Monday, February 3, 2014

Lumia 1020 Kills the DSLR?


This new TV commercial is the brainchild of Nokia USA, or rather more famously, Microsoft as it often uses sly and silly techniques to knock competitors—all the time. 

First, I do think the Lumia 1020 is a great camera but comparing it to a DSLR is overstating the facts. It will no doubt perform the duties sought by most casual photographers, that is to keep things simple and yet take beautiful pictures. What's more, DXO labs recently released a RAW files analysis of the Lumia 1020 against the likes of DSLRs and Digital Compact Cameras (DCC), the results are impressive. Previously, DXO labs only published proprietary scores on smartphone cameras that can't be used against DSLRs and cameras. This is one reason why I refuse to use these scores as it is as useful as a refrigerators in Iceland. If you can't stack up the odds against a real camera, why bother with a closed out measurement tool? This all changed with DXO labs decided to weigh in with the Nokia Lumia 1020 by giving it a chance to prove it could do this.

The data I am referring to is the Portraiture Color Depth and Dynamic Range in Landscape. These compare well against most DCCs. Just look at the comparison below which is taken from DXO.

The Olympus XZ-2 edges out the Lumia 1020 by just a bit in Color Depth and Dynamic Range. The overall score is just a tad better than the Lumia and that is very impressive. By this alone, you can safely say that it matches the needs of all casual photographers who use a compact camera. 

Why Lumia isn't a DSLR replacement

Let's be fair, you don't use a DSLR in everyday situations unless you're a gear head out to show off that latest piece of hardware. Many can't even take a decent picture to save their own life. The Nokia ad is probably making fun of these folks. The huge telephoto lenses and the latest DSLRs, all hallmarks of a rich gear head.This is not something serious photographers need to worry about.

Even against the slew of mirrorless cameras, Lumia 1020 will find it difficult to hold its own. The smaller lenses, and much smaller camera package will not be as cumbersome as the DSLR in everyday use. And let's not get me started on picture quality as the Lumia 1020 can only match a DCC in that department. 

Lastly, the Lumia's Achilles heel is in storage. With no option to save images to an external storage device, you have no choice but to back up all your RAW files to a computer or cloud storage—at a convenient time.

Where the Lumia really Shines

The 41 megapixel sensor isn't about producing a full 41 megapixel image for stock photography use. The pixel binning method of compression gives you good quality cropped pictures without having to resort to optical zoom. This is where it is a boon to photographers who do not want to carry a second or third lens just to play nice with the scenery.

As a smartphone, the Lumia 1020 has more uses than a Swiss Army knife. You don't just whip it out in times of emergencies but also have fun on the go with it. Compact camera users will find it hard to resist the Lumia. It's a phone and more. And yes, it kicks the living daylights out of the Apple iPhone 5S when it comes to picture quality.

There are some manual controls that come with the camera, though not a whole lot, it should prove useful in most shooting environments. This is probably the only reason why I would carry one as it has the chops to deal with everyday use as compared to professional work use. I do envision that Pro photogs will carry the Nokia Lumia 1020 as a back up camera and this is why I feel that Nokia is on the right track if they continue down this path.


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