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Nokia Lumia 1020’s PureView camera explained

It’s been a long time coming, but Nokia has finally managed to fuse the camera technology which debuted on the 808 PureView, with the smartphone functionality of its Lumia Windows Phone devices, and the result is the new Nokia Lumia 1020.

With the Lumia 1020 now sitting atop Nokia’s Lumia lineup, replacing the Lumia 928 Stateside and the Lumia 925 on our fair shores, it needs to really deliver in one key area above all others; its camera.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 has set itself up as the cameraphone of choice thanks to the work that Nokia has put into the imaging side of things, but what really makes the 1020’s snapper so special?

It uses a 41-megapixel sensor

If the “41 million reasons to zoom in” tagline wasn’t enough of a hint ahead of its New York unveiling, the rumours of a 41-megapixel-laden Windows Phone have been around since early last year, following the arrival of the Nokia 808 PureView – the phone that debuted its creators big phone camera sensor tech.

Nokia’s star player at Mobile World Congress back in 2012; the 808 PureView blew the mobile industry away with a camera that toted a 41-megapixel sensor, as well as a number of other goodies like Dolby-certified audio recording.

The biggest drawbacks with the 808 were, aside from the camera itself, lacklustre hardware specs (it utilised a single-core 1.3GHz processor) and its use of Symbian OS – a platform that was easy for Nokia to manipulate, but offered a cumbersome user experience and poor app support.

With the Lumia 1020, the same, or at the very least a similar 41-megapixel sensor is loaded on-board and paired to some smart PureView processing, it should offer up some astoundingly good looking snaps.

Nokia’s PureView software processing is in full effect

The image processing that arrived inside the 808 PureView alongside its mammoth sensor is also present in the Lumia 1020. The camera can capture images at a full 38 or 34-megapixel resolution image in a 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio whilst simultaniously grabbing an oversampled 5-megapixel image too.

Nokia Lumia 1020 - full res sample 1Nokia Lumia 1020 - full res sample 2Nokia Lumia 1020 - full res sample 3

When capturing images, the extra image data gathered from the huge sensor is used to iron out photographic faux pas such as camera(phone) shake, noise and blur. It also means the user is able to zoom digitally, without losing quality, again an advantage Nokia hinted at in the 1020’s launch event tagline.

Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)

The first handset since the Nokia 808 which featured the PureView name was last year’s Windows Phone flagship; the Nokia Lumia 920, and although it didn’t offer up as large a camera sensor as its camera-savvy Symbian cousin, it brought a new element to the PureView game: optical image stabilisation (or OIS).

Whilst most smartphones use digital image stabilisation by trying to calculate camera movement and shake from a captured shot, the Lumia 920 and subsequently the Nokia Lumia 925 offer up cameras with OIS systems inside that iron out shake as the photo is being taken.

The camera module inside the phone is suspended on a set of springs that act as physical shock absorbers when the phone is moving, great for reducing the effects of being handheld. Like the 920, the Lumia 1020 benefits from this same system, and a more stable camera means sharper shots in natural light, clearer, better lit shots in low light conditions and smoother looking footage when filming video.

We’ve scratched the surface of the Nokia Lumia 1020’s new camera, but we’ll have to wait for the full review before we can really see what it’s capable of.

Nokia Lumia 1020 duo

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