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Nokia Lumia 1020 overview: Has the best got better?

By Kevin Carter - Friday October 11 2013

Mobile Overview
Overview | Lumia 1020 scores highly for low- ambient light, but color and video need perfecting

Nokia’s Pureview technology combined with the very high pixel count of the sensor results in the Lumia 1020 having the lowest noise levels we’ve seen, whilst also coming first for detail retention in both low and bright light levels.

We were also very impressed by the results of the built-in flash. Images revealed accurate exposure but also good color (and white balance), as well as the characteristic low noise and high detail imagery already mentioned.

Nokia Lumia 1020 overview

Low noise and high detail retention are the hallmarks of the Nokia Lumia 1020, outperforming its predecessor, the Nokia Pureview 808, in those two metrics

Nokia Lumia 1020 compared with Apple iPHone 5S at 20 Lux.

Nokia Lumia 1020 compared with Apple iPHone 5S at 5 Lux.

Some areas of stills capture could be improved, though. Our sample images revealed high levels of color shading, particularly with indoor lighting but also outdoors as well.

And, some outdoor scenes revealed a blue-tint when compared to images captured at the same time with the rival iPhone 5S. Without lens hoods, camera-phones like this are particularly prone to lens flare, which lowers image contrast, and the Lumia 1020 is no exception to that.

Color shading was evident under tungsten indoor lighting

Color shading was evident under tungsten indoor lighting

Outdoor scenes often displayed a blue tint

Outdoor scenes often displayed slight color shading too (see pink tint in the sky)

While the Lumia 1020 retains high detail during video capture in bright light, generally, video isn’t a strong point for the Nokia Lumia 1020. Strong row noise and visible blocking artifacts were noticeable in indoor scenes and the autofocus was prone to oscillating (hunting back and forth) when refocusing.

During our tests we also observed that the Lumia was unable to stabilize the image during walking, and, separately, the system over compensated when steadied on tripod.