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January 12, 2014


Photography – Toronto Harbourfront (2013)

by Master Pillow

Considering the fact that my few photography-centric posts seem to be quite popular I’ve decided to keep trekking along with them.   I chose to shoot some quick shots of my hometown, namely Toronto, except the goal this time around isn’t to ram them through post-processing in Instagram but merely to present them as is.  The reason is simple: I’m now using a Nokia Lumia 1020 as my primary smartphone and that means it is time to check this monstrous 41 mega-pixel camera out.

Note: This post was originally scheduled for last year but got stuck in my outbox so it’s really late!

First off, I have to say that I have always been a supporter of Windows Phone starting with my Samsung Focus and HTC Surround back when Windows Phone 7 launched.  Sure, the OS isn’t exactly selling in the same realm as iOS or Android but it has shown huge strides in certain global markets, in some cases leapfrogging Apple into second place.  However, it has next to no marketshare in the countries that “count” namely America and China where it languishes in the low single digits.


That really is too bad as the OS is fluid as butter and simple to navigate.  Nevertheless, this is a photography post and not a technology/hardware review of Windows Phone.  Needless to say, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is arguably the company’s current flagship unless you count the gigantic 6-inch Lumia 1520 phablet.  Running the latest version of Windows Phone 8 it has garnered much press from the mainstream media not because of the operating system but rather the huge 41 mega-pixel Pureview camera.

I will say right off the bat that serious photographers are NOT going to suddenly dump their DSLRs for the Lumia 1020 as that would be absurd but it makes for an incredibly compelling secondary device.  There are obviously moments when lugging a DSLR around is not feasible or convenient and a device like the Lumia 1020 is perfect in this regards as it serves as both a smartphone and handy point-and-shoot.  It certainly makes me wish I had it while I was in New York on vacation instead of my iPhone 5/Lumia 920 combo.

Anyways, here are a few shots I took of Toronto’s Harbourfront while I was down there one weekend.  For the sake of bandwidth these shots are all taken from the Lumia 1020’s downsized 5MB jpegs.  The Lumia 1020 is unique in that each shot essentially causes two files to be saved to memory, one of which is the full hi-res version of the shot which usually ranges from 9-15 MB in size and the other is a 3-5 MB downsized jpeg of the same shot that is much smaller and more manageable to post to services like Instagram or Facebook.

While this is a great feature it also has to be said that it causes camera lag as it takes about 3 seconds to save each shot meaning photographers have to adjust their picture taking practices or else end up missing certain events.  The camera has 2 GB RAM but perhaps Nokia needed more or at least a faster quad core processor in order to cut this lag time down.

Still, I wanted to at least show the difference between the smaller jpegs and the full hi-res 15 MB files so I’ve uploaded one shot which you can download to see the difference.

Here’s the 2 MB Downsized Image


Here is the link to the full Hi-Res Photo if you want to compare to the downsized one.

Since Nokia revealed this phone they have touted the ability to basically shoot anything you want as you can always go back later to reframe the shot if you discovered previously unnoticed elements.  At first I thought this was all “marketing” speak but then I realized that I could really do things with this phone that I could only dream off with my Lumia 920 or iPhone 5.

The above shot is a simple angle of CN Tower in downtown Toronto taken just as I exited the underground parking lot.  First off the detail in the photo itself is nice but what really made my head spin was when I decided to just zoom into the picture to see if I could see anything of note.

Using the hi-res 15 MB photo here’s the zoomed CN Tower:


All I did was zoom in on the CN Tower using the zoom feature in Microsoft Paint and this is what I saw was captured in the image that I could obviously not see in the normal photo.  Yes, those are individual people strapped to the side of the CN Tower as they make their way around it on the EdgeWalk ride.  Crazy.  There’s no way I would ever see this level of detail with either my Lumia 920 or iPhone 5.

If you are very serious about doing photography on your mobile device then you should certainly check out the Lumia 1020 as well as its optional camera grip accessory that turns the phone into something that ergonomically looks and feels like a real point-and-shoot camera.  At the same time it also adds a 1020mAh rechargeable battery as well that is good for about 280 extra shots or around 45 minutes of video.


Finally, here’s a small gallery of shots I took that day around Toronto Harbourfront.

Toronto Harbourfront Gallery

© 2014 The Galactic Pillow

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. ImagineMe3
    Jan 12 2014

    A great camera for a phone. I like the zoom feature and the HD megapixel but it is the 3 sec lag that sets it back a bit. This will improve eventually.

    With a camera this good in newer handphones, I think everyone will be ditching their point-and-shoot camera in no time.

    I hope tge next iPhone 6 (or whatever they’ll call it) will have an amazing camera too!


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