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By downsampling the camera's native 20MP output to 5MP the Lumia 1520 produces an image that shows good detail and practically no noise or artifacts. Detail is not quite on the same high level as the 5MP output of the Lumia 1020 but better than some competing models with higher resolution output. The 1520 images look very crisp and detailed without being oversharpened.

In the green low-contrast areas of the frame some smearing of fine detail is still evident but to a lesser degree than on most competing devices. There is some slight softness in the extreme corners of the image but otherwise sharpness is very good across the frame.

Overall the Nokia Lumia 1520's 5MP output in bright light is very decent. Given that most smartphone images are shared online and therefore downsampled even further to most users this 5MP version will be much more useful  than the full-res version.

Comments

Total comments: 98
nuna

The Lumia 1520 offers a Windows Phone experience unlike any we’ve seen before. With its top-notch hardware, fantastic imaging and constantly improving firmware, I can’t be more impressed at a phone this much.

0 upvotes
jritch78

How do you get a digital look with the Nokia 1520? Meaning when j plug my USB in my computer it will show me both normal and high resolution pictures, but when I click on them they look nowhere near as good as I see what people post online. Are you using a different method then me?

0 upvotes
JohnMcL7

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a 5.7 in screen rather than 5.5in which was the screen size of the Note 2.

I did consider the Nokia 1520 as the camera on the Z Ultra is very poor even for a phone camera but after trying out WP8 for a bit on the 925 I decided not to. There is a lot WP8 does well but the problem for me is the bits it doesn't do so well or you want to do differently, you largely cannot so some elements like the poor keyboard (compared to Swiftkey) you can't change.

0 upvotes
Sam_Oslo

I have been having a lot fun with Lumia 1520's camera.

It works fine as long as you don't need fast focus, long lens and print quality.

I have been using it for landscape with good results. The 20Mp camera provides a good quality and high enough resolution for all kind of digital media, including 4k screens.

0 upvotes
jritch78

How do you get a digital look with the Nokia 1520? Meaning when j plug my USB in my computer it will show me both normal and high resolution pictures, but when I click on them they look nowhere near as good as I see what people post online. Are you using a different method then me?

0 upvotes
Ben O Connor

What about windows 8.1 ?

I have a 1520 since last Xmas, and its an amazing piece of tech. Its really un-seperable piece o my daily life.

Will it be possible to update it to 8.1. ? There is no info on Finnish web page of Nokia yet...

0 upvotes
Sam_Oslo

Yes, but WP 8.1 is not released yet.

Right now you can get the WP 8.1 Developer Preview and update your Lumia 1520, But you need a Developer Account for that. Otherwise you have to wait until the release WP 8.1.

0 upvotes
mykelhussy

I have used Nokia Lumia 1520. Its a window Smart phone and its camera is not good and bad result. I don't like this phone. I have sell my Nokia Lumia 1520 to last week...

0 upvotes
Durri

Is rear camera glass on this phone scratsch proff? Thanks to info ;)

0 upvotes
Eidi

I've this lumia 1520 last month. After 5 day.. It's got problem with the camera. I send to Nokia care..after 2 week my phone not return back. For me Nokia phone is very very bad..and also the after sales service is not competence to solve this problem fast. If I compare with iphone n Samsung..NOKIA arena bad.

1 upvote
silambu

Great device. I came across the comparison article from http://www.gadgetride.com/review/nokia-lumia-1520-vs-galaxy-note-3.html, the lumia 1520 has nice features and look.

0 upvotes
Interface Customization Soutions
0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

yes, but only with an additional charging cover

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
JaccoW

Only in the U.S. you will need an additional cover. It's because At&t chose the PMA standard.
The version for the rest of the world has Qi wireless charging. It works really well on my Nokia Lumia 720 albeit with a charging cover. Red on Cyan baby!

1 upvote
The Customer

Pretty phone. Nice review. Good pictures. ^_^

4 upvotes
HappyVan

To be honest, I wouldn't depend on the phone for photos.

