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Transitions – a beautiful site with stunning shots from the Nokia Lumia 1020 on “Black”

I just learned Nokia published quite a stunning site with shots taken during a journey in New Zealand – Christchurch, Kaikoura, Broken River, Westland and Wanaka to be exact – how I’d love to go there once!  Here’s what it says on the front page:

“Action sports are about journeys. The people we meet, places we visit and the tricks we learn are all part of it. Whether you’re a beginner making your first turns or a pro with their eye on the next contest or video part, these journeys define what it means to be a rider. In September 2013, six riders took a journey around New Zealand’s South Island, documenting the trip with the Nokia Lumia 1020. This is what we found.

Check it out, click on the link to find Transitions. There’s lots of more interesting information to read over there, and another great thing about it, is that you can download the shots you like – in the 5MP “raw” (!) format, which means they were all taken with the Nokia Lumia 1020 running on the Windows Phone “Black” update!

I downloaded seven shot for you (hope Nokia doesn’t mind :-) and even shared those on my the PureViewClub Photostream on Flickr as well. Check out the quality of these shots over there, makes me look forward to receiving the Black update even more…

Update: here’s a direct link to the raw gallery.

Transitions_Lumia1020_Raw_02 Transitions_Lumia1020_Raw_07 Transitions_Lumia1020_Raw_09 Transitions_Lumia1020_Raw_11 Transitions_Lumia1020_Raw_16 Transitions_Lumia1020_Raw_18Advertisement

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59 Responses

  1. deadhead

    You can get cleaner jpegs out of the 808 for sure :)

  2. deadhead

    Not a single 16:9 image ?

    • bigs

      good question….

      • Marc @PureViewClub

        And I thought everyone was going to be pleased with 4:3 since it uses most of the sensor. Shows me what I know.

        • bigs

          I think Deadhead is mentioning this because when 16:9 aspect ratio is used, the sensor corners are closer to the corners of the lens.

    • MF

      If not mistaken these are contestants for some contest. Anyway pretty good idea to shoot 4:3 if that uses the area closer to the center, and as a bonus you also use a larger sensor area with more pixels used.

  3. Hi Marc.
    Can you, with all the good contacts you have with Nokia/Nokia people, give us an indication when in 2014 the black update (with raw support) will come? January, April, May? (I suppose it will come as an update that all present owners of a 1020 can use.)
    And another important question (for me); when can we expect we can buy a 1020 with the black update (with raw support) already implemented?
    Thanks (take your time).

  4. biozen13

    what the fantastic and wonderful shot! i hope that i can grab my nokia 1020 a soon as possible..

  5. jsnlm

    any indication if the updates will improve the slow shot-to-shot times?

    • deadhead


      At this point is better to wait for the Mobile World Congress and see if they will update the 1020 with a Snap 805 which should take care of the sluggish performance.

      • jsnlm

        thanks for the reply, 27 Feb is my birthday too so here’s hoping!

        pretty much the only reason i haven’t picked one up yet too…

      • jsnlm

        thanks! right around my birthday too!

        pretty much the only reason i have not picked one up yet…

  6. WOW, I think these photos are just fantastic…
    I just cannot understand, that someone is complaining about anything like “soft corners” and “noise”… listen, folks – we are talking about a smartphone camera here! ;-)
    Despite all the technological progress, to me it is sometimes a miracle, that we are able to shoot such fantastic shots with a smartphone…! Staggering… :-)

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      I’m actually glad you’re mentioning this. Of course, the big contender still is the Nokia 808 PureView – but I really think the 1020 will surpass it after the “Black” update (provided you don’t have a hardware problem with the lens).

      I still look forward to the original .DNG files from these shots, but the high-res results already look fantastic, I completely agree with you.

      The “softness around the corners” discussion is starting to sound like a broken record – although I must admit that it looks like there have been hardware issues with a few devices in the first batch (like the one I’ve been using, unfortunately).

      • bigs

        Marc, I believe the 1020 may surpass the 808 when Nokia Black is released in the center of the frame, but as for corner performance, it will never be better than the 808 unless a new revised 1020 hardware spec is released with improved optics.

        The “corner softness” issue is a completely different issue from the “one sided softness” issue which was evident in your first 1020.

        The one sided softness issue only occurs only in some units which when capturing landscape scenes renders half the frame useless in terms of sharpness and focus.

        The soft corner issue is just a design limitation and will occur in all 1020 units. It is common for wide angle lens even in traditional digicams and larger digicams to experience this phenomena as well. It just is very strange that the Nokia 808 did not suffer from this, possibly due to overdesign.

