During a recent and all-too-brief vacation in Puerto Rico, I was able to put the camera improvements in the Lumia Denim update to the test using my Nokia Lumia 930. Predictably the results are among my best vacation photos ever.
This isn’t the first time I’ve gone on vacation with a Lumia, of course. During our summer 2013 home swap in Amsterdam, I took all of our vacation photos with a Lumia 1020. And then in summer 2014, I took all of the photos from our Barcelona home swap with a Lumia 1520. In both cases, the results were stunning.
But with Lumia Denim promising major camera performance and quality improvements, not to mention new Lumia Camera features like Moment Capture and Rich Capture, I was eager to see how the experience had improved using a similar situation, in this case a much shorter trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico during the kids’ winter vacation.
Given the situation this winter here in Dedham—we’ve had over 100 inches of snow in the past month alone—we really needed that vacation, too. Here’s a picture—yes, taken with the Lumia 930—of my wife shoveling out the front walk the day before we flew to Puerto Rico.
I’m not sure how we got out of Boston the next day, but we did. And when we arrived in San Juan later that day, the temperature was 79 degrees … a full 70 degrees warmer than it was in Boston. Time to take some photos.
As I noted in First Look: Lumia Camera + Lumia Denim, the Lumia Camera app that comes with the Denim update has a Rich Capture feature that works like a “super-auto” mode in which it examines the scene each time you take a photo and automatically applies HDR, Dynamic Flash and Dynamic Exposure as needed, creating what is generally a superior photo every time. I pretty much had Rich Capture on the entire time: you enable it by tapping the new Rich Capture button in the app’s toolbar.
A few shots from our first full day in Puerto Rico, when we check out Old San Juan.
On the second day, we visited El Yunque, a rainforest about an hour from San Juan, and hiked to La Mina falls, where we swam under the waterfall.
(We also went kayaking at night, but didn’t bring the phone. We had a throwaway waterproof camera instead.)
The next day, I was able to put Lumia Camera’s new Moment Capture feature to the test at a zipline called La Marquesa Canopy Tour. When you long press on the camera button, Moment Capture records a 4K video, which is impressive in its own right. But you can then edit the video from the camera roll (or from the standalone Moment Capture app) and pull out individual frames as 8 megapixel still images.
But first, a lizard (zoomed).
So here is a short video, not too interesting or well-lit, shot from a gondola as we headed up the mountain.
I was able to pull this image out of the video:
More interesting, perhaps, is this video of my wife ziplining.
Here, I was able to pull out this frame as a still photo.
Later that day, we hit the beach and my son and I rented a jet ski. Needless to say, the beach lends itself to some nice shots as well.
I also played around with some other Lumia apps afterwards. Nothing too stunning here, but I used Lumia Creative Studio to ham-handedly blur the background on a few shots. I’d probably spend some time editing those if I really wanted to save them, but … whatever.
So it was a quick 5 days, and winter is still in full bore mode here in Dedham. But totally worth it. And the Lumia 930 with Denim? Fantastic.