Not impressed with photos from lumia 1020...am I doing it wrong?

Todd Robinson

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Hi all,

Last September my wife had to get a new phone. She loves taking photos and has a dslr camera she uses alot. I convinced her to get a lumia 1020, because of the reviews about the camera and how great it was at photos (including some reviews that said it was pretty close to a dslr). However, 3 months later my wife and I are unimpressed. I myself have a 1520 and find my pictures come out quicker (already knew about the lag) and better than hers. Sometimes her camera will freeze and she has to shut down the whole phone. Anyways, she has problems with her photos being blurry in almost all of those taken. Any kind of moving shot results in bluriness as well Also using the reframe option after taking photos I thought that one could zoom in with little to no loss in picture, but have not been able to duplicate the results seen in reviews and here. What are we doing wrong? Is there some settings we need to fiddle with? Do we always need to manually adjust the ISO and shutterspeeds etc to get good pics? Any help or your photos with the settings would be greatly appreciated and may keep my wife using a windows phone.

Thanks in advance.
 

Nick_1020

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Hi..

any chance you can upload a few examples please?

You will get best results from manual settings as you will be able to set up the 1020 to match the conditions. That said, automatic mode produces fine pictures more often than not. Are you using a tripod for the moving shots? The OIS on the 1020 is ok but there's a limit with what it can do.

As for the freezing, it sometimes happens on mine. If it happens too frequently for your wife, it may be an idea to try a factory reset as that may help getting things working as they should.
 

Penny_1

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I don't have a 1020, so I'm not sure exactly how this works, but the 1020 can be set to take 5 MP shots that use the full 41 MP sensor and basically supersample the raw data to produce a very sharp 5 MP shot. So, step one, I would be shooting in that mode.

Second, the vast majority of blur you are going to get in shots is from motion blur. It is really hard to stabilize a dinky little phone compared to the hefty and balanced dSLRs we are used to using. Test out two situations to see if the camera is at least capable of producing sharp images: try taking a photo in bright lighting conditions to ensure that the camera will select a fast shutter speed, and try setting the phone down on a table or leaning against something to see if the image will be as sharp as you'd like when there is no motion.

Finally, if the camera is shooting in auto and selects a high ISO, that can also lead to softness in the photo. These phone camera sensors are not like dedicated cameras, so ISO performance is not going to be good in general (comparatively).

Because we know the phone is capable of taking very sharp photos, you have to try to eliminate motion blur and high ISO to see if you can get the results you want out of it. If not, then it simply is not going to live up to your expectations. And coming from a dSLR, you would be hard-pressed to be impressed by a phone's images. You have to keep in mind that the comparison should probably be with other phones, and not your dSLR.
 

Ed Boland

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For moving shots, try using the Xenon flash and either keep it on "auto" or speed up the shutter. Anything longer than like 1/1600 of a second should need a tripod IMO. Changing ISO isn't going to do anything for the blurry photos, (unless you're taking low light pics) that only controls the amount of light.
 

Todd Robinson

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I don't have a 1020, so I'm not sure exactly how this works, but the 1020 can be set to take 5 MP shots that use the full 41 MP sensor and basically supersample the raw data to produce a very sharp 5 MP shot. So, step one, I would be shooting in that mode.

How does one set the camera to only take 5 MP shots? I'll also try using the Xenon flash or speeding up the shutter, but I thought that washes out the photo or is the Xenon flash different.

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll try to get my wife to upload some of the photos to this thread.
 

Ed Boland

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How does one set the camera to only take 5 MP shots? I'll also try using the Xenon flash or speeding up the shutter, but I thought that washes out the photo or is the Xenon flash different.

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll try to get my wife to upload some of the photos to this thread.

While in Lumia Camera Classic, hit the three dot menu (...) then choose "settings". From there, you'll see a menu to choose 5MP, 5MP + 16MP and so forth...

wp_ss_20141212_0002.png
 

DJCBS

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The bluriness may be a problem with the phones OIS. As it's mechanical it may be a hardware problem.

HOWEVER, I should point out that Cyan basically not only didn't add anything to the 1020, it ruined its camera quality. The phone now overblows the light-sources and has become a lot more difficult to work with and get good pictures.
Actually I was so frustrated with the degradation of quality because of Cyan that I bought a Nokia 808 PureView to replace the 1020.
 

Jakez98

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I own a Lumia 1020 for over a year now, and its ability to capture images with outstanding details still amazes me, even in extreme low light situations. Although video recording performance pales in comparison to the iPhone 6 Plus. I've had 1 freezes since I own it, after a Developer Preview update a few months ago. A reboot solved the problem for me.

If you are still having random freezes, try a factory reset to rule out if it's a software issue, especially if you are not on the official release of WP8.1 and firmware build. If that doesn't help, take it to the nearest service center. It might be a defective hardware after all.
 

