Putting the Lumia 1020's 41-megapixel camera to the test

Most smartphone cameras these days claim 8- or 13-megapixel cameras, which is why Nokia's 41-megapixel claim for the Lumia 1020 sounds so grand, and so impossible.

These shots were all taken with the Nokia Pro Cam app. Unless specified, they were shot in automatic mode and have been resized. Check out our camera shootout for comparison photos with other smartphones.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:

Om nom nom

This kid loves his snacks.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET / Caption by:

Good enough to eat

This taco platter looks sharp, focused, and delicious.

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

Close crop

I cropped into the original image very closely to reveal the detail captured in the leaves and separate blades of grass.

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

Low light

You see rice grains and the table's texture in this low-light shot, which isn't washed out or overly lit with flash.

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Photo by: Joshua Goldman/CNET / Caption by:

Not as good

Another low-light shot, but this time the saffron sauce surrounding the squash isn't as sharp as it should be.

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

Into the fire pit

Playing with the ISO and exposure mode got me this flame; taking the same photo with automatic modes in the native camera app just gave me a big, hazy, bright fireball with no depth or definition.

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

En fuego

The same goes for this majestic fountain of flame.

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

Sharper than it looks

I shot this photo of a storefront because I liked the juxtaposition of the mural and the dress. Only afterward did I notice the bag reading "Good grammar is sexy."

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

Crop in a little

To test the lossless zooming, I cropped in from a picture similar to the previous one (I used a slightly different angle to take in the T-shirts to the left of the bag).

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

Even closer

Then, I cropped even more. The original photo captured so much detail, you can see the jagged edges of the bag's stitched lettering.

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

Between shoots

This quickly snapped candid shot takes in the scene perfectly, but I expected faces to come out a little sharper.

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

In full bloom

Fine detail and bright, saturated color make this photo a winner. The camera autoenhanced this picture to boost color richness and contrast, which is a good thing in this case. An overcast day like today eliminates shadows that can help tease out how good a camera is at dealing with more difficult (but common) conditions.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET / Caption by:

More flowers

It's nice to see the variegated petal colors come through.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET / Caption by:

Fun with focus

We tested out the 1020's agility in hopping between two focus points. Here, I'm in focus.

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Photo by: Kristina Rosa/CNET / Caption by:

Fun with focus, Part 2

Now, my ice cream takes center stage.

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Photo by: Kristina Rosa/CNET / Caption by:

Landscape

The Lumia 1020 captured the moment when I shot this landscape scene, but it's so far away, the features all blend together.

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

Front-facing shots

I was happy with the color and evenness in this front-facing photo, taken outdoors in front of a local San Francisco food truck.

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

And now inside

Working and snacking while assessing the front-facing shooter.

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

Putt-putt

The hot summer sun threw sharp shadows. You can almost feel the heat through this pic.

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

Zoom, zoom, baby

Ready for another demonstration of the Lumia 1020's cropping skills? Here's the original photo.

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

Closer...

Now we get closer.

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

Not done yet

And closer still...

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

Portrait

The closest crop is a little grainy, but it's still easy to make out sharp edges and detail.

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

Group shot

The 1020 overemphasized amber tones in this indoor photo of CNET's crew, and some faces weren't as distinct as others.

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Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET / Caption by:

Not bad

This photo was shot using full Auto settings. You can clearly see both the sky and the house, as well as the texture of the clouds.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET / Caption by:

Exposed

This photo was shot with a 1.7 exposure compensation. It's brighter, but at the expense of cloud detail.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET / Caption by:

Warm flash

Camera flash often blues out an image. The light here is warm, even if skin looks a little jaundiced in spots.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET / Caption by:

Texture king

Gorgeous texture in the sculpture makes this photo feel very true-to-life.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET / Caption by:

Light versus dark

This stress test shows how the 1020 balances the bright outside light and the room's dark interior. Instead of exposing for the light and making the interior really dark, it kept the inside of the room the right tones while keeping the outside lit. The camera gets points for avoiding extremes.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET / Caption by:

Studio shot

Here, the Lumia 1020 goes through the same camera test as a typical standalone CNET camera. There's excellent detail and noise control.

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Photo by: Joshua Goldman/CNET / Caption by:

Near and far

CNET camera editor Joshua Goldman photographed this New York skyscraper to test two things: the 1020's proficiency with landscapes, and how much noise it creates when you zoom close in on the focal point.

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Photo by: Joshua Goldman/CNET / Caption by:
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