I would slip the Nikon AW110 into my other pocket. Its footprint is even smaller than my Sony Esperia S. It's rain and freeze proof, and comes with wifi.

You can even take semi-submerged shots of a flood. Of course, it has an optical zoom.

On a budget, there is the Nikon S32 $129.

Willing to carry a chunkier camera? There's the Nikon One cameras with PDAF and able to print a clean 18x12. The J1 kit is available for $249

0 upvotes
3DSimmon

I say why buy a compact camera when I have an awesome camera on my mobile phone.

6 upvotes
AndreSJ

Because its not an 'awesome' camera its a below average quality but certainly capable one. you can get better quality by getting a compact camera but its up to the user if the benefits outweigh the disadvantages

Id always say get a small wifi camera

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
TrojMacReady

But if you do't need the zoom, the Nokia is able to pull a lot more detail out of a scene than the AW110, which also lacks RAW. Plus saves you from filling up another pocket and/or switching between devices.

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
HappyVan

True. How often do you use the zoom in your MFT?

0 upvotes
halc

@HappyVan

Nikon this, Nikon that. Just like a sub-par result producing cameras or are you paid to astroturf?

I have had tons of cameras, and shoot most of my "accidental" photos now on my main "always with me camera."

What's always with me? A smart phone.

What's not always with my? My pocket cams.

I could also start spamming this thread with Sony pocket cam information, but that would be digressing.

This is about smartphone photo performance, which has gotten respectable enough to be of use for the most of us.

You can go to the Nikon pocket cam forums to advertise....

0 upvotes
tom43

I have two DSLRs and my Nokia Lumia 1520. If I need image quality, then I will take the D800E. For snapshots my Lumia is most time with me. There is no need for another P&S camera.

0 upvotes
white tea

I wonder why Nokia hasn't released standalone compact camera yet. With good sensors, oversampling technology and handy software for settings, it would be interesting camera, I suppose.
Especially if equipped with fast lens.
Hey Nokia what are you waiting for? You sold your smartfone department to MS, switch now to cameras!

1 upvote
Lars Rehm

Probably because it wouldn't be a very smart business move :)

3 upvotes
halc

They sold all the related people, tech & know how to MS along with the phone unit.

All they have left on the imaging side is some tech patents, and they'd rather just license those.

You may not have noted, but Nokia got it's bum handed to them by the markets. They are still licking their wounds.

Don't expect a re-entry to cam or phone business any time soon. They are now in B2B business.

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Sergey Borachev

No Android, no apps, no buy.

1 upvote
greenarcher02

Lol dumb. Do you need thousands of app half of which have malware? Every essential app on Android and iOS is practically on WP right now.

2 upvotes
Misterio

Half of essential apps and more of them are beta's

0 upvotes
BarnET

And who wants Windows 8 on any device.
The camera of this phone is nice the OS is not.

3 upvotes
halc

Unfortunately, I agree.

WP is an ecosystem wasteland. It's not a smartphone system, it's a feature phone system, almost as good as Symbian was at it's best.

A good camera does not a smartphone make.

Maybe with WP9 in 2015...

0 upvotes
vegastriguy

I had this phone for about a week over Christmas....I like larger phones, was sort of bored with Android and decided to try this out....I was pretty satisfied with the general results but the phone was just to big to handle in quick situations. Ultimately, the Windows appstore is so limited I scurried back and got a Note 3 that I have been very happy with.

1 upvote
halc

Yes, this is a huge phone! The screen is nice, but the size for a fully grown man like myself (6') is still too big to be lugged around daily.

0 upvotes
Misterio

What is wrong with all lumia's video record? Why their video so shaky?

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

I actually think Nokia's IS is one of the best. Look at the last video on the video page, it was taken handheld. Looks pretty stable to me.

7 upvotes
Misterio

Video from page 7 shaking around (like Parkinson's disease). No match for 5s and Z1 steady videos.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys

Misterio, you mean the first one? (The other two are steady; the third may have been shot from a tripod, it's so steady.) While it indeed shows some annoying shaking, I bet it's still much better than the 5s or the Z1 footage would have been under exactly the same setup.

