Nokia Lumia 930: Camera Review

Nokia Lumia 930: Camera Review

By Rich W Woods

I have been using the Nokia Lumia 930 for almost a week now and I am in love with it. The design is beautiful and it takes amazing pictures. The 5″ 1080p AMOLED display makes for a vibrant Windows Phone 8.1 experience.

Nokia Lumia 930 Camera Specs

The camera on the Nokia Lumia 930 is 20 MP but has three settings: 5 MP JPEG, 5 MP JPEG and 16 MP JPEG, and 5 MP JPEG and 16 MP DNG.

For most people, 5 MP JPEG would be just fine; however, the additional 16 MP JPEG allows the user to have some lossless zoom. While RAW support sounds nice, if the user chooses the 16 MP DNG file and tries to zoom from the phone, it will zoom in on the 5 MP JPEG. Of course, he could always zoom in on the photo in Photoshop.

So let’s take a look at some samples!

Lumia 930 Sample
Lumia 930 Zoom


The Camera is Super Fast

I’ve used a lot of Windows Phones. My problem was always that the flagships used Snapdragon S4 processors making them slow and frustrating to use. The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a 41 MP camera but given the mid-range processor, it is very slow.

The camera on the Nokia Lumia 930 us a breath of fresh air. The Snapdragon 800 processor that powers it gives the camera that right amount of power combined with pixel density.

It’s Not Just About Megapixels

Megapixels are not what make a camera good. Sure, it helps but there is a lot more to it than that.

The HTC One M8 for Windows has dual 4.3 MP rear cameras. It is by far the lowest amount of megapixels in a high end camera (even most low end cameras) behind the iPhone 5S at 8 MP. The Amazon Fire Phone and the LG G3 use 13 MP, Samsung Galaxy S5 uses 16 MP, and the Sony Xperia Z2 uses 20 MP.

A 1080p display has less than 2.1 MP. In fact, the 4.3 MP camera of the HTC One M8 for Windows has a higher pixel density than a 1440p display. In short, you would need a 4K display to even be able to tell the difference.

The software on the Nokia Lumia 930 is what makes the photos so great. Let’s look at a comparison:

Nokia Lumia 930


HTC One M8 for Windows



As you can see, the photo taken with the Nokia Lumia 930 is much better. It is not because the Nokia Lumia 930 photo is sharper. It is because the lighting is different. The colors on the photo taken with the HTC One M8 for Windows looks faded while the photo taken with the Nokia Lumia 930 looks vibrant.

The Down Side to the Nokia Lumia 930 Camera

The front facing camera of the Nokia Lumia 930 is only 1.2 MP and unfortunately, that is a low enough amount of megapixels to tell the difference. While 1.2 MP seems small compared to some of the rear cameras you will hear about, it is actually pretty standard. If you are thinking about switching to Nokia Lumia 930 from an iPhone 5S or Nexus 5, you have already been using a 1.2 MP camera for all of your selfies.

There are, however, some newer phones that are focusing on the front facing camera as selfies become more popular. The HTC One M8, HTC One M8 for Windows, and the OnePlus One all use 5 MP front facing cameras. The Amazon Fire Phone and LG G3 use a 2.1 MP front camera and the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Moto X uses 2 MP.

The Nokia Lumia 730 is rumored to have a 5 MP front facing camera.

Here’s a comparison of what the 1.2 MP front camera of the Nokia Lumia 930 looks like compared to the 5 MP front camera of the HTC One M8.

Nokia Lumia 930


HTC One M8



Nokia Lumia 930 Camera Review: Conclusion

In my opinion, the sacrifice in front facing camera is well worth it for the sheer beauty of the photos that come from the rear camera. Then again, I’m not someone who takes a lot of selfies.

I am going to catch some heat for saying this, but I think the 20 MP camera on the Nokia Lumia 930 is much better than the 41 MP camera on the Nokia Lumia 1020. The photos that come from the Nokia Lumia 930 are as good as can be, and as you can see from the first two photos, you can zoom in on the 16 MP JPEG pretty far without losing any quality.

The problem with the camera on the Nokia Lumia 1020 is that it is very slow. The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor that powers it is just not enough. Snapdragon S4 was the high end ARM processor a generation and a half ago. Why would Nokia use them in so-called flagship devices, especially one with such a high powered camera?

The Nokia Lumia 930 has a camera that requires half as much processing power as the Nokia Lumia 1020 with a processor that is much more powerful.

In my opinion, the camera of the Nokia Lumia 930 is the best smart phone camera on the market.

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About the author
Rich Woods

Being a computer programmer wasn't enough to fulfill his love of technology. In 2013, Rich founded For the Love of Tech and has been writing about his love of tech ever since.

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