It’s hard to make a smartphone that truly stands out these days. Some companies opt for waterproof models. Others go for enormous displays. Nokia is trying its luck with a ridiculously high resolution camera.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is a Windows Phone device with a 4.5 inch display, a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, and a 41 megapixel camera.

Nokia Lumia 1020

The phone’s other specs are respectable, but to be quite honest, they’re not all that different from the last few smartphones Nokia has released.

Sure, the new model has 2GB of RAM instead of 1GB, but it has the same 1280 x 768 pixel OLED display, 32GB of storage, WiFi, Bluetooth, HSPA+ and 4G LTE, and other specs.

What’s new is the 41MP camera with optical image stabilization, xenon flash, and other bits designed to let you take some great photos with your camera. Nokia is also positioning the Lumia 1020 as a phone with a new kind of zoom — while you don’t get an optical zoom lens like the one that comes with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, the idea is that since you can shoot 41MP photos, you could easily digitally crop the shot to get a pretty sharp 5 or 8MP photo of a smaller area without losing image quality. Or something like that.

In practice, digital zoom is rarely as good as optical — but in practice, there aren’t a lot of 41MP cameras on the market either.

If you’ve been disappointed with the photos you snap with your smartphone and don’t feel like carrying around a separate camera, it’s nice to have another option that puts the emphasis on image quality. But it’s still probably not going to replace your DSLR… or is it?

The Nokia Lumia 926 will be available in the US from AT&T starting July 26th for $300 on contract.

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8 replies on “Nokia Lumia 1020 asks the question: Does anyone need a 41MP camera in their phone?”

  1. HA!

    if this had an apple logo or ran android people would be screaming for joy and praising innovation…


    am def buying this

    because I party a lot and i want proper night time photos and videos

  2. A lot of people have been focusing on the “41 megapixels” as if Nokia was just playing a numbers game and this is just a gimmick. I’m a bit surprised with that given how the Pureview 808 is widely considered the best camera phone that rivals point and shoots. If you look at what Nokia did with the Pureview 808 and what they are trying to do with the Lumias there’s a lot more to it than 41 megapixels. They use those megapixels so that they can produce a much nicer 5MP file. It also allows users to shoot an image and then frame and crop the image later without losing image quality.

    Take a look at the hi-res press release photos and decide for yourself if the 1020 puts those megapixels and larger sensor to good use.

    Those are professional shots from Nokia so they don’t truly show how the camera will perform, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen better images come out of a camera phone.

    The 1020 probably isn’t going to be better than a good point and shoot and better cameras, but it will probably be the best camera phone until Apple/Samsung/Motorola/HTC come up with something better.

    Most people do not carry a dedicated camera with them. Most people do carry their phones with them. Camera phones are becoming more important in people’s daily lives so every improvement is welcome.

    1. Its ridiculous how practically everyone is ignoring the benefits Nokia clearly outlined (lossless zooming, reframing after capture) and are focusing purely on the megapixel count. And as you say, slap an apple or green robot on it and the everyone would be jumping for joy. Disappointing article.

  3. I’m sorry – a rather ignorant statement from you:

    “In practice, digital zoom is rarely as good as optical — but in practice, there aren’t a lot of 41MP cameras on the market either.”

    Rather than make these kind of blanket statements check things out and make a judgment. Is it as good as optical?

    In fact it’s better because it is 1.Lossless as opposed to all other digital zooming phones. Lossless in terms of light and resolution 2. FAR less bulky. 3. Zero noise for zooming during video. etc etc. Read the white paper. Or you could read the one which was out some 15 months ago for the 808 covering the technology. Look into reviews, dpReview tested this against Sony RX100 and it’s on par.

    1. It is a gimmick. It is still a puny camera phone.

      Math: learn it, love it, live it. Would you rather have a 1-3x optical zoom with a 5 megapixel sensor or a 41 megapixel without. Do the math. This is important, stop reading right here and do the math. Ok, with that out of the way we can move on to considering the pixels on the 41 megapixel sensor will almost certainly be smaller and thus less sensitive to light and noisier. Again, this is pure math and simple physics. The choice becomes clear.

      Rule one of purchasing a camera. The first specs to look at is the glass[1]. The second rule is to never let a salesman distract you from the first rule. Note that Nokia says nothing about the glass in their tech specs. This is your clue that this isn’t a camera, just another camera phone. Then you look at the recording medium, whether film or sensor. Finally look at other features. The real flash on this one is a plus, especially considering the (probable) very poor low light sensitivity of the sensor.

      [1] When considering cameras with changable lenses you pick the lenses first, then select bodies capable of accepting them. A good lens will outlast several cameras, especially in this era of rapid innovation in electronics.

  4. Anyone. They sold 300.000 of the old Symbian based 808 Pureview. No doubt the WP OS is a liability, but less so than Symbian was. This will go like hotcakes if the price is right.

  5. If this camera was paired with Android I’d buy it today! I have no interest in Windows phone and it’s lack of any serious level of customization relative to Android, or even iOS to a lesser extent.

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