After all, Connect's own iPhone 5s review has concluded the electronic-only IS of the 5s, while certainly better than that of the iPhone 5, is in no way as efficient as the OIS of the Nokia 920. And I bet the 1520 has at least as efficient OIS as the 920.

2 upvotes
Misterio

Video from 5s and Z1 shake-free. After them I can't watch video from lumia. Too shaky.

0 upvotes
Kaelis

Troll.

3 upvotes
MistyFog

@misterio
Are you sure you are not the one suffering from Parkinson's?

0 upvotes
Bervilat

No words on macro?

0 upvotes
HappyVan

Each system has its strengths and weaknesses. Play to its strength and avoid stressing its weaknesses.

A camera phone is mobile. FF may be the best for art pictures. Birding is best done with long telephoto lenses.

My experience is that macro is easiest done with lenses with nice manual focus control.

Each system has its natural strengths.

0 upvotes
Bervilat

Yes, one of the greatest strenghts of a phone's camera is that it can fit into places where no big camera (not even small point and shoots) can fit.
Having a close focus distance on the phone is a big plus for me and many more people.

0 upvotes
HappyVan

For Bervilat,

The Nikon AW110 has a smaller footprint than the Sony Experia S. And, the AW110 macro distance is according to B&H only Macro: 0.39" (1 cm) - Infinity .

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
TrojMacReady

But not many are leaving their phones at home when they bring the Nikon, which means that the AW110 just adds size to the existing phone.

1 upvote
HappyVan

Just put it in your other pocket. Balances out the phone.

0 upvotes
Noogy

I own a Nokia 1520. It is an amazing smartphone, for its camera and for watching videos during my travels. I own three DSLRs (one FF, two cropped), one mirrorless camera and a Galaxy Note 3 - that I eventually gave my wife. All criticisms hurled at DPR for doing this and towards the device itself - I had to personally use the phone for a few hours before I decided to buy one. It fits my usage model (60-70% business which means lots of emails, editing native MS Office files and web surfing). It is great for instant photo opportunities with friends when I don't have my DSLR with me. It takes HD videos like a number of other smartphones. It excels at everything I want it to do. I will never be rich enough for a smartphone to be custom-built for me :) But after using the Nokia 1520 for a month now, it's the closest smartphone that ever came to that! Thanks DPR for this review!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
9 upvotes
HappyVan

Don't take offence. No one said that the Nokia is a bad instrument. The issue I raised was whether DPR needs a separate mobility site, and to do 11 page reviews of just the camera.

0 upvotes
udris

DPR has and did so why did you bother to read and participate against your own better judgement.

7 upvotes
Ben O Connor

For over 3years I used an android 2.3 media device ( Sony Walkman Z.) and a year ago, upgraded it to android 4... It was alright thing for music media games etc. And internet where WiFi available.

January 2 I got my first smartphone and its a black Lumia 1520. It is freaking fast, while my one cored android Walkman just loading things 1520 has already open them. Camera is enough to defeat my Sony cyber shot W150 (from 2008) and Olympus Xz-1 in daylight. It get very close to my e-pm1 (for landscapes and portraits). Camera interface is very well specified. Its physical shutter button can take two shots sometime, but its only adjusting issue I believe.

after all, since 2014 there is a category called phablet and it is REAL. You don't carry your tablet everytime, and your phone is not read friendly if its screen smaller than 5". Nokia has made a great device I can recommend it to all, who can afford.

last word; dear Nokia, check optional accessories what Sony and Samsung offers for their phablets, and produce similar/better stuff. I'll buy them.

6 upvotes
SergioMO

Note 3 with 4k video and Spen is a monster ! No WP

0 upvotes
Ben O Connor

So you got a 4k tv/screen to enjoy that footage to enjoy (else than your phone) otherwise Full HD is way enough above 400Hz for my taste on my 40" tv.

0 upvotes
TSGames

I like the idea of 4K video since you can use a single frame of the footage as a whole image! You can also zoom in and have way more editing capabilities. I still don't get it why Canon/Nikon don't implement it into their DSLR, probably because they want to keep the market for "professional" videocams.

