Nokia Lumia 630: Camera

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



Our Score:


Nokia Lumia 630 – Camera

The Nokia Lumia 630 has a 5-megapixel rear camera. It’s about as basic as they come, with no flash on the back and no front-facing camera for selfies or video chat.

Its hardware is similar or identical to that of the Lumia 520, with a 1/4-inch sensor and f/2.4 lens.

The shooting experience is much like those phones too. The Lumia 630 camera is not super-fast, but is mostly reliable and there isn’t the horrible shutter lag seen in some ultra-budget phones.

Nokia Lumia 630 5

No flash no front camera

Shot-to-shot times are around two seconds, though, which is quite slow for normal photo shooting. It would have been good to see Nokia make a bit of progress in this area since last year – it’s a good deal slower than the rival EE Kestrel, for example.

As is quite common among lower-resolution phone camera sensors, the Lumia 630 performs quite a lot of processing to help its photos ‘pop’ a little, and this results in shots looking slightly unnatural at pixel level when there's a strong variance in light levels.

But image quality is a fair bit better than, say the Motorola Moto G and Moto E. You can create some nice-looking photos, if not ones you can successfully crop into. Here are a few examples of the sort of quality to expect:

Nokia Lumia 630 8

Nokia Lumia 630 9

The Lumia 630 appears to use the same camera internals as the Lumia 625. The older Lumia 520 looks more processed, but that may come as a result of the tricky highlights - we see such 'painted' looking processing in some other Lumia 630 samples (see below).

Nokia Lumia 630 6

Nokia Lumia 630 3

Nokia Lumia 630

The Lumia 630 doesn't have the resolution to let you crop much into pics like this, but as-is the result can look decent.

Lumia 630 2

This is a pretty boring photo, but reveals quite how 'painted' the Lumia 630's shots can look when dealing with powerful light sources. Check out the crop below for a closer look:

1:1 pixel crop:

Lumia 630 1

Lumia 630

This photo highlights the most major issue the Lumia 630's colours have: the phone struggles with reds. They're not radically undersaturated as in some cheap phones, but they can look a bit "toxic crusader".

In more taxing low-light conditions, the limits of the hardware are soon revealed. Without a flash, you can’t really take decent pictures of people at night. And while the Lumia 630 has a pretty successful stab at metering darker scenes correctly, the detail in night shots is extremely limited. You can expect vague approximations of night-time photos and little more.

That said, you won't get much better at the price.

Nokia Lumia 630 4

Teleman playing at the Islington Assembly Hall, May 2014

1:1 pixel crop:

Nokia Lumia 630 5

Nokia Lumia 630 1

With relatively little light to work with, the Lumia 630 has a fair stab at exposing the scene, ramping up brightness in order to make objects visible. But as the crop below shows, image quality is pretty poor.

1:1 pixel crop:

Nokia Lumia 630 2

Nokia still doesn’t have a proper inbuilt HDR mode in its cameras, either, which is disappointing. The ‘backlight’ mode doesn’t have the desired effect and the ‘bracketing’ mode, which takes 3 or 5 shots with differing exposure settings, is hopelessly slow for handheld HDR’ing, and doesn’t merge the shots for you.

Nokia Lumia 630 7

This is an example of an image that could do with the HDR treatment. While the Lumia 630 has performed an even exposure, the foreground would pop a lot more if it was a little brigther, which is what HDR would provide. As-is, it's not going to get many Instagram upvotes or Facebook likes.

Nokia hasn’t really made much progress since last year’s models it seems, and you could easily judge the camera apps situation as a step backwards.

The Lumia 630 has two camera apps – one standard Windows Phone app and another made by Nokia. We can imagine many people getting confused, especially when there’s no way to hide one from your apps menu. We’re making more a point of this here than we would in a high-end Lumia review as more phone novices are likely to get their hands on this than, say, a Lumia 1020.

As with Nokia’s pricier phones, the Nokia camera app lets you have manual control over the Lumia 630’s camera settings. However, the camera isn't really good enough to warrant too much experimentation.

Video capture tops out at 720p – most phones over 1080p, but at the price we can accept this sort of cutback.

