Comparing night mode, auto and flash on Nokia 808, Lumia 920 (and Galaxy Camera)

Here are some pictures that have been hanging around in several mobile camera's for days, waiting to be posted here. Different scenes captured by the Nokia 808 PureView, the Nokia Lumia 920 and - even - the Samsung Galaxy Camera. Snapshots, really, taken without much preparation apart from changing a few settings. No tripod.

I hesitated to get the Galaxy Camera into this comparison with our favorite Nokia's: first it clearly has got nothing to do with PureView, and second it's not even a smartphone. It's a "connected phone" however, and since it's the only compact camera I can use, I'll just include it for you to compare. Results are quite interesting I must say.

I'll present the three scenes in this order: Nokia 808 PureView (all 8MP) - Nokia Lumia 920 - Samsung Galaxy Camera. In this post you'll see resized versions, of course. Next I'll show you some crops from the originals. All originals are in a dedicated set on Flickr, as you are used to by now.

Note that the Lumia 920 is still on the first firmware, I'm eagerly awaiting the update to PR1.1 (I sometimes hope Stephen Elop and Steve Ballmer are reading my blog as well :-))

Night mode
First, the shots in night mode. Here the Nokia 808 is in 16:9 aspect ratio, that's something you get when choosing "scenes" and "night mode". There's no way to change that setting into 4:3 as far as I've seen.

I'll share two shots of the Nokia Lumia 920 in this case: on auto and night mode. All settings on auto first

Nokia Lumia 920 in night mode

and the Samsung Galaxy Camera in night mode. As in my previous comparison, you'll notice a much wider angle.

Short conclusion from me: Nokia 808 gives the most realistic result. The Lumia 920 captures a very surprising amount of light even in automode, but gives a yellowish gloom I don't remember from that foggy night. In this case, it is obviously too light in night mode and also, it appears you have to make sure you don't move too much.... The Galaxy Camera is quite realistic in "night mode", but definitely on the dark side. You'll find some more carshots on Flickr, taken a night  before.

Automode - from dark to light
Next: an interesting situation, going from dark to light, with all cameras in automode: stone stairs, leading to a basement.

Nokia 808 PureView first.

Nokia Lumia 920 next

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Short conclusion: The Nokia 808 PureView is a bit dark but very realistic (you can almost feel how moist this is), the Lumia 920 is maybe a bit too bright on the top and the Galaxy Camera "somewhere in between".

Last, flash on all three devices. You'll see a mess in my basement. The room I was standing in, was literally pitch-dark: the flash was the only source of light all devices had. The Lumia 920 is on "auto mode" by the way (not on "night mode", I checked later to make sure,  in this case there appeared to be not much of a difference anyway).

Nokia 808 PureView. Update: Someone suggested I might have had ND filter on (or on auto) with this shot... Could be, I'll make the exact same shot again very soon. Update 2: I checked. There is no difference. Will upload second shot to Flickr too.

Nokia Lumia 920:

Samsung Galaxy Camera:

Now this is an interesting one. Many prefer the Nokia 808 PureView for its most realistic result - but what is realistic in the darkness with only your flash to help you out? Certainly in this case, the Nokia 808 PureView gives the darkest result, next up is the Lumia 920 and the brightest is no doubt the Galaxy Camera.

So high time to go into detail: how do these flash shots compare? This time, I'll crop the results from all three choosing a central part of the picture and then resize it to 640 pixel width. This will give me the exact same parts of the pictures to compare.

First the Nokia 808 PureView:

Although darker, the result is way less noisy than with the Nokia Lumia 920:

Last, the bright Galaxy Camera shot. It has less noise and is sharper than that of the Lumia 920, but remember the Galaxy Camera has a 16MP sensor, the Lumia 920 "only" half of that.

I think these crops speak for themselves. Most important: although the Nokia 808 PureView shot in the basement appeared to be just "darkest", in fact it also gives the sharpest result - by far even!

These are just snapshots, really - not much time, nothing fancy, no tripod, just the same situation you're in when you feel like taking a snapshot of a certain situation. I could go on cropping forever of course. I'll leave it up to you, this post is long enough as it is.

I'll give you one bonus shot though, the night shot with the car, when I had my Lumia 920 still on automatic flash. It flashes the fog which gives the picture quite a strange atomosphere :-)

Once more, all originals are on a dedicated set on Flickr (crop till you drop :-)

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