Nokia’s Lumia 1020 zooms in

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Calling it the “next chapter in smartphone photography” Nokia has launched the Lumia 1020 phone with an impressive 41-megapixel camera.

“We’ve made the back the new front,” CEO Stephen Elop told the packed Zoom Reinvented launch event in New York, where the impressive camera features were unveiled.

The 1020 uses a clever software technique to oversample the image, producing stunning “blurfree super high-detail photos day or night,” Elop claimed, before demonstrating several instances of its use. The audience of journalists clapped on numerous occasions, including when he compared the images taken with a Samsung Galaxy S4, Apple iPhone 5 and the 1020, which had a clearly superior picture.

The Lumia 1020 produces the “smartest, sharpest, best smartphone pictures possible,” said Elop. He showed off zooming in from a helicopter over New York and from a boat in Helsinki harbour, which produced spectacular close ups.

Finding a needle in a haystack with the Nokia Lumia 1020's zoom capabilities.“You can literally find a needle in a haystack,” he said as they demonstrated zooming in to find the needle in a pile of straw. More applause.

The phone captures two images: one at full frame, and the other, 5MP oversampled image for sharing. The phone crams, or oversamples, extra information, making the smaller, sharable image significant better. “We are processing up to 38 million pixels at one time, up to five times more than the competition,” Elop said.

Another killer feature is that the 1020 can zoom out from tightly-cropped shots to show the rest of image. It can also zoom into video, as was demonstrated using footage of bees shot by Nokia’s Kristina Björknäs using the 1020 to shoot bees moving about in a hive. When the camera zooms out, you can see the imagery is being shot from several metres away.

Nokia Lumia 1020 libertyThe snap-on camera grip is a clever add-on cover that has an ergonomic grip, extra control buttons, an additional battery and a tripod mount. This is a clever accessory which focuses on the key camera functionality, which Nokia is betting is going to appeal to consumers who increasingly choose cameras as their main feature of a new smartphone.

Using a software development kit (called an API) apps have been designed specifically for the 1020 from CNN, Vyclibe, Yelp, Foursquare, Path, Flipboard, David Hockney-Inspired app called Panagraph, SNAPCAM, and Hipsatmaitic Oggl Pro.

Lumia 1020The Lumia 1020 goes on sale in the United States with AT&T on July 26 for $300 on a contract, and will roll out to the rest of the world after that, Elop said.

 

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