Hilversum old harbour: 808 PureView, Lumia 1020 & 930, G3, Galaxy K Zoom

This is a part of Hilversum which is a bit "un-Dutch" so to say. Most part of this country is flat, as you probably know. This place is called "Old Harbour", since well, that's what it used to be - a small harbour, right in the middle of Hilversum. And it's not exactly flat. oude haven
It was finished in 1876 and used until 1938. I have no idea when this picture was taken, I found it online. The scene I captured last week are the houses on the far left side and was taken from the about the middle of the picture above. These days, there is a large terrace at a restaurant that has been built there a few years ago (worth a visit, it has a great restaurant and there is a big aquarium below where I captured my Finding Nemo and friends post).

I've been waiting for the light to be just about perfect to capture this scene exactly like I had it in mind: late in the afternoon, sunlit, preferably some fantastic clouds in the background. I captured it with the Nokia 808 PureView, Lumia 1020 & 930, the LG G3 and the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom (using different settings and its zoom capacity just to show what it's capable of).

First, I'll show you the difference what happens if you do or do not focus on the brightest part in the shot with the Nokia Lumia 930 (and 1020 for that matter). In the first shot, I focused on the buildings. You'll see the clouds are "burned". Nokia Lumia 930 5MP Old Harbour Hilversum Now if you care more about the clouds than anything else, this is what happens when you focus on the brightest part, in the middle of the great white cloud - simply by touching the display there. Suddenly you'll see its details like in a painting of a Dutch master. Nokia Lumia 930 5MP Old Harbour Hilversum Clouds
But as you can see, when you focus on the brightest part, it's no surprise the picture will be darker in general. This of course is directly from the camera, before any post-processing you might do - let alone what you can do with the RAW result. As you know I usually only focus on what people get from the camera itself, without the extra time (and knowledge) needed for post-production. Some general color differences. First the LG G3.The clouds will give away this was captured a few minutes later, and you'll notice the LG's focal point is longer - the scene captured is not nearly as wide. LG G3 Old Harbour Hilversum Next the Nokia 808 PureView (resized from 8MP) Nokia 808 PureView 8MP Old Harbour Hilversum No doubt in my mind which one you prefer from these two above (even more so after you've seen the crops). But what about the Nokia Lumia 1020 (focusing on the buildings, not the clouds)? Nokia Lumia 1020 - 5MP Old Harbour Hilversum Next might be interesting for you too. My PureView friend Bigs from New Zealand advised me to test the "aperture drop" in the manual settings of the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom. The next shot was captured at F3.1 at 1/1500th sec. Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - Hilversum Old Harbour - manual - F3.1 With the "aperture drop" (I'm not even sure what it's called by Samsung), you can choose for F/9 (instead of F3.1). Of course you'll have to adjust your exposure time otherwise the shot will get way too dark. I changed it manually to 1/180 sec (since the K Zoom said it would need no correction in exposure value). Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - Hilversum Old Harbour - man - F9 Now let's have a look at the crops of these results. Here's the first one (F/3.1) Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - Hilversum Old Harbour - auto - F3.1 Crop 1 And here's the second one (F/9) Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - Hilversum Old Harbour - man - F9 Crop 1
Well, to be honest: the white might be better in the second shot, but I seem to have lost some detail there. Looks like I should have tested this with a few more different exposure times - the last result appears to be a bit too bright I'm afraid. Nevertheless, I think it is better than what I got from the LG G3 (10MP) LG G3 Old Harbour Hilversum Crop 1
Compare that with the Nokia Lumia 930 - 16MP: noticebly darker once again (and this is NOT from the shot where I focused on the clouds!), but gives way more detail (of course, the difference between 10MP and 16MP is huge, too). Nokia Lumia 930 16MP Old Harbour Hilversum Crop 1 The Nokia Lumia 1020 (34MP) gives a bit lighter result Nokia Lumia 1020 - 34MP Old Harbour Hilversum Clouds Crops 1 And the painting is definitely white in the crop coming from the Nokia 808 PureView at 34MP Nokia 808 PureView 34MP Old Harbour Hilversum Crop 1
Once more, I'm truly amazed by the amount of detail these sensors will give you - maybe some of you are used to it by now, but just see where these crops came from... - they certainly show more detail than I ever could see with my own eyes (with my glasses on, that is :-)

