Nokia Lumia 1020: Camera Lovers, This One's for You
Eventually, I realized that there's the Camera app, the Pro Camera and the Smart Camera app—where the Action and Motion and Best Shot features hide, along with the ability to fix a face and remove a moving object from a photo. (It's too bad for you if you decide to snap a shot with the Pro Camera and someone walks into it.) The camera technology in the Lumia 1020 is a lot to keep track of. Which camera is better at night? Which is better for video? Which one lets me adjust the white balance before I snap the photo? It can be a bit much. That said, in most instances where speed wasn't an issue, the photos came out fantastic. Photos taken during a backyard cocktail party lit mostly by candlelight came out shockingly well, without the harsh coloring we've come to expect in flash photos, or the photo subjects still grimacing from having been blinded by a strobe.There's also an addictive Cinemagraphic app that turns a few seconds of video into a GIF, a Panorama app and another app, Creative Studio, for adding filters to images.
The Camera With a Smartphone Attached
Before I forget, there's also a smartphone involved. It launches and moves between apps very quickly, the call quality is super, and the speakers—which are of a piece with the video camera and capture strong sound quality—are loud and crisp. (The speakers are on the bottom of the phone, though, which is better than the back, but the HTC One makes an undeniable argument about the correct location of phone speakers: the front.)
Windows Phone is what it is. My only real gripe—the world's only real gripe—was with the missing popular apps. I also didn't care for the email app, which is too open and airy for my taste. I like to see more of my emails, packed in tighter. I'd also like to blame the OS for how slowly the camera launches, even from the physical fast-launch button.
Those things aside, I like the OS. I grew attached to my home screen—I liked rearranging and sizing the tiles for optimum efficiency and seeing which photo popped up in the photo tile.
I even had zero complaints about the AT&T service—a first.
AT&T is now selling the Nokia Lumia 1020 for $299.99 with a new two-year contract. It's a steep price, given the going rate of an iPhone. But for those who are serious about photography and willing to study the tricks and capabilities of the 1020, it's not a bad price for an excellent camera—particularly one with a smartphone attached.
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Low-lit indoor photos took a little finessing, but the Pro Cam lets one fix a shot before taking it and the Smart Cam offer fixes afterward. Outdoor daytime photos, though, take work to mess up.