Arup Roy Chowdhury

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I have Z3, have had Z2, Z1c and have loved its camera when I set it right and take 20.7MP shots but no way can it come close to my Lumia 1020. Also with latest update, even regular shots are best that no camera can get for now.
 

tanya shah1

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The bluriness may be a problem with the phones OIS. As it's mechanical it may be a hardware problem.

HOWEVER, I should point out that Cyan basically not only didn't add anything to the 1020, it ruined its camera quality. The phone now overblows the light-sources and has become a lot more difficult to work with and get good pictures.
Actually I was so frustrated with the degradation of quality because of Cyan that I bought a Nokia 808 PureView to replace the 1020.

yep basically portico had the best camera quality for most lumias(Lumia 1020 shipped with amber which is the best version for 1020 camera)
amber ruined camera quality for most lumias(except 1020)
black improved camera quality a bit
cyan improved it alot for most lumias(dunno about 1020)
alot of 808 users complain that 1020 has tinting issues etc though its by no means bad,just a bit of a downgrade over the 808
 

msirapian

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Hi, my contribution about the 1020.

First things first, about the freezes. There is a bug, that has been reported to Nokia and now Microsoft Imaging. Symptom is: shutter remains open, it's "saving..." forever, and no camera app can take control of the camera. Only way to fix it is a restart. We (=bunch of 1020 mobile photographers) have discovered that uninstall the official Twitter app helps a lot (reduces the frequency of the bug). I hope Denim or that special 925/1020 FW fix will solve this.

Then for the bluriness, etc. I ALWAYS shoot in RAW and manual. You don't need to play with ISO (unless you're in a church, etc. and want to limit the high ISO noise). Since this summer, the focus to infinity works pretty badly. I instead use manual focus, tapping on the brightest spot (which also helps a lot to expose correctly).

Most of the time, I only play with the exposure dial; in some specific conditions, I will set the shutter speed.

The 1020 is not a DSLR. People saying that don't know how to use a DSLR, with all due respect. It's not because someone is using a DSLR that he or she instantly understands exposure, aperture and shutter speed. So for those who use DSLR as a P&S compact camera, yes, the 1020 in on par. Those who use a DSLR as a pro (that I'm not , and I don't have a DSLR to prove it lol), don't expect the 1020 to be a rival.

Now on the Xenon flash. You have to know that if you force the shutter speed on faster than 1/1000 (shorter exposure time), than the flash won't burst because it won't have the time to sync the flash with the shutter (source: Juha Alakarhu, Nokia/MS Imaging).

Finally, about what the firmwares bring to the table. When I shoot in RAW, the .DNG files have 2 bugs: not geotagged and they contain a pre-filled "(C) 2012 Nokia Corporation" copyright field. These 2 bugs have been reported to MS; they corrected the copyright one, but for the geotagging (JPG is correctly geotagged), the answer was "We weren't allowed to modify the camera part in Cyan". Understand: firmware-wise, Cyan didn't touch the camera department. Denim will. Whilst we won't get a new Lumia Camera (we'll stay at 4.9, when newer devices will enjoy 5.0), I hope the firmware will fix these old bugs, including that freeze bug mentioned above.

Hope this helps. And you can check my flickr stream to see that (according to me), you can capture awesome pics with this little wonder named 1020: https://www.flickr.com/photos/n8_massis/
 

DJCBS

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I instead use manual focus, tapping on the brightest spot (which also helps a lot to expose correctly).

Cyan actually ruined the handling of the exposure to light on my 1020. Tapping the brightest spot is the best way to shoot scenes with skies with clouds in it.
Before Cyan you could tap the bright spot in the sky and then adjust the exposure manually further.
After Cyan, you can tap at will the sky that it will give you little effect. To achieve the same results as before Cyan, I have to bring exposure down to -3. Except before you didn't need to do it unless you wanted to bring exposure even less down.

Understand: firmware-wise, Cyan didn't touch the camera department. Denim will. Whilst we won't get a new Lumia Camera (we'll stay at 4.9, when newer devices will enjoy 5.0), I hope the firmware will fix these old bugs, including that freeze bug mentioned above.

Actually, when it comes to the 1020, it did. Denim won't. Juha has so confirmed. Denim will bring nothing to phones outside the x30 series (exception made to the 1520). You'll get a re-branded app and that's it.

I haven't heard anything about a specific firmware update to the 1020/92x. Care to provide some links?


Yes, you can capture awesome pictures with the Nokia 1020. As far as phones go, only the 808 will do even better. There's no question about it. But the imaging quality has suffered with the latest updates from Microsoft. There's no way around that.
 

