An ancient castle. Nokia, Samsung, Sony, HTC, Oppo: seven smartphones, eight resolutions (2)

As you may already have read, a few days ago I've been testing the Nokia 808 PureView, the Lumia 1020 and 1520, Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2, HTC One M8 and Oppo Find 7a. With each device I took several shots, when possible in different resolutions, so I ended up with way more than a hundred shots to select from. From all those shots I selected the very best.

First scene was from a bar in  new restaurant in an ancient fort in the small city of Muiden. This time you'll see the majestic outlook on the Muiderslot, an ancient castle that dates back to the 13th (!) century (check the link). It was a very sunny day, so the light was bright and constant (not hindered by any clouds that is, which is a bit of a rarity in The Netherlands).

Like the last time, I'll show you one resized shot of the scene itself first, then I'll "zoom in" to see how much detail you will get from the different reslutions. This is the Nokia 808 PureView's 8MP result (resized to fit this post of course).

3a Nokia 808 PureView Muidersslot 8.3MP 640 x 360

I do realize there is a lot more to be said about coloring etc (there are some huge differences in the way the old bricks and the blue sky is represented), but I'm focusing on resolutions in this test first.

Like I wrote in the previous post, it ranges from 4MP in the HTC One M8 all the way up to the artificial 37MP in the Oppo Find 7a. Not the full 50MP resolution since I 'm shooting in 16:9 and "artificial" since there is no 50MP sensor in the device - it combines four 13MP shots.

Here's the full range (screenshot from my laptop) in the order I'm going to present them to you.

screenshot sizes

As you can see I even calculated the exact resolution of almost every device. Keep in mind this is all in 16:9 aspect ratio.

From this gorgeous historical castle, I chose two parts to "zoom" into. First the sign in front of the castle, and second its tower on the left side. So you'll be looking at 26 screenshots in total, but I think you'll find it interesting in both cases.

First, the sign in front of the castle. It's in Dutch and English, so it'll be easier for you to make out when you can actually read it looking at 100%. One more thing though: after resizing the shots you will see some of the famous " moiré pattern" in the old bricks.  This is not present in the original shots of course.

Here we go. I mention each device used above the shot.

HTC One M8 4MP

1 HTC One M8 4MP - Muiderslot

Notice an enormous amount of difference in the saturation with the

Nokia 808 PureView 5MP which looks "pale" in comparison.

2a Nokia 808 PureView Muidersslot 5MP

Nokia Lumia 1020 5MP looks less pale but not oversaturated, and does appear to show more detail.

2b Nokia Lumia 1020 Muiderslot 5MP

Nokia Lumia 1520 5MP looks even a bit less saturated to me

2c Nokia Lumia 1520 - Muiderslot 5MP

Going one step up, with

Nokia 808 PureView 8.3MP

3a Nokia 808 PureView Muidersslot 8.3MP

Sony Xperia Z2 8.3MP appears to have the exact same resolution in Auto Superior setting, but due to longer focal length we seem to be a bit closer to the castle (which is not the case, I try not to move when comparing).

Details do look fine but a bit oversharpened I'd say. However, keep in mind these as resized screenshots, so there's been quite a lot of compression and the original files (on Flickr) really do look better. So be sure to check the originals to be absolutely certain before making up your own mind.

3b Sony Xperia Z2 Muiderslot 8.3MP

Oppo Find 7a 9.7MP is doing a fine job I'd say.

3c Oppo Find 7a Muiderslot 9.7MP

Sony Xperia Z2 15.6MP in Manual mode, to get the large 15.6MP resolution and see what it brings us.

This is where we're starting to be able to read the sign. That though, will also depend on your computerscreen (I work on a 15.6 inch laptop screen with an old-fashioned resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, to give you an idea).

4 Sony Xperia Z2 Muiderslot 15.6 MP

Samsung Galaxy S5 15.9MP is a  very similar resolution as the one above, but  it does show more details I'd say? Look at the bricks on the tower in the center of the shot for instance - you'll definitely make out more than on the Sony Xperia Z2, but it does tend to be oversharpened.

