Any smartphone you look at, and one thing will be featured heavily in the press talk. The camera. The race has been on for quite a few years to get the best camera inside a smartphone (or a mobile, for that matter), and while things have improved drastically over the last few years, nothing has come close to giving you the same effects as a DSLR. The reason is simple. Sensors are not good enough, there isn’t enough space to put in a zoom lens and a clever lens system, and there are other issues to consider such as battery life and software.
However, recently the Nokia Lumia range has gone out and claimed to put all those concerns to rest and promises users that they will deliver to them the best camera they have ever seen in a mobile phone.
Ever the cynic, I thought I’d check that claim, and would love it if they could impress me, and let me replace my trusty (but old) DSLR with something fancy and sleek. What followed in the two weeks was me being impressed over and over again by the capabilities of the Lumia 925.
The photos I shall be showcasing in the review have all been taken using Nokia’s free PRO Camera app, which allows you to adjust exposure, focus, shutter speed, bracketing, white balance and ISO settings. This is what no other camera packs in at the moment (or none that I have tried), and that is where you realize that suddenly you are holding a power-horse in your hands!
I don’t know what it is, but to me, the ability to capture the moon properly is what a camera is all about. It takes some adjustments, and normally only cameras with a bit of control can let you take a proper moon picture. So, when I noticed that the moon was shining brightly in the sky after having had this phone for only a couple of hours, I thought it was time to put it to test.
Anyone who has ever tried to do this before knows that all you get is a bit white blob. My first attempt gave me that, but soon after, I was able to capture this image:
Feel free to click on it to view it in all it’s glory. Below is the moon section cropped:
While this may not seem much, you can actually see the face in the moon, and if you had the Lumia 1020, with a few more pixels, you may have managed to capture the whole thing a lot more clearly.
Once I had seen this image I knew I was in for some fun.
Portraits at night
Behold, my friend, the actor! Night shots is where this camera really excels. The picture is taken at a wedding last weekend, and as you can see the photo captures him with no extra saturation, or shiny bits, and yet gives you clear pictures too. The picture was taken in pure AUTO mode as well, so the software took care of this.
On a good day, most phones will give you a good photo when you look over a beautiful landscape. The colours may not be true, but you get good results.
However, you often find that the sunny bits vs the shadowy bits present themselves in a high contrast fashion. So when I took this picture, I expected as much, but once again, I saw an impressive photo, showing me details all over, a beautiful sky, and a beautiful part of sunny Oxford.
Gets even better if you focus on greenery. Here we look at some deer in the Deer Park, Oxford.
This is where it starts to get tough for most cameras. You often struggle to hold the camera still enough to get a good enough picture, and even when it does, you get too much noise. Once again, I take a picture here on full auto mode, late at night, from Folly Bridge in Oxford.
Another example, this time in Frankfurt, where you can see a beautiful night sky perched against a well lit building. The detail is all there to be seen.
Just another shot, because I really was that impressed!
I am a big fan of light paining, and once again it is great that you can actually use this camera to do some light painting. I am no artist, but here is an example of what you can achieve.
Another one, just to show you a standard late night scene with the shutter set slow.
However, the following, where I was trying to capture some fish swimming around is what I found really impressive. They were swimming really fast, and it took me a few attempts, but I think I caught something that looks good.
Of course, at the end of the day, you want to capture those cool arty shots. Once again, I am no expert, but here are my offerings:
The above is an example in how well you can control the focus on the phone.
You can see more photos on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.608723172503612.1073741850.534533719922558&type=1&l=516b9749ed
There you go. Here are some of my favourite shots of having the phone for two weeks. What do you think? Do you have any other phones in mind which can do better? Do let us know, apart from the Lumia 1020 of course !