1 upvote
Juandante

It is a bit more complicated, actual cameras don't have a DSP enough powerfull or power efficient to reccord high bitrate 4K videos. It was the same story for last 1080.

Time end of this year, even September, you will start to have mass 4K DSLR on the shelves.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Digital Suicide

It's just way too big. That repels many potential buyers, I think. Else is great.

0 upvotes
Alexis D

Who cares? It's still not an Android phone, and it definitely is not an iPhone. So?

5 upvotes
vladimir vanek

Yes, that's exactly why people care. It's NOT Android (thanks God) and it's NOT iPhone. ;)

0 upvotes
HappyVan

Cor Blimey!

All this effort to review a camera phone? Really?

Congratulations! You have just established which camera phone is best. But, are you buying a phone just for the camera?

Get real.

3 upvotes
MistyFog

Yes, I bought my phone for its camera. Do you have a problem with that?

17 upvotes
HappyVan

For Misty,

The problem is not why you bought the phone. The issue is why DPR is spending scarce resources on these camera phone reviews.

It's cool to be trendy. But will these reviews build readership? Are there not countless technical and mobility sites already doing full reviews (communications, apps and photographic)?

1 upvote
dougster1979

90% of people who take photos use camera phones, silly DPR for trying to attract new readers!!

8 upvotes
Infms

DPReview is owned by Amazon.com so resources aren't exactly scarce.

And besides, this is the mobile photography section of DPReview so what else did you expect to find here?

4 upvotes
HappyVan

For dougster,

Actually, there was a hysterical thread in Open Talk Forum. Said that Canikon should make camera phones because that's where the customers were.

For Infrms,

I question whether DPR should have a Connect site. They are not experts on handphones. Don't offer a comprehensive analysis of handphones.

0 upvotes
udris

happyvan texts while walking

3 upvotes
dougster1979

"....Actually, there was a hysterical thread in Open Talk Forum. Said that Canikon should make camera phones because that's where the customers were."

Whats your point?

2 upvotes
vv50

"I question whether DPR should have a Connect site. They are not experts on handphones. Don't offer a comprehensive analysis of handphones." - your statement, while true, is irrelevant. DPR reviews cameras in phones only, no one said they look at all "handphones". show us another website that provides an 11-page comprehensive analysis of a phone's camera, and then tell us if you still question Connect's existence.

2 upvotes
HappyVan

For dougster

Read this...

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53052309

For w50,

Thing is that a short review with useful comments is enough for me.

http://www.techradar.com/us/reviews/phones/mobile-phones/nokia-lumia-1520-1191346/review/6#articleContent

http://reviews.cnet.com/smartphones/nokia-lumia-1520/4505-6452_7-35829228-2.html

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

Well, you get general info about phones from all those other sites, and a detailed analysis of the camera capabilities from us. What's bad about that? And what's a handphone? :)

6 upvotes
udris

happyvan seems to have his knickers in a knot ..........

2 upvotes
HappyVan

Lars,

The other sites look pretty detailed and knowledgeable.

Here's the important thing. DPR has good access to the camera brands and a network of contacts in the camera industry. Does Connect have the same with the phone manufactures, apps developers and mobility pundits?

IMO, the exciting longer term development is large sensor compacts. Once the price comes down, it's going to be hot. You could be networking and reviewing Sony A7 and Nikon A. There's upward mobility there?

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

give me one site that looks at the camera in as much detail as we do, I'd be very interested to have a look at it. Of course our reviews are targeted at the consumers who have a special interest in the camera, everyone else is probably satisfied with what they read on the the phone sites.

And yes, we have good access to phone manufacturers and contacts within this sector. I have personally been working hard on that over the past couple of years and I'd like to think I did a good job :)

3 upvotes
HappyVan

Lars,

I like the insights offered by the CNET guy. Short and to the point.

http://reviews.cnet.com/smartphones/nokia-lumia-1520/4505-6452_7-35829228-2.html

"Nokia's deep investment in outrageous optics continues in the Lumia 1520. Like other Nokia phones, the 1520 uses Carl Zeiss Optics and the PureView technology that Nokia is associating with its brand. There are ball bearings for effective optical image stabilization, and a dual-LED flash instead of the Xenon flash found in both Verizon's Lumia 928 and in the Lumia 1020.

