An Amsterdam Afternoon – Nokia 808, 930 & 1020, Samsung Galaxy K Zoom and LG G3 (4)

This is the last (and longest) post based on the shots I captured last wednesday in Amsterdam. Turns out if wasn't a very bad afternoon in spite of the many clouds, since we've been seeing tons of rain in the Netherlands for the past days. Not much to complain, although the sunlight proved to be a challenge on many occasions. In this post you'll see ten shots from two different scenes.

First, a beautiful view on Amsterdam, taken from the "Kalvertoren" almost at the end of the famous Kalverstraat, the end near the Munt tower at Muntplein (see Here maps). It's a shopping mall in fact, and if you take the elevator to the top floor you can enjoy a splendid view on just about all sides of Amsterdam, enjoying a drink or even a small meal (I'm not getting paid to write this by the way, it's just another "must see" when you're visiting Amsterdam).

View from the Kalvertoren
You'll be behind huge windows - warm and safe, but to capture the view you will have to push your lens to the glass. That works most of the time, but not if you have an extremely orange Nokia Lumia 930 - so I had to leave that out in this scene. So let's start with the LG G3 and the Galaxy K Zoom. 5 LG G3 - 10MP - View on Amsterdam Samsung Galaxy K Zoom 5 Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - 15MP - View on Amsterdam
I'm starting to sound like a broken record maybe, but again you'll see contrast / colours in LG's result appear to be "more pleasing". Maybe it's fun to share the crops of these shots directly.   I didn't choose the tower at the horizon this time (done that in the previous post). Instead, you'll see a detail about halfway in the shot, the clock you might not have noticed so far on the corner of the building at the right of the center. Again: LG G3 first, Samsung Galaxy K Zoom second. 5 LG G3 - 10MP - View on Amsterdam 5 Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - 15MP - View on Amsterdam
So what's it going to be? Contrast is good coming from the LG, but the shot is (once more) clearly oversharpened. The Galaxy K Zoom again gives a pretty soft image but appears to loose details - see the ornaments above the windows on the floor below the clock, see the concrete wall on the right side of the crop.

Now first, this was shot through a glass wall. You might say that goes for both devices, but mind you it's easier to press a device like the LG G3 firmly to the glass than it is with the optical lens of the K Zoom - that might account for some of the difference. Also, it's like the Galaxy K Zoom doesn't have an optical zoom at all since I'm not using it in this comparison. No doubt, if I wanted to have the same detail as I chose to crop here, the result would have been way better if I had used the 10x zoom power of this device.

Sidenote: being orange
Unfortunately, the result coming from the Nokia Lumia 930 was unusable in this comparison. I've been warning people about the reflection of the yellow version of the Lumia 1020 already, well: looks like it's even worse with the extremely bright, almost neon kind of orange on my Lumia 930 - especially if you use it in its official and just as bright orange CP-637 cover. And I didn't discover it gave an orange hue to its shots until I compared them with the rest.

For my 1020 I use a black cover (the charging case in fact) and it looks like I will need a black case for the 930 too if I want to use it in reflecting situations like this. Having said that: I really love the orange on my Lumia 930 (not just because I'm Dutch) - I think it's an outstanding colour in any sense of the word. It's just very present and in some cases just a bit too much.

The 41MP sensors
So you probably already know what the last two devices are I captured this scene with: the Nokia 808 PureView and the Lumia 1020. Here are the resized versions of the 5MP and 8MP results, so coming from the 808 PureView (first) and Lumia 1020 (second) 5 Nokia 808 PureView - 8MP - View on Amsterdam 5 Nokia Lumia 1020 - 5MP - View on Amsterdam
By the colors I guess you could already tell which was which by now, right? It's funny to see the "colder" 808 shot looks more like what Samsung does with the K zoom, whereas the Lumia 1020 gets a similar "pleasing" result as the LG G3.

Let's have a look at the crops I got - from the 5MP shot, the 8MP shot and both 34MP shots. Nokia Lumia 1020, 5MP 5 Nokia Lumia 1020 - 5MP - View on AmsterdamNokia 808 PureView, 8MP 5 Nokia 808 PureView - 8MP - View on Amsterdam Like with the K Zoom, the 808 PureView gives a brighter result - but details are better even in 8MP than what we saw from the K Zoom. To conclude this part of the comparison you'll see the crops coming from both 41MP sensors. Nokia Lumia 1020, 34MP 5 Nokia Lumia 1020 - 34MP - View on Amsterdam Nokia 808 PureView, 34MP 5 Nokia 808 PureView - 34MP - View on Amsterdam
Since the crop from the 808 PureView is brighter I guess that's why you can see the individual tiles on the black rooftop. Also, the 808 PureView shows a bit less noise (check the white in the windows). I know we're pixel peeping here, but sometimes that's what this is all about: which shot gives the purest detail.

Inside the Amsterdam Krijtberg Church after a year
Ready for the last shot? This is in a church at the Singel canal, the same church I visited a year ago. It was relatively busy - not just with tourists visiting - so I had much less opportunity to get these shots (and I didn't want to disturb those who actually visited to pray). I guess I should have put all devices on 4:3 instead of 16:9, but I didn't feel I had the time to do so. So here's a warning: this last part of my comparison will involve quite a lot of scrolling.

