At a press event today in New York City, Nokia unveiled the Lumia 1020 which combines a refined version of the 41-megapixel PureView camera technology with it's current Windows Phone efforts. Outside of the camera, the 1020 shares many of the same characteristics of the Lumia 920.
Pureview was first debuted in the Symbian based 808 smart phone a year ago and received numerous accolades for its low light performance. Even with a great integrated camera, it failed to sell which was most likely due to an aging abandoned OS and bulky form factor. It was also only available unlocked for $700 which is counter to most consumer's preferred method on paying $200 for a smart phone on a 2 year contract.
There are a number of manual controls to take advantage of the camera's quality parts. "By pulling out the shutter button on screen, you get a translucent overlay of manual settings like ISO, aperture, and shutter speed," as reported by Arstechnica which spent some hands on time the 1020. A nice feature for novice photographers is the auto-adjustment of settings. As Casey Johnston reports, "The app will auto-adjust one or a few of the other settings if you change one (upping the ISO increases the shutter speed and so forth), so it will continue to self-balance the other settings for the scene unless you change them yourself."
The 1020's camera can also shoot 720p video using the provided 6x optical zoom. Zooming is notorious for adding camera shake so the 1020 incorporates Nokia's image stabilization technology. For those needing to shoot images at two different resolutions, the phone also has a "dual capture" mode. Nokia integrated high-performance microphones to provide quality sound to accompany the HD video.
Nokia has yet to break out and provide a truly competitive high-end handset to go against offerings like the HTC One, Apple iPhone5 or Samsung Galaxy S4. By offering a point-and-shoot experience comparable to dedicated cameras, let alone cell phone cameras, they may have a feature no other manufacturer can currently match. Will this be enough to finally make Nokia's Windows Phone gamble pay off? We'll have to wait and see when the Lumia 1020 is available July 26th on At&T for $300.