Photography with the Lumia 535: Low Tier Price, Upper Tier Experience

Lumia 535 5MP Rear Cmera
Lumia 535 5MP Rear Cmera
Lumia 535 5MP Rear Cmera

Microsoft  is on the verge of launching their first Microsoft branded device, the Lumia 535 in Kenya. With a suggested price of KES 15,000 and an impressive specification and feature set, the Lumia 535 sets the benchmark for smartphone value.

Lumia 535 Specifications

  • 5 inch qHD (960×540) IPS Display with Gorilla Glass 3 scratch resistance
  • 5 MP wide angle Front Facing Camera
  • 5 MP Rear Facing Camera with LED flash
  • Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 with “Denim” Firmware
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 Quad core (with an Adreno 305 GPU)
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB Storage + microSD slot (expandable to 128 GB)
  • Full suite of Microsoft services (Skype, OneDrive, Office, etc.).

To test the image capturing capabilities of the Lumia 535, we handed over the fluorescent green windows phone powered smartphone to two amateur photographers. They pushed the device to its limits and the results were quite surprising. The two photographers are:

Roy Kitur

A pre-law university student, Roy has an eye for capturing dramatic cityscapes. His skill leaves many wondering how he is able to extract such beauty using his usual device, the Lumia 520. You can follow Roy (@theKitur) on Instagram .

Douglas Injugu

A product management consultant, Douglas has been using Windows Phones since the Lumia 800 back in 2012. Doug’s current device is the Lumia 925 which he uses to great effect. You can follow Doug (@dinjugu) on Instagram.

Roy Kitur

Low Light Capture on the Lumia 535. Shot by Roy Kitur
Low Light Capture on the Lumia 535. Shot by Roy Kitur

First off, a disclaimer. I’m not a tech guy. I’m just a Windows fanatic with a keener interest on a phone’s camera than anything else. So when I got a week with the Lumia 535, I was told it wouldn’t be that different from my Lumia 520, because the specifications say they both have 5 MP primary cameras with the 535 having one over in that it has a flash (which I rarely used by the way). On top of that, the 535 has a 5 MP front-facing camera coupled with the Lumia Selfie app that can make anyone look pretty, but more about that later.

The 5MP main camera, which I tested both during the day and in low light, close up shots and landscape shots from afar and to be honest I was quite impressed.

With the 5” screen, you can see your photo quite better than with the smaller Lumia 520 screen. Secondly, thanks to the flash, I was able to take much better photos of human faces as I like to call portraits. With the flash at least you know you can’t miss any moment, any time of the day. Another major plus for the Lumia 535 is the fact that the Camera apps launch quite fast! At least compared to the Lumia 520 and the 1020 that I’ve used. So when you need to take a photo of that beautiful golden car on the road before it speeds off, your trusty Lumia 535 has got you covered. (I actually got to do this). I didn’t get to test the recording capabilities of the device, which slipped my mind.

Now to the one thing that made me quite happy, the 5MP front facing camera. Considering I have what critics call an “average face”, I found myself taking one too many selfies with the Lumia 535 and with some fine results as well. Coupled with the Lumia Selfie app, I got some really good results. Furthermore thanks to the 5” screen, there’s some extra stability when taking the photos, both the selfies with the front facing camera and the long exposure low light photos with the primary camera for those without a tripod stand.

A major upset on this one, however, is the fact that the phone doesn’t have a dedicated camera button, which is egregiously regressive in my opinion. This is particularly annoying when I tried to sharpen my focus when taking close up shots and macro shots as well as when I tried to change my focus on any photo really and when I tapped on the object to be focused, the phone automatically took the photo. That issue about objects on focus was easily sorted on the Lumia Refocus app, but it still felt weird not to have a dedicated camera button.

All in all, the Lumia 535 is one hell of a device and the only thing I was left wondering was how Microsoft managed to price it as cheaply as they are right now.

Douglas Injugu

Landscape shot by Douglas Injugu
Landscape shot by Douglas Injugu

I would like to point out that I use a Lumia 925, so I was expecting the Lumia 535 to be a bit of a struggle but to be honest. It isn’t.

Taking of Macros has always been my favourite when it comes to photography because of the attention to details involved. The Lumia 535’s 5 MP does it perfectly.  The attention to details is quite amazing, a Macro from both the 925 and 535 can’t be told apart if taken well.

Another plus to the camera is its stable, I took a few photos while in a car and it took them perfectly. The Lumia Camera application also adds weight to the camera, with ability to regulate shutter speed and adjust lighting making it also able to long exposure photos.

For a budget phone I am impressed by the Lumia 535 camera. The colour adjustment is quite good, when you view your photos on your PC. The photos come out with a 2592 x 1456 resolution thus you can save some of the photos as your desktop back-ground.

Verdict : Microsoft has done a brilliant job with the Lumia 535 from its screen size to its camera, finally the individual with a budget phone can now get to enjoy the fun in a good camera.

Image Galleries

You can see the entire set of images captured with the Lumia 535 below. NOTE: In order to ensure that the page loads quickly, this article features resized images were reduced in size (from 2592×1456 pixels to 1280×719 pixels).

Are you excited by the Lumia 535? Please let us know in the comments.

General Image Performance



Low Light


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Ardent Windows Phone Enthusiast (Since Launch in Oct 2010) and huge Microsoftie (from Office 365, Surface to Visual Studio). Mechanical Engineer (Lean MFG, Six Sigma). If you ever have any questions on anything Microsoft related, reach out via Twitter.


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