So far, we've covered the introduction and the setup process of the Lumia 950. In this video, we're going to take a look at the camera. The Lumia 950 is rocking a 20MP camera sensor with an f1.9 aperture, Carl Zeiss optics, Optical Image Stabilization, 1.12 micron pixels and PureView technology. Microsoft and Lumia devices specifically have been known for their camera sensors. Both the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL feature the same sensor but I've got to say the appearance of the outside of the sensor looks better on the XL. It just looks a lot more beefy and further in line with a Lumia camera. I just want to point that out because it matters so much (no it doesn't). What truly matters is how well it functions, how well it takes photos and captures video.
I've been using the Lumia 950 as the sidekick to my daily driver for well over a month now. In that time, I've been able to capture a lot of very good photos. I actually went to the Oregon Coast and brought along the 950 and captured some very beautiful photos. I'm really impressed with how natural the colors are, especially when compared to a similar photo from the Galaxy S6 or V10, which tend to saturate colors and increase contrast.
As for detail, there is a lot of detail in the images captured in well lit areas which does make sense. I took a simple photo of my shoes in the sand with some beach grass and there's a ton of detail; even when cropping the image. This is really where you can start to appreciate the 20MP.
But since the sensor features an f1.9 aperture, I was also able to capture some very great low-light images. The light from this picture is actually from one single street light and not much else. The beach is right beyond the dune so you know it's dark.
The one thing I did notice was in the automatic mode, it would have trouble with the white balance but that is to be expected. What's neat about Lumia devices is that they feature full manual controls in the software so you can change the white balance, focus, ISO, shutter speed and exposure right from inside the camera app. And the software does a fantastic job displaying the settings I will add.
Beyond that, there's not a lot of additional camera modes but we do have a Rich Capture mode, which does work surprisingly well at capturing low-light images. You can take very good low-light images without this feature and you can take (I would say) even better low-light images with this feature. However, it does work best when there are no moving subjects in your shot because otherwise, you'll likely end up with blurry photos.
As for video, it can capture 4K video at up to 30fps, which is the setting I used to capture my video. Overall, it's very good. The Optical Image Stabilization and Digital Video Stabilization helped the footage stay very smooth but that's not to say it won't be shaky at all. I was walking while recording most of my test footage and with all things considered, it did a very good job. It's worth mentioning you can lock down the focus but not the exposure. White balance is hit or miss as with capturing photos but these are just some minor complaints. I think overall, the footage is really great.
If you're in the market for a Windows device and you are seriously looking into the Lumia 950 or the Lumia 950 XL, I think you'll love to hear that the camera performance is great. Is it the best? Is it better than every other smartphone camera sensor on the market? No, but it is strong. The question I'll be answering in my full review is whether or not the camera performance is enough to balance out or outweigh the cons of the device overall. So stay tuned for that.