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As a phone, Nokia Lumia is one fine photo source

It’s the best phone ever for taking photos.

And it’s easily the best Windows phone ever. Ever. Easily. Very easily. Did I say easily?

Want proof? As frustrating as I find Windows phones, I was able to restrain myself from chucking the new Nokia Lumia 1020 into the Rappahannock River. The wrist strap that comes with it helped. Oops! It didn’t drop off the Falmouth Bridge. Oops! It didn’t plunge off the Chatham Bridge. Oops! Nifty save from the toilet bowl!

There’s also a cool Nokia Camera Grip accessory available with a shutter button and a universal tripod mount. That wasn’t included in my review package. Had it been, I could have pretended the Lumia 1020 was a camera and not a Windows phone.

Anyway, those who’ve heard about the Lumia 1020 tend to remember one thing—that it takes 41 megapixel photos. That’s a lot of megapixels. It’s more than higher-end DSLRs have.

But it’s the extremely large and light-sensitive sensor that sets the Lumia 1020, available exclusively from AT&T, apart from every other phone when it comes to photo quality.

The humongous megapixel number is meaningful only when you want to crop super high-resolution photos very tightly and still have a high-resolution image.

As the Lumia 1020 “Concert Queen” commercial illustrates, you can take photos from the cheap seats, crop them on the phone, share them and your friends will think you make enough money for front-row tickets.

I tried it at a Nationals–Giants game this week, taking a shot of the whole field and then tapping the screen to use Nokia’s PureView loss-less zoom to blow up Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner. It worked well. The Nationals later blew up the Giants’ bullpen.

Pictures shared from the phone via email, text message or social media are sent at 5 megapixels. And 5 megapixels is enough for even a poster-sized print. The 41 megapixel images may be uploaded to the cloud using AT&T Locker or downloaded via USB cable to users’ PC or laptop.

Keep in mind the fact that 41 megapixel images are going to either blow up your hard drive or blow up your bill for cloud storage pretty quickly, even if you get the free 50 GB of cloud storage offered for a limited time with the Lumia 1020.

More impressive to me than the number 41 is the Lumia 1020’s ability to capture good-quality images in very low light.

And its optical image stabilization produces blur-less photos, even for those who don’t have the steadiest hands, like me—oops.

However, when it comes to color, Samsung is better than Nokia. Samsung’s Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note 2 produce more vibrant images.

The Lumia 1020 costs $299.99 ($249.99 on Amazon), with a two-year agreement. It’s available in matte black, matte white and matte yellow. It has 32GB of built-in storage.

Impressive as it is, only the most serious photographers will want to give up their iPhone 4s or 5 or Galaxy S4 for the Lumia 1020. Most of us not-so-serious photographers think the iPhone does a pretty darn good job when it comes to taking photos.


Michael Zitz