Borrowed Lumia 1020 snapshots from Portugal

Like you probably have read, in one of his many and much appreciated reactions, Bigs, the PureViewClub's most enthusiast analyst lately, advised me to try and swap my Nokia Lumia 1020 to see if the lens is defective in some way or not. Well, I tried and had no luck so far.

However, my contact Stella, from Nokia's PR Office in The Netherlands, was willing to send me the high resolution versions of a few simple snapshots she took during her short holiday to Portugal. Mind you, she had no artistic ambition making these shots: everything in her device is on automatic, shooting away to capture the moment - like most people use the camera in their phone I'd say.

I sent these shots to Bigs as well, and below you will read his opinion on them, and compares it to what he has seen from the Lumia 1020 I've using so far. Remember though, the way he analyses these shots are very different from the way most people use the camphone as well.

He's not only comparing it to my Lumia 1020, but implicitly to the quality from its mighty predecessor 808 PureView as well. Be ready for some serious pixel peeping I'd say. When you click on the shot you'll find the original on Flickr, so you can have a look at the high resoltion original yourself. You'll find Bigs' comments below the shots.

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Bigs: "Look 1:1 pixel at the right hand side, and not the corners, as we already know the corners will always be softer. The right hand side is exhibiting softness, but to a lesser degree than Marc's Lumia 1020. This I guess can be considered "ok" since one can crop that part off if need be. Annoying though, that you cannot use the entire frame for capturing the moment."

WP_20131028_17_33_34_Pro__highres[1]"The image shows off the wide angle capabilities of the Lumia 1020. What is of interest in this full resolution shot is what is actually in focus. When capturing at high resolution, focus accuracy is much more important as the high resolution reveals all. In this case the tower in the background is more defocused than the feature column support in front.

What this means is that feature column is the focus subject. I find the 1020 again has misfocused slightly, and the column is not sharp. Also what is interesting is ISO 160 has been chosen, yet the image seems especially noisy and minor digital artifacts are visible."

WP_20131027_15_44_20_Pro__highres[1]"A look into this image again shows this copy of the 1020 has far improved lens accuracy. The softness to the right even hard to depict at full resolution. I say the owner of this 1020 is a very lucky person :)

What is not so hot once again is the JPG image processing at full resolution. If you look closer at the central arch way main entrance to the right in the shadow region, suddenly the detail level drops in the shadows and the shatues faces cannot even be made out even though to the left the statues in direct sunlight can be identified easily."

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"Finally an image that shows a good landscape with focus that is set to infinite. An ideal candidate for analysis. I have to say I am quite impressed at this image in terms of one sided softness, there is very little visible. If you look very hard to the right hand side there is a slight softness, but it is much less than your 1020.

In terms of quality control, this copy of the 1020 may not be perfect, but it has acceptable quality across the frame with only a hint of softness on the right hand side. What is of issue here is the actual pixel IQ over the whole scene. The image was captured at ISO 100, yet the noise we are seeing is quite visible. Also what we can see when looking close up at boats etc, seems to be rendering like a water color painting. The lettering on the closest boat is not easy to read, and seem enveloped in noise and post processing."

Conclusion
"We have determined that no 1020 is made alike in the camera department. It is a mixed bag to whether you get one with less or more one sided softness. As I have commented previously, some 1020's have soft left side, some have soft right sides. If you happen to get a 1020 like Marc's, that one seems to be an example of the worst case where more of the right hand side is soft and the extent of softness is high.

Even though Marc's 1020 exhibited the worst case of side softness I have seen, when capturing at the lower pureview 5mp resolution, the effect is greatly reduced, and is much harder to depict at a pixel level. I suspect because of this Nokia has not made an official recall of the 1020 due to this manufacturing defect as it really only affects those that use reframing zoom or capturing at full resolution.

So I guess for future potential 1020 owner, beware of ordering a 1020 online or shops that will not let you test the 1020 prior to purchase. Otherwise you may end of having to send your 1020 to Nokia care for repairs, if they accept it as a fault.

Now on the other front of noise at full resolution. I am unsure to why at ISO 160 or ISO 100 the noise is quite visible in this 1020's images. The JPG rendering is noisy and water colored, all in all it looks quite unusable for fine prints.

From the upcoming 1020 DNG RAW samples I have processed, the output full resolution is superior which means again the image processing algorithm on the 1020 needs more tweaking, not only in pureview 5mp modes but all for full resolution JPG, should the option arise to use it. I still have my doubts with that the newer smaller 1020 BSI sensor is better than the larger 808 FSI sensor in terms of performance IQ. We can only wait in great anticipation for Nokia black to be released."

Final words
So that was- complete and unabridged - what Bigs had to write about the borrowed shots I sent him, to check if the device used was very different from mine. My conclusion from all this is that appears to be the case. A few thoughts from me before I hit the "publish" button.

First, the tip to "try before you buy" might seem useful, but I doubt if shop owners will be willing to let you, and second I don't  think everyone will be able to see possible imperfections on the screen of the device itself - let alone in high resolution.

Second, Bigs' analysis is incredibly detailed as usual. I think it's very interesting (otherwise I wouldn't have shared all of it here) - but I also think this is a kind of detailed level the average consumer might be less interested in (no offence).

I've written before - and quite extensively even -  what I think about the Lumia 1020 - also compared to the Nokia 808 PureView. The high resolution shots from the Lumia 1020 are meant to use for editing to (another) 5MP shot, not to "pixel peep". Nevertheless it doesn't offer the same quality as the 808 PureView does in full resolution, that's obvious to everyone.

And you've read that even Bigs thinks that on my Lumia 1020 the "side softness" is hardly noticable in the 5MP results. So to be honest I'm sure I can live with it, although I will keep trying to swap my device - maybe Stella is interested? :-)

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