Nokia Lumia 830 (10MP) compared to Lumia 920 (8.7MP) and Lumia 930 (5MP PureView)

Today, I tested the new Nokia Lumia 830 against his much older brother, the Lumia 920, introducing OIS to the PureView concept. And I compared it with the recent Lumia 930, offering PureView oversampling, which the Lumia 830 doesn't offer: something's gotta give if you want an "affordable flagship". So it's a bit of a difficult comparison in fact: 10MP, 8.7MP and 5MP. I decided to work the other way around this time.

For the crops, I didn't make blow-ups from the originals to 10MP (being the largest resolution), I shrinked all results to 5MP to be able to realize comparable crops. I know it's a bit of a tricky way to work, but blowing up the 920's results seemed unfair, since its original shots aren't oversampled. And I think the 10MP results from the 830 won't suffer by shrinking them down to 5MP. Anyway, I will share the originals from the Lumia 830 (resized to fit this post), and below that the crops from all three devices. Like always, you'll find all originals on Flickr (link below). My first selection of shot was captured inside, in the kitchen. I had white balance set to Tungsten on all devices because of the light of the LED lamps in the kitchen. Coffee Lumia 830 As you won't find huge colour differences in this mainly black and white scene, I'll get to the crops right away. You'll see them from 920, 930 and 830 - so in order of their age so to say. Again, these crops were made with "shrinked" versions of what I got from the Lumia 920 and 830. Coffee Lumia 920 Coffee Lumia 930 5MP Coffee Lumia 830Detail is much better on the Lumia 930 (second crop), but it's impressive coming from the new Lumia 830 as well. Next up: two pieces of fruit. Again, difference in colour wasn't exactly striking, so I'll just share the Lumia 830 result here. Fruit Lumia 830 The crops (again: Lumia 920, 930 and 830) Fruit Lumia 920 Fruit Lumia 930 5MP Fruit Lumia 830 Some great detail in the last crop, due to very slight over sharpening, but really effective in this case! Back to less natural material: glass bottles (with oil and vinegar). Here's the way I captured it with the Lumia 830 Oil and vinegar Lumia 830 The crops (920 first, 930 second, 830 third) Oil and vinegar Lumia 920 Oil and vinegar Lumia 930 5MP Oil and vinegar Lumia 830
Here we see the Lumia 930 (middle) wins this hands down: sharpness is just amazingly pure: it's simply perfect! In the next shot, you'll see the 830 having some difficulty with the paprika's red colour (happened in all shots I got from this scene - white balance on Tungsten, it was even worse in automatic, I tried). Vegetables Lumia 830 It's obvious, the Lumia 930 captures much better colours (and we ll know what colour a red paprika and tomato have) Vegetables Lumia 930 5MP Let's have a look at the details in the crops (Lumia 920, 930, 830) Vegetables Lumia 920 Vegetables Lumia 930 5MP Vegetables Lumia 830 Again, it's plain to see quite a bit of over sharpening in the Lumia 830 (and noticably more noise this time as well). Last shot is of our collection espresso cups, where the Lumia 830 did quite a good job in capturing the colours this time. Cups Lumia 830 The crops (920, 930, 820): Cups Lumia 920 Cups Lumia 930 5MP Cups Lumia 830 Great detail, but again noticably more noise in the Lumia 830. I made a few shots outside I'd like to share here with you as well. It was a very clouded day in the Netherlands today, so not too favorable, but constant light conditions. I set the white balance to "automatic" on all devices though, since "clouded" tends to give a bit too "brownish" result. Again, the original shots are the from the Lumia 830 (resized to fit this post of course) Chairs Lumia 830 The crops (Lumia 920, 930, 830) Chairs Lumia 920 Chairs Lumia 930 Chairs Lumia 830 Good to see the Lumia 830 seems to perform just as good as the Lumia 930. I used the next shot to compare corner sharpness. Leaves Lumia 830 So what does the corner in the far left look like in the crops? Again: 920, 930, 820 Leaves Lumia 920 Leaves Lumia 930 Leaves Lumia 830 Well, a bit oversharpened or not, I think many of you will prefer the result coming from the Lumia 830 this time. Let's have a look at the fine structure of wood, coming from this scene: Wood Lumia 830 Crops where taken from the middle (remember: 920, 930, 830) Wood Lumia 920 Wood Lumia 930 Wood Lumia 830 Here, the oversharpening doesn't do this detailed structure justice - Lumia 930 wins again. Finally, my only cat that's always hunting, day and night. Stone Cat Lumia 830 Crops were taken from the far left side of the shot: Stone Cat Lumia 920 Stone cat Lumia 930 Stone Cat Lumia 830
This time - although from the far left side of the shot - I prefer the Lumia 930. Now what has this shown us? First of all: the incredible progress the Nokia imaging team has made by now. The Lumia 920 is beaten by both newcomers. Is it surprising the Lumia 920 loses this comparison? No. There is no oversampling and it doesn't have a 10MP sensor. The size of the Lumia 920's 8.7MP sensor is a bit bigger though: 1/3.2 against 1/3.4 in the Lumia 830.

Same goes for aperture on the Lumia 920 - it's slighty larger with f2.0 against f2.2 on the Lumia 830. So in general it must be due to new and way better algorithms now used in the (very) last two of Nokia PureView devices that make them stand out so much. Is it surprise the Lumia 830 looses this comparison to the Lumia 930 in general. Again, no: it uses a smaller sensor without oversampling. The Lumia 930 has a 1/2.5 sensor size (20MP) - and f2.4 aperture, a bit smaller than the Lumia 830).

So I think it's safe to say the new Nokia Lumia  830 performs as expected. Way better than the Lumia 920 (which was way more expensive when it was launched!), and not as good as the Nokia Lumia 930, which will cost you roughly €100 more over here. With the Lumia 830, you'll get a lighter, longer and thinner device, with a smaller screen resolution (IPS LCD with 720 x 1280). But it does offer Glance (as opposed to the full HD AMOLED screen of the Lumia 930.

Also, the Lumia 830 offers a micro-SD slot and a removable battery - I've written it all in my previous post about the Lumia 830. To be honest I think it really looks better, but it doesn't perform as good as its predecessor - I think this comparison has made that pretty clear. You'll find all 27 original shots in a dedicated album on Flickr. In a future post, I hope to get into Rich Capture, which should be on the Lumia 830 (since it comes with Lumia Denim), but I can't find it on the device at this moment (and I wonder why?).

Update: I won't be able to test Rich Capture just yet, since it's a feature of Lumia Camera. And although the 830 ships with Lumia Denim, Lumia Camera is a seperate update (for the Nokia Camera app) we'll all have to wait for.  Update2: on Facebook (the Nothing But A Nokia page you should all be following anyway), I've received some serious criticism, since in parts of this post I'm comparing shots with totally different ISO settings.

I'll quote Kalle-Petter Wilkman: "the 830 was using ISO 500 and 930 was using ISO 160. Sentences like "Again, it’s plain to see quite a bit of over sharpening in the Lumia 830 (and noticably more noise this time as well" are quite useless".  To continue his reaction: "I have myself compared quite a few lenses and cameras. Only way to really compare those are by using exactly the same setting and setup every single time. I know mobile phones are different and much harder to use/test in that respect compared to "real cameras". But I hope you understand as well that those exifs explain some of the results much more than sensor sizes, new algorithms or softwares." 

Well, what can I say? I usually test smartphone cameras the way most people work with them - quick and dirty so to say. I've learned that under certