Churches in Münster, with Nokia Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3

This is going to be a bit of a lengthy comparison I'm afraid... This weekend I visited the beautiful city of Münster in Germany, where a friend of mine showed me around in several of its old churches - and those belong to my favorite subjects. I made dozens of shots of course, not only with the Nokia Lumia 1020 and 1520, but also with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

You may know I like to use different smartphones on different platforms - so I use Symbian (still), Windows Phone and Android. I've been hearing some very enthusiastic stories about the imaging qualities of the Galaxy Note 3, but up until this weekend, I didn't really have time to put it up to the current Kings of Imaging.

Being with a friend, I didn't bring more than three smartphones to compare, so no, you won't find any 808 PureView shots in this article, I'm sorry (something's gotta give). But I hope you'll find this comparison interesting nevertheless, although it will prove what we all probably already suspected.

Focal length.
The focal length is exactly the same with the Lumia 1020 and 1520 (as far as I can see that is), whereas to get the same image, I always need to take about two steps back when using the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. That's not much of a problem in itself, unless there simply is no room to take a step back.

In the first example, I was on my knees to capture as much as possible of the entrance of this church. Below, you'll see the resized version of the Nokia Lumia 1020's 5MP shot.

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Church Entrance - 5MP

The resized version of the Lumia 1520 5MP shot looks very similar, so I'll just share the resized 9.6MP shot from the Galaxy Note 3 next.

Samsung Galaxy Note - Church Entrance - 9.6 MP

To get the exact same image with the Galaxy Note 3, I would have had to lie down on my back, which is not just cold but also unpracticle and well, kinda funny.

Now while we're here (at the entrance of the Lambertikirche, Lambert's Church), let's have a look at a few crops. First from the Nokia Lumia 1020's 5MP shot:

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Church Entrance - 5MP crop 642 x 361

Next, a crop from the 9.6MP shot from Samsung's Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note - Church Entrance - 9.6 MP 642 x 362

And finally, a crop from the 34MP high-res shot from the Nokia Lumia 1020

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Church Entrance - high res 643 x 362

With these three different resolutions, it's not easy to compare. I'll try again with screenshots I made from the results I got at 100% zoom. You'll see them resized to fit this page, again in the order of Lumia 1020's 5MP, the Galaxy Note 3's 9.6MP and the 1020's 34MP

Screenshot Nokia Lumia 1020 5MP 2

Screenshot Samsung Galaxy Note 3 2

Screenshot Nokia Lumia 1020 34MP 2These are just two quick and dirty ways to compare these shots, you'll find them all on Flickr, including what I got from the Lumia 1520.

Next, and I'm still at the subject of focal length, here's the remarkable astronimical clock inside the large Münster Dom. With my back against the big cathedral's wall, with the Nokia Lumia 1020 I could actually capture this clock from top to bottom.

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Dom clock - 5MP

Now I can't work my way into the wall, so this is all I could capture from it with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Dom Clock - 9.6MPNot bad if you're not comparing, but it's quite clear that focal length is really important if you simply have no room to move.

I'll only share screenshots from these two, they are on Flickr if you'd like to compare them in detail. Once more you'll see them resized to fit this page, again in the order of Lumia 1020's 5MP, the Galaxy Note 3's 9.6MP and the 1020's 34MP (hover your mouse over the shot to see which is which when in doubt).

Screenshot Nokia Lumia 1020 5MP Dom Clock

Screenshot Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Dom Clock

Screenshot Nokia Lumia 1020 34MP Dom Clock

Dark and light
I warned you this was going to be a bit lenghty comparison, but I guess regular visitors of the PureViewClub are used to it and I know some of you even long for comparisons like these :-)

Two more scenes from the Münster Dom - a religious sculpture in the cathedral's wall, and a modern stained glass window. The old sculpture first, captured by the Nokia Lumia 1020 and Lumia 1520 and the Galaxy Note 3 - all without flash, of course.

The 5MP results from both Lumia's are quite similar but I'll share the resized version here anyway.

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Dom Sculpture - 5MP

Nokia Lumia 1520 - Dom Sculpture - 5MP The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 appears to give a lot darker shot... It's in cases like this where you see the potential of OIS already - you don't need night shots to notice the difference.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Dom Sculpture - 9.6MP

The difference is even much bigger when you look at these shots in detail. First, let's focus on the Lumia 1520 shot for a change. A central detail, somewhere around 640 x 360 pixels.

Nokia Lumia 1520 - Dom Sculpture - 5MP 641 x 362Same size, taken from the Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Dom Sculpture - 9.6MP 641 x 363

You'll see the there's much more noise in this shot. I'll even compare it with the same selection from the 5MP shot from the Lumia 1520, and enlarge it to just about the same size.

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Dom Sculpture - 5MP x 2 641 x 402

As you can see, even blown up to almost twice it's proportions, the Lumia 1520 shot is so much better!

Last shots are from a modern stained glass window: all the focus is on the light falling through the colored glass... Taken without zoom from the same distance, you'll notice the difference in focal length once more as well. Nokia Lumia 1020 first

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Dom Window 5MP

And the Galaxy Note 3:

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Dom Window 9.6MPOther things to notice are: more detail in the surroundings of the window and last but not least: much better colours and detail, as you can see in the (resized) screenshots of the 100% results.

I'll share them in the same order as above: first the 5MP shot from the Nokia Lumia 1020, next the 9.6MP shot from the Galaxy Note 3, and finally the 34MP result from the Lumia 1020.

Screenshot Nokia Lumia 1020 5MP Window

Screenshot Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Window

Screenshot Nokia Lumia 1020 34MP Window

As you've seen, the Galaxy Note 3 doesn't show enough of the colour of the glass for instance... It's simply too pale in some parts. And if you're wondering if this still has to do with the infamous oversaturation of the Lumia 1020, here's the result from the Nokia Lumia 1520 - although that happened to be on 4:3...

Nokia Lumia 1520 - Dom Window 5MP

And while I'm at it, here's the resized screenshot from this 1520 result as well.

Screenshot Nokia Lumia 1520 5MP Window

I think that should do for now. I made quite a few other nice shots in Münster, but they will have to wait for another post.

Now this is not to "bash" the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Sometimes I notice people are surprised I actually appreciate the brand although I'm clearly running a Nokia "fan blog".

I like to be objective as I've shown in a previous comparison of the Nokia 808 PureView and Galaxy S4. And although it might surprise you, I do like to use the Note 3 next to the Lumia's - I think it's important to be able to compare devices and platforms.

Camera wise though, in these comparisons, I think I've shown - in very diverse light conditions even - that Nokia's PureView technology really has really become a league of its own by now, and miles ahead of the competition. Again, all originals are on Flickr. As always I'm happy to read what you think about this below - even if you don't agree with me :-)

Update: as for the Nokia Lumia 1520's raw .DNG results from the shots I shared above: look for them on SkyDrive.

Update 2: Peter Meijs downloaded the shots and worked on them using ACR; Adobe Camera Raw plugin. He shared the result in the reactions below, but I'm so thrilled about it I'll share it in this post as well. It's a bit like removing centuries old dust from an oil painting, revealing so much more details than on the original .jpg shot above... The difference is just striking!

Nokia Lumia 1520 - Dom Window 5MP by Peter Meijs

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