A Curta, shot with Nokia 808 PureView, Lumia 920, Nokia N8, Sony Xperia S and Z

I think I know that the visitors of the PureViewClub are interested in both high-end innovations as in technological history - am I right?

In this post you'll find a very rare example of the last, and chances even are you never heard of this very rare collector's item: the Curta is an analogue pocket calculator (this one is from may 1953, almost 60 years old now), preceding the electronic calculators of the 70's.

About the Curta 
If you want to read all about it, go here - this site offers tons of information about the Curta pocket calculator (more than you can read in one day I'm sure). For here it should suffice to say the Curta was developed by a mathematical genious Curt Herzstark. He started working on this little machine in the thirties of the last century.

Curt Herzstark was the son of a Jewish father and Catholic mother, and after he was imprisoned in Buchenwald the Nazis would allow him to continu his work, so they would have something to present the Führer when the war was over.

No doubt, his invention saved his life (he died in 1988). If this fascinating historical background interests you - there's much more - I can only advise you to read this  Wikipedia article, and of course there is much more information you will find on the internet.

The shots you will see here are from a 1953 Curta that has been in my family for ages. It's in mint condition and works 100% as far as I can judge - I have no idea how to use it. It's just a little dusty, as you will see. The serial number will show you exactly when it was produced, and since this one has number 22051, it's quite easy to find  it's from May 1953.

About these shots
My first comparison of five serious smartphone cameras has become way more popular than I ever expected to. Many blogs have been sharing the results, also because it offered early outside shots of the new Sony Xperia Z. Many people asked me for inside shots, under poorer light conditions than on a bright sunny day.

Well: here they are. The weather here is terrible today - in fact the only smartphone I could take outside would be the Xperia Z since it's waterproof (and yes, that is an advantage Nokia should offer too!)

I don't have a studio either. These shots are taken under a bright lamp, and I'm using large pieces of paper as background. Mostly blue, sometimes black. You'll see that blue will turn into a bit more purple, and under the influence of the lamp the black background may change significantly, too (to a kind of yellow, almost).

You'll see crops, too. Don't judge the smartphones too harshly: some crops are a bit disappointing, but I'm not saying it's the smartphone's fault. Sessions like these take me almost a full day, I do the best I can, but I'm not perfect either. So I'm just offering this comparison to give you a general impression of what the smartphones are capable of in - in this case - less ideal light conditions.

This time, I didn't choose to make 640 x 360 crops. The differences are huge because of the difference in the cameras (and many readers on other blogs appeared to think I had "zoomed in" (or even cheated :-). So this time, I chose to "cut" a specific part of the image, so you will have a more "direct" comparison - I'm not saying it's more fair, but it's easier I guess.

The Nokia 808 PureView is on 8MP in almost all shots (in some close-ups I had to set it to 5MP). I chose for the 4:3 format so you can be sure that all other smartphone cameras give you the best they have to offer - between 8MP of the Lumia 920 and 13MP of the Sony Xperia Z).

The Nokia devices are set to "close-up" when necessary, I couldn't change to that setting on both Sony devices, so they're on "automatic" and will choose "macro" on automatic - and you might not cheer about the quality, but I've noticed it's very easy to get them to focus real close .

To (finally) conclude: no, there is no iPhone 5 in this comparison. I don't have one, nor do I want one. But if Apple would like me to compare it in a test like this, they now know what to do ;-) And yes, I'm still waiting for the HTC One, too (three :-)

Here's the video I made of all the full resolution shots you will find on the dedicated PureViewclub Photostream on Flickr as well, including all crops. For this video, don't forget to choose 1080p (Full HD) if your connection is fast enough. Enjoy!

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