Nokia Lumia 1020 – Smart phone photography

A few months ago we were contacted by the lovely Nokia folk on Twitter. They had noticed I was interested in the Nokia Lumia 1020 after seeing the lovely Xanthe take hers on a photo trip. Her photography has always inspired me and I loved that there was now a smart phone camera which allowed photographers to improve their smart phone photography to another level. We were offered a ten day trial to put the phone through it’s paces and to decide if a move away from our iPhones was the way forward.

Anyone who follows our blog, Twitter or Instagram, will know that I love photography. I’ve been using my phone to take photos since cameras were added to phones. Remember those shocking blurry cameras on the first mobile phones? I still have photos somewhere. When I got my first iPhone my love of smart phone photography began. It’s said that the best camera you have is the one you have on you and more often than not this is the camera on my phone.


What appealed to me about the Nokia Lumia 1020, was it’s 41 megapixel camera sensor and Full HD video. I take a large amount of photos on my iPhone 5 which has an 8 megapixel camera. So as you can imagine, I was expected a HUGE difference in shots captured. The phone arrived with a handy camera grip, which has a 1020mAh built-in rechargeable battery, allowing for 55 minutes more shoot time. The camera grip made the phone quite heavy, but if going away or on a photo walk, the camera grip helps you grab those extra shots without your battery dying. It also allows you to grip the phone better, which is great when filming, as sometimes it can be tricky to prevent the natural shake that occurs when holding a camera.


I was really impressed with the shots I was able to capture with the Nokia Lumia 1020. It took me a few minutes to work out the features which allow you to control your ISO and other manual settings, but once I’d worked it out I was really impressed. The phone also comes with a feature which allows you to take a series of photos and merge them into one shot. This is great if you are into extreme sports or trying to capture a child’s first steps. Although I didn’t really get to grips with this feature, I think this was more down to me than the phone.

The colours captured were nice and bright and quite striking, which is important in my photography. I love capturing colour and really felt the Lumia 1020 did this well.


The Lumia 1020 operates on Windows Phone, which is easy enough to get used to, but caused me a little frustration as I’m so used to the iOS operating system. I felt the App store was a bit of a let down. I couldn’t get any of the apps I use on my iPhone to edit images and didn’t find one I could use to replicate my processing style. This is something I was told is currently being improved, as more apps are added to the store each week. I would think with such an advancement in smart phone photography in a phone, there would be a requirement for some top of the range editing apps.

I loved the phone layout, I was able to place all the apps I used frequently on the main screen and could place them at various sizes. All the social media and entertainment apps I use, were available in the app store and worked just as well as apps I’m used to.


Clara put the Nokia Mix radio app through it’s paces, thanks to a code from Nokia which allowed us to test the premium upgrade. Nokia Mix radio works in a similar way to Spotify, which I’m a big fan of, but not so keen of the subscription price. Mix radio is sort of like a radio station that personalises the music it plays depending on what you like. The more frequently you listen, the better it gets at playing music you like. In the free version of Mix Radio, you are only permitted a set amount of skips per playlist and offline playlists. The premium service provides this unlimited for a small monthly fee. I would see myself paying for the premium service as we both listen to a lot of music and feel it would save us quite a bit on downloads.

Photos taken with the Nokia Lumia 1020

Prices for the Nokia Lumia 1020 start from £349.95 for PAYG or £27.99 on a monthly contract.

I loved the camera and felt it was probably the best I’d ever used on a smart phone, but I found the lack of editing apps put me off. If I could take my apps across from my current phone I would be happy. I’m currently trialing the Nokia Lumia 930, which I’m really liking, so make sure you check back to see how I got on with that.

*We were sent this phone for a ten day trial. All views and opinions are our own.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. mummydaddyme Reply

    This is a really interesting review, I had this phone for a while and Mr E has it now because I just didn’t get on with the camera. I ADORED it for video, it was just incredible and so sharp but I found the slight delay on the camera not so good for trying to capture photos of my kids. And yes the lack of editing apps really put me off as well. x

    • My Two Mums Reply

      I would have to agree. The slight delay is frustrating and I failed to mention that. But it will be mentioned in my review of the 930. I mostly used the 1020 for landscape shots, but have been putting the 930 to the test with more family style shots and it’s got too much of a delay for my liking. But I do love the clarity and colours. The video is great though and even more so on the 930 as it’s screen is larger, which is great for playback. I’m still in the iPhone camp though, those apps are a must for me.

  2. Donna Wishart Reply

    I have had an iphone for a good few years now and find using a Windows or Android phone really difficult because I’m so use to my iPhone! x

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