Amsterdam. Six smartphone cameras and six shots (in different resolutions) – part 2

Yesterday, I published part 1 of this comparison I made on a warm, bright and cloudy afternoon in Amsterdam. In my jacket, I had the Nokia Lumia 1020, Lumia 925, Lumia 920, 808 PureView and the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S4 Zoom with me. Six high-end smartphone cameras on three different platforms. I made a lot of shots and selected seven...

Last shot I shared yesterday was from a scene I liked so much I made two of it, and I wanted to pick up this comparison with the second view on a typical house boat in Amsterdam. But it turned out I moved with one of the cameras, which blew the whole comparison to pieces. I'm quite sick of it, but that's what happens sometimes. Remind me to always make more than just one shot (and I migiht advise you to do the same).

So now I'll just start with the next scene I got lined up. As a starting point, like in the previous post I'll share all the shots from the Nokia Lumia 1020 (the new kid in town) and compare them more or less randomly with the results I got from the other devices. All settings are on "auto". I only changed the basic color settings on the 808 PureView to "vivid". Here we go again :-)

Nokia Luma 1020 - Amsterdam - 5

Here's what the Nokia 808 PureView and Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom got from this charming house on one of the Amsterdam canals. Again, you'll see the much wider shot from Samsung's compact camera on Android.

Nokia 808 PureView - Amsterdam - 5

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom - Amsterdam - 5

Now of course, some crops from these shots... First, 640 x 480 from the 5MP result from the Lumia 1020

Nokia Luma 1020 - Amsterdam - 5 - 640 x 480

Here's the same crop from the 5MP shot from the Nokia 808 PureView. You'll see it looks a bit softer, for instance in the details from the bricks.

Nokia 808 PureView - Amsterdam - 5 - 640 x 480

And here from the 16MP shot from the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom (higher resolution, so you'll get less in 640 x 480). It's remarkable though, the 16MP sensor doesn't seem to give you as much detail as the oversampled results above.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom - Amsterdam - 5 - 640 x 480

And two different crops from the Lumia 1020 and 808 PureView full resolution, so 38MP results, now focussing on the flowers at the left. Lumia 1020 first:

Nokia Lumia 1020 High Res - Amsterdam - 5 - 640 x 480

Nokia 808 PureView Full Res - Amsterdam - 6 40 x 480

It's a drill we're getting used to I guess: more saturation and sharpness in the 1020, although the sharpness partially depends what you're comparing...

You've seen bikes in these shots before. In fact, you won't see a street in Amsterdam without at least one bike - they are flooding the streets and in some places it's even becoming a problem to park... seriously! So it's not like bikes are respected - on the contrary. This is not a very uncommon scene in Amsterdam either.

Nokia Luma 1020 - Amsterdam - 6

Here's the result from the Lumia 925 (first) and Galaxy S4 - notice the S4 has the smallest angle of all cameras.

Nokia Luma 925 - Amsterdam - 6

Samsung Galaxy S4 - Amsterdam - 6

Want crops? Here they are from the Lumia 1020 (5MP), Lumia 925 (8,7MP) and Galaxy S4 (13MP). Again, the higher the resolution of your shot, the less you will get in 640 x 480 pixels (and of course, the more detail you'll see).

Nokia Luma 1020 - Amsterdam - 6 - 640 x 480

Nokia Luma 925 - Amsterdam - 6 - 640 x 480

Samsung Galaxy S4 - Amsterdam - 6 - 640 x 480

And to top it all of, here are the 640 x 480 crops from the 38MP results from the Nokia Lumia 1020 and 808 PureView.... Remember this is the "raw" material, uncompressed, no oversampling.

Nokia Lumia 1020 High Res - Amsterdam - 6 - 640 x 480

Nokia 808 PureView Full Res - Amsterdam - 7 - 640 x 480

I crop the shots as I go along writing this post. That's why I suddenly discover I moved a bit in some shots, ruining at least one comparison. And that's how I suddenly discover "details" like these. It's obvious the Nokia 808 PureView proves to offer close to insane imaging quality.