Taking a step back, the Nokia Lumia 630 has a better camera than some at the price. But when little-to-no progress seems to have been made since last year and the £100 EE Kestrel offers a more intuitive experience, a flash and a front-facing camera while supplying marginally better image quality, it is a minor disappointment.

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April 8, 2014, 5:58 pm

ill be getting it and lumias are very nippy.


May 29, 2014, 2:48 pm

The Microsoft product design people have clearly implemented a harmonising aesthetic as part of the nokia merger, this has the same reverse contours of the surface tablets, and straight edges where there were once curves. The same is true for the new 930. The 1520 and 1020 appear to be the last of what I think was great designing by nokia. As a designer myself I can admire my 1020, but have to accept the majority will go for more blingy and less absolutist aesthetics. To my eyes, the new htc one is like a new bmw with alloy wheels, all very nice of course. Hopefully the market will still have room for some awkward yellow Saabs in future-


May 29, 2014, 7:19 pm

Hopefully there will be a fairly quick revision, or launch of a 730. All it really needs is a 1280x768 screen, 1gb ram and a flash. Would buy at Moto G money.


May 29, 2014, 8:14 pm

No Whatsapp? Just a hitch. Its been on Windows Phone for ages along with loads of other good quality apps and will be back shortly. You won't be longing for more apps with Windows Phone and it provides a superb experience on a value for money phone. The 630 is something of a bargain and unless you have high end desires you will love it.

Hugh Bear

May 30, 2014, 7:19 pm

I disagree with this review. {phone_name} is clearly better than the competition at this price of {phone_name.price_range} in {}. Windows 8.1 is the best phone OS - it's the only phone OS that puts the user first.
-Will this do?

Hugh Bear

May 30, 2014, 7:24 pm

Well done. This is EXACTLY how real people talk. Do we work in the same office in Bangalore?

Milo Benz

June 17, 2014, 11:30 am

I also disagree with this review. Two things: the writer assumes "this is a budget phone" so the review is adjusted to that instead of asking "does this particular phone do what its supposed to do?". The second: the review ignores some of Nokia 630's main advantages: Dual SIM, replaceable battery, expandable memory, latest OS, fast performance - all that at a very low price.

In fact, this phone will shock most people. Nokia made excellent hardware (Gorilla 3 screen wrapped in a very pleasant cover that allows access to SIMs, MicroSD, battery) while providing great apps, full MS Office functionality, best maps on the market, FM radio and a great music streaming service, good calendar, email, SMS functionality and all the essential apps one would really need. Battery life is much better then any of the "flagships" out there. Camera is just 5 MP but produces very good shots and even the lack of flash is an afterthought when you see the well balanced, well exposed photos this smartphone takes. And all of this for just US$150. I would say it is quite an achievement.

Nokia and Microsoft could have put in a better rez screen but I am sure all of us prefer longer battery life and that is what Lumia 630 delivers. Also, it would be nice to have a front facing cam for video talks but again, I think most people would rather have a lower price and a sense that if anything "goes wrong" they can just walk into a store and buy a new phone...

The only thing I wish MS did different is not to "disable" a clock that most Lumia phones have when in "off" mode. Doing this is not cool - it is a trace of old, mean MS that is looking to limit what Windows users can and can not do with their machine...

Recommend this phone to anyone who doesn't "have to have" a status symbol.

Mark Adams

July 3, 2014, 6:49 pm

I will upgrade from my nokia 610 to this. My 610 was a refurb is still working great, I never put a case on the phone, and it only has a few knicks in the plastic from drops, no screen protector either and no scratches.....I hope the 630 is just as reliable. It is going to cost me $215 CAD w/ shipping


September 29, 2014, 9:30 pm

Using this phone for the last 2 weeks and have to say its just downright brilliant. I cannot believe the reviewer did not mention the Nokia here maps SAT NAV application that are worth the price of the phone alone, Unlike google map navigation they are simplified fully offline (no caching messing) ideal for roaming with no charges, This reviewer is pro android and very biased. I have seen the Moto G and while it has a lot of great aspects the camera is not as good, it's beaten out the gate with the Nokia Here Sat nav and is a fair bit dearer,


February 25, 2015, 2:23 pm

useless battery-life. have to charge phone twice a day after only three and a half months of usage. i am only texting on apps with the phone, nothing else.

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