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Here’s How Nokia’s Fancy New Lumia 1020 Camera Works

by Brandon Russell | July 11, 2013July 11, 2013 12:00 pm PDT

Nokia’s new flagship Lumia 1020 is a professional-grade camera combined with smartphone capabilities—not the other way around. Emphasis is being put squarely on that 41-megapixel camera and its terrific zoom. It’s a radical new device that outclasses even Samsung’s most recent Galaxy S4 Zoom, which only comes packing a 16-megapixel sensor. Your mobile pictures haven’t ever looked so good.

The Finnish company has released a comprehensive introduction to technology used inside the 1020, along with complete specs of what’s being used to achieve such unprecedented results. First, the sensor size is 1/1.5-inch (up to five times larger than typical smartphone sensors), 41-megapixel, with both 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios. The lens itself uses a system of six lenses (five molded high performance plastic elements, one high precision glass element), f/2.2, mechanical shutter and new optical image stabilization tech.

Additionally, Nokia has developed new image processing and pixel oversampling tech specifically for the 1020, along with new algorithms for auto-exposure, auto-focus and auto-white-balance for better image quality. There’s also a Xenon flash onboard for more evenly dispersed flash shots.

Through a combination of oversampling and high resolution zoom, the Lumia 1020 is able to utilize a dual capture method that produces quality yet unseen in the smartphone market. Nokia explains that the 41-megapixel sensor is able to capture 34-megapixel and 38-megapixel images at 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios, respectively. At the very same time, the device captures a 5-megapixel oversampled image, which uses data from up to seven pixels of the sensor.

With those capabilities, the large sensor ensures no drop in quality for the 5-megapixel image when zoomed. “In other words, the high resolution image is lossless,” Nokia said. “At maximum zoom, the Lumia 1020 system behaves more like a traditional camera, but there are still some advantages: as only the center part of the optics is used, the optical and geometric distortions are minimal and vignetting is negligible.”

Of course, the device also takes advantage of a great Nokia Pro Camera app that gives users finer control of their shots. The company claims it has features only found in SLR cameras, giving you an idea of how advanced Nokia’s system is. There’s quite a bit happening inside Nokia’s fancy polycarbonate shell. To get a fuller grasp on how the technology works, hit up the company’s “whitepaper” on its PureView system, and also check out the samples above.

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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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