Who cannot help but laugh at the breathless excitement over doing “serious” photography with a smartphone, with or without any gimmicky filters, right? Yet today we have serious photographers, including some leading photojournalists, doing assignments with crappy iPhones, making the resulting photos technically even worse by using gimmick filters and post processing add-ons that produce the look of badly processed, faded color films from the 1970s. And then there are the really serious smartphone shooters like National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez whose recent camera of choice is a Nokia Lumia 1020. Ridiculous? See for yourself.
Critics have hailed the Lumia 1020 as the probably greatest smartphone camera ever, and here is what a professional photographer makes of it. Alvarez takes you to America’s iconic West, one of the world’s probably most beautiful landscapes for photography. Add the Lumia:
Alvarez has used a lot of smartphones. There’s never been anything like the Lumia 1020, he says:
The Nokia Lumia 1020 performed like a DSLR under every condition — from low light to moving airplanes.
Alvarez is not only not constrained by the physical bulk of a DSLR. He demonstrates how you can control focus, shutter speed, exposure and white balance just like you would with a DSLR camera.
Overall, he found himself being much more creative with this little phone than he might be with his DSLR. Propaganda?
And have a look at Nokia’s On Assignment With the Lumia 1020 microsite where you can see the full selection of images.
Nokia seems to have nailed it when it comes to smartphone photography. Find more on the Zeiss optics and OIS here. Add the Lumia’s rich recording abilities handling sound pressure levels six times louder than conventional smartphone microphones.
While I wouldn’t say these high-res samples are a pixel peeper’s wet dream. Zoomed in the mushy artifacts could bother. Alvarez insists the quality is good enough for professional use:
The Nokia Lumia 1020’s Pro-Camera mode gives me complete control over all the functions in an easy to use interface. I can manually set shutter speed, ISO, and white balance so I can get the picture exactly where I want it. With the 41-megapixel sensor I can take in wide expanses and get results that are good enough for professional use.
Here’s another promotional video. Alvarez’ doubts are gone. Certainly a nice-to-have smartphone camera. But DSLRish?
+++ Update: Also have a look at Nokia’s dedicated photography microsite — for instance On Shoot With Bruce Weber, David Bailey and the Nokia Lumia 1020.