        The absence of soft corners usually is reserved for expensive premium lens designs and manufacture. When the n8 and 808 was released, they were badged with “Carl Zeiss” which is a premium brand name that is highly respected. Nokia fans was just hoping the tradition would continue with up coming flagship models

        • MF

          To put into perspective, premium lens cost thousands of dollars. Let’s be realistic and reasonable. We’re not talking about a major problem here, we’re talking about why this $700 phone only has 99% optical perfection instead of 100% perfection.

          • bigs

            Soft corners i n the 1020 takes more than 99% of the frame and this is especially so if full resolution captures are used. In 5Mp pureview, corner softness is far less visible and then will fit your 99% profile.

            • MF

              The centre part of the frame is the most relevant part. You don’t assign equal weights to all parts of the frame.

            • bigs

              @MF, yes you are right, I guess it depends on what type of scenes you want to capture with your smartphone. It just happens, I enjoy using it for capturing ultra high resolution landscapes shots that require good infinite focus performance and overall frame sharpness throughout.

              As I said, this is constructive criticism which I hope Nokia/Microsoft will take into account possibly for next years 1020 replacement.

              It is just hard to get used to having had a feature in an older phone taken away in the newer phone, even though the newer phone has other newer innovative features the old phone does not have.

            • bigs

              @ MF, Also, the only other reason for wanting better performance in the corners is especially so for the post capture cropping feature in the 1020. It is such a nice feature to have, but if you accidentally crop into a corner, the results may not be as desirable as if you crop only in the middle of the frame.

            • MF

              Constructive criticism is good but the mechanism that the feedback is delivered is just as important. For example direct feedback to folks from Nokia most likely will have the biggest impact. Putting a thumbs down or Unlike at every single article talking about the 1020′s camera is likely to be counter productive.

            • bigs

              @MF If you read the post I made after Marc and Wolfgang, I was just clarifying the difference between “soft corners” and “one sided softness” as Marc may have assumed the two were the same.

        • MF

          My NEX e-mount lens alone costs $200-300 and they suffer from worse distortions. Yet there’s no chicken littles running around saying the sky is falling on Sony, but if it is Nokia then it’s a major disaster.

          • bigs

            MF, it is considerably harder to make a high grade lens for the E mount on nex (APS-C) than it is for a 1/1.5″ sensor. You are comparing a completely different scale of sensor, optics etc.

            There is no point giving excuses for the 1020′s soft corner issue based on another brand cameras performance. It like like saying since the Sony Z1 sems to have soft corners, it is ok for the 1020 to have soft corners.

            For instance my em-1 has excellent corner performance from a zoom lens range 24-80mm wide open at f2.8.

            It is clear that Nokia in the past could make mobile handsets that did not suffer from soft corners, so why do you keep bringing up the Sony NEX camera to compare?

            • MF

              That’s because I use a NEX and I can relate to the lens distortion which is worse than the 1020, and we are talking here about a much-touted APSC-sensor MILC system. Basically, it is a highly regarded camera which is supposed to do nothing else but shoot pictures. No phone calls, no apps, no web browsing. Just DSLR-level performance. And I’ve paid $200-300 for what you appear to imply to be a serious flaw in a lens. Saying that you can always swap to a zeiss 24mm is silly, that’s going to set me back another $1000 just for that lens alone. And legacy lens are not ideal either as auto-focusing will not be possible. If we’re talking about a serious flaw then I expect a standard kit lens to not have that serious flaw, especially one that costs $200-300. But again like I said, I don’t really mind as I do not think it is that big of an issue. And like I said, the Sony NEX system didn’t exactly receive any major criticism for that from reviewers, either. So either the majority of people don’t think it’s a big deal, or the majority of people somehow don’t mind forking out another $1000 for lens that cost more than the camera itself. I get it that there are people who are SUPER SERIOUS about their photography but if you have thousands of dollars to burn and you are aiming for absolute photography perfection then there are better alternatives than the Sony NEX (or the 1020, for that matter).

            • bigs

              @MF The NEX is not the highest regarded complete system to my knowledge, and never has been. The Nex is like the underdog that does not seem to have the same native lens base as other brands like Panasonic, Olympus, Nikon, or Canon, yet the tiny camera size combined with largish APS-C sensor performance is something to admire. For this reason the NEX system especially the Nex 5 and 6 seem to perform extremely well with legacy manual focus lenses.

              AS for reviewers, I believe the kit lens was never regarded as a fantastic performer, and they always recommended that the lens be stopped down to f8 to get optimal performance over the whole lens for wide angle landscapes.

              Manufacturers just want to get people to buy into the lens system, and hence the economy range of lens for learning purposes to keep the price competitive. One they have you committed they will entice you to upgrade and enjoy their higher end lens which in the case of NEX may cost more than double the price of the camera body.

