DPReview smartphone reviews are written with the needs of photographers in mind. We focus on camera features, performance, and image quality.

A 41-megapixel camera on a phone. You’d assume that was a typo if Nokia hadn’t already unveiled the 41-megapixel 808 Pureview last year, a technological tour-de-force that escaped mainstream appeal thanks largely to its orphaned Symbian operating system. With the Lumia 1020, Nokia has brought the innovative downsampling approach it debuted in the 808’s camera to a Windows Phone with a more relevant OS.

While zoom lenses that span from wide-angle to telescopic have been the norm on dedicated digicams for years, zoom optics remain impractical for thin phones (they exist only on the occasional camera-with-a-phone-in-it like Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Zoom). The “digital zoom” feature on most phones is generally a disappointing alternative.

Nokia changed that with the 808’s downsampling zoom, and the 1020 combines that technology with the optical image stabilization introduced in Nokia’s Lumia 920 that allows significantly better image quality in low light. On paper, that hardware combination makes the 1020 stand out impressively in a field in which incremental resolution bumps and often-gimmicky software features have been the name of the game. But do these great ideas translate into a great photographic experience? We put the Lumia 1020 through its picture-making paces to find out how its impressive imaging technology works in the real world.  

Key Photographic / Video Specifications

  • 41-megapixel 1/1.5-inch backside-illuminated sensor
  • F2.2 lens
  • 25mm equivalent focal length in 16:9, 27mm in 4:3
  • 2.7x downsampling digital zoom
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Manual shutter speed, focus, and ISO control
  • Xenon flash
  • 1080p 30fps video recording
  • 1.2MP F2.4 front camera
  • Panorama mode
  • Nokia Smart Camera mode
  • Nokia Pro Cam mode

Other Specifications

  • 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor
  • Windows Phone 8 
  • 4.5-inch 1280x768 (334 ppi) AMOLED display
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB storage
  • NFC
  • 2000MAh battery, non-removable

Our 11-page review

We've considered every aspect of the Nokia Lumia 1020, with the photographer in mind. We examined the user interface of the native camera app and its special features. We experimented with the camera's performance when taking stills and video, and had a play with the device's many special feature modes. Click any of the links below for more information of specific functions and continue to our conclusion for a final summary of our findings.