New handset focuses on photographic capability but there's speculation as to whether consumers even want this

Nokia has finally officially unveiled its latest handset after weeks of leaks. The Lumia 1020 was announced at an event today in New York with the focus on the handset’s photographic capabilities.

The 1020 comes with a 41-megapixel camera, a xenon flash, and a Nokia Pro Camera app that allows for advanced tweaking of white balance, ISOs, exposure, focus and the like. There’s also an optional ‘camera grip’ accessory that fits over the handset, boosting the battery life and adding a traditional shutter button and a tripod mount.  

Nokia are also boasting that users can ‘shoot first, zoom later’ with the camera using a technique known as ‘oversampling’. Because the 41-megapixels shoots at such a large size, Nokia claim that no actual ‘pixels’ are lost when you crop or zoom in on an image.

But despite all this, reactions to the new handset have been mixed. The BBC highlights statistics from consultancy service IDC who surveyed smartphone owners to find out what factors mattered to them in a handset. The results saw camera resolution placed 15th on a list of 23 features.

Writing over at Tech Crunch, J ohn Biggs echoed these sentiments: “ High-megapixel phones are too cute and clever by half. They are a manufacturer’s attempt to add flair to an other wise drab line up and I guess they serve to make the R&D guys happy and give the marketing guys a new number to put in newspaper circulars. But no one buys them.”

This is disappointing as the rest of the phone’s specifications are all pretty respectable, and very much building on previous Lumia offerings: there’s a bright wrap-around polycarbonate body and the latest version of the Windows Phone platform; 2GB of RAM; a 4.5-inch 1280x768 display and a dual-core 1.5Ghz processor round out the specs.

But with the 41 megapixel cannon strapped onto the back prices have been raised: when the phone launches in the US on July 26 it will cost $300 (£198) on top of a two-year contract. There’s been no confirmation yet on who will be supplying the handset in the UK, but it’s rumoured that 02 will exclusively stock a 62GB version.

Video: Nokia Lumia 1020 launch