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Of course, the large sensor and all the impressive tech surrounding it would mean little if the image quality isn't right. Rest assured though, Nokia has enough experience not to mess this up and the image quality of the Lumia 1020 is every bit as impressive as it was expected to be.
Nokia wasted no time after the announcement of the smartphone and posted a bunch of official samples that you can check out below.
Clicking the thumbnails will load the 5MP PureView shots, but you can also check out the full res samples by clicking the links below the images. Thanks to the exclusive Camera Pro lens app that Nokia will be preloading on the Lumia 1020, you don't even have to choose which one you like better - you can shoot both at the same time.
Of course, now that we had the smartphone in our office, we also did a bunch of shots ourselves and we even did an impromptu shootout with the 808 PureView. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to publish the actual samples, but we can share our findings with you.
As far as image quality is concerned, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is really in a class of its own. None of the other high-end smartphones can come even close to the amount of resolved detail that the huge pixel-dense sensor and the 6-element ZEISS lens deliver. The dynamic range is also much higher than any other flagship can offer. At full resolution (38 MP or 34MP) the noise levels are comparable to those of the 13MP Galaxy S4, which is a pretty great achievement given how much more detail you get.
Certainly, the only cameraphone that can come close to the Lumia 1020 output is the Nokia 808 PureView with its even larger sensor. As we already mentioned we compared those two side by side and found that Nokia has slightly altered the processing algorithms in its new cameraphone flagship.
Unlike the 808 PureView, which delivered natural colors that are as close to reality as we've seen any smartphone get, the Lumia 1020 goes for boosted saturation and warmer colors. We suspect this has a lot to do with the former head of Nokia imaging Damian Dinning leaving the company. Mr Dinning was a fan of more natural unprocessed look and most Nokia smartphones developed under his lead reflected that.
Now the Lumia 1020 takes a different path and goes for the punchier output even if that means sacrificing some detail. The saturation boost has cost the Lumia 1020 some fine detail, which is still present on the 808 PureView shots. We really hope Nokia tunes down the default saturation in the final product as those who like more vibrant colors can always boost the saturation from the camera settings.
You can be more than sure that we'll bring you a more detailed review of the 41MP camera of the Lumia 1020 complete with our usual set of camera samples once we get our hands on a retail unit.
Finally, here is an impressive low-light sample.
Video recording also greatly benefits from the OIS and oversampling. Zoom is enabled even during video capture and it can go up to 4x in 1080p mode and 6x in 720p resolution. The Nokia Lumia 1020 also has two mics (one on top, one on bottom) with the company's proprietary Rich Audio Recording for distortion-free sound recording in loud environments. The 1080p videos are recorded at 30fps, of course.
Again, we can't give you video samples from the 41MP camera of our prototype Lumia 1020, as we've agreed not to do that. What we can give you, is a few videos that were taken with the cameraphone prior to its announcement yesterday.
The video stabilization looked top notch and performed just as well when we took the Lumia 1020 for a spin ourselves. We are also pleased to report that the blurring along the right side of the frame, which is visible on the samples wasn't present on our unit so it is definitely due to a imperfect prototype unit.
Just like the still images, the videos produced by the Lumia 1020 are beyond the capabilities of any other smartphone on the market. The detail levels are top notch, the colors are extremely pleasing and the dynamic range simply cannot be achieved with a smaller sensor. The 4x zoom when recording 1080p video is a more than welcome bonus, too.
Here are some 1080p samples:
Over 100 more videos are available here.