Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Lumia 1520 (1)

Here's the first comparison I promised between the results I got from the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the Lumia 1520. In fact, they're hardly comparable, since the Lumia 1520 is already running on "Black" and the 1020 still on "Amber".

Going to "Black" means a major change in imaging software algorythms, so in fact, the most interesting thing here is that we'll be able to "predict" what we can expect of the Lumia 1020 early next year (the sooner the better). And I can already tell you it will be extremely exciting, just judging from what I got from the 5MP results of both.

Why only the 5MP results? Well... I'm not familiar enough with software like Lightroom to work on the raw .DNG result from the Lumia 1520, and compare that to the high resolution result from the Lumia 1020 - and that wouldn't be a fair comparison either. So we'll have to wait for a few months to compare the raw results of both I guess.

What I can already tell you though, is that in the 5MP shots of both, detail appears to be better with the Lumia 1020, whereas colour appears more natural (less "amber") with the Lumia 1520. I have several shots to prove this, and I'm going to share them all in this post. You know the drill by now - you'll find all in a dedicated set on Flickr as well :-)

I  have three scenes and several crops. First I'll just share two resizes shots from empty chairs in a train - here you will see a major difference in colour - and I'm dead sure you can tell which shot was captured with the Lumia 1020 (to confirm, hover you mouse over the shots).

Train - Nokia Lumia 1020 - 5MP Train - Nokia Lumia 1520 - 5MP

Mind you, all settings are on auto with both devices, and the the lighting conditions are absolutely identical. Next, one more example of the same effect, now in a night shot at the train station in the Dutch city of Haarlem. Again, I think there will be no doubt which one is the Lumia 1020.

Haarlem - Nokia Lumia 1020 - 5MP Haarlem - Nokia Lumia 1520 - 5MP

I often wonder what Nokia have been thinking when they decided about the colour saturation on the Lumia 1020. In these two situations the difference is simply striking - as I've shown in my very first comparisons already.

In general, but especially in darker circumstances, the result coming from the Lumia 1020 is too "yellow". Did "test panels" really like that so much more for Nokia to choose an oversaturated colour palet even Asian producers left years ago?

To be honest I'm extremely relieved to see the colours coming from the Lumia 1520 are much more natural... The "Black" update appears to be truly promising for the future of the Nokia Lumia 1020! Just imagine what this device will give us to work with in raw format...

There's one more scene I will share with you in detail. It's from a Dutch tourist "gift shop" in Haarlem, but it was captured through the window at night - only with the artificial light in the store. I pushed both the Lumia 1020 and 1520 directly on the window screen, which is the only way to prevent reflection.

Ship - Nokia Lumia 1020 - 5MP Ship - Nokia Lumia 1520 - 5MP

Again, you saw the result from the Lumia 1020 first, but in this case, the colours didn't strike me as being unnatural - in fact, I think I like them better coming from the 1020 this time - and there's a lot more detail in its shots as well. Here are several crops I made from the original shots.

First the sails of the ship. Although a bit less "white", detail is much more crisp on the oversampled result of the Lumia 1020.

Ship - Nokia Lumia 1020 - 5MP 640 x 480 1 Ship - Nokia Lumia 1520 - 5MP 640 x 480 1

Same goes for the woolen hats on the left side. In this case I have to admit colors are more "pleasing" on the Lumia 1020, although you can see the white version on the far left side is again a bit less white.

Ship - Nokia Lumia 1020 - 5MP 640 x 480 2 Ship - Nokia Lumia 1520 - 5MP 640 x 480 2

Now a crop from the far right side of both results. Again: 1020 first.

Ship - Nokia Lumia 1020 - 5MP 640 x 480 3 Ship - Nokia Lumia 1520 - 5MP 640 x 480 3

Now some might have a field day over this: the postcard on the far right side looks a lot sharper on the Lumia 1520! I don't know if this has to do with the focus from the 1020 in this shot, or with the much discussed "side softness" on the 1020.

But I didn't notice it in the other shots, so just to make sure, I made a crop from the right side of the nightshot from the old Haarlem train station. Lumia 1020 first (as no doubt the colours will have shown you already)

Haarlem - Nokia Lumia 1020 - 5MP 640 x 480 2

Haarlem - Nokia Lumia 1520 - 5MP 640 x 480 2I think it's the oversaturation making the 1020 result less good, but I think it's fair to say the issue of the "side softness" has been solved after swapping the device I previously used. Nevertheless, the result coming from the Lumia 1520 is very impressive and again: colours are much more realistic.

To conclude I will share two crops from the middle of the shot, with the cow that says "Café au Lait" for some reason (like we're in France :-). Once again, 1020 first.

Ship - Nokia Lumia 1020 - 5MP 640 x 480 4 Ship - Nokia Lumia 1520 - 5MP 640 x 480 4

In this shot it's pretty hard to say which is more realistic, but again you'll see the white is a bit off with the 1020 - a bit too "greyish". But I will shoe you the detail of its shot is much better though.

The last crop is from the text on the last shot - and this may be splitting hairs to some of you. I cropped the text and enlarged it with 400% Here's what you get from the Lumia 1020 (first) and the 1520.

Ship - Nokia Lumia 1020 - 5MP text 400 Ship - Nokia Lumia 1520 - 5MP text 400

Clearly, the Lumia 1020 wins this one, like it already showed a much better texture of the sails in the ship. I think it's safe to say the new algorythms coming with the "Black" update will prove to be a major improvement of the Nokia Lumia 1020.

Not only will the update bring the raw .DNG to the 1020, but it looks like we really can expect much better colours. I think the colours coming from the Lumia 1520 are close to perfect, but because of the smaller sensor, the shots show just a bit less detail.

I'm really impressed with what Lumia's 20MP sensor has to offer though - and maybe I should add that the shot from the old train station was in 16:9 format (16MP effective), those from inside the train and the tourist shop were made in 4:3 (19MP effective).

Quite a long post for just three shots, which you will find on Flickr in their original 5MP size. I really hope you liked reading this. Don't hesitate to let me know below, it's quite motivating to read your opinions! :-)

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