Hey Knuckleheads: 41 megapixels on the Nokia Lumia 1020 is NOT for printing billboards and posters


Nokia didn’t make the Lumia 1020 for large prints and billboard posters. But it’s capable if needed, and the photos would look damn good. Seriously guys, before you go finger-ranting about how much of a marketing gimmick you think the 41 megapixel sensor is, try reading the press release. Or watch the launch videos. Or check out the multiple articles at the official Nokia Conversations blog. All of the details are right there. Oh, and this isn’t the first time Nokia made a phone with 41 megapixels. Ever heard of the Nokia 808 PureView? We recently posted some camera samples from the Nokia Lumia 1020, some of which are found below. Let me try to explain it in simple terms. Just read what I have to say below with an open mind and ignore the bias thoughts that creep into your head.

Nokia is using the extra millions of pixels to allow for 3x lossless zoom when taking a photo and 6x lossless zoom when capturing video, allowing for editing while leaving the original photo untouched. Two photos are always captured. One in full resolution and another at 5MP (to allow for fast sharing). The full resolution photo allows you to crop and still have plenty of detail after the photo is taken. Even if you decide to zoom in before the photo is snapped, it will save the non-zoomed photo so you can edit/view it later. Zooming before the shot is taken will no longer mean the entire scene is lost and you are just stuck with the zoomed photo. You now have more choices. Either shoot the entire scene without zooming and crop the full resolution photo after to your likings, or zoom in and share the photo. You still have the full scene to use later.

Below are a few examples. These photos were taken with the Nokia Lumia 1020 and published by Nokia. Click the images to see larger size.

The Tire Scene

photo taken with nokia lumia 1020 cropped

The photo above is actually a crop from the photo below…

photo taken with nokia lumia 1020 medium

Click here to see original full res. 

At The Park

lumia 1020 park cropped

The photo above is actually a crop from the photo below…

lumia 1020 park medium

Click here to see original full res. 

Graffiti Wall

1020 full res - cropped

The photo above is actually a crop from the photo below…

1020 low res

Click here to see original full res.  And finally, click here to see the entire gallery at Flickr.

By now you should get the hint. The Nokia Lumia 1020 is aimed at camera enthusiasts. No need to buy it if you don’t want this excellent camera on you at all times.

If you want to know more about this technology read the official Nokia Lumia 1020 whitepaper (pdf) or visit this article at Anantech, who wrote up a great summary of the complicated stuff. And don’t forget — software has a lot to do with this phone. Take a look at this video that shows the camera software that Nokia customized for the Lumia 1020:

And this one taken by the guys at Nokia Innovation, showing off the camera user experience:

Thanks for reading this article! I hope that I was able to inform you about the technology behind the Nokia Lumia 1020 camera and why the 41 megapixel sensor is not just a gimmick.

Just for laughs and reference, below are a few examples of the type of comments being made that inspired me to publish this article.

From TechCrunch (an actual article):

“High-megapixel phones are too cute and clever by half. They are a manufacturer’s attempt to add flair to an other wise drab line up and I guess they serve to make the R&D guys happy and give the marketing guys a new number to put in newspaper circulars.”

From Mashable (comment section):

“Isn’t the question “why DOES anyone need 41MP?”

Seriously. MegaPixel bloat is only costing the consumer more money, because we have to lug around more memory to store less pictures. Then buy more hard drives for back up. And buy more bandwidth to upload to cloud services. And buy more storage space in those services.

I know a select few will find it handy to have 41MP images in their phones, but the majority of folks use the phone images just to instagram and upload to facebook. 5MP is way more than needed.”

From The Age (comment section):

“Unless you are going to have the photo printed out to paper, which few people do nowadays, why would you want anything more than about 8 megapixels? More than enough to fill a full HD screen of 19201080 pixels several times over and still allow heaps of leeway for digital processing on the desktop, zooming sections of the photo etc.

In this case, more ain’t more, for 99% of users.”

From WPCentral (comment section):

“Why the need for 38MP? Especially since HDTV doesn’t display past 2.1MP and the upcoming 4k TVs won’t display past 8.2MP. It’s good for marketing though.”

Feel free to give us your input in the comments below!

  • http://wpcentral.com/ Sam Sabri

    lol are you really going to use a comment from our comment section to sorta represent us? :p Our readers are a little more intelligent than that 😉

  • http://www.themobilefanatics.com Mike Macias

    Most of them are intelligent at WPCentral, but that’s why I had to use it. I’m seeing it on everywhere… even reputable WP communities like yours! It’s astonishing. Not trying to bash you guys. Just shining a light on these boneheads.

  • http://www.themobilefanatics.com Mike Macias

    Wow. People are simply in denial.

  • Clint

    From most of the photos I see on Instagram, and the like, most users are as far removed from being decent photographers as can be, which probably explains many of the comments. They’d happily share a blurry, pixilated, dark, poorly composed image and think it’s a masterpiece. It’s these users that see no need for extra pixels and lossless zoom.

  • http://www.themobilefanatics.com Mike Macias

    I can understand that they see no need and don’t think they should buy this phone. But to completely ignore what the extra pixels are for and call it a marketing gimmick is what makes my head shake.

  • http://www.themobilefanatics.com Mike Macias

    Will this be your next phone Clint?

  • http://seafoodie.me/ Ryan

    Nobody expects that TechCrunch would read up on the facts before forming an opinion, but it doesn’t make it less sad.

  • shaunguthrie

    Mike I agree with you here. Its a shame these blog review sites/companies cannot actually do their homework or read the press releases that come out for the products they review. It seems a lot of personal biases play a factor here instead of perhaps real journalism or whatever you’d call it. The same is said for the moronic comments you see posted on these communities and not only for this product but a lot of products where people make unfounded uneducated comments that have relevancy. I think in this day and age of everyone taking ideas from everyone, companies need to set themselves apart from the other manufactures out there, it’s a tough market. Nokia did just that . Cool, now lets move on.

  • Clint

    I’ll most definitely consider it. Had the N95, N82 and N8 previously, all arguably the best camera phones of their time. I miss a great camera on my phone. Gave the 808 a miss. Almost got it though…

  • boballistic

    Holy hell people are incredibly dumb if they don’t get the 41 mp camera on a phone. Its because adding a giant dslr lens with optical zoom would be impractical. This allows you to take a picture and zoom in and not lose res or fidelity, quality or clarity ect how does that not make sense.

  • boballistic

    Ain’t that the truth

  • boballistic

    Omg how do they not get it but consider themselves geeks or tech enthusiasts. Lossless zoom you idiots your not gonna find a camrea to beat this for a long time unless they totally copy which sammy is good for that.

  • http://www.themobilefanatics.com Mike Macias

    Great comment Shaun! I love that mentioned companies should start setting themselves apart. We all know that Nokia is trying to do that here, not only with the camera, but with Windows Phone 8 in general. I can’t imagine a world with our only options being Android and iPhone. HTC or Samsung. Apple. So glad Nokia is still in the game.

  • http://www.themobilefanatics.com Mike Macias

    Very true! I think most of these people are in denial that Nokia can do something this amazing, so they simply ignore the technology and pretend it’s not useful.

  • http://www.themobilefanatics.com Mike Macias

    It’s going to be hard to pass up this phone! Especially since the preorders just went up today. But damn… it’s so expensive.