Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Nokia Lumia 1020

This might be one of the more remarkable comparisons I've done since starting the PureViewClub. I've been comparing many smartphones with the Nokia 808 PureView and/or Lumia 1020 and after a while there was no surprise which brand would be winning the battle (although Nokia doesn't win all contests).

It's a bit different this time - after reading much criticism on the quality of the high resolution shots of the Lumia 1020 I've been using, I had the rare opportunity to swap it with another one. And since this "new" one didn't reset as planned, I was able to keep both for the time being (running a club like this has some advantages).

I'm not sure for how long though, so yesterday morning on my way to work I could make some shots in the bright early morning sun. I'll share the shots from both cameras in this post and on Flickr.

I'm looking for differences on the far left and right sides of the 34MP high resolution shots (yes, we're pixel peeping here), so I made crops from those areas - zooming to 100% in Picasa and making a screenshot.

I selected two shots from both devices to begin with. Below, you will find the resized versions of the 5MP originals. Click on the shots to see them on Flickr.

3 Old Nokia Lumia 1020 7

4 New Nokia Lumia 1020 9Below each of these, you'll see crops from the 34MP results from the "old" Lumia 1020, followed by those from its successor - far left side first. Hover your mouse over the shot to make sure which is which. Click on the shot for the original high res shot on Flickr.

9 old Lumia 1020 crop 4 left side

10 new Lumia 1020 crop 4 left sideAnd here's the far right side of both shots...

11 old Lumia 1020 crop 5 right side

12 new Lumia 1020 crop 5 right sideAs you can see, the new device is a lot sharper, but has a bit more "amber" in it.

Second attempt: an old church in the morning sun in the center of Hilversum.

5 Old Nokia Lumia 1020 9

6 New Nokia Lumia 1020 10Same drill as before: far left side first.

13 old Lumia 1020 crop 6 left side

14 new Lumia 1020 crop 6 left sideAgain, not much noticeable difference there. Again, the difference is most evident on the far right side of the shot...

15 old Lumia 1020 crop 6 right side

16 new Lumia 1020 crop 6 right side

Update: later today, I even checked out the far right side of the shot, and the difference becomes even more obvious I'm afraid - again, the "old" Lumia 1020 first, followed by the second device (these two screenshots were taken from my Crhome browser by the way).

This time, I even put the screenshots in their original size on Flickr, so you can see the difference without downloading the original 34MP files. Just click on the shots to see.

old Lumia 1020 small

new Lumia 1020 small

And looking a bit lower at the far right side of the shots...

old Lumia 1020 2 small

new Lumia 1020 2 small

So it looks like Bigs was right after all - my "old" Lumia 1020 appears to have an issue on the far right side of the lens, but only noticeable in the high resolution shots. I mentioned this to Stella of Nokia's PR Office in The Netherlands, who is swapping her device with me, and she isn't bothered at all: she never uses the high resolution shots but for editing shots on the device, for which they were meant in the first place.

Nevertheless, it looks like the build of the lens of the Lumia 1020 isn't completely consistent, and I think that's something Nokia should be looking into.

Mind you: personally, I won't loose any sleep over a little softness on the far right or left side of these high resolution shots. The high resolution format is on the Lumia 1020 to edit, not to share. I've written before you can't compare them to the near perfect quality of the full resolution shots of the Nokia 808 PureView, which still appears to lead in a league of its own.

Maybe the update to "Black" we all are waiting for - enabling DNG raw shots on the Lumia 1020 as well - will improve the imaging quality. Nokia has done it with the Lumia 920 before, we have seen some stunning examples already, so I'm confident it will be a major improvement. I'm not sure how long I'll be able to hold on both Lumia 1020's, but I will try to make a few more comparisons.

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