Now in the last posts I haven't paid any attention to the zoom capacity of the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom. I  feel it's time to make up for that. In the next two shots, you'll see it at its maximum optical zoom capacity (10x). I fooled around with the "aperture drop" function again as well. This is the first example, F6.3 at 1/500 sec - the result being a bit too dark. Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - Hilversum Old Harbour Zoom - man - F6.3 + 1-500th And the second with F18.4 (!) and 1/45 sec - giving me a much brighter image. Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - Hilversum Old Harbour Zoom - man - F18.4 + 1-45th Now in this context, these two shots almost appear to be crops, but they aren't - these are resized versions of the 15.1MP originals, mind you. So here are the crops. Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - Hilversum Old Harbour Zoom - man - F6.3 + 1-500th Crop Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - Hilversum Old Harbour Zoom - man - F18.4 + 1-45th Crop 1
I've written a few times that there's no smartphone camera that can beat the optical zoom of the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom and I think this proves my point. Having said that, I've already shown that the Galaxy K Zoom's 20.7MP sensor doesn't perform as good as one might hope for without using its zoom capacity, although I do think I should have gotten better results from the "aperture drop" option.

Obviously, I need more practice and "your mileage may vary" depening on circumstances, too. I have a few small "bonus" crops for you. You might have noticed kids on the concrete playground in more or less the center of these shots. I didn't focus on them - I suddenly remember I didn't even zoom in with the K Zoom either. So let's 'zoom in" on these kids playing with the different resolutions from all cameras and see what they give us. 5MP first, coming from the Nokia Lumia 930 (first) and 1020 (second) Nokia Lumia 930 5MP Old Harbour Hilversum Crop 2 Nokia Lumia 1020 - 5MP Old Harbour Hilversum Crop 2 Lumia 930 showing a much darker image once again. Nokia 808 PureView (8MP) Nokia 808 PureView 8MP Old Harbour Hilversum Crop 2 LG G3 (10MP) LG G3 Old Harbour Hilversum Crop 2 Samsung Galaxy K Zoom (15.1MP) Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - Hilversum Old Harbour - auto - F3.1 Crop 2 Nokia Lumia 930 (16MP) Nokia Lumia 930 16MP Old Harbour Hilversum Crop 2 Nokia Lumia 1020 (34MP) Nokia Lumia 1020 - 34MP Old Harbour Hilversum Crop 2 Nokia 808 PureView (34MP - watch the shadows! :-) Nokia 808 PureView 34MP Old Harbour Hilversum Crop 2
My two cents after all these crops? I still don't really understand why the Nokia Lumia 930 gives such a dark result in general. The crop coming from the LG G3 clearly is worst, Samsung isn't doing too bad although you can't make out the grass.

The Lumia 1020 gives a great result (also considering the shady circumstances of this crop). No doubt, Nokia 808 PureView is once again leading the pack, but lighting conditions of the last crop are of course way brighter as what the 1020 has to work with. As you are used to, you can have a look at all my original shots as well, in a dedicated album on Flickr.

To conclude
There was a time when I almost stopped using the Nokia 808 PureView as point of reference, since it has been out of production for quite a while and Symbian Belle is in an artificial coma while more and more plugs are being removed. Mind you however, it's been 2.5 years Nokia announced the Nokia 808 PureView and yes, I'm still proud the PureViewClub was first to get one. That was June 7, 2012.

I've been testing many other smartphone cameras since then, and although you all know I'm really impressed with the Nokia Lumia 1020 in general, the 808 PureView still proves to be very tough to beat in term of imaging. More than two years later, companies like Samsung and Sony - with an impressive portfolio and many years of experience in digital imaging - still appear to be unable to beat what Nokia (without any other experience in the field of digital imaging) produced in this area. And that, I think, is an absolutely amazing achievement.

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