          • bigs

            Also MF, with the Nex system, if you do not like a lens, at least you have the option to interchange it for another lens eg zeiss 24mm, or any legacy glass you desire. With the 1020, you are pretty have to use what you got, so it is more critical that the performance of the lens be better.

      • Ron

        It will always be possible to find conditions that the 808 would be better than the 1020 even after the “Black” update but If you look at the overall camera performance(Video, low light, macro…) the 1020 already better than the 808.

        • Marc @PureViewClub

          Let alone smartphone performance…

          • johnny1

            oh Marc, your still trying so very hard to justify your 1020 is better than the 808..

            Why is it so important for you to feel or claim that the 1020 is better?

            • Ron

              That’s how technology works, the new better than the old. iphone 5s is better than iphone 5, s4 is better than s3, 1020 is better than 808.
              Next year I am sure that Nokia will have a better phone camera than the 1020.

            • Ron

              I forgot to mention that the 808 is better than the N8 but no one argues about it.

            • bigs

              Ron, yes the 808 is better than the 808 as that was the first official implementation of pureview oversampling for images. The 808 also implemented more dedicated processing hardware, a far larger sensor with larger Carl Zeiss optics.

              On saying that though the n8 does have advantages over the 808, and that comes in the form of a thinner smaller phone, and a better close up ability for macros.

              In terms of overall picture quality the 808 is better than the n8.

              The only reason why the 1020 seems not as good as the 808 in terms of picture IQ is due to manufacturing issues, and design issues where Nokia has shrunk the optic into such a small space that compromises had to be made.

              as I said many times though the 1020 advantage is in low light, and the 808′s advantage is in daylight. And as long as you get a good copy of the 1020, there should not be any softness in the center of the frame.

            • Marc @PureViewClub


              Who are you? Why do you mind me sharing what I think here? Why do you keep visiting the club if you seem to mind? I’ll tell you where I come from. After this I hope you will accept what I’m doing here.

              I’ve been reviewing smartphones for the past 12 years. During that period, I became a more and more fanatic “mobile photographer”, for obvious reasons. When Nokia announced the 808 PureView with 41MP in 2012, I was completely blown away by its capacities – and I still am (as a future comparion will show).

              But this is not just a “best mobile camera in history club”. This is about what modern mobile imaging techniques on current smartphones will offer you – with Nokia’s PureView technology as starting point.

              And now, almost 2014, it’s not only about “the perfect picture”. It’s about much more, like being able to work with that picture on your smartphone as well – and it’s about sharing the results in whatever way you desire. So also, it’s about working with a device that will cover just about everything else you expect from a modern OS. And Symbian, as you know, is not that OS.

              I can tell you: since about a year I only use the 808 to compare it with new camera smartphones. I love it, it’s what started the PureViewClub. But it’s not my favorite smartphone anymore. It was great to use, but time waits for no-one, let alone for a dead platform.

              The 808 PureView has been my favorite camera phone for a very (!) long time, and now, that’s changing too. I write about stuff like I experience it myself, but from a consumer point of view as well. The PureViewClub aims to be a community for people that enjoy the best possible mobile photography on current smartphones.

              And now, the Lumia 1020 is closing in on the 808 PureView fast – an amazing development, but the team over at Nokia is known to squeeze the best possible quality out of their software and hardware (they have done so with the 920 as well).

              So I can keep whining about pixels, the average smartphone user doesn’t care if the pixels on the Nokia 808 PureView will look a bit more detailed. It’s like the old Nokia slogan: “it’s not technology, it’s what you do with it.”.

              You are visiting the PureViewClub, not the 808PureViewClub. I’m not running a museum here, let alone a mausoleum. I hope this answers your question.

              Marc @PureViewClub

            • bigs

              @Marc, nicely said ;)

              I think we must find the root of this thread on how this became such a heated discussion once again, Mr Wolfgang lol.

              When I give my opinion, be it negative or positive, it is in the hope that Nokia takes this in and en devours to improve it’s handset cameras in future generations.

              In general these days I like to compare the 1020 against the new 1520, and like you said the 808 is pretty much obsolete, although it may be still usable for some.

              I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion especially when it comes to noise, detail, color, user interface etc etc. I like to call it constructive criticism, and indeed Nokia has listened to it’s fans with the Nokia Black update where colors, detail and noise reduction has been pushed to how it was in the 808. We are seeing the integration of smart camera and pro camera into a single app, and also the availability of preset scenes. All this has been made possible thanks to Nokia fans rants.

              The addition of noise in 1020 is welcome in my opinion in favor of detail and texture. From the images captured by the “transitions” team we can see this is possible.

