Nokia 808 PureView & Lumia 920 in night mode

I have a confession to make. I'm truly sorry, but I probably made a big mistake in a previous post. The one with the boat in Amsterdam. I was sure I had all the camera's on "auto", but after tonight, I'm not so sure anymore... Let me explain.

The next four shots were made this night, the sky is completely dark, the only light is coming from lamp posts. The subject is a car (not mine). I tried to work the "surprisingly bright picture magic" on the Lumia 920 once more, but it wouldn't.

And with the Nokia 808 PureView, I tried a lot of things with different exposure and ISO, but without a tripod, I never really got a good sharp shot. Only after that, I worked with "night mode" on both devices...

So first, I'll show you the two pictures where I pretended to know better, not putting anything on "auto", but fumbling with the settings, I got these results - nothing to be really proud of, but I tried.

And yes, it was already late and very dark, I didn't notice the Nokia 808 PureView was on 16:9 and the Lumia 920 was on 4:3 untill I saw the pics on my monitor - I hope you'll forgive me for that as well. It won't change the lighting in the shots anyway.

Here's the best result I got from the Lumia 920 in my own settings:

And here's the one from the Nokia 808 PureView in my own settings

You can see especially with the Nokia 808 PureView I wasn't succesful... It's actually embarrassing to share this one at all.  Without a tripod it's obvious I was moving the 808 way too much for what I hoped to achieve, and the picture is too bright for a night scene like this

Luckily, there's always "night mode".

That's the one you will find in "scenes" on the Nokia 808 PureView, and if (like me) you're vain enough to think you can control anything best by yourself, you won't see that "scenes" menu a lot. Chances are even you'll see that particular "night" mode for the first time... (cough)

Anyway, here's what the Nokia 808 PureView gets from the car in its own predefined night mode

That's a pretty dark car, but the image is sharp - and the shot is more true to reality than my first attempt with the same device, forcing it to accept much more light, with all obvious disadvantages.

And here's the Nokia Lumia 920 on night mode:

That's all much more visible than my first shot with the Lumia 920, and sharp, but it's not true to the nature of the scene - a car in the dark.

The "funny" coincidence is, that the way I tried to manipulate the settings of the Nokia 808 PureView - resulting in the too bright and unsharp picture - has lead to a shot with about the same amount of light the Nokia Lumia 920 shows on "night mode". It has more light, but looks unnatural in this case.

Vice versa: the best result I got from the Lumia 920 when playing with ISO and "exposure value" myself, looks similar to the Nokia 808 PureView on "night mode". Much darker, but more natural (again, in this case).

And this, my friends, is where I think I blew it after dinner in Amsterdam, with the nightshot of the boat in the harbour. I now think there is no way the Lumia 920 would have let so much light in, if I hadn't put it on "night mode". Hence, I should have put the Nokia 808 PureView on night mode as well, and I should have asked Peter to do the same on the Samsung Galaxy SIII for a true comparison.

I'm not happy about this, not at all, as you can imagine. But I think it's better to just share this as well, than to be silent about it and hope nobody will notice. Somebody will someday, and I'd rather be first.

I hope I made up for it with this post, and I can only promiss to pay better (and much more) attention to the specific settings in the future. Good thing is there obviously is a tremendous amount of settings and possibilities in Nokia's smartphone cameras, to get you the best possible result. You'll only need to learn about them, and use them properly...

Update: here are the original shots on Flickr