Night shots from a hotel in Crete

Yes, I'm back from a short trip to Crete... Although it was good to be "away" for a while, I missed taking care of the club too:  I never didn't post a thing for such a long period.

Now being a bit smartphone photography crazy I didn't quite travel unprepared however.., I was lucky enough to receive a test unit of the Samsung Galaxy S4, so I "limited" myself to four different cameras this time: the Nokia 808 PureView (doh), the Nokia Lumia 920, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and even the Samsung Galaxy Camera, because I happen to like the 21x zoom on it.

I didn't use all four devices all the time, and of course I used them to capture my family as well - but I still managed to make dozens of shots I think are nice to share. Being on Crete however, and spending especially the evenings with the family, I didn't get around to making many nightshots.

I'm not particularly fond of nightshots to be honest. Generally speaking I like the lighting to be just bright in fact, but I can see many people are very interested in how a smartphone camera does in those circumstances. So one night, after a long dinner and the family gone to visit the Greek Easter service, I decided to make some shots from the pool and the hotel.

To avoid the "why didn't you do any lowlight shots" questions in advance, I present the results from all four camera here as my first post (from what will be quite a few I'm afraid) with shots from Crete.

Before I start, one excuse: I messed up a little with the settings: some are on 16:9, some on 4:3. Sorry 'bout that, I don't think it will have a major effect on the lighting though. First, the Nokia 808 PureView gives quite a good result in 8MP Creative Mode on auto: ISO 800, f/2.4 and 1/8 sec.

To compare, this is the Nokia Lumia 920 on auto (ISO 800, f/2 in 1/3 sec.). You can clearly see it shows more of the hotel and the reflection in the pool.

 This is the Nokia Lumia 920 in Night Mode - it took 0,56 sec to make the shot, and thanks to OIS (and me holding the cam steady as well I guess) the result is like this.

But you can push the Nokia 808 PureView to go further, manually choosing for ISO 800 and choosing for some more time (1.37 sec):

 And if you really want to light up the place, choose ISO 1600! The Nokia 808 needs 1,25 sec (and now you can tell my hand was quite steady indeed - I don't use a tripod)

 Now turning to the other cameras, this is what the Samsung Galaxy Camera does in night mode:

 And you can already make a lot more out of the shot when you choose HDR with the Samsung Galaxy Camera:

I have to be honest though: the Samsung Galaxy Camera also has an "Expert Mode" with which you can manually set it to get a far better result. And I didn't - don't ask me why, I guess I was too curious to see what the Samsung Galaxy S4 would produce in night mode...

Here it is, and it's not as bad as I expected after many reviews blaming the S4 for not being able to make a proper nightshot at all. Unortunately, the EXIF data do not provide any detailed information about the settings.

In this case, I didn't get to choose HDR, since my family had already returned and asked for my attention... Nevertheless, I hope these shots have given you a nice impression of my lonely night at the pool, and what these smartphone cameras are capable of in very lowlight conditions.

So here it is: my first post comparing four cameras in Crete. I took dozens of shots (flowers, buildings, you know me by now) so I hope to be able to write a few more posts the coming days. But you will hardly see any more lowlight comparisons, I'm sorry :-)

PS A strange effect I notice only now: the light in the kitchen at the right side of the pool... I don't understand why it appears to be on and off, since during this Easter service, the place was definetely totally deserted. Maybe some cat set of the automatic lighting? Anyway, I never noticed it when making these shots...

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