With 41 Megapixels, the Nokia Lumia 1020 Smartphone Bets Big on Photos

It's not the first megapixel-heavy phone we've heard about from Nokia, but this one might actually have a shot in the U.S.

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Nokia is hoping you want to take better photos with your smartphone and that to do so, you’re willing to pay $300 with a two-year AT&T contract for the privilege. Oh, and you’ll need to get comfortable with Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform as well.

This isn’t the first megapixel-heavy phone we’ve heard about from Nokia. More than a year ago, the company rolled out the 41-megapixel 808 PureView. By most accounts, the phone took great photos, but the fact that it ran the Symbian operating system (and was the final Nokia phone to do so) made it somewhat of a non-starter. At the time the PureView 808 was released, I wondered if Nokia would “eventually merge this camera technology into future Windows Phone products…as the company‚Äôs partnership with Microsoft continues moving forward.”

It looks like that’s exactly what’s going on with the Nokia Lumia 1020, announced today at a press event in New York. Like the 808, the Lumia 1020 will feature a 41-megapixel camera, along with a few extras. As The Verge reports, “Nokia’s brought two significant improvements to the Lumia 1020 that weren’t present in the 808 PureView: a backside-illuminated sensor and optical image stabilization…Combined, the two should help the Lumia 1020 offer pretty great low-light performance.”

As with the 808 PureView, the 41-megapixel camera feature may sound like overkill, but it actually uses up to seven pixels to capture a single pixel in finished photos, which get cobbled together into far more manageable 5-megapixel files. All those extra pixels let you zoom in and out (both before and after you take a picture) without losing as much image quality as you’d lose with a standard smartphone camera.



The optional Lumia 1020 camera grip accessory

There’s a natural assumption that semi-serious to very serious photographers might be interested in this handset and, as such, Nokia’s camera app features several manually-adjustable settings: “flash, focus, ISO, shutter speed, white balance and exposure,” according to AT&T’s press release. There’s even an optional camera grip that “snaps on the phone to mimic the feel of an actual camera and includes extra battery power, shutter button and a universal tripod mount,” says AT&T.

No word on how much the camera grip accessory will cost but, as previously mentioned, the Nokia Lumia 1020 will cost $300 with a two-year AT&T contract. It’ll be an AT&T exclusive and available starting July 26.

Nokia Lumia 1020: 41-Megapixel, Low-Light Camera Smartphone [AT&T]