosystem today instead.

      WP is actually quite good. anyone i know who was willing to give it a go was quite impressed (including my boss).

    • henryezra

      the sensor is really good and you can take the maximum resolution at the widest setting, of course the max. is 38MP because of the cropped aspect ratio. The detail of the maximum resolution in good light and lowest ISO and widest lens setting really blowing your mind, it’s really that good. The problem is that while the sensor was really good, the lens is fixed, meaning zooming without losing the resolution is impossible…

  • Tim

    If any of you were not so religious with Google Android, if you at least tried the Windows Phone 8 OS, you would then discover that it is a great OS in many ways. Sure, it is different than Google Android but that does not mean that Google Android is better than Windows Phone 8!

    So, buy this new Nokia Lumia 1020 if you appreciate this amazing camera and you will then discover that even Windows Phone 8 is great too!

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      Meh. I’ve used it plenty.

    • Justin Black

      I want it, but gotta wait on Tmo to get it.

    • henryezra

      I have used WIndows Phone. It’s not really that good as you describe it. Meh.

  • henryezra

    optical zoom is better than non optical zoom
    41MP pureview sensor is really good but with fixed lens, it has a lot of drawbacks
    while 16MP Samsung S4 Zoom is similar to compact camera in the market right now … not the best sensor (RX100 or Fujifilm would be better) but still quite good. If only the S4 Zoom has raw mode, then it’s really good but unlikely. Because jpeg engine on the Galaxy Camera is really poor, that’s why I preferred raw mode than jpeg.

  • Seppo

    While Lumia 1020 has a 41MP sensor, by default the phone simply produces very high quality 5MP photos. The trick is called oversampling where 7 pixels are translated
    to one ‘very high quality practically noiseless’ pixel.

    Additionally the camera features ‘optical image stabilization’ where
    the whole camera assembly is kept steady by ball bearings and magnetic
    dampers. As a result this device can shoot very high quality photos in
    low light conditions w/o flash. As already proven by Lumia 920/928/925.

    Technology wise Nokia’s PureView is absolutely not a gimmick rather
    than a result of more than 5 years of hardocore engineering by Nokia,
    protected by over 70 patents and counting.

    In summary Lumia 1020 is the first two-in-one hybrid of high quality
    point-and-shoot and state-of-the-art smartphone in a true smartphone
    form factor.

    For more details google e.g. CNET Lumia 1020.

  • Nokia King

    Hahahaha Poor Android Fans , Are You Jealous Of Nokia and Windows Phone?
    Yes Yeah I would Like to be an android version and a windows phone version Lumia 1020 So All Android fans will be Nokia Fans , I like that but Elop Say his Word That Nokia Want To build Their History By Building The Third Ecosystem Windows Phone, Nokia Don’t Want To show Us That it is weak by going to android, Nokia Want To build it Self By Building the 3rd Ecosystem Windows Phone

    • testo

      Nokia is st*pid. If they succeed to build on Windows Phone (which is not happening at this time), then they would be as well competing with other asian manufacturers that also have WP Phones ! This is policy is a complete nonsense.

      If they wanted to have their own ecosystem, they should have continued to push Linux based stack (simply because it is much more R&D efficient as beeing the de facto R&D stack).

      Android is the natural way as it is nothing more than a Linux with a tricked Java VM (ok, not fully Java compatible but, it is only done so that Google can make it priorietary to lock people … ey Monopoly game you know!)

      Meanwhile, people wanting good hardware and decent applications only have one option : buy asian manufacturers.

      Meanwhile, Nokia continue to skink slowly … :(

      When will they dump their MS zealots and open their eyes ?
      Either they build a proprietary world (their own = “apple way”) or they must adhere to several existing world (= Samsung, HTC, LG, Huawai … way).

      • Hussain Ashoor

        I am the same person up there, and I think android is full of manufactors so why Nokia will be in the crowd, I personally agree with you of Nokia losing money and the way that people want is apps, but it is hard right now after Nokia choose WP, I don’t matter what Nokia platform, I will buy Nokia phone for the rest of my life

      • Ramos

        Nokia got bought by MS, so in reality MS calls all the shots. Or rather, Nokia’s mobile phone part of the company is 100% MS, while the rest of Nokia, which does some patent stuff and B2B antenna stuff, remains on “old Nokia hands”. In short, they have no choice.

        The reason they picked Windows Phone in 2011, was that Symbian was failing spectacularly (from a sales point at least) and that the new CEO back then was from MS and I bet he knew back then, that MS were long-term-planning to grab Nokia later, thus he made it all easier for MS to acquire them.

        On the good side though, remember that while Nokia is now hardwired to Windows Phone, they have the total freedom to make awesome hardware and not worry about drivers, OS or whether stuff will work. MS will just make it work for them.

        So it’s not bad at all, bar the OS might be too Windowsy or locked down(though not nearly as hard as iOS). Nokia should become the next frontier on the hardware front the next 5 years if they haven’t already.

        I own an Android S4 now and my backup phone is an old 3GS, but I tell ya what, a 15min hands-on test with S4 vs 1020 in a shop near me, was mindblowing, that 1020 camera is SO good, especially when zooming. And the 1520 is superb in specs, but yet to try it hands on.

    • Eufgaihni

      Even if Nokia brought out a 500MP camera phone. They still don’t come close to Android Phones. So jealous…I think not. Go look at Nokia sales the last year. Down 25+% so suck on that. Until they swallow their pride and use Android, they always gona suck. Sorry but the truth hurts.

  • Davide Schembari

    Your article doesn’t make any sense already in its title…Android doesn’t make cameras!

  • http://www.martian-imperium.com/ Lokifish Marz

    Sensor size, D range, pixel density, noise ratio, lens design and glass used. This and other factors is what matters, not megapixels.

  • Anand

    I wish for Nokia Lumia-1020 with Android OS.

  • Viktor

    After being with Nokia for a while (Lumia 920 and Now 1020 with Cam Grip) i’m ditching Windows Phone. Huge problem with apps! Microsoft is working on some OS updates but very very very slow. And I don’t have 5 years to wait, I need a working phone now. Skydrive which everything being synced with if almost full and they gave me only 7GB. Promised to update for free to 25GB and nothing. Tired of empty promises.