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Nokia has become almost synonymous with high-end mobile photography, having created arguably the two finest smartphone cameras ever in the Nokia 808 and the Nokia Lumia 1020.

Of course, sheer practicality has meant that that this chunky PureView technology has been di-luted for Nokia's everyday phones. But it's hard to think of the Nokia Lumia 1520's 20MP camera as 'diluted.' It's capable of capturing some truly excellent shots, and Nokia's custom cam-era software is without equal.

It's a shame, then, that the Nokia Lumia 1320's camera bears such little resemblance to its brother's. This is a standard 5MP unit shorn of the PureView branding.


Indeed, the default camera interface for the 1320 is Microsoft's standard Windows Phone camera app. You can still get the Nokia Camera interface, but only through an optional download from the Windows Phone Store.

You can tweak basic settings like ISO, white balance, and exposure value in the default camera interface, but it doesn't even approach the kind of fine-tuning you get with the 1520 and the Nokia Camera app. There's no HDR mode, either, which I've come to start expecting in mid-range phones.

Of course, without the high-end optics to accompany it, Nokia probably felt that including such advanced settings would unfairly raise expectations or mislead as to the phone's capabilities. The camera isn't the focus here, after all.

Camera settings

Even Nokia's weaker camera efforts tend to be decent, though. Sure enough, images shot with the Lumia 1320 are solid rather than spectacular.

Given enough light, general detail levels were good, if occasionally flat and washed out. I found it possible to get some nice depth of field effects when taking close-up shots. In fact, general framing and focusing of shots on the 1320 is a doddle.

The key strength of the Lumia 1320's camera is speed and ease of use. This being Windows Phone, there's a dedicated camera shutter key that acts as a shortcut to the camera. I was able to get up and snapping from the phone's sleep state in less than three seconds.

Other phones may be able to do that quicker, but factor in the time spent fumbling with the touch-screen to get to the camera app – especially when you're rushing to capture a random moment – and you'll see the advantage of the Windows Phone approach.

As for video, the Nokia Lumia 1320 is capable of shooting at 1080p and 30fps, and the results are strong. The picture is crisp and vibrant, and sound is picked up excellently – though there's no dis-cernible stereo effect.

Meanwhile, even recording whilst walking along doesn't create the absolute shake-fest write-offs I've become used to in low-end and mid-range phones.

Bark detail

The Lumia 1320 picks up the sharp edge and detail of the grain quite well in this close-up.

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Flash off

An indoors shot with low artificial shot prompts predictable graininess.

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Flash on

The same shot with the flash engaged - still grainy, but at least the colours are fairly natural.

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There's reasonable detail in this shot, but the brighter sections appear unnaturally bleached out.

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This close-up shows the 1320's depth of field, though the sky on this overcast day is painfully bleached out.

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This shady street shot shows off the 1320's struggles with dynamic range.

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