Nokia Lumia 920 underperforming in daylight?
It's the kind of news I really do not like to bring. I can't test it myself (I still don't have the Nokia Lumia 920...), but I've reading it in many reviews so far. First I had my doubts, but after Engadget's review this doubt has made place for some worries. Of course, low-light performance is outstanding, but in normal light conditions, Lumia 920 should outperform any other smartphone with an 8MP camera, and it seems that at this moment in time, it doesn't...
You can find the whole detailed story by Mat Smith over at Engadget, including many sample pictures. Mind you: their review is very enthusiastic in general, this just points out a software problem that needs to be fixed. I will only quote the parts that show why a software update will be necessary. All these unaltered quotes are from Engadget. For their in-depth comparison you should visit their site.
Throughout the course of our testing, we put Nokia's new Windows Phone against a number of other capable cameraphones, including the 808 PureView, the HTC One X+, Apple iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S II* and Galaxy Note II and the LG Optimus G. We came in to these testing scenarios with exceedingly high expectations, and in the extremely low-light situations, where most phones fall flat on their face, the Lumia 920 indeed hit its stride. Yes, there was often some ISO noise to be seen and the results weren't always spectacular, but the 920's low-light shots were always the best of the bunch (...)
Unfortunately, the same can't be said for daytime photography. Here the tables were often turned, with the 920 frequently producing shots that were subtly soft. Different situations showed the problem more than others, but it was consistent across all shot types, whether macro or focusing on subjects further away.
We made doubly sure the lens was smudge-free and tested on four separate 920s to be sure, but on each we saw the same symptoms. It's as if the lens mechanism isn't quite focusing correctly. We spoke with Nokia at length about this and were told it's at least in part thanks to some pending software tweaks to increase sharpness -- but that doesn't explain why we didn't see any such aberrations when we visited Finland to test a 920 last month.
That's not to say the daytime images looked bad, necessarily -- in fact they generally looked reasonably good. But in this case, the Lumia 920 failed to consistently deliver images that beat the rest. In fact, it was often the 920 that ranked mid-pack compared to the heavy-hitters we listed earlier.
We look forward to testing the revised software on the device to see if it improves things, and we genuinely hope it does, but for now 920 shoppers may be forced to choose whether high-quality photography in the dark is truly enough to make up for occasionally middling performance when the sun is out. It's worth reiterating that the smartphone's image stabilization is a marvel, rescuing some shots we thought would be a blurry mess. It's another example of genuine innovation coming from Nokia -- but it's not quite there yet.
Above, you'll see one of the videos Engadget included in their review, shot with the Nokia Lumia 920 - because it's not all worrying news, as far as imaging capacities are concerned in this review. These are their findings about video capturing:
In better news, video capture is crisp and amazingly stable -- thanks to that OIS. Walking with the phone introduces minimal stutter -- especially compared to what we're used to on other smartphones, while autofocus is able to latch on to points of interest quickly. You'll make the prettiest video clips you've ever seen on smartphone, all lacking any motion sickness-inducing shuttering.
That's all for now. I still can't wait to test it all myself, line the Lumia 920 up against a few other smartphones I have at the office - and the Nokia 808 PureView, of course. I'm very curious as to when Nokia will state anything about these findings so far, and about wether a future software update will take care of this problem. To conclude, I'll say it once more, the full Engadget review of the Nokia Lumia 920 is more than worth your time!
* not a typo, it was the Samsung Galaxy SII
PS one thing I'd like to add: this won't keep me away from the Lumia 920.