Nokia announces Lumia 1020 smartphone with whopping 41MP sensor and Zeiss lens


posted Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 11:49 AM EST


Nokia has been making a name for itself recently by putting an absurd amount of attention into the photographic side of smartphones, which has culminated in the newly announced Nokia Lumia 1020 with its whopping 41-megapixel sensor. Just this year saw the announcement of the Lumia 925, and 2012 was when the earlier 41-megapixel Nokia 808 PureView landed.

The Nokia Lumia 1020, which from its rear side resembles a compact camera, will run Windows Phone for its operating system, with a Dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor; 2GB of RAM, 32GB on board storage; and a 1280 x 768 4.5-inch screen. But far more interesting to us is what powers the photography side of this device, which is its primary selling feature.

The Lumia 1020 packs a 41MP sensor (its size is not officially stated, but it's probably 1/1.2-inches, like its predecessor Update: it's a 1/1.5-inch sensor, making it slightly smaller than the 808). It uses a Zeiss-branded lens with six elements, with a maximum aperture of f/2.2. There's also a Xenon flash for throwing some light into the darkness.

What's interesting is that the Lumia 1020 shies away from using its full 41MP of resolution most of the time. For full size images, it can capture 38MP, 7136x5360 photos at 4:3 or 7712x4352 at 16:9 format. But when you capture a full-size photo, the phone also saves a 5MP version for easy sharing to social networks, and it's around this smaller file size that Nokia seems the most interested. In an official white paper, Nokia extols the virtues of this "oversampled" version for cleaner, sharper images.

Since you have such a large image to play with, the Nokia offers a "zoom" in the form of cropping out a 5MP section of the full-sized image, mimicking a 3x zoom. While it's not a true optical zoom, it shouldn't offer the image degradation of digital zoom, either.

Nokia has also created its own camera app to replace the default Windows Phone offering, called Nokia Pro Camera. This app allows direct control over white balance, ISO, exposure compensation, and shutter speeds down to four seconds. Hipstamatic has crafted a special app for the phone, called Oggl PROThere will also be an SDK for developers to take advantage of its impressive imaging powers.

The Lumia 1020 will also feature an optical image stabilization system, which should hopefully help keep your images sharper, too.

The smartphone will be available for $299.99 on contract, and will initially be available through AT&T starting July 26th. For more information, you can read further about the Lumia 1020 on Nokia's pages here, here, and here.