Nokia’s PureView flagships, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and: Jolla (2)

Let's go outside for a change. To a very small general aviation airport in my neighbourhood.  Carrying three Nokia PureView devices, the Samsung, Sony and Jolla.

Yes, I know the comparison isn't completely fair, the Jolla being cheaper and never "camera centric" and all that. True. But its camera sotware has been recently updated and the Jolla still costs you €400: you might expect a pretty good smartphone camera module for that kind of money as well I guess?

There has been some confusement about the amout of MP the Jolla's camera has - and I've been adding a bit to it as well, I'm sorry to say. Based on a too quick glance on the internet  I thought 3264 x 1840 pixels equals 4MP - but obviously (just do the math) it's 6MP.

Now why is Jolla mentioning 8MP for its camera? Probably because the sensor is that big - you know, like the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 have a 41MP sensor, but you will only get 38MP in 4:3 and 34MP in 16:9 aspect ratio.

Like - for instance - the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a 13MP sensor but will only give you that in 4:3, and "only" 9.6MP in 16:9. The Jolla gives you 6MP in 16:9 and you can't change the aspect ratio to 4:3. So I guess it's 8MP when you would have had the possibility to use 4:3 - maybe after a future update.

Enough numbers. Let return to the small aviation airport. The light was bright, it was a clear afternoon and the clouds on the horizon made for an impressive scenery. All camera settings were on automatic - I didn't change the white balance, didn't put any focus to "infinity" (although that might have been wise in this case).

The shots aren't very interesting from an artistic point of view (although the clouds are beautiful). But to see how the different cameras cope with the contrast of the bright sunlight and the darker foreground - I think that's what makes these shots worth your while. And the 640 x 360 crops, of course, showing which offers you the best detail.

First the two smallest resolutions, 5MP coming from the Nokia Lumia 1520 and 1020 (shown in that order). Both devices chose ISO-100, the difference is remarkable - the light was exactly the same.

7 Nokia Luma 1520 Sky

7 Nokia Lumia 1020 Sky 5MP

Now one might argue the grass looks very green in the last shot, but on a very bright sunlit afternoon, it actually looks this green. I think the 1020 has done a better job here - maybe because of the bigger sensor? Who knows... You'll see quite a bit darker shade of green in all the other shots though.

Next, the 6MP result of the Jolla (ISO-100 as well)

7 Jolla Sky

Two devices on 8MP, first the Nokia 808 PureView (ISO-64)

7 Nokia 808 PureView Sky 8MP

Next the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact (in Superior Auto mode choosing ISO-50)

7 Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Sky

And last, the 9.6MP shot from the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which seems to have the biggest problem with the light contrast (also ISO-50)

7 Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Sky

Next: the crops from all phones, in the exact same order.

First the Nokia Lumia 1520, followed by the Lumia 1020.

7 Nokia Lumia 1520 Sky

7 Nokia Lumia 1020 Sky 5MP

No doubt in my mind the Nokia Lumia 1020 gives the best result.

The difference with the Jolla is once again immense.

7 Jolla Sky

Comparing crops from the two 8MP results is interesting as well of course.

First the Nokia 808 PureView oversampled result of its 41MP sensor...

7 Nokia 808 PureView Sky 8MP

...versus the 8MP oversampled result from the 20.7MP sensor of the Xperia Z1 Compact:

7 Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Sky

The difference is quite clear - apart from the small plane :-) Last, the same 640x 360 crop coming from the 9.6MP result of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (no oversampling is involved here)

7 Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Sky

I think in this case once again, Jolla loses. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 takes 5th place, followed by the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact.

Nokia takes the lead, in my opinion with the Nokia Lumia 1520 in third place, 808 PureView second and the Lumia 1020 as the winner. Not because I simply want it to win, but clearly since it handles the contrast best and shows the most detail in the crops.

You'll find all the original shots on Flickr (the same set as from the previous comparison of the six smartphone cameras). As always, I'm looking forward to your opinion as well: what's your favorite shot?

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