In case of the Nokia Lumia 1020, however, the "high resolution" result is only used to work with the shot on your the phone itself, to "zoom again" or focus on a detail later. Important to know: that second image will be oversampled as well. Not as strong as the 5MP original you got in the first place, but it will eliminate some of the noise.

The last shot in this post: an approaching rainstorm overlooking a boat terrace with the tower of the Wester Church in the back. I chose this one because of the - once more - quite difficult light.

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Amsterdam - 7

 The only camera not featured in this post yet is the Lumia 920 (on Amber), so here it is:

Nokia Lumia 920- Amsterdam - 7

It surprised me, but you can have a look on Flickr to see that actually all shots will show you the time on the big clock of the Wester Church (around 15:15). First I'll compare this with the Nokia Lumia 925:

Nokia Lumia 925 - Amsterdam - 7

Now in these resized shots, there's not much difference I'd say, so let's have a look at the crops. Again, Lumia 920 (Amber) first.

Nokia Lumia 920 - Amsterdam - 7 640 x 480

 Next, same crop coming from the Nokia Lumia 925:

Nokia Lumia 925 - Amsterdam - 7 640 x 480

To be totally honest... In this case, I don't see much of a difference - do you?

Let me to conclude this post just focus on the crops from the Lumia 1020 and 808 PureView. First 640 x 480 from the 5MP shot of the Lumia 1020.

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Amsterdam - 7 - 640 x 480

Nokia 808 PureView - Amsterdam - 7 - 640 x 480

In this case, the softness of the 808 PureView is a disadvantage I'd say. The Lumia 1020 gives a much sharper image. Now let's see what the crops from the 38MP full res shots show - no PureView oversampling, just the first "raw" shot. 1020 first:

Nokia Lumia 1020 High Res - Amsterdam - 7 - 640 x 480

Below you'll see a softer result from the Nokia 808 PureView, but - once again - less noise. The Lumia 1020 clearly shows a much lighter result in this pretty dark part of the shot however.

Nokia 808 PureView Full Res - Amsterdam - 4 - 640 x 480

Now this of course is "pixel peeping" as some of you've called it. Not something the average user will do. I can't stress this enough however: on the Lumia 1020 you use the full resolution shot to work with: Zoom Reinvented.

When you've zoomed in on a subject, you'll get the zoomed result in 5MP, but also the original with everything surrounding what you zoomed into. That's the full (or "high") resolution result, that's what you use to zoom "again", or, in case you didn't zoom, to focus on a detail in your shot afterwards. Once more: that second selection will also be oversampled. To a certain extent that is, but it will in part take care of the noise you now see in the full res result.

In this post, I'm just "pixel peeping" to see in how far there appears to be a difference between what the two different 41MP sensors give you.

After a lot of time, resizing and cropping many shots, I think I can safely state that at this moment compared to the old 808 PureView, the Lumia 1020 shows
- more sharpness in PureView (5MP)
- more noise in "high resolution" (34/38MP). Part of this noise will be eliminated after you worked with the shot.
Thirdly, I think it's safe to say the Lumia 1020 handles darker circumstances better as well (no wonder, with OIS)

I wrote "at this moment", since I'm sure over at Nokia they are still tuning and tweaking to squeeze the best possible quality out of the Lumia 1020's hardware and software, to make it even better - as they did with the Lumia 920 after a few updates.

That's it for now. I know I promised seven shots and had to change that to six. But I'll make it up with you. I made a lot of shots inside a Catholic church from the 17th century in Amsterdam as well - with all six smartphone cameras. It will be a totally different atmosphere, so I'll share those shots in a last post from Amsterdam.

I hope you liked what I've shown so far. Don't hesitate to let me know :-)

And yes, you will find all originals on Flickr.

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