This is not a review of the camera. This is merely my thoughts and details about what I have been doing with the camera over the last few weeks.
The device I have been using is an American variant so the mobile data doesn’t work here in Finland. Not that that matters to me, it is the camera I was interested in. I have had a Nokia 808 Pureview since June 2012 and have tried to be creative with its camera and so I wanted to try similar things with the Lumia 1020.
Top of my list of things to try was long exposures, not just night shots (where you don’t actually need to play much) but during the day – when you need to play more with the settings and use additional pieces of kit such as ND filters and yes, of course, the ever-trusted elastic bands.
I should say that if you want to try this out, then get the Lumia 1020 Camera Grip, I have to admit that it is the single greatest fit-for-purpose accessory I have ever seen for a mobile device. It has a tripod mount that fits all standard screw-in tripods and professional ones too. It has a very good camera shutter release, plus if you use a wrist strap (which is provided with the grip) then there is a slot that it fits into. If that wasn’t enough, it also has a 1000mah battery included to give the phone some extra juice for your serious photo shoot.
Settings needed to take long exposures: set focus to Infinity, turn off the flash (completely off), do not use focus light, set ISO to 100, then slowly adjust the exposure time to get the result you desire.
This was a 4-second exposure at ISO 100 with a ND64 Hoya Filter attached. It was early evening so the light had lowered enough for me to only use a single filter on this occasion.
Once more, here’s another 4-second exposure, ISO 100 but this time I needed to use ND64 and ND16 filters screwed together as the light was brighter.
The full set of Long Exposure tests is here
Next up is one of my favourites, reasonably simple given the right location. Star Trails.
Location is the most important thing and I am still searching for the perfect one here. Find your spot with some light but not too much. If it is really dark, take a torch to highlight some bushes or trees etc. Set up your tripod and 1020, aim it as best you can, set infinity focus, flash off, ISO 200 (to start with), expose for 4 seconds. Review the image. How is the noise level? Is the foreground right? Can you see stars? If all are right first time, you have been very lucky. If not, continue to increase ISO or adjust angles until you get a picture you are happy with. Once that is done, note the settings you used and open up your time-lapse app, I have used CameraPro so far but will be trying out ProShot too. Set your app to the ISO, infinity focus, flash off etc, set time-lapse to 1 or 2 seconds between shots. and set it running. This is where it can be a little boring as you need to leave it to run for at least a hour, more if you want longer trails. Take a book, coffee etc with you.
ISO set to 800, 4 second exposures, 2 seconds between shots using the CameraPro app in the store.
Once this is done you will need some software to stack the images, I use StarStax but I believe there are several available. Depending on how many images you have taken, this software can take 10 minutes to 30 minutes to run. The cool thing is you can see the trails building as the software does its magic.
Now the Lumia 1020, as you are undoubtedly aware, has a Xenon flash, I have to admit that I use flash very rarely. Also I am no expert in these matters, but it is always fun to try.
For this, all you need is the subject and the patience to get it right. Turn the Flash to “on” so it forces it to fire on every shot.
This can be very subjective, what you think is great may not be what others think is great. So all I do is take pictures that I like, if someone else likes them it is a bonus. One small piece of advice I would give is to set the view grid to “rule of thirds” and try to frame your shots based on that grid. You might be pleasantly surprised by the results.
Both the images above were taken on full auto settings except flash is turned off (I tend to turn the flash off on every camera, just my little quirk)
Sometimes, especially when facing the sun, it is necessary to play with the exposure bias.
For this image I set the exposure bias to -1.3 this created more of a silhouette and reduced the glare from the sun. This practice can help when doing landscape shots too, In essence, just have a play and enjoy the results.
In the new Nokia Pro Cam application you have the option to re-frame an image afterwards (if you set the camera to take the 5Mp images and the full res 34Mp image too). This brings a whole world or possibilities. There have been so many occasions in the past where I was zooming in to take a shot, but couldn’t quite get it right and so gave up. This option in the 1020 means you can zoom in to take the shot. If you are not quite happy with it, you can go back and re-frame the image afterwards and get a result you are more happy with (even if ultimately not very pleased).
After the shot was taken, I re-framed the image to this
These are some of the things you can do with the new Nokia Lumia 1020. I am sure others have done different things. I have to say I am really enjoying my time with this device.
I hope you enjoy them. I have certainly enjoyed taking them.