Lumia 1020 and Pro Cam app

For the last 10 days, I have been trialling the Lumia 1020. It comes in an awesome cylindrical box that looks like a giant zoom lens. Of course they could have packed the whole thing in more compact cylindrical box but that’s a different thing. the box is charcoal grey – again I’d have preferred something deeper darker black.

But the box was opened in no time and the phone was peeled off without second thoughts. You want unboxing videos, go to YouTube.

Two things struck at the first glance…

  1. Camera bump is quiet wide.. 3 cm in diameter. its about a 2 mm or so in thickness..
  2. The body reminds me of Lumia 800 – the tapered edges, curved glass. The feel is very matt – unlike Lumia 920

WP_20130920_18_49_48_Pro

WP_20130920_18_52_14_Pro

As a result of the bump, the positioning of device on horizontal surface leaves much to be desired. I occasionally use the phone while it’s on table or breakfast bar.. nope the circular design of the bump means that it’s not stable and clatters while in use.

Also at work I plug the device for testing whilst I am developing. The device depending upon where you placed it rests on the bump – which can be a good thing depending upon how you see it but it’s still not stable.

Weight wise it is somewhere between Lumia 925 and Lumia 920. You have to remember that 920 has Induction charging circuits which 925 and 1020 lack. 925 is also lighter because of aluminium frame.

Now we know it’s all about the camera with 1020 – it sure is grand. By default pro-cam is now set to be the default lens. Nokia is selling pro-cam and the concept of reframing which isn’t too bad – however I am not a big fan of how low-res + high-res images are managed on 1020. This feels like a hack and it shows. To me it feels a big departure from previous Windows Phone experience.

Additionally the high res CMOS comes with an increased in minimum focus distance. It’s now at least 20+ cm. having done a macro series with 925, I can’t believe how hard it has been to get macro focus without using digital zoom. Sure 1020 can do a 3x digital zoom without loss of quality but that defeats the purpose.

So what is so wrong with Pro-cam? Well Pro-cam takes a 34 / 38 mega pixel picture and save to Camera Roll (with some tweak possibly direct move without photo lib API). It then resizes the image to 5 meg and saves that camera roll as well but this time with knowledge of photo lib.

This just means that there are two files in camera roll when you plug it into a PC – however the photo library has no clue about the high res version. And since it has no clue, the high res image is not synced with skydrive. The low-res image is uploaded to skydrive. Now you could say.. nothing wrong with this!!. Let me tell you this, I have been using 920 / 925 as a point and shoot replacement – skydrive uploads full 8.7 megapixel pic and I hardly ever plug my device to copy pictures out. Most of the times, checking skydrive is a tiny bit easier and faster. 1020’s camera experience spoils that fun.

I was sufficiently annoyed to pen an email to Stephen Elop which he kindly replied to. And having gotten so far, I decided to write my own app that would be like stock app but take high res pictures. In a few mins, I had a sample working and it was copying high res to camera roll using photo lib API.

All this time I had assumed that pro-cam behaviour was purely because WP Dev team couldn’t fix the API. I was so wrong that I penned another email to Stephen Elop. I do not expect an answer for that.

The stock windows phone camera still works however it has no idea about supported high resolutions and will continue shooting at 8.7 megapixels. Do I think stock app will be updated. sure it can be updated and should have been updated by Microsoft, If GDR3 doesn’t fix that, we will have to wait for Windows Phone 8.1

I will be returning the trial 1020. Not sure I want this device right now. Might consider waiting for 1520.

If you really want 34 / 38 megapixel pictures, get used to pro-cam or get a 3rd party app – mine should be out in a few weeks.

2 thoughts on “Lumia 1020 and Pro Cam app

  1. Besides the camera and weight, is there anything else of note different from the 925? What about battery life? I’ve heard some reports that it’s worse than on the 925.

    • the other note worthy thing is that its got double the memory (2GB instead of 1GB of other models) as compared to 920 / 925. Some apps feel smoother e.g. twitter app feels great.

      One odd behaviour I noticed was that some app (including stock apps) take longer to rehydrate.

      Battery life isn’t much different between 920 / 925 or 1020

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