One of the amazing things about modern technology is that improving it doesn’t always mean having to invest in new hardware. Sometimes a software update is all it takes to turn a piece of hardware’s performance from good into great, or from great into unbelievable. That’s the case with the Lumia Denim update, which brings a range of new imaging features to the Lumia 830, Lumia 930 and Lumia 1520 – in addition to new features like live folders and smoother and faster internet browsing.
Chief among these new imaging features is the Lumia Camera app, which complements the existing default camera app by making it even faster and easier to capture crystal clear, properly exposed images, even in low light or high contrast conditions.
If you’re more interested in what you’re shooting than what your camera’s settings are you’ll love Rich Capture, a feature that automatically decides whether or not to apply exposure compensation, whether or not to use the flash and if HDR (high dynamic range) is needed to accurately capture a particular scene. Meanwhile, if you’re the sort of person who wants full control over your handset’s camera the Lumia Camera app is ready to oblige. Swiping up on the shutter release button brings up a range of onscreen controls, allowing you full control of focus, shutter speed, white balance, exposure compensation and ISO.
Switch to video mode, and those setting options change to controls for white balance, focus and exposure compensation. And what would an imaging update be without improved selfie capture? A new setting called “auto selfie” lets you use the rear camera to take a selfie and trigger it by blinking to set off a three-second self-timer.
The Lumia Selfie app then lets you apply a range of filters and corrections to your selfies, from brightening the eyes and softening the skin tones to giving your self-portraits a vintage feel or even putting your face on a fake magazine cover.
Lumia devices aren’t just great at capturing stills, they’re masters of video capture, too. A new feature called Moment Capture combines the best of both worlds by letting you shoot high-definition video by simply holding down the camera button. Video is captured at 24 frames per second, and each frame can be saved as a high-quality still image.
Another welcome addition is the ability to capture images as RAW files. RAW files are bigger than conventional images because they contain all of the data captured by the camera sensor. They’re the negatives of the digital photography world because they can always be reprocessed to produce different effects.
Most mobile phone cameras only capture and store images as JPG files, which means the phone has to make processing decisions and throw out some of the original data when saving the image. This limits how much you can do to a photo because it’s already been compressed by the time you come to edit it. With RAW files you have full control over the final image, and you can reprocess images down the line if you want to achieve a different effect.
If, however, you don’t want to fiddle with processing your pics and are quite happy with JPGs alone, you’ll be pleased to know the algorithms your Lumia device uses to process JPGs has been updated, too, to ensure the best possible results, regardless of shooting conditions.
Lumia cameras have always produced impressive results because of their combination of top-notch optics (the physical lenses that make up the camera), high-quality sensors (that capture and record the light the lenses help to focus), speedy autofocus and the best in image processing software.
The Lumia Denim update maintains this tradition of excellence and makes the existing, already outstanding camera hardware found on the Lumia 830, Lumia 930 and Lumia 1520 even better and more flexible, helping you capture images as you really see them.