Arup Roy Chowdhury

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I have both the 808 and 1020, in low light the 1020 fares way better and my tests as well as other tests done by many sites have proved that conclusively. When I first bought the 1020, I was quite disappointed but with the black update and its awesome low light work it began to grown on me and when I did some RAW DNG shots and processed them with Raw Therapee, the 808 finally had met its match. Also in out of box sharpness in many comparisons done, the 1020 edges ahead but that also could be sharpening via processing and that may or may not be to many's taste.
 

msirapian

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To achieve the same results as before Cyan, I have to bring exposure down to -3. Except before you didn't need to do it unless you wanted to bring exposure even less down.

I can't reproduce what you describe at all, specially with such an extreme value (-3 EV). And I've shot a lot of contre-jour or complex scenes in terms of light/shadows. This being said, I sometime adjust the exposure, but never more than -1EV.

Actually, when it comes to the 1020, it did. Denim won't. Juha has so confirmed. Denim will bring nothing to phones outside the x30 series (exception made to the 1520). You'll get a re-branded app and that's it.

I haven't heard anything about a specific firmware update to the 1020/92x. Care to provide some links?

I think 2 things are confused here. The "under the hood" changes, and the app changes. Yes, 1020 won't get a new Lumia Camera, that's what I wrote. But I was talking about the abilities brought by the FW. Like Black brought RAW. Just a Nokia Camera update wasn't enough.

So what Juha said is that for the camera part, they weren't allowed to touch these camera parts in Cyan (it was his response when we asked why the 2 bugs I've mentioned in my original message were not fixed). And as a matter of fact, we had nothing new in Cyan, photography-wise? I mean, you don't know if it's Cyan or Nokia Camera which ruined what we had (like focus accuracy). I noted these problems of focus this summer, and I was till on Black (but with the latest Nokia Camera at that time).

So that's how Juha explains that the RAWs geotagging bug wasn't fixed even if it was reported just after Black: "we weren't allowed to touch these parts of the FW".

Now Juha said: no new features, no Lumia Camera v5 for the 1020, fair enough. But he never said that the FW wouln't improve/fix some low-level bugs (which is what I was suggesting). File it under "bug fix and general improvement", but that can be reached only by a FW update, not a SW/app update. He never said it would fix, though, but we're not asking for a Lumia Camera V5, just closing some bug reports. After all, MS are releasing a FW update (Cyan) specially for the 925 and the 1020 because of a freeze issue (not camera related), so why Denim wouldn't have some bug fixing code for the 1020?

Yes, you can capture awesome pictures with the Nokia 1020. As far as phones go, only the 808 will do even better. There's no question about it. But the imaging quality has suffered with the latest updates from Microsoft. There's no way around that.

Yes and no. I have the 808 and love it. But I find the 1020, even now, with Cyan etc., to be more versatile. Mainly because of OIS and RAW flexibility.
But then I don't think this will help the OP ^_^
 

DJCBS

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I can't reproduce what you describe at all, specially with such an extreme value (-3 EV). And I've shot a lot of contre-jour or complex scenes in terms of light/shadows. This being said, I sometime adjust the exposure, but never more than -1EV.

Try capturing a semi-cloudy sky. I noted it in my latest trip to the Netherlands. To try and capture some windmills at dusk I had to reduce it completely otherwise the light between the clouds would over-blow the sky. A few months before I had no problems with the same sort of setting in England (only change was castles instead of windmills).
The only thing that changed between the trips was the firmware. From Black to Cyan. There was no update to the Nokia Camera then (nor thereafter, apart from the rebranding).

That's why I say that only Cyan could have ruined the imaging. I only use the 1020 as a dedicated camera. And the only thing that changed between England and the Netherlands was the firmware. The app rebranding just came after that.

Now Juha said: no new features, no Lumia Camera v5 for the 1020, fair enough. But he never said that the FW wouln't improve/fix some low-level bugs (which is what I was suggesting). File it under "bug fix and general improvement", but that can be reached only by a FW update, not a SW/app update. He never said it would fix, though, but we're not asking for a Lumia Camera V5, just closing some bug reports. After all, MS are releasing a FW update (Cyan) specially for the 925 and the 1020 because of a freeze issue (not camera related), so why Denim wouldn't have some bug fixing code for the 1020?

Juha said nothing would be done to the 1020 in Denim. Not even speed improvements or anything. And since Microsoft has already killed the 1020, I highly doubt they spent any time correcting or improving anything.
Again, I never read anything about that special FW update to the 1020. Care to share some links?


Yes and no. I have the 808 and love it. But I find the 1020, even now, with Cyan etc., to be more versatile. Mainly because of OIS and RAW flexibility.

On the other hand the 808 doesn't have tint issues. OIS would have been nice but I use the Z3C as a daily driver so I'm used to not having it now. RAW I never shoot in as I shoot a lot of pictures and don't have time to individually work each of them. Not only that, the 1020 doesn't have enough memory for me to be able to shoot RAW and cloud solutions aren't an option to me.

But yeah, we're getting too technical here. Though I think it also helps the OP to understand that the imaging degrading in the 1020 is a more widely spread problem and so it's probably not entirely its fault. ;P
 

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