About the Nokia Lumia 1020: Everybody Chill Out

About the Nokia Lumia 1020: Everybody Chill Out

Today I figured I would try and sow a little truth into the mess that has become the camera phone market. Numbers inflated for PR rather than quality have been put front and center with today’s launch of the Nokia Lumia 1020. As a stance on this whole issue, I really don’t have much of a dog in the fight. Yes, I have spoken for Apple and like the iPhone, but this post does not find its roots in fanboyism. This is a preventive measure for the sanity of professional photographers everywhere.

We have all been there, sitting in a airport terminal, at a bar, at Costco, only to hear a baby boomer with a 20 megapixel camera phone ask why we shoot a D3x when we could use the latest Windows phone. I mean a megapixel is a megapixel, right?

To someone that asks said question, I usually give a response that goes something like this, “I would totally use the Windows phone instead of my old D3x on set, however, I have a different carrier… bummer.”

Sarcasm aside, let me speak to the great people over at Engadget and Gizmodo for a second…

Hey guys, cool phone, huh? Let’s be honest, it is not a 41 megapixel monster that your youthful enthusiasm wants it to be. Yes, it probably is a good camera, but no, it will not hold up to anything professional in nature. Will it beat the iPhone camera? Maybe, but that is yet to be seen. Quantity for the sake of quantity does nothing but create a false idea inflation that poisons an industry. We can all remember the Kodak DCS-14n and its huge claims of 14 megapixels. It was nothing but a PR stunt that cost many people money when they found that the camera had little quality and even less resale value.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is the camera phone version of the joke that has become the Chicago Sun Times. Yes, we can have writers take pictures, but surprise should not be had when the quality of the images falls off the face of the Earth. Too much have I clinched my teeth in a conversation where someone asserts the idea that megapixels equal quality… if you haven’t experience this in person, go to Best Buy. I feel like people that will read into the hype are the same people that think having a camera on the iPad to do photography is a good idea. It’s not.

So in closing… will the Lumia 1020 be a good camera phone? Probably. Will it be anything like the 41 megapixel camera it is claiming to be? Nope.

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Previous comments

I'm sorry, but you lost the right to tell your audience to "chill out" the moment you started insulting their intelligence about megapixel and quality measurements.

I hope you have paid attention to the responses. The lesson to be learned here is to not make judgement until you can back it up. The burden of proof lied with Nokia when they introduced the phone, and they proved it during their presentation along with some white papers. They explained the advantage of having 41MP explicitly not for the sake of resolution but for "over sampling".

Not once in your article or response did you use this term. I ask myself why that was, and I think its honestly because you didn't know about it. No one had told you and you didn't perform the research and fact checking, which means you should have never written the Op-Ed to begin with. Unless, of course, your intent was to get annihilated in the comments.

So what was the reason you never mentioned it? Were you aware of the unique treatment of MP? And if so, how come you didn't bring it up? To me it makes you look like an iPhone wielding bully ready to pull up some Flickr stats to show superiority who couldn't muster the intellect to cultivate a solid assessment. Either you couldn't or you wouldn't, because the 1020 would then be superior to the iPhone camera.

Awful click bait mess of a article. I feel a bit dirty for even reading this mess

We have all been there, sitting in a airport terminal, at a bar, at Costco, only to hear a baby boomer with a 20 megapixel camera phone ask why we shoot a D3x when we could use the latest Windows phone. I mean a megapixel is a megapixel, right?

When exactly has this happened to you , WP never had a 20MP phone before , at most it had 16MP and that is when Nokia actually released the 808 which had 41mp still not a WP and I think where you live or still living not lots of 808 showed up nor HTC titan 2s for that matter ...
Its a bullshit made up story , the rate of people having WP at the time your describing is less than 4% of the whole smartphone market. So this can't happen to you for it to happen to everybody as you're describing . Such WEAK reporting ...

Roger Seepersad's picture

This is the most irrelevant, weak post i've ever seen on fstoppers.

Blair Bunting, I am a great admirer of your work. Keep it up and I am glad to see you on this site and am excited to see what you will offer!

Wow, this is even worse than that "article" about Canon being the only company with a professionals program.

Mr. Author, YOU chill out. Neither Engadget, nor Gizmodo said anything like what you're implying. In fact, most tech bloggers, although not the sharpest knives in the cabinet when it comes to photography "Got" what the Lumia 1020 was about. The 41MP sensor in it isn't trying to compete with DSLRs. No one claimed so, not even Nokia. Its primary function is to oversample pixels to come up with a 5MP image that's better in quality than what other camphones and even point and shoots can offer. If anything, this is similar to (But not the same as)pixel binning, as done by Fuji in their EXR sensors and PhaseOne with Sensor+.

I will be buying one of these, but NOT to replace my D800 or even my D7100. I know fully well that it is no match for either of those two cameras with some gold ring glass. But, it just might do better than my Nikon V1 as a vacation camera. And THAT is why big camera manufacturers should be worried about the Pureview.

You've just proven yourself to be a complete moron when it comes to imaging technology. Please do not write articles about such topics anymore.