But I think it will be worth it. What I will share here first is the resized shot from what I got from the Nokia Lumia 930, which I forced at ISO 100 - a setting most cameras appear to choose when on automatic in normal daylight. This light isn't normal, of course. Let's start with the shot, taken from the backside of the last bench of the church. Nokia Lumia 930 3 Nokia Lumia 930 - 5MP - Church Now what's important here (again) is that if you don't point your finger on the brightest spot in the scene, you will get an "average" lighting from the Lumia 930 (loosing just about all details in the stained glass). With the Nokia Lumia 930 you can change the light drastically as you see above. You can't do this with the LG G3. LG G3 3 LG G3 - 10MP - Church Worse, you can't even change the ISO setting in the LG G3. It's just not there, its menu is very limited if you want to make the best of a difficult situation. Next, the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom on auto - it won't change the lighting if you focus on the windows, so you'll get a similar result - again the colors are less saturated (I keep thinking of the 808 vs 1020 interpretation of what are the "right" colours). Samsung Galaxy K Zoom 3 Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - 15MP - ChurchHowever, an important difference is that you can put the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom on ISO 100 in manual settings. The diffference is huge of course. Samsung Galaxy K Zoom ISO 100 3 Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - 15MP - ISO 100 Church Yes, it's too dark in fact. Why? The big difference with the Nokia Camera UI is that you can choose to change the ISO and have the Lumia figure out the rest (or you can also change the shutter time if you really know what you're doing). With the Galaxy K Zoom, you can change the ISO settings in manual, but you'll have to choose the other settings as well. This was shot at 1/20 second, where the Lumia 930 just knew 1/10 would have been better. Well, I didn't. The Nokia Lumia 1020 chose 1/12 second at ISO 100. Nokia Lumia 1020 3 Nokia Lumia 1020 - 5MP - Church I'm sorry I didn't get the shot from the Nokia 808 PureView! A large group of tourists entered the church and ruined every shot I could compare. So please excuse me while I move on to the crops.

I don't mean any disrespect choosing the Jesus statue to crop. He's in the center of the attention and of the bright light coming from the windows (where I focused all devices) - the perfect image to see the differences I guess. This time I'd like to play with the order of the crops - not just by resolution, but also by brightness. First, the brightest crop of all, coming from the... Galaxy K Zoom Galaxy K Zoom (auto) 3 Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - 15MP - Church Almost as bright is the crop coming from the LG G3 - it has more contrast, partially due to oversharpening. LG G3 3 LG G3 - 10MP - Church Next choice is the Nokia Lumia 930 in 5MP.You'll see the 5MP shot coming from the Lumia 930 first, followed by that from the Lumia 1020 (which appears to be a bit darker than the 930 this time) Nokia Lumia 930 3 Nokia Lumia 930 - 5MP - Church Nokia Lumia 1020 3 Nokia Lumia 1020 - 5MP - Church Next crop is from the Lumia 930 in 16MP 3 Nokia Lumia 930 - 16MP - Church Next: the very dark result I got from the Galaxy K Zoom. Again: you can't blame the device but should blame me for not getting the settings right! Oh the other hand, I got most colors in the tainted glass this way. Samsung Galaxy K Zoom (ISO 100, 1/20 sec) 3 Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - 15MP - ISO 100 Church And saving "best" for last I guess, the crop from the 34MP shot from the Nokia Lumia 1020. Nokia Lumia 1020 3 Nokia Lumia 1020 - 34MP - Church
Great detail considering the circumstances, even from the lamp on the front and the stained glass on the right. If you are not using the optical zoom in the Galaxy K Zoom, it's a clear win for Nokia's PureView tech still. As you probably know I'm about to change the name of this club, so I'm not desperately trying to prove PureView still has the best to offer in smartphone photography.

I already have shown before and written several times here that the K Zoom's optical zoom can't be beaten by any other smartphone camera at the moment. This series of comparisons didn't include that zoom capacity - I only wanted to compare what the sensors and lenses are capable of. I think you know now. Final thoughts To conclude, there is no sign of any 41MP PureView successor yet. That doesn't mean there won't be one but I'm not holding my breath.

Moreover, Nokia/Microsoft appear to have chosen october 15 as the "end of life" date for the Lumia 1020 , meaning it won't be sold after that date ( see WPCentral). Compared to the new Lumia PureView devices - 1520 and 930 - the Lumia 1020 is getting pretty old and slow indeed, but its camera is still state-of-the-art, generally speaking only surpassed by its own predecessor, the Nokia 808 PureView that made me start this club in the first place.

So it looks like you'll have to look out for both if you want to have the best in smartphone imaging, or at least the Lumia 1020 if you want the best camera with a modern smartphone OS. Despite the fact it will make for a thicker design, I really hope that it won't stop Microsoft from including it's fantastic PureView technology based on a 41MP sensor. A thicker design didn't stop Samsung either. So much for my selection of shots I got during my afternoon in Amsterdam.

I really hope you enjoyed these five posts in total, you'll find all (54!) original shots in this album on Flickr for you to compare. Don't hesitate to share your comments below, thank you. If you like what I’m doing here, please consider making a donation. There’s a button on the right hand side of this page, leading to PayPal. Any donation is welcome since this club doesn’t support itself. I’ll mention you as a sponsor  here, so this is your way to be featured in the Club yourself :-)