A better camera is all I want

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: February 2, 2013

Speaking of being ungrateful about our devices, I experienced another ungrateful moment today where I wished my phone’s camera was better. I don’t even necessarily mean higher megapixels, but something that’s a little more stable at least. Something a little more advanced, something a little more… Lumia! That’s exactly what kind of camera I want to see in my phone – one that uses the same PureView technology that comes in the Nokia Lumia 920.

Perhaps that’s one of the things that has been drawing me to the Lumia this whole time. I’ve been pretty impressed from what I see from the Lumia, and while Windows Phone 8 may not be my platform of choice (at the moment) I was always pretty impressed from the pictures it took. Even this article from Gizmodo shows just how awesome the Lumia 920’s camera is, even when challenged with low-lit environments (even though the article was meant to show how bad the new BlackBerry Z10’s camera is, all I saw was how wonderful the Lumia 920’s camera was). While I do have an actual 16-megapixel camera that I own, I much prefer the convenience of being able to use my phone as a camera; as long as the conditions are right, I usually do. But that’s just the thing. The conditions have to be just right in order for me to be able to take good pictures.

“Successful conditions” almost never come in the form of taking pictures of my ever-moving-never-stopping-not-even-for-a-second toddler. Even in the rare case where I do get him to sit still for a moment, as soon as I get the camera all ready to go he’s on the move again. Snap! Blurry. Blur after blur I get to see just how quickly my son can move. It’s times like these where I realize that while megapixels are nice, they’re not the complete package. Even a 41-megapixel camera would be nothing more than a big number without the right sensors that can support clear picture-taking; it really does make a big difference.

I sincerely hope that I can see some Nokia devices being sold by Sprint sometime in the near future. Sprint has announced that they will be carrying variations of Windows 8 devices later this year, but I’m led to believe Nokia will not be a manufacturer of any of these devices. In the slim chance that they do sell Nokia devices that feature PureView technology, I’ll have my decision on what phone I decide to upgrade to come July.

What makes PureView so great though?

Nokia prides itself in its PureView technology because they’ve improved some of the biggest problems in phone cameras. As shown from the Gizmodo article mentioned previously, the Nokia Lumia 920 really does take a hard-to-see subject in the dark and turns it into a clearly defined image with minimal lighting. It also features optical image stabilization, which is what would be the most important for objects (or people) on the move that is the subject of the photo.

When you look at the image comparison, without any prior knowledge of what you’re looking at it looks like those images could have been taken by a range of different megapixels. At best, the Lumia 920 and the Galaxy S III are comparable in clarity, but not lighting. The PureView technology really shines through in low-light situations, which is pretty fantastic for a phone.

It’s probably going to be a while before phones can catch up to the quality of a good compact camera; in fact, it may never happen. But for something that started off as just being able to make phone calls, they sure have come a long way and I wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually got to that point.

Readers, how important is camera quality to you? Does the quality matter to you, or would you rather have a separate device as your main picture-taking source? Let me know what you think in the comments!  

Image via CNet