You'll also find a backside-illuminated sensor and a f/2.4 aperture, 16:9 default aspect ratio, and 26mm focal length."

0 upvotes
vv50

"I like the insights offered by the CNET guy" - then people like you are grateful that there are sites that cater to your specific intellectual needs. the rest of the world should consider themselves lucky to receive your deep wisdom on how DPR is doing things wrong.

1 upvote
HappyVan

For W50,

There must be a minority who think that DPR can do no wrong! Hail Mary!

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

that quote could very well be from the press release. It's a list of specs, nothing else. If you buy your cameras based on specs only, then no, there's no need to read any reviews. If you want to know how the specs and PR blurb translate into real life camera performance, then I am confident our reviews are the best you can find.

3 upvotes
vv50

"There must be a minority who think that DPR can do no wrong!" - way to go making another irrelevant assertion in an attempt to sidetrack people from watching how your unwarranted criticism gets easily dismantled

1 upvote
HappyVan

Lars,

I hope that you are right.

Anyway, I started a discussion at Open Talk Forum. Do join in and give us the DPR perspective.

I'm pleased that the discussion has proceeded in a civil manner so far.

0 upvotes
MistyFog

@HappyVan

There's far more people taking pictures with their phones than with their dedicated cameras. By an overwhelming margin. And that gap is only going to get bigger and wider. So I'd say dpreview has made a very astute business move to cover mobile photography and establishing itself in a growing market.

Who knows, perhaps one day the dedicated camera industry might even collapse to the point of being an extreme hobbyist market. When that happens perhaps I might comment at dpreview questioning why is it still wasting precious resources to cater for people like you? ;)

Oh that cnet article. I'd much rather trust DPReview on camera review. Not that they could do no wrong, but just reading both review articles you should know which one is more comprehensive and which one is superficial. Although cnet is fond of taking pictures of cute chicks, this is something dpreview really needs to work on.

0 upvotes
Horshack

Raw support in a camera phone? The bell tolls for thee, P&S manufacturers.

3 upvotes
Lars Rehm

Well, that bell tolled some time ago!

8 upvotes
jnd

What's the point of RAW from 1/2.5 sensor?

2 upvotes
TrojMacReady

The point is more control. It's like wondering what the benefit of RAW is on an APS-C camera shooting at say ISO 1600 to ISO 6400. Noise/detail control, access to fully custom curves, WB, etc.

Without RAW access (had to wait for LR support back then) on my 1/2.5" sensor FZ18, output was so much worse and more limited. Like a different camera.

And before the usual mantra enters, it can be rewarding/worth it for a phone camera too, because it's often the only camera that is always with you. Not every shot might need RAW or extra processing (time). Choice is good.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
Juandante

Non sense.

If you go out and you find yourself having your phone as the only camera with you I don't thing you basically wanted to shoot in RAW, or you would have simply manage to bring your DSLR or dedicated camera.

Most of the time you take pictures with a phone is for unexpected moments, in wich case the picture will always be bad, RAW or not.

The only reason to shoot in RAW is when you are relax and want to take an artistic images, and any good photographer will prefer a real camera.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

well, let's say you did not bring your SLR and come across the incredibly, unexpected photo opportunity. I'd love to have Raw on my phone then and be able to optimize the image at home.

11 upvotes
Sonyshine

It would be an utterly brilliant phone if it ran Android....maybe it will now Microsoft has a new leader?

2 upvotes
Lars Rehm

Any MS CEO putting a Google OS on their smartphone seems pretty wild thinking :)

6 upvotes
Sonyshine

Maybe what Nokia needs to make a breakthrough is some wild thinking?

0 upvotes
halc

@Lars Rehm

The deal is almost finished and MS mobile phone unit (ex-Nokia) _IS_ shipping 3 Android phones in Asia.

