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Nokia Lumia 1020 sensor review: Are mobiles comparable to compacts and DSLRs?

By Kevin Carter - Friday January 24 2014

Mobile Review
Introduction | Nokia Lumia 1020 Sensor performance | Nokia Lumia 1020 Versus Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70: Competitive sensor performance | Nokia Lumia 1020 Versus Canon PowerShot S120 Versus Nikon Coolpix P330: Close in performance | Nokia Lumia 1020 Versus Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Versus Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II: Not a match for Sony’s 1 inch sensors | Nokia Lumia 1020 Versus Canon EOS 100D Versus Nikon D3200 | Conclusion

With reports in the media of camera manufacturers scaling back on digital compacts due to the rise in popularity of camera-phones and mobile photography, we were curious to see if the Nokia 1020 could offer comparable performance. Read on to find out how this model fares against a range of digital cameras.

Recent media reports claim that sales of digital compacts have been hit hard by the increasing popularity of the smartphone, and, as a result, several camera manufacturers have ceased production of low-end models. With their convenience and connectivity along with the emergence of social media sites it’s not difficult to see why a smartphone would be more attractive for certain applications than a purpose-designed compact camera. Mobile phones are so commonplace now that it’s far easier to accept them than a camera in many social situations, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say it’s easier to overlook a smartphone as a camera.

Like some of the more recent up-market rivals, the camera module of Nokia Lumia 1020 offers control over exposure, shutter speed (1/16,000 to 4 sec), sensitivity (ISO 100-3200), white balance and auto-focus. The technical specs are impressive and include a 41-Mpix (38-Mpix effective) 1/1.5-inch type BSI CMOS sensor, which at 8.8 x 6.6 mm is considerably larger than rival handsets (though still slightly smaller than the company’s 808 PureView with its 1/1.2-inch sensor.  Stills output includes a native 38-Mpix JPEG file, as well as a simultaneous oversampled 5-Mpix JPEG for more convenient sharing.

nokia-1020-review

Although the lens a six-element 26mm equivalent f2.2 stabilized AF Zeiss prime with a minimum focus distance of 5.9” (15 cm), the Nokia 1020 has a digital zoom option. This crops the native 38-Mpix image but doesn’t affect the size of oversampled 5-Mpix files, hence the ‘lossless zoom’ moniker. Stills are only a part of the attraction of course, the Lumia 1020 also records video at full HD 1080p at 30 fps using MP4/H.264 formats.

All this accessible via a 4.5-inch WXGA (1,280 x 768 pixel) AMOLED panel with a toughened Gorilla Glass 3 cover and housed a monobloc polycarbonate shell weighing 4.8 oz (158 g) and measuring a not inconsiderable 5.1 x 2.8 x 0.4” (130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4 mm).

 Key specifications:

  • 38-Mpix 1/1.5 inch type (8.8 x 6.6mm) BSI CMOS sensor
  • Zeiss 26mm equivalent f2.2
  • Optical image stabilization
  • ISO 100-4000
  • 4.5-inch AMOLED panel
  • Full HD 1080p video capture at 30 fps (MP4/H.264)

Nokia Lumia 1020 Sensor performance

Nokia Lumia 1020 Versus Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70: Competitive sensor performance

Nokia Lumia 1020 Versus Canon PowerShot S120 Versus Nikon Coolpix P330: Close in performance

Nokia Lumia 1020 Versus Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Versus Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II: Not a match for Sony’s 1 inch sensors

Nokia Lumia 1020 Versus Canon EOS 100D Versus Nikon D3200

Conclusion