I always thought the guys at fstoppers were photographers... o_O Photographers don't comment like this before trying themselves or at least review the sample shots...

Did you really not know what Nokia did with 808's 41 megapixels? You need to get an idea how Nokia used them...

Blair Bunting! You are so defensive for no thing :)

Seriously, dude ? You should seriously check out the 808.

There was another very successful camera which used this same technique of binning pixels... the Nikon D1.

The point is that this is something to be excited about, just like the the 70D new dual pixel tech. No it won't replace my DSLR or ilc but this tech will make its way around for us all to benefit. I'm sorry to inform you that this article comes off very apple fanboy and very short sighted.

If their are photographers who are very revered in the photography world, and some of the most successful that we know, say that this phone has incredible picture quality, I will believe it. *cough*Jeremy Cowart*cough*

Al opinion and no facts. Facts... then an argument.

Like it or not, this article is getting some serious feedback.

Spy Black's picture

"So in closing… will the Lumia 1020 be a good camera phone? Probably.
Will it be anything like the 41 megapixel camera it is claiming to be?

Aren't you now at the other end of that argument? Unless you've had it in your hands and have tried out under X conditions, how do you know how that phone will perform as a camera? Certainly sounds like disgruntled iPhone fanboyism to me.

Wow ... just wow. Nokia is genuinely on the leading edge of imaging in phones, and you bash all their awesome work as a PR stunt?

You should really take the time to read the whitepaper that Nokia published on it's oversampling technology. Or get your hands on one soon. The proof will lie in the pudding, and I think we'll all end up impressed with the results of the 1020.

Joao Barcelos's picture

Wow. This has been the WORST EVER post from fstoppers. Pure prejudice. It ignores the brilliant camera that the Pureview 808 has. Please read and research a little before just ignoring everybody with your "I-know-way-more-than-the-rest-of-the-world" atitude. Makes me want to not to access fstoppers anymore. And "maybe it will be better than the iphone"?? Have you ever seen the Lumia 920 pictures? Have you been reading tech news recently? If the 920 kicks the iphone's butt, imagine this guy... It's sensor is several times larger than ALL the phone cameras out there.
Really, really low quality, fstoppers.

Do you work for Nokia?

Joao Barcelos's picture

Nope. Its just that I think that we're comparing apples and bananas here. If it were an Iphone camera, everyone would be posting what a revolution Apple has released., because comparing to other camera phones, it's wonderfull.
But when the new Lumia comes out the article bashes it because the quality isn't par with a D800! To me, it just doesn't make sense.
ps: there is a technical reason for the 41Mp.
ps2: I had an iphone 4 and currently own a Nexus 4, so I'm no fanboy.

Tom Lew's picture

This article has prompted a thought here...but I feel like fstoppers keeps putting out articles saying about "gear doesn't matter.. you can take beautiful images on an iphone even!" and then articles like "iphones are ridiculous.. it'll never replace dslrs!!!"

It's been mentioned before, but the articles and quality of writing at Fstoppers has really gone downhill. This article is a good example.

I agree 100%. The 41 Megapixel pictures are a joke and a marketing stunt by the same company that used DSLR's in their ads before. It's a nice enough 5 MP camera though, but not enough for many to switch over to a Windows Phone.

go back to that same Ad you're reffering to and you'd see it shows OIS on / OIS off and not #lumia920/ competing product , It was stupid from Nokia's marketing team but after testing it turned out the #lumia920 did even better than that ad and the #lumia1020 promises so much more in OIS tech

for example watch this (2:50 for a wow)
http://t.co/KCvlyUsW4h ( as you'll notice and the guy up there made it perfectly clear this is NO DSLR)

Yes its a nice 5mp with lossless zoom , as for the switching for Windows Phone part I think nothing should force others to switch to anything.

btw the fact that you agree 100% is funny , you could agree on some points that were true in that joke of an article , but 100% ... come on ... i understand why bad journalists/writers still have jobs its because of readers such yourself . ..

Does, anybody know how the Chicago Sun Times paper looks with the photo staff?

welcome to the comments section, where everybody is an expert

Joao Barcelos's picture

lol.. great comment! :)

Dear sirs. These articles in short term increase ur internet traffic. But in long term is hurting ur credibility. I stopped to enter some websites already for do the same thing u are doing now.

It looks like fanboyism or even worst a campaign paid for someone (canikon?? apple??samsung??)

I am not a photographer but:

* I already know that a cell phone does not replace a DSLR. But the author should know that the opposite is true. A DSLR doesn't replace the camera phone in your pocket. Not every place is save to carry big equipment, not always someone has the desire to carry a lot of weight.
*If would be one that thought it surely that person do better in have a cell phone because a DSLR would be a machine very complicated (there are millions of people out there that use those noisy DSLRs in automatic, people from my country and the tourists that came too)
*I seem to know more than the writers about photography, because about the lumia you are talking just about megapixels. This is NOT just about megapixels.

I hope it's just a bad editorial management. I think the "poison in the industry" is not in the specifications of the industry but in people who looks, like the angry writer, in those specifications instead to take photographs with the equipment that he or she feels comfortable.