So...

0 upvotes
Alphoid

I wish the Nokia phones would dual-boot Android and Windows Phone. I'd totally buy one of these models if I wasn't taking a risk on Windows but had a choice.

Alternatively, I wish some Android manufacturer would release a reasonable competitor.

It's funny. It seems like Nokia is hampered by Windows (since otherwise, almost all photographers would buy Nokia), and Windows is hampered by Nokia (who doesn't make the best hardware otherwise). If Microsoft had a strategy of choice on all handsets, it would work better for all involved.

Heck, if I got an Android+Windows phone, I'd at least try Windows. If Windows was better (and I've never used it, so aside from knowing how badly Windows sucks elsewhere, I have no idea), I'd switch to Windows.

3 upvotes
Lars Rehm

I actually think the Windows Phone OS works really well and the tile design is quite nice once you get used to it. It works especially well on the large screen of the 1520. It's really only the app availability that needs some improvement.

13 upvotes
YiannisPP

It's sooooooo tiring listening the same thing over and over again "it's no Android, so we don't want it". Like listening to 10 yr old kids. At some point you might realise that the WP8 OS is just as good as any out there and actually feels more modern than the rest.

9 upvotes
Lars Rehm

well, yeah it's not bad as an OS but no Snapseed, Pixlr, EyeEm not supported anymore, Instagram in beta etc etc just means that it's not as usueful a tool to mobile photographers, despite arguably the better hardware...which is a real shame.

0 upvotes
Ben O Connor

Fotor is a great and free app. Not a LR alternative maybe, but does many shinny/baby stuff as instagram does.

2 upvotes
Juandante

It's sooooooo tiring listening the same thing over and over again "it is Windows Phone, why don't you try it". Like listening to 10 yr old kids. At some point you might realise that the Android OS is the most complete system out there and actually is more customizable than the rest.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
BrunoH

"Android OS is the most complete system out there and actually is more customizable than the rest."

Really???

Do you really understand the difference between widgets and Live Tiles?

A family member wanted a smartphone and asked for the simplest one. She basically just wanted to speed dial her friends to start with...

On Windows Phone it was just a matter of uninstalling all the apps from the mobile operator (do that on Android!), then removing all live tiles from the start screen. Then we pinned her 10 favorite contacts to the start screen and finanlly added a manual Phone tile at the top. Presto, speed dial with built in functionality in seconds without downloading any apps.
She quickly learned then that the "magical" pinning button in all apps could create livet tiles from any info you have on your screen. Now she pins map locations, favorite songs and friends instagram feeds to her start screen. Again without need for downloading any extra widget apps...

0 upvotes
halc

Tried WP8.1. Horrible lack of basic functionality starting from basic copy/paste functions down to having a usable browser on the device (no, IE sucks for power users). And MS is not going to change that, they are not even exposing the full API to 3rd party users to make a decent browser on it.

The bluetooth stack, don't get me started...

3rd party device support - zilch, zero, zippo.

And MS has stated that WP8 device will not be compatible (fully) with WP9 and that WP8.x phones mostly will not get an upgrade to WP9.

WP9 is in 2015.

MS already broke most the compatibility with WP7->WP8 transition.

It's not the lack of apps, or bad quality apps, it's the lack of direction, trustworthiness and support of WP as whole.

If MS doesn't change that, they have no chance of succeeding.

0 upvotes
michael2011

Surprised it performs noticeably better than other phones including iPhone 5S which has a similarly sized sensor. My wife wants this phone and I now have no reservation recommending this.

Looking forward to your review on 1020's RAW capability...

BTW, your link to "Page 8: Image Quality Comparison (Bright Light" (and subsequent ones) takes me to a wrong page.

4 upvotes
Lars Rehm

thanks, fixed it.

You must be one of the three people following me on twitter :)

3 upvotes
Bilgy_no1

Actually, the sensor in the iPhone is not the same size as in the Nokia: 1/3" vs 1/2.5". Not a huge difference, but still the Nokia is capturing more light with its bigger sensor.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 98
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