Nokia Lumia 930 Dethrones Nokia Lumia 1020 for Best Camera

Nokia Lumia 930 Dethrones Nokia Lumia 1020 for Best Camera

By Rich W Woods

I always found the Windows Phone 8 platform to be exciting. iPhones work great, but you can upgrade your iPhone every year when a new one is introduced and never actually feel like you got a new phone. That’s what Windows Phone 8 feels like. New.

From June 2013 through April 2014, my personal phone was a Nokia Lumia 920 and then a Nokia Lumia 1020. Although the photos produced by the Nokia Lumia 1020 are stunning at 41 MP, the phones were slow and frustrating to use. The flagships used Snapdragon S4 processors, the high end processors from a generation and a half ago.

The operating system was nice, until I picked up my iPad or Nexus 7 and realized what a beautiful OS should look like.

The Nokia Lumia 930

The Nokia Lumia 930 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and a 20 MP camera. The display is 5″ and 1080p compared to the Lumia 1020’s 4.5″ 720p display.

I have always said that differences between a 720p and a 1080p screen on a phone are negligible. The short version of the story is that if 1080p is good enough for a 40″ HDTV, 720p is good enough for a 4.5″ phone.

The Nokia Lumia 930 is beautiful. It ships with Lumia Cyan, the firmware update that Nokia bundles with Windows Phone 8.1.

Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1 brought many new features to Windows Phone 8. It gave us a notification center, Cortana, transparent tiles, Wi-Fi Sense, Data Sense, and everything else that other mobile operating systems might have that Windows Phone 8 didn’t.

Lumia Cyan is the firmware update that comes bundled with Windows Phone 8.1. The Nokia Lumia 1020 has received this update, but the Nokia Lumia 930 shipped with it. For this comparison, we can assume the software is the same.

Photo 1

Nokia Lumia 930


Nokia Lumia 1020


Photo 2

Nokia Lumia 930


Nokia Lumia 1020



Photo 3

Nokia Lumia 930


Nokia Lumia 1020



Photo 4

Nokia Lumia 930


Nokia Lumia 1020



Photo 5

Nokia Lumia 930


Nokia Lumia 1020



You won’t notice much of a difference in the photos. In fact, Photo 2 is zoomed in from the original and the 35 MP photo from the Lumia 1020 seems to look more blurry than the 16 MP photo from the Lumia 930. All photos that I use for comparisons use automatic settings so that could be why it was more blurry.

There are a few reasons why the camera is better on the Nokia Lumia 930 than the Nokia Lumia 1020:

  1. It’s fast. The camera on the Nokia Lumia 1020 is so slow that it can be frustrating. 41 MP camera on a slow processor = slow. 20 MP on a fast processor = fast
  2. The photos look better. Most average people will compare the camera on their iPhone 5S with their friend’s Samsung Galaxy S5 by taking a picture of the same thing and comparing them by looking at the photo on the phone they were taking them on. They don’t take into account that the iPhone 5S has less than a 720p display and the Galaxy S5 is 1080p AMOLED. The Nokia Lumia 1020 is 4.5″ 720p and the Lumia 930 is 5″ 1080p. The pictures just look better on the display.

Some might consider the 20 MP camera a sacrifice in quality. The Lumia 1020 can be considered a cult classic as so many people love the 41 MP camera. With the increased speed of the Nokia Lumia 930, it is totally worth it. Remember, even on a 4K display you couldn’t see the difference between a 20 MP photo and a 41 MP photo unless you zoomed on the photo.

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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.

  • You don’t get it. It’s not megapixels that matters. It’s the sensor size – on lumia 930 is mediocre and found in any high end phone – 1/2,5″. But on lumia 1020 – it’s 1/1,5″, found on amateur photo cameras. Physical bigger sensor WILL give better photos, end of story.

    • rwoods716

      Not necessarily. This is true of real cameras, but with a smart phone camera, it’s really the software that matters. Give 1000 people both a Lumia 1020 and a Lumia 930. I would bet money that out of those 1000 people, at least 900 of them take better photos with the 930. Probably closer to 980.

  • Mango

    please stop with that shit haha. Lumia 1020 camera is really amazingly better than the camera of Lumia 930 (tested by me as manual and auto settings, but in manual its more Sharpness, More details thanks 41mpx Sensor and Video too look really better on L1020. (more brightness, more details, and rich recording is better than that surround sound). Lumia 1020 its just a bit slower while opening “camera” because the eye and the OIS need to be activated after launching camera apps. Lumia 930 is always opened so when you click it, its active withoout opening the f…
    On other apps. Lumia 1020 look like Lumia 930 (quadcore of L930 = dualcore of L1020. 2GB ram works good on both devices). and Please, stop saying iphone cameras, samsung and sony too can be compared to Lumia cameras… (because thats a pure dogsh*t).. Lumia 1020 >>>>>>>>>> Lumia 930 >>>>> Sony Z3 >>> iphone 6 plus >> Samsung S6 edge.

    thats all!.
    Not a fanboy, just Smartphone Tester.

    • rwoods716

      The hierarchy that you created is inaccurate. I’m sorry, perhaps there was room for debate when I wrote this article, which was a very long time ago now, but now the 930 has 4K video recording, Rich Capture, and it’s even faster. The use case for where the 1020 is better is getting smaller; however, since Microsoft has no plans to refresh the 1020, it will likely stay relevant forever.

      As for your hierarchy, both the iPhone 6 Plus and the S6 Edge outperform the Sony Z3.

  • Stefan

    “The short version of the story is that if 1080p is good enough for a 40″ HDTV, 720p is good enough for a 4.5″ phone.” – I absolutely agree with this.