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A Day At Disneyland With the Nokia Lumia 1020

by Brandon Russell | July 30, 2013July 30, 2013 12:30 pm PST

Nokia’s wild new Lumia 1020 is a gamble, representing something of a sea-change for the beloved Finnish company. Equal parts smartphone and camera, the 1020 raises the bar for all competition with its new 41-megapixel sensor. Current smartphones have done well enough to replace the need for a point and shoot. But Nokia’s new device basically is one with the added benefit of a smartphone being attached, creating this wonderful combination that, as we learned while shooting with it over a two-day period, is a dream to use.

We’ve gone over why the 1020’s new sensor and software enhancements are so important, so we’ll refrain from repeating ourselves here. When talking about a camera like this—part smartphone, part point and shoot—it’s important to focus on the experience. How easy is it to use? Can anyone just take pictures with it? Will camera buffs like all the new features Nokia introduced in its Pro camera app? That ultimately decides who this device is for.

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Just outside the park on a dreary summer afternoon.

Just outside the park on a dreary summer afternoon.

If you want to catch our full review of the device, you can do so here. In this post, we’re not going to review the 41-megapixel sensor in terms of quality, or give our opinion on how it performed in low-light conditions; you can make that determination yourself by looking at the examples throughout this post. Let me just say that the 1020 produces some great images in a lot of instances, but it doesn’t always reach the heights Nokia promises.

To differentiate from our typical comparison posts, we wanted to get a more thorough look at results produced by the Lumia 1020 while out and about, and get a feel for how it compares to other competing devices. So, naturally, we went to Disneyland (and the Orange County Fair) with the 1020 in tow, documenting what we did along the way. What we found is that Nokia’s technology is dead simple to use, and should (hopefully) push others to raise their game going forward.

While shooting with the device, we didn’t focus so much on toying around with manual settings to get that perfect shot. Instead, we wielded it as any normal consumer would, shooting pictures on auto when the opportunity arose; of buildings, indoors, etc. The device’s Pro camera app does afford plenty of flexibility, which is part of the 1020‘s charm, but I didn’t want to fuss around with that while walking around the Happiest Place on Earth.

Ralph and his bright red Nike shoes outside of Disneyland.

Ralph and his bright red Nike shoes outside of Disneyland.

There is a ton of color at Disneyland with a lot of great detail—likewise for the fair, though the day we went was nasty—so both locations are great for shooting. At Disneyland in particular, we got a pretty good feel for how Nokia’s tech performs in different lighting situations, especially with so much commotion going on. Going in and out of buildings, waiting in lines, people walking around; all of that makes for scenes that are perfect to test the capabilities of Nokia’s tech—the results follow below.

Nokia’s Lumia lineup has always been solid, and the 1020 is easily the company’s best effort. Stuffing a 41-megapixel camera into the (relatively) small device will bring a lot of attention to the company—that’s a good thing. For the most part, the 1020’s camera produces the best results we’ve seen from a mobile device. Depth of field is the best we’ve seen, and the sheer power is something to recognize. Of course, devices like the S4, iPhone 5 and HTC One all produce some very good results, too, so it’s tough to say whether the 1020 is worth it.

Chances are, if you’re that serious about photography, you already have a dedicated camera, essentially making the 1020’s best feature moot. Still, Nokia has raised the bar going forward, hopefully pushing the progress among the industry as a whole.

Just inside Disney's California Adventure. We got to the park around 4 p.m.

Just inside Disney’s California Adventure. We got to the park around 4 p.m.

Still at Oswald's, just hanging out before walking through the park.

Still at Oswald’s, just hanging out before walking through the park.

Had to stop to get some water, so decided to snap a picture of the old timey General Store.

Had to stop to get some water, so decided to snap a picture of the old timey General Store.

On our way to Tower of Terror. There are a lot of neat buildings to look at.

On our way to Tower of Terror. There are a lot of neat buildings to look at.

Walking up to Tower of Terror, factually, 100 percent the best ride between the two parks. Research is based on my experience at both parks.

Walking up to Tower of Terror, factually, 100 percent the best ride between the two parks. Research is based on my experience at both parks.

Right when you enter the Tower of Terror building before you head into the Twilight Zone room.

Right when you enter the Tower of Terror building before you head into the Twilight Zone room.

Still in line waiting to go beyond the point of no return.

Still in line waiting to go beyond the point of no return.

Just after you watch the Twilight Zone short, which explains the whole Tower of Terror theme.

Just after you watch the Twilight Zone short, which explains the whole Tower of Terror theme.

Deep inside Tower of Terror.

