Saturday 13 July 2013

Inside Nokia Lumia 1020, 41 MP Camera, BSI Sensor and OIS engine; a full spec preview of the Lumia 1020s camera

Inside Nokia Lumia 1020, 41 MP Camera, BSI Sensor and OIS engine; a full spec preview of the Lumia 1020s camera

Nokia has announced the launch of Nokia Lumia 1020 and is counting on this phone to play the role of king slayer against the Samsung Galaxy S IV zoom.  The Phone which looks kind of funky with the yellow colour cover is actually a marvel of engineering. To dig deeper we go inside to what makes Lumia 1020's camera different from other smart phones or cam phones in the market.

First off, the camera of 41 MP is a direct lift off from Nokia's own thorough bred camera phone the PureView 808.  The Lumia 1020's camera is a second generation version of PureView 808 camera. But the additional features provided by Lumia 1020 are just mind boggling.    

Forget the HTCs ultrapixel gimmick, the Lumia 1020's 41 megapixel BSI sensor is largest of any kind on any kind of smart phone available till now.  However it is not truly 41 mega pixels in technical sense.  The camera will take data from up to seven pixels to create each pixel of the final 5 megapixel image; so essentially, each image is either 34 megapixels (in 16:9 aspect ratio) or 38 megapixels (in 4:3) in size. Eventually even a hard core photographer may not find any use for such large images on their smart phones so Lumia 1020 reduces it to 5 megapixel image which is then for viewing on your Lumia 1020 screen.  But you can view the larger image in different aspect ratios pointed above on your PC.  

The Lumia 1020 also features a Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) engine.  This second generation engine provide enhanced stability letting you take stellar videos without and shakes, jerks or sudden hand moments.  This new generation OIS engine is capable of taking blur-free low-light photos and can compensate for up to 500 movements a second.  This has been made possible by use of  ball bearings to mount the whole camera module to compensate for any hand movement or jerks.

Apart from the engine and the sensor part, the Lumia 1020 boasts of Zeiss optics which in my personal opinion is the best for delivering quality images (you can check out the Photo of the Day section for proof of that).  The Zeiss lens in Lumia 1020 is a six-elements lens, which technically means greater detail is captured in every shot. The xenon flash on the Lumia 1020 provides optimum lighting required for taking great pics in overcast and low light conditions.  Lumia 1020 also has a additional LED flash for AF assist. The xenon flash will illuminate your shots for 1/16,000 of a second, that is the time Lumia 1020 requires to take the best shot.

Video wise, the camera can shoot full HD videos at 30 fps at lossless zoom. This is also done by the same oversampling techniques used for still images. The zoom gives 4x in 1080p mode, and 6x in 720p mode. The camera is additionally enriched by the Nokia’s proprietary Rich Recording technology which the Nokia guys say is capable of handling sound pressure levels six times louder than conventional smart phone microphones. As I have already said above the LED flash ensures optimum lighting for shooting in dark places.

To handle this great camera and optics, the Nokia engineers have put on board a dedicated Nokia Pro Camera app.  This App has swipe-able dials for granular control over different aspects like exposure level, manual focus (macro to infinity), white balance, shutter speed and ISO (till 4000). Shutter speed can be dialled down to as low as four seconds for effects like light trails and intentional blur. Users can reframe and re-zoom images to produce separate images from a single shot. This is particularly useful for straightening the horizon on a sunset shot, or using individual portraits from a bigger group photo.
Inside Nokia Lumia 1020, 41 MP Camera, BSI Sensor and OIS engine; a full spec preview of the Lumia 1020s camera

The Nokia engineers have also given the Lumia 1020  an entire leather case for the 1020, which should ideally give it better grip and make it feel like a proper camera. In addition, it also has extra battery power, a two-step shutter and a universal tripod mount.   All in all this makes Lumia 1020 a super camera but will it strike gold with the users.  Price wise Lumia 1020 is going to be available with the US carrier AT&T at $299.99 (Approx Rs 18000.00) for a two-year contract.  This will come around 35000.00 for a unlocked version in India.  The phone will come in three colours viz black, white and yellow.  And US citizens will start getting the phone from July 16.  Indians can expect this phone to be for sale sometime in first week of August 2013.  

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