              The introduction of Raw will make the 1020 user have far more options than ever before. Some may want more color saturation, some may prefer a cooler tone, some prefer more grain and more detail, others prefer a near perfect noise free image.

        • bigs

          agree, the optical stabilization is very handy for video and low light stills. But I have to say from all the videos I have seen captured with the 1020, the process of the zoom seems rather digital and jerky. Although the 808 does not have OIS, when zooming in and out, it feels rather smooth, and when using the finger box zoom, the zoom stops seems to slow down automatically to reduce jerkiness when it hits the prescribed zoom position.

          This is all governed by software, so in theory this jerkiness when zooming in and out can be resolved by a software update, unless of course if the cause of the jerkiness is due to the 1020 CPU not having enough CPU power.

          I have noticed this jerkiness is non existent on the 1520 video samples when testing zoom which leads me to believe either Nokia Black firmware is responsible for the smooth zoom or the Snapdragon 800 with 20Mp sensor has better performance.

          • Ron

            The 1020 CPU is much stronger than the 808 CPU, Nokia just need to “polish” the software.

            • bigs

              I think that is what I was trying to say Ron ;)

              And it may be possibly resolved in Nokia Black since the video samples for the 1520 seem much smoother when zooming.

              The 808 runs a completely different operating system and hence will require different CPU requirements.

  7. Hi Marc
    When I use your raw download link (your update) I can only download jpg’s (zipped but that’s no problem). The pictures have “raw” as part of the filenames but I don’t get dng files.

    • bigs

      Peter, I think what Marc means by 5Mp raw is that the files were processed from DNG then downsampled using a computer into 5MP jpg, and not just JPG out of camera.

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      hi Peter, that’s correct – Nokia are not offering the original raw .DNG files for download (alas).

      The fact that they are called “raw” means they were saved in the 5MP + DNG mode on the Lumia 1020.

  8. bigs

    Excellent RAW processing! The image quality is indeed better than what can be achieved without the Nokia Black update, but why process them to 5MP. By doing this it essentially masks the true resolution capability of the 1020.

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      Yes well, I think for sharing and easy download for instance…
      There will be three options:
      5MP & High Resolution (if you don’t feel or aren’t able to work with Photoshop or Lightroom) and
      5MP & raw .DNG.
      I have the feeling that it’s great to have so much choice with the Lumia 1020 soon!

      • bigs

        well with the processing left to the user, one can chose 5mp, 8mp, 10mp, etc etc. Nearly unlimited resolutions. But for a better analysis of the 1020 performance, we need to get access to the RAW DNG files and full res processed images.

        This seems like another teaser for existing and potential 1020 owners ;)

        • Marc @PureViewClub

          Well… I can ask if they are willing to share those as well. But I wouldn’t hold my breath :-)

          • bigs

            true true, apart from the lack of availability of the DNG files or full resolution images, the colors have been processed in a pleasing manner. The amount of noise is small enough to be negligible in my opinion and is worth the sacrifice for the additional texture and detail rendered. Overall I think the output of the 1020 is indeed impressive so far, but without higher resolution samples, the quality between the 1020 and the 1520 will be hard to differentiate especially in good light.

            With the addition of RAW for the 1020 will give users the ability to self process their images if needed to a much higher standard, matching that of the Nokia 808 JPG.

        • Ron

          The site has some full res images, the best I’ve seen so far from a smartphone.

  9. BOOM!

    Just wow! These look stunning, have no words.

  10. Huy

    Indeed looks better old ones but still notice some noise which is not quite clear on 808. Anyway if this is true i will go for 1020. Just sold 808 and regreted.

  11. AreOut

    the shots are indeed beautiful but there is still a lot of grain and soft edges…

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      Whut? Not in the landscape shots, not as far as I can see at least. Aren’t you overdoing it a bit now?

      • bigs

        Marc, no matter what software update Nokia provides, both the 1020 and 1520 will have soft corners which can be removed by cropping if need be. For some, this is un acceptable for a premium Zeiss camera component, but for others, they do not mind.

        The soft corners is due to hardware, and not software.

        As for one sided frame softness, I cannot determine if this copy of 1020 has it since the resolution of the images is only 5mp.

        It is good to see though that Nokia Black is progressing well and should be pretty closer to release in the new year.

    • bigs

      grains, noise and color, are all now under the control of the 1020 user when they post process the RAW files. :) More noise grain can preserve more fine details, whereas less noise makes for less detail in a lot of cases.

      • AreOut

        umm the last picture definitely has more noise in sky than 808 would have for such level of detail

        • MF

          The myth of noise free 808… I certainly don’t recall that being the case. 2mp yes, but not 5 or 8mp.