Deep inside Tower of Terror.

Still waiting for our turn. This is about the time when anticipation really starts to kick in.

Still waiting for our turn. This is about the time when anticipation really starts to kick in.

Suddenly there was hardly any people.

Suddenly there was hardly any people.

At the service elevator. Oh boy.

At the service elevator. Oh boy.

We're on the ride! Waiting to meet our doom.

We’re on the ride! Waiting to meet our doom.

We somehow survived Tower of Terror and made it over to Cars Land.

We somehow survived Tower of Terror and made it over to Cars Land.

I spy Sean P. Aune. And Tow Mater.

I spy Sean P. Aune. And Tow Mater.

Some great antique memorabilia.

Some great antique memorabilia.

This ride may look like it's meant for children 10 and under, but it was surprisingly fun. Mater is the drift king.

This ride may look like it’s meant for children 10 and under, but it was surprisingly fun. Mater is the drift king.

Further exploring Cars Land. A pretty cool brick building (those are unusual in Southern California).

Further exploring Cars Land. A pretty cool brick building (those are unusual in Southern California).

A familiar landmark from the first Cars movie.

A familiar landmark from the first Cars movie.

On another Cars ride where you race. The car I was on with Roy won, of course.

On another Cars ride where you race. The car I was on with Roy won, of course.

The day wound up clearing up pretty nice, but it was still hazy and super bright given the time of day. Roy was explaining something to someone.

The day wound up clearing up pretty nice, but it was still hazy and super bright given the time of day. Roy was explaining something to someone.

Walking back through one of the main streets in California Adventure.

Walking back through one of the main streets in California Adventure.

Now in Disneyland at the landmark entrance.

Now in Disneyland at the landmark entrance.

A parade was taking place. Parades are always taking place.

A parade was taking place. Parades are always taking place.

No line at Pirates! The park was surprisingly empty for a summer day.

No line at Pirates! The park was surprisingly empty for a summer day.

Just about to hop onto the Pirates ride.

Just about to hop onto the Pirates ride.

Matterhorn at sunset. Below us a cover band was playing an 80s song.

Matterhorn at sunset. Below us a cover band was playing an 80s song.

The really amazing Iron Man 3 exhibit in Tomorrowland.

The really amazing Iron Man 3 exhibit in Tomorrowland.

It displayed different iterations of Iron Man's suits.

It displayed different iterations of Iron Man’s suits.

More suits. They looked pretty badass in person.

More suits. They looked pretty badass in person.

We waited forever to get on Space Mountain. Forever. But it was worth it.

We waited forever to get on Space Mountain. Forever. But it was worth it.

Walking out of the park at night. The 1020 had difficulty properly focusing in this particular low-light situation.

Walking out of the park at night. The 1020 had difficulty properly focusing in this particular low-light situation.

Day two with the 1020.

Day two with the 1020.

Played some fetch with my dog Ellis.

Played some fetch with my dog Ellis.

There he is now!

There he is now!

A fading sunflower plant in the backyard. And a bee.

A fading sunflower plant in the backyard. And a bee.

For a summer's day in Southern California, it was unusually overcast.

For a summer’s day in Southern California, it was unusually overcast.

I present to you a goat munching on a sign.

I present to you a goat munching on a sign.

I don't know how much I trust fair rides.

I don’t know how much I trust fair rides.

I mean, they look really fun. But they're temporary, you know?

I mean, they look really fun. But they’re temporary, you know?

Some guy peddling a fruit and veggie peeler.

Some guy peddling a fruit and veggie peeler.

It was as good as it looks.

It was as good as it looks.

That looks fun.

That looks fun.

Is that an Aqua Teen Hunger Force reference?

Is that an Aqua Teen Hunger Force reference?

I attempted to win a prize but was unsuccessful because the games are clearly rigged.

I attempted to win a prize but was unsuccessful because the games are clearly rigged.

Obviously this is where the action is taking place.

Obviously this is where the action is taking place.

I titled this one "Crazy Ride," because this looks like a crazy ride.

I titled this one “Crazy Ride,” because this looks like a crazy ride.

That same enormous Ferris wheel.

That same enormous Ferris wheel.

Wow, boy, that looks dangerous.

Wow, boy, that looks dangerous.

Someone—not me, I swear—dropped their entire bloomin' onion.

Someone—not me, I swear—dropped their entire bloomin’ onion.

When you go to the fair with your girlfriend you are required to use the photo booth.

When you go to the fair with your girlfriend you are required to use the photo booth.

A cat. Just a cat.

A cat. Just a cat.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.

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