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October 28, 2013

Nokia Lumia 1520 pushes the boundaries of imaging

Nokia continues to drive photography innovation with a 20-megapixel oversampling camera optimized for use in this high-end, 6-inch screen smartphone.

Nokia continues to drive photography innovation with a 20-megapixel oversampling camera optimized for use in this high-end, 6-inch screen smartphone.

Last week Nokia announced the Nokia Lumia 1520, its first 6-inch smartphone running Windows Phone 8 featuring a 20-megapixel PureView camera and a wealth of imaging innovations that make it easier than ever before to capture high quality pictures and video that will make you say “Wow.”

The PureView magic

The 20-megapixel PureView image sensor on the Nokia Lumia 1520 is 50 per-cent larger than the sensors in most other smartphones – this means it collects a lot more light.  The high-resolution sensor is combined with top quality optics, 6-element Zeiss lens, to produce crystal clear images.

The Lumia 1520 also has optical image stabilization (OIS) that dramatically improves the low light performance, removes hand-shake from photos, and makes videos really smooth, and professional-looking.

The 20-megapixel camera also has one of the brightest dual LED flashes in the market, and we have also new technology to make the flash colors natural.

It supports 1080p HD video recording at 30 frames per second (fps) and has a lossless zoom – 4x for 720p videos, 3x for 1080p videos and 2x for still photos.

Like the Nokia Lumia 1020, the Lumia 1520 also uses Nokia proprietary oversampling technology, combining the pixels in the image to generate incredibly beautiful and sharp pictures.

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“The Lumia 1520 uses similar oversampling technology as we have in the Lumia 1020, although the oversampling ratio is higher in the Lumia 1020,” says Juha Alakarhu, the head of imaging technologies at Nokia, with a smile in his face.

“However, we have actually significantly improved the capture algorithms since the first software version on Lumia 1020, so for example, the noise levels are further reduced in the new algorithms. Just take a look at the 5-megapixel oversampled photos: they are sharp, natural, and low noise. The oversampling technology really makes this 20-megapixel sensor ‘alive’”

“As we said a couple of years ago, it’s not the amount of megapixels but how you use them.”

“It’s really wonderful that we have brought the innovations from our imaging flagship device, the Lumia 1020, to a new screen size so that more and more people can enjoy our signature PureView magic.”

New apps and innovations

Another innovation that makes the videos unbelievably good is the new Nokia Rich Recording audio technology with four high performance microphones. Two pairs of these new digital microphones are used to capture directional stereo, which means that Lumia 1520 can capture crystal clear audio from the direction that you are recording while suppressing unwanted surrounding noise and echo.

The Lumia 1520 also introduces updates to the camera controls, making it faster and easier to capture the best images with your preferred settings. For starters, the Lumia 1520 features the new Nokia Camera app that beautifully integrates easy automatic mode and the controls found in Nokia Pro Camera and Nokia Smart Camera into one remarkable picture taking experience.


“We have listened to the user feedback when we created the Nokia Camera. For example you can quickly switch between camera modes (Smart, single photo, and video) directly from the camera viewfinder. We also have very elegant and easy-to-use automatic mode, in addition to the powerful Pro mode. Also the flash control is significantly simplified,” Juha says.

The Pro mode in the Lumia 1520 includes all the easy-to-use settings found in the Lumia 1020 and helps you to change focus and adjust shutter speed, white balance and other settings usually reserved for the professional photographer. You simply change one setting and Pro mode shows you how the picture changes, and how the other settings change along with it. And, like the Lumia 1020, you can edit, zoom and reframe your pictures to show a completely different perspective to your shot.

We have also introduced a host of other homegrown apps that will make capturing and sharing pictures easier than ever.

And finally, in another first announced last week, when using the Lumia 1520 (and soon on the Nokia Lumia 1020, too), you will have the option to save your photos as uncompressed RAW files (in the “DNG” format) that you can then transfer to your computer or laptop and edit with your preferred software package such as Adobe Lightroom. This is great news for photography pros and enthusiasts and another example on how we’re bridging the gap between professional and smartphone photography. You can read more about RAW later.

Of course the Lumia 1520 isn’t just about the still images, either. With its 6-inch screen, you are going to want to capture – and watch – video, too. To ensure you are getting the best possible video experience, the Nokia Lumia 1520 camera captures full 1080p HD video with 3x lossless zoom. Equally important, the phone also boasts Nokia Rich Recording technology with four high-performance digital microphones, providing directional stereo recording capability to capture distortion-free audio for accurate and clear sound.

I want it and I want it now

If you don’t have a Lumia 1520, don’t fret. These new imaging innovations along with many other new features will be coming to other Nokia Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone 8 as a part of the latest software update, called Lumia Black.


“The Lumia Black update will include lot of improvements in the image quality too, based on the feedback we’ve received from our Lumia owners,” Juha concludes. “I’d like to use this opportunity to thank all the people who have sent us so much detailed feedback and improvement ideas – we appreciate it a lot! ”

The update, including the latest Windows Phone update from Microsoft, is expected to begin rolling out in early 2014.

Flick through the gallery of pictures captured with the Lumia 1520 to see what it’s capable of.

 (click on each picture to see the high-resolution image).