Microsoft tries to sell Lumia 950, 950 XL camera prowess

Smartphone makers more or less have CPUs and display down to a T, so they are moving the fight over to one of the trickiest features to pull off: cameras. Every high end smartphone you'll hear about these past year or so will advertise some professional photography feature or two. Some even make it their main attraction. While iOS and Android have mostly dominated that scene, Microsoft isn't going to fall behind, especially with the new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL and their PureView cameras.

To be fair to Microsoft (and Nokia), it was a trailblazer in the smartphone camera market when it unveiled the first PureView smartphone with its absurd 41 megapixel sensor. Since then, however, it has seemingly fallen by the wayside like much of its mobile business. Redmond is now trying to make up for lost time with the Lumia 950 and its larger sibling, both sporting PureView cameras with a more reasonably large 20 megapixel BSI sensor, F1.9 aperture Zeiss lens, OIS, and triple LED flash.

All those specs are for naught if the cameras don't produce reliable details in different lighting conditions. Microsoft promises that its new flagship smartphones are able to preserve colors well. That feat even works under low-light scenes, the common bane of mobile photography.

Interestingly, while some OEMs like LG, for example, boast of adding advanced manual controls that appeal to professional photographers, Microsoft is aiming to keep things simple through the camera app's automatic mode. It makes the decision of what settings to use depending on both the scene as well as the user's peculiar way of taking a shot. There is even a Rich Capture mode that uses two different exposure times in the exact same image. It uses a short exposure for moving objects, leaving the longer exposure for static parts of the photo.

The triple LED flash might also be notable. By using the three primary colors of red, green, and blue, the flash can intelligently match the colors of the scenery instead of applying the same flat color on all photos. This natural color adaption works even when the flash is used under bright light for added effects.

Of course, these are Microsoft's own benchmarks, so take it with a grain of salt. The Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL are scheduled to hit stores next month.

SOURCE: Microsoft