Nokia may boast that its Lumia 1020 has a 41-megapixel camera, but its effective resolution is actually just 38 megapixels. And by default, the native camera app shoots pictures at only a 5-megapixel level.
You must use the Nokia Pro Cam app to capture a high-resolution 38-megapixel photo. This app will create a 5-megapixel copy for social media sharing.
Being a camera-centric smartphone, the Lumia 1020 has a dedicated shutter release button. It can be used to activate the native camera app or be customised to launch the Pro Cam app instead.
The native app is straightforward and useful. It lets you tinker with shooting modes, ISO settings, exposure compensation and white balance. There is also a separate link to other options, including Nokia Pro Cam and Panorama mode. But it seems unnecessarily confusing to include Panorama mode here instead of with the shooting modes.
In terms of image quality, the Lumia 1020 is the clear winner when shooting in bright sunlight, with sharp rendition of pixels and smooth gradation of tones. You can make out details of the foliage even in the dark areas.
But in low light, pictures tend to look greenish when shot without flash. With flash, the colouration is more natural. But the illumination is not powerful enough and this results in unnaturally dark skin tones.
Surprisingly, there is no HDR function. I used the Backlight option instead and found the result to be about the same as with iPhone 5s' HDR.
The 1020's panorama function is way off the iPhone 5s' standard. The results are laughable, with stitching disjointed and scenes totally out of place.
The Lumia 1020 is outstanding in terms of image resolution but other features, such as panorama and HDR, can be vastly improved.
Get a copy of Digital Life, The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.