5a Samsung Galaxy S5 Muiderslot 15.9MP

Do note in this case, the focal length of the Galaxy S5 clearly appears to be longer than is the case on the Xperia Z2 and the

Nokia Lumia 1520 16.3MP delivers a far more smooth shot with a bit higher resolution.

5b Nokia Lumia 1520 - Muiderslot 16.3MP

And now we move on to the highest of them all, the pure 33.6MP and the artificial 37.5MP. First both Nokia's in historical order.

Again, these screenshots are resized to fit this post - you'll easily make out more of the text on the signs if you look at the originals in 100%. 

Nokia 808 PureView 33.6MP

6a Nokia 808 PureView Muidersslot 33.6MP

Nokia Lumia 1020 33.6MP 

6b Nokia Lumia 1020 Muiderslot 33.6MP

Well, it's up to you I guess. In my opinion, based on these resized screenshots, the main difference is in color rendition, but the 808 PureView looks just a bit brighter and sharper to me as well.

I'm looking forward to your opinions very much, as always. I'll add the last shot of the Oppo as well, but apart from being able to zoom in a bit more, it doesn't exactly add any extra quality in this case.

Oppo Find 7a 37.5MP

7 Oppo Find 7a Muiderslot 37.5MP

So that's one part of the scene I more or less "cropped my way into", using different smartphone cameras...

Now let's have a look at the tower on the left side of the old castle. What happens when we zoom in there based on what we got from these seven devices? Again, you'll be look at resized screenshots, some "moiré" appears to be inevitable.

I won't write as much comment as above, I think you're perfectly capable of making up your own mind about these results. Just make sure to see I wrote the device I used above the screenshot, and keep in mind these are resized screenshots: you'll find much more information in the original shots.

The first group of shots is from 4MP up to 10MP.

HTC One M8 4MP

1 HTC One M8 4MP - Muiderslot

Nokia 808 PureView 5MP

2a Nokia 808 PureView Muidersslot 5MP

Nokia Lumia 1020 5MP

2b Nokia Lumia 1020 Muiderslot 5MP

Nokia Lumia 1520 5MP

2c Nokia Lumia 1520 - Muiderslot 5MP

Nokia 808 PureView 8.3MP

3a Nokia 808 PureView Muidersslot 8.3MP

Sony Xperia Z2 8.3MP

3b Sony Xperia Z2 Muiderslot 8.3MP

Oppo Find 7a 9.7MP

3c Oppo Find 7a Muiderslot 9.7MP

So far so good. There is one device that has me wondering, but let's move on to the next group of shots, those from the "over 15MP" results.

Sony Xperia Z2 15.6MP

4 Sony Xperia Z2 Muiderslot 15.6 MP

Samsung Galaxy S5 15.9MP

5a Samsung Galaxy S5 Muiderslot 15.9MP

Nokia Lumia 1520 16.3 MP

5b Nokia Lumia 1520 - Muiderslot 16.3MP

And the last set of three screenshots, coming from both Nokia PureView devices, and the Oppo.

Nokia 808 PureView, 33.6MP

6a Nokia 808 PureView Muidersslot 33.6MP

Nokia Lumia 1020 33.6MP

6b Nokia Lumia 1020 Muiderslot 33.6MP

Oppo Find 7a 37.5MP

7 Oppo Find 7a Muiderslot 37.5MP

Well, I think it's pretty clear the Oppo isn't performing all that well in this case (mind you, I chose the very best from all the shots I got that afternoon).

I do wonder what you think of the rest of the competition though. Clearly, HTC's One M8 doesn't stand a chance when it comes to cropping, and its oversaturation is evident as well.

Still, for a 4MP camera it's not that bad - the only reason HTC chose the 4MP "bigger pixel" idea is to get brighter shots in darker circumstances. That works, as we have seen in my previous post. Why HTC decided to invest in an extra sensor to be able to give a Refocus-like effect - instead of just one but much better sensor - will remain a mystery to me.

Once more: I made several shots with all devices and I handpicked the best from each. The screenshots were resized to fit the post. Do not forget to check the originals on Flickr first before coming to your conclusion! You will find all shots in a dedicated album here.

In my opinion there appears to be one device which is particularly disappointing, and I wonder if we agree on which one it is. Please don't hesitate to share your opinion below, and pay some attention to the next lines of this post either :-)

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