Comparison: Nokia Lumia 1020 / 1520 on Black vs Nokia 808 PureView vs Sony DSC-QX100

What an exciting evening this has been! As predicted, Nokia and Microsoft  pushed the Black update for the Lumia 1020 and 925 in several countries (see the previous link for availibility planning).

I was extremely lucky to be one of the very first to download the update, directly after Nokia announced about it (I have a history of having to wait for updates for weeks, so thank you Nokia :-)

After being able to bring the good news myself here at the club, of course I simply had to test the new camera software - not just for its better colors, but also being able to capture shots in raw .DNG like on the Nokia Lumia 1520.

But also today, I received a review sample of the Sony QX100. And although that is an "add on" (and not a smartphone camera) I'm quite sure you're looking forward to how that performs in comparison.

It was already evening over here, so I had to set a few things up under the kitchen lamp (I'm not kidding, I don't have a studio of any kind). I chose for some porcelain, my daughter's paintbox and some plastic flowers. I know it's not very ambitious, but at least it will give us something to work with.

It's quite late here after taking these shots, so I will give you the results as they are, without cropping into all these shots. You're able to look into detail yourself since you'll find all originals on Flickr - and all the Lumia's raw .DNG results on SkyDrive.

I will share all these shots in "chronological order" (more or less), so first the "oldest" Nokia 808 PureView, next the Nokia Lumia 1020, third the Lumia 1520 and finally the most recent Sony QX100.

Nokia 808 PureView - Porcelain 2

Please continue after the break...

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Porcelain 2

Nokia Lumia 1520 - Porcelain 2

Sony QX100 - Porcelain 2

Now this is probably a good moment to tell you a bit more about Sony's QX100. It's an "add on" lens for your smartphone. You can clam it to the back of your smartphone or hold the QX100 in your hand and just use the display of your smartphone to see what your shooting.


On the display of either your Android device or iPhone you won't just see what you're shooting, you may also operate the QX100 from there - you will see the softbuttons in the dedicated app ("PlayMemories Mobile") on your screen. No, it doesn't work on Windows Phone (yet), but who needs an extra lens like this if you already own the Lumia 1020 right? :-)

It's key specifications are impressive though (as posted on The QX100 has the same 'guts' as the Sony RX100 II premium compact, complete with a 20.2 megapixel, 1-inch sensor and F1.8-4.9, 28-100mm lens, but you don't get much exposure control and you can't shoot RAW.

Time for the next set of shots, still under the lamp light of my kitchen counter.

Nokia 808 PureView - Paint 1

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Paint 1

Nokia Lumia 1520 - Paint 1

Sony QX100 - Paint 1

I have one more shot of this subject (in fact I have two shots of all three subjects). I won't share all shots in this post though, it will become way too long. Like I wrote, you will find them all on Flickr (and the raw .DNG files on SkyDrive).

Of course, this is not the best situation for a critical comparison but I think it's safe to say that the Nokia 808 PureView still has it's "cold" colours, and those of the Nokia Lumia 1020 now look a lot more like the ones many appeared to like from the Nokia Lumia 1520 - less saturated than before.

It's too early (or looking at the clock over here it might also be too late :-) to come to any conclusion about the results I'm getting from the Sony XQ100. Like I wrote: this isn't the best situation for a critical comparison. I can write something already about using this add-on lens though.


It's interesting, no doubt. It's not the device you will always have with you (like your smartphone) , but it's not bulky or heavy, so it's easy to transport (the QX10 is even smaller and lighter, but offers less quality). Connecting the QX100 with your phone is quite easy (works via WiFi and NFC if your device supports that). That is something that will influence battery life, but I have no idea yet how long batteries from both devices you're using will last you.

The QX100 is not for "snapshots" either - even when it's already attached to your smartphone, setting up the WiFi connection will take you about a minute. That of course, is usually way too late for any snapshot. So it's an interesting cameralens you can use in combination with your Android or iPhone, but you can't make phonecalls with it nor will it be able to share shots directly from the camera.

Where on the Nokia Lumia 1020 and 1520 it's possible to save the shots in different formats - 5MP only, 5MP and high res or 5MP and raw .DNG - the Sony will save a small copy on the smartphone you're using (2MP in fact) . The best results are stored on the micro-SD card you'll have to insert in the QX100.

Last subject: some colourful fake flowers :-)

Nokia 808 PureView - Flowers 2

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Flowers 2

Nokia Lumia 1520 - Flowers 2

Sony QX100 - Flowers 2

To be completely honest - in this example I don't like the colors of the Nokia 808 PureView very much compared to the other three. The Nokia 808 PureView makes it look almost purple, whereas all other three capture the orange of the original much better. 

I obviously focused on the big flower on the right (focusing wasn't always as easy with the QX100, but that may be the fact I was using it for the first time). Looking at all these shots together, it seems focusing on the flowers is a bit of a problem anyway.

The 808 PureView gives a more "generally sharp" image like the Lumia 1520 does, the 1020 was really focussing on the flower, like the QX100. No doubt, we can't blame any of the devices here, but the photographer (being me). However different the results, I still they are still interesting for you to see and compare at will.

So much for this (for me) late night and first comparison of the classic Nokia 808 PureView, both the most advanced Nokia Lumia's running on Black, and Sony's QX100. Again: this is a first comparison, done under not the most ideal circumstances, inspired more by enthusiasm than profesionalism. I really wouldn't come to any conclusion based on this post if I were you, but I do hope you liked this first impression.

Once more: all originals are on Flickr and SkyDrive. Please don't be shy and share what you think of this comparison below - I love to read what you think. I'll be making more the next days - hope to make some outside shots as well (if the weather is friendly enough, that is).

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