Nokia Lumia 900 Camera Fails to Impress

August 1, 2012

Nokia Lumia 900 rear camera

In this article I will be reviewing the Nokia Lumia 900 camera.  Lumia 900 is a Windows Phone device, featuring a 8MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics 28mm f/2.2 lens, dual LED flash and autofocus.  The Lumia camera is vastly compared against the Nokia N8 and the iPhone 4S. There is quite a lot of people bashing the Lumia 900 camera image quality. In this review I will investigate this issue (if it’s an issue at all) myself, to see how good the image quality is.

Microsoft Needs Nokia (and Vice Versa)

As much as I love what Google have done with the Android OS, I just wish that Window will find the right track to success with its Mobile Phone devices. I believe in Microsoft technology and innovation and believe that many C# developers want to develop great apps for the Windows Phone 7 / 8 mobile operating system. The only barrier is that Windows Phone aren’t popular. I hope that the partnership with Nokia can yield some great products. I also hope that Windows 8 will have great integration with the Phone itself and Cloud Computing environment.  I have tons of ideas for great apps to work with the camera.

We also know that Nokia is in financial troubles right now. However, the Nokia 808 PureView is a proof of what Nokia engineers are capable of. No other mobile phone camera can get close to the image quality of the 808 PureView. I wish that this camera will find its way into future Windows Phone devices as well, and not end on the PureView.  Although the Nokia Lumia 900 doesn’t utilize the same camera, or better to say, sensor technology, I believe that in the future to come, we will see innovative technologies coming from Nokia and both Microsoft and Nokia will be back on the track with their mobile phone technologies, and succeeding in competing against Android and iOS based smartphones.

Maybe Microsoft really needs to get Windows 8 operating system out already. Microsoft designed Windows 8 OS to work across other mobile platforms, including smartphones and tablet devices. Microsoft Windows Phone 8 operating system will be launch shortly after Windows 8. Let’s hope that everything goes well for Microsoft, so we will have more selection of devices, apps and games to enjoy.


Lumia 900 Camera – Fails to Impress

There are already a few Lumia 900 review’s editors that are disappointed with the Lumia 900 camera. It seems that everything about this phone is great. Nokia’s N9 has an excellent camera with 8MP, images looks beautiful with vivid colors, well balanced exposure and sharp. Not everything you read has to be 100% accurate. Many people just don’t have the right knowledge in photography, so they tend to blame the camera. I’ve read a nice article on about how to take better photos with the Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone. You can find some solutions to various problems that many people encounter when they start to exploring the world of digital photography.

Maybe the fact that the Lumia 900 camera doesn’t have a backlit (BSI) sensor like the N9, Galaxy 3, iPhone 4S and others, maybe that’s why the image quality fail to impress (although some sites continue to claim that the Nokia Lumia 900 does have backlit sensor, go figure). Anyways, Let’s leave the boring technical stuff aside, because after such a big mass finding the correct technical data about the sensor, I think that I will give the photos and videos to speak for themselves.

Lumia 900 Sample images

Let’s looks at some test shots taken with the Lumia 900.



Troense Havn


Nokia Lumia 900 @ small boy


Nokia Lumia 900 Test Video


My impressions:

I’ve browsed through quite a lot of Nokia Lumia 900 sample photos on Flickr, enlarged them and did some pixelpeeping. In general, image quality is pretty god. However, it seems that colors just don’t have the punch that I wanted. Noise is certainly very apparent in the images, even in bright daylight. The way to test it is to shoot outside and catch the blue sky area. In fact, the Lumia 900 camera produce pretty noisy images I have to say. HTC One X camera as well as iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S3, all result in  better image quality (IQ) overall. Again, if indeed the Lumia doesn’t have a BSI sensor, maybe that explain why we see so much noise.

The other problem I’ve notices is that the Lumia 900 camera tends to produce quite amount of burn highlight areas, both in stills and videos. So I think that the camera just overexpose. That’s sits well with the fact that it produces quite a lot of noise, and we see more noise in dark areas of the image.
Nokia Lumia 900 @ Orange Dragonfly
Some photos looked very nice (See macro shot above).

Another thing that I’ve notices is that the overall color rendering doesn’t looks that natural. The blue sky didn’t look natural blue, rather cyan-greenish like. It seems like it’s tricky to get a good shot. Only on certain well exposed scenes you get an image that looks good. Sharpness was good though.

So it seems that the Nokia Lumia 900 camera suffers from some problems: blown highlights, unnatural colors (in some occasions), relatively dull colors (doesn’t have that punch) and quite a lot of chrome noise, even when shooting in a daylight.


After reading the negative opinions about the Lumia 900 camera and seeing it in my own eyes, I can say that the Lumia 900 camera does disappoint. In fact, it wouldn’t be fair to even compare it to the Samsung Galaxy S3 and needless to say, the Nokia 808 PureView.

Don’t get me wrong here, the Samsung Galaxy S3 does have some degree of noise, but the colors are vivid, image has great contrast, it’s very sharp and camera exposure meter works great to reveal a well balanced image.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Sample image

Wild meadow churchyard


The Nokia Lumia 900 camera isn’t bad, but considering the fact that this is a great smartphone, I can agree that one of its downsides is the camera. So I came to the same conclusion as many reviewers and Lumia 900 owners that the image quality is mediocre.  That’s quite a shame considering that the phone itself looks great and it seems many people really love it, except for the camera performance.

So I know this is not what you wanted to read, and I really wanted the Lumia 900 camera to be good, so the whole smartphone will be a great package. If you are looking for good image quality, and you care about camera performance, I recommend looking somewhere else.

Do you agree or disagree – post your comment below.

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