An old Catholic church in Amsterdam, captured with six smartphone cameras

In my previous two posts you've seen me comparing the Nokia 808 PureView, Nokia Lumia 1020, Lumia 925, Lumia 920 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S4 Zoom in different scenes in Amsterdam.

I've lived there for 25 years, and last wednesday was actually the first time I noticed this old church was open for visitors. I'm talking about the "Krijtberg" Church close to the Koningsplein (and it's famous flower market, a few stops from the Leidseplein if you know where that is). The church has its origins in 1654 and was built in its current form in the 19th century. You'll find more information about this church on WikiPedia.

This post is of course about the shots I took inside. A dark, richly ornamented Catholic church, with light streaming inside from the entrance and through the windows - a challenge for the six smartphone cameras once again.

All settings are on auto, and the only setting I changed is the Nokia 808 PureView being on "vivid" in its basic color settings (since I believe that's more realistic). I used Nokia Pro Cam on all Lumia's. I didn't use any flash to see how the smartphones would cope with the available light. And yes, all the shots are handheld: I compare these smartphones from a consumer point of view, I don't have the possibitilty to attach them all to my tripod (and this is already quite time consuming).

Like in the previous posts, I'll show all the Lumia 1020 shots first, since that's Nokia's newest device. I will however compare with as much shots as this post can handle, and of course, I will share all the shots I got on Flickr in their original size. This was my first comparison in Amsterdam in fact, I'm sorry to say I missed two shots, but I don't think it will bother you in this comparison: I got 30 shots in total.

Before I continue, I want you to know that I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by sharing these shots. I fully understand that to a lot of people these shots can be sensitive, and I promiss to handle them with care.

First, an overview from about 10 meters away from the back of the church. In the Nokia Lumia 1020, you will see an abundant amount of colours

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 0

Since I've had quite some discussion about its predecessor, here's what I got from the Nokia 808 PureView.

Nokia 808 PureView Highres - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 0

This is a resized version of the full resolution shot (I simply forgot to make a 5MP PureView version as well, sorry 'bout that).

The difference in color is enormous. As far as color quality is concerned, it has become a bit of a minefield lately, so I'll just leave it up to you to choose your favorite. There is a difference in what is the most "realistic" shot and the most "appealing" I think - and that's not only a battle in PureView mode.

To be honest I don't remember the view as "cold" as the 808 PureView shows it - but the Lumia 1020 tends to make it more "golden" than I experienced it myself.

That's something you'll see in the upcoming shots as well. For comparison I'll show you what the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom got from the same scene.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 0

As funny as it may seem, to me (at least) the colors seem to be somewhere in between - not as "cold" and not as "golden". The Nokia Lumia 925 and 920 (on Amber) show a lot more purple (from the stained glass) in their results. This one comes from the 925.

Nokia Lumia 925 - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 0

Anyway, I realize you may have seen enough of this shot by now: you'll find all originals on Flickr.

Here's the most "dramatic" shot of all - the scene itself is a few thousand years old and still moves billions of people. This is a resized version of the 5MP shot from the Lumia 1020.

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 1

And here's what you'll get from the Nokia 808 PureView - a resized 5MP result.

Nokia 808 PureView - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 1

And for some more comparison, here's what I got from the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 1

Now some people complain the colors in the Lumia 1020 are "way off" - but if you would choose a postcard offering these three shots, which one would it be? There is no doubt in my mind at least, I'd choose the Lumia 1020 first (and 808 second). It may be "unrealistic" or "over saturated" - in this case it just looks as the most attractive result to me. I'm not saying you have to agree with me, mind you.

Would you like to see some crops? I hesitated in cropping into these shots, since they are so sacred to so many people. I hope I don't offend anyone.

First you'll see the Nokia Lumia 1020 (from the 5MP original):

640 x 480 Nokia Lumia 1020 - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 1

The Nokia 808 PureView (also from the 5MP original)

640 x 480 Nokia 808 PureView - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 1

This is what I got from the 16MP sensor of the Galaxy S4 Zoom:

640 x 480 Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 1

And to get even closer, here are the 640 x 480 shots from the full resolution (38MP) results from the Lumia 1020 and 808 PureView.

640 x 480 Nokia Lumia 1020 HighRes - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 1

640 x 480 Nokia 808 PureView Highres - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 2

You can see the image of the Lumia 1020 is sharper. Don't forget this is all handheld, I may have moved a bit more with the Nokia 808 PureView - I'm NOT trying to make the 1020 look better anyway (as some sites seem to have done). And of course, the Lumia 1020 is supposed to get a better result thanks to OIS. But apart from sharpness, I most definitely prefer the colors of the Nokia Lumia 1020 in this shot.

