Lumia 1020 on Assignment — “This Nokia Performs Like a DSLR”

Who cannot help but laugh at the breathless excitement over doing “serious” photography with a smartphone, with or without any gimmicky filters, right? Yet today we have serious photographers, including some leading photojournalists, doing assignments with crappy iPhones, making the resulting photos technically even worse by using gimmick filters and post processing add-ons that produce the look of badly processed, faded color films from the 1970s. And then there are the really serious smartphone shooters like National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez whose recent camera of choice is a Nokia Lumia 1020. Ridiculous? See for yourself.

Critics have hailed the Lumia 1020 as the probably greatest smartphone camera ever, and here is what a professional photographer makes of it. Alvarez takes you to America’s iconic West, one of the world’s probably most beautiful landscapes for photography. Add the Lumia:

Alvarez has used a lot of smartphones. There’s never been anything like the Lumia 1020, he says:

The Nokia Lumia 1020 performed like a DSLR under every condition — from low light to moving airplanes.

Alvarez is not only not constrained by the physical bulk of a DSLR. He demonstrates how you can control focus, shutter speed, exposure and white balance just like you would with a DSLR camera.

Overall, he found himself being much more creative with this little phone than he might be with his DSLR. Propaganda?

And have a look at Nokia’s On Assignment With the Lumia 1020 microsite where you can see the full selection of images.

Nokia seems to have nailed it when it comes to smartphone photography. Find more on the Zeiss optics and OIS here. Add the Lumia’s rich recording abilities handling sound pressure levels six times louder than conventional smartphone microphones.

While I wouldn’t say these high-res samples are a pixel peeper’s wet dream. Zoomed in the mushy artifacts could bother. Alvarez insists the quality is good enough for professional use:

The Nokia Lumia 1020’s Pro-Camera mode gives me complete control over all the functions in an easy to use interface. I can manually set shutter speed, ISO, and white balance so I can get the picture exactly where I want it. With the 41-megapixel sensor I can take in wide expanses and get results that are good enough for professional use.

Here’s another promotional video. Alvarez’ doubts are gone. Certainly a nice-to-have smartphone camera. But DSLRish?

+++ Update: Also have a look at Nokia’s dedicated photography microsite — for instance On Shoot With Bruce Weber, David Bailey and the Nokia Lumia 1020.

You can order the Lumia 1020 from Amazon and eBay.




  • Brad

    If nothing else, It shows that it is the Photographer and not the camera that creates engaging images.

  • David Holliday

    I am not convinced. I wil stick to my Fuji x100s

  • One More Thought

    Unfortunately, there’s always the lure of commercial endorsements. I don’t know if this great photographer was paid in any way by Nokia, but maybe…even probably…so.

    Even without strict payment, there can be other perks. Being wined and dined by a big company can be very alluring. You may be flown to exotic locales and treated to first class accommodations. Now of course this photographer working with National Geo has gotten to travel a lot to great locations anyway, but hey, if Nokia will send him somewhere great in style, then why not?

    Then there’s always the fact that this publicity helps the photographer make an even greater name for himself, and that can lead to other paid gigs.

    I am sure this photographer would not blatantly lie about a product, or call a poor product a good one. But he probably had plenty of motivation to exaggerate and be very positive about this Nokia camera phone.

    I write this with all due respect to an amazing photographer.

    • Now doubt it’s a commercial, targeted at a very specific market — or do we seriously care about 41MP?

      Nevertheless, the photographer’s integrity would be at stake if he — in the name of National Geographic — would blindly praise a subpar gadget.