Nokia Lumia 1020

The Verge: After Nokia announced the 808 PureView, PureView meant the absolute best camera system on a phone. With the Lumia 900, 920, and 925 Nokia destroyed the PureView brand and brought it down from best to mere better than most. Now with the Lumia 1020 PureView again means the absolute best imaging system on a smartphone.

The 808 PureView gave us a taste of what digital zoom should have been but was imprisoned inside a dumb phone. Windows Phone 8, and specifically the Nokia Pro Camera app, liberates the 41-megapixel beast in the Lumia 1020. In addition to the massive image sensor* Nokia stuffed a number of advanced features into the imaging system: optical image stabilization with ball bearings, ZEISS optics with six lens elements, and the Nokia Pro Camera app. The Pro Camera app features an option for four-second exposures, manual focus with bokeh, and controls for shutter speed, EV value, ISO, and white balance.

Smartphones have been grabbing market share where compact cameras once reigned. If you’re already a smartphone user, except for maybe the highest-end compact cameras such as the Sony RX-100, the Lumia 1020 allows you to ditch the compact camera. What I like most about the Lumia 1020 is the ability to take the shot first, and if I need to, zoom in later without worrying about image quality.

* The 808 PureView sported a slightly larger 1/1.2-inch image sensor compared to the 1/1.5-inch image sensor in the Lumia 1020.