This however, is not always the case - far from, even. The "golden" effect from the automatic settings of the Lumia 1020 in these darker conditions sometimes is definitely way too much for me in the shot below.

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 2

Here's what the 808 captured from the same scene:

Nokia 808 PureView - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 2

The difference in color is striking! I'll give you another popular smartphone in comparison, the Galaxy S4 (the one with a 13MP sensor, not the S4 Zoom). Again, less "golden" and less "cold", just somewhere in between, but still a bit too much on the "yellow" side I guess.

Samsung Galaxy S4 - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 2

Another shot to compare, this is the Nokia Lumia 920. It looks similar in color as the Nokia 808, but seems to give a bit lighter result.

Nokia Lumia 920 Amber - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 2

The Lumia 925 show similar colors and sharpness (please compare the originals on Flickr as well).

Nokia Lumia 925 - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 2

Let's do some more crops. First the 5MP from the Nokia Lumia 1020 and Nokia 808 PureView.

640 x 480 Nokia Lumia 1020 - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 2

640 x 480 Nokia 808 PureView - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 2

Some people would like me to use the expression so I'll do it here: the colors of the Lumia 1020 are WAY off. The image (again) is definitely sharper, may that be because of post processing, OIS or me moving. I simply don't know, I did my best.

Here's what I got from the Lumia 920 (Amber, 8.7MP)

640 x 480 Nokia Lumia 920 Amber - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 2

And coming even closer, the crop from the Galaxy S4 (13MP)

640 x 480 Samsung Galaxy S4 - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 2

Quite a bit less sharp than I would expect to be honest. Closing in as much as possible in a 640 x 480 crop, here are the crops from the 38MP results from the Lumia 1020 and 808 PureView - no oversampling.

640 x 480 Nokia Lumia 1020 HighRes - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 2

640 x 480 Nokia 808 PureView Highres - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 1

The colors are still way off of course - but the image of the 1020 still is sharper (so we can partially rule out post processing in the previous example I guess).

High time for the last shot I captured during my visit to this church. You'll see this statue of Jesus when you enter the church on your left, but the corner is quite dark in fact. Here's what the Nokia Lumia 1020 captures with all settings on auto (again, no flash).

Nokia Lumia 1020 - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 3

 This is - again with all settings on auto and no flash - what the Nokia 808 PureView gave me:

Nokia 808 PureView - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 3

And here's the result I got from the other "new kid in town", the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom - a much wider shot, but pretty dull in comparison.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 3

The last three crops of this post, from the shots above, Lumia 1020 first (from the 5MP result)

640 x 480 2 Nokia Lumia 1020 - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 3

 Nokia 808 PureView (5MP)

640 x 480 2 Nokia 808 PureView - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 3

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom (16MP)

640 x 480 2 Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom - Amsterdam Krijtberg Church - 3

You saw the 1020 still gives this "golden" glow to the shot, which in this case isn't too bad in my humble opinion, but I'm quite sure many will feel different about it.

So much for all my shots and all the crops I made. Now what do I make of all this?

In two cases there is no doubt in my mind the Lumia 1020 shot wins this comparison. In other cases, I like the instant result from the Lumia 920/925. The 1020 can be way too saturated, the Nokia 808 PureView quite cold, the S4 Zoom just too dull, the Lumia 920/925 too purple as well. Your mileage may vary.

I know generally speaking, the details from the Nokia 808 PureView are just about unbeatable (as we have seen in the two previous comparisons), but that's not what I've seen it do in this church to be honest. I know its dynamic range gives me more than enough room to change the shot just about anyway I like. But I don't think I would buy the 808's first result on a postcard. Would you?

How important is the "first impression" for you? It's obviously important for the mass market Nokia needs. So in a way, I can see which choices are being made. That's not saying that I agree with all of them, but I'm trying to understand what Nokia is doing. And with success, but certainly not in all cases.

I'm very sure I could get a perfect result with the Nokia 808 PureView when using a tripod and working on the settings, but then again: all smartphone camera were handheld and on auto. The way consumers usually use their smartphone. I'm (obviously) writing this from the consumer point of view, not as a professional photographer. Which fits, since I am not a professional photographer and I've written just about all my posts from a consumer point of view.

And no, Nokia isn't paying me to write all this (I'd really like just about anyone to pay me for all I'm doing here, so do not hesitate to click on the PayPal button on this page if you appreciate what I'm doing, thank you!).

You're free to react on these shots as always. I hope you'll take the time to have a look at them on Flickr, too. And I really hope you found this post useful. Don't hesitate to let me know.

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