I‘ve always used a Nokia as my camera, I’ve never owned a stand alone camera, and over the years, Nokia kept giving me reasons not to buy one.
I have come to say that I’m a Nokia-taught amateur photographer instead of self taught and that’s all due to the unique experiences each photography minded Nokia I’ve owned offered me.
I never had the cash or the heart to buy a Lumia 1020 because I already had the 808, so when the Lumia 1520 came with its full HD screen, high internal specs and inbuilt wireless charging, I couldn’t say no, I had to sell three phones to cover its cost.
So do I regret it? Does the camera live up to its Pureview name? lets find out.
20MP sensor with OIS (2nd generation)
Carl Zeiss optics.
Fixed aperture of 2.4f .
1/2.5” sensor size.
Maximum shutter time of 4 seconds and a minimum of 1/16000 second.
Maximum ISO of 4000 and a minimum of 100.
Manual focus with flash focus assist.
Amazing directional audio recording quality with a four mics setup.
dual capture of high res pics and with Pureview down sampled 5mp images.
Advantages & shortcomings:
Lumia 1520′s sensor size isn’t big for its pixel count, some noise is to be expected, luckily its not as troubling as the Lumia 1020 situation.
Carl Zeiss optics continue to be other OEMs Achilles heel, Nokia lucked out with the exclusivity deal.
2nd generation OIS can act up sometimes and give some stuttering although only for a little while,
OIS also continuously moves the camera, so perfectly framing your pictures at night might be a bit of a challenge.
2nd generation OIS gives perfect video stabilization performance where you can fully zoom on a subject and still get a perfectly stable scene.
The aperture on the Lumia 1520 is small 2.4f which seriously affects its handheld low light performance. (Lumia 720 has a big 1.9f, Lumia 920 has a respectful 2.0f, Lumia 1020 has a moderate (2.2f)
Mostly due to the small aperture Lumia 1520 focusing skills aren’t close to the Lumia 92X series, focus assist will be needed for indoor shots.
The smaller aperture also means better city scenes photography as lamp posts will not hurt the picture as much, it also makes for a prettier long shutter pictures both at night and even daylight.
It was early in the morning the sky was filled with clouds with the sun struggling to shine in, an HDR shot meant I could show both how cool the sky looked and the red bike.
HDR Photo Camera remain one of my best purchase choices, it deserved every penny, and its responsible for the HDR shot above.
Refocus can be used creatively to take impossible shots, Using the option: “all in focus” makes photographing challenging textures a rewarding experience.
Its shots like the above that makes me excited about what Lytro technologies might bring to smartphones in the future.
Close up shots on the Lumia 1520 are lovely, also color reproduction is truer to life.
If a camera had a signature it would be its Bokeh effect, Look at the far away branches, it’s a creamy almost oil paint Bokeh that transcends the quality of close up shots to another level.
I wanted to capture a silhouette* but that sunshine ray was a surprising bonus.
* A silhouette is a picture where the subjects in it are made of a solid single colored shapes usually black.
I’m willing to bet the architect who made this is into wall rock climbing. :)
You may not know it but using a big screen makes framing photos a lot easier, the built in grids in Nokia Camera is a welcome addition.
Greenery scenes are true to life, full of details and all around fun.
I know the above park is nothing special but I used to play in this park twenty years ago as a kid and as such it represents so much more for me.
Nokia Camera smart sequence can produce some good pictures.
I’m hopeful that Nokia will out grow the 5mp limit and use a higher mp count, specially since they look awful on a 1080p screen once you zoom even a little bit.
At night the Lumia 1520 didn’t manage to impress me all that much, as the Lumia 920 produced way brighter scenes.
I was all but ready to quit on the night photo shoot, I was cold and without a single good shoot out of 10!
I saw this helmet in a store’s window, I switched to 4:3 aspect ratio to capture it.
I just love the colors in this shot! I lowered the brightness just a bit to add a little bit of a dramatic effect.
I always maintained the theory that my Lumia 920 takes better picture in 4:3 aspect ratio, it made sense to me that OIS would work better in a square like situation where it can control wobbling from all directions while it would be a lot harder for it to compensate vertical wobbles in a 16:9 picture. ( I would love it if anyone could back this theory up or disprove it.)
This master piece hotel was a nice subject to shoot, perhaps I’ll revisit it soon for some close up shots.
Photography needs lots of planing ahead, I really should have came at 3 am to photograph this hotel it would’ve looked a lot better.
Lumia 1520 handles artificial lighting a lot better than its siblings due to its lower aperture.
Potato skins with a lovely dipping sauce.
Cuteview I must note its hard to take good pictures of people in the Lumia 1520 indoors without flash assist and the actual flash!
Summing it all up:
Overall the Nokia Lumia 1520 is one of the best Photography phones out there, its big screen and exclusive Nokia apps like StoryTeller beta will give it an edge no other camera phone could match, the huge battery is still bigger than the Lumia 1020 battery + Camera grip Cover battery, the excellent mics and strong speakers will make for a good family experiences, the raw file option and the microSD slot will satisfy editing geeks, So when it comes to photography I would recommend the 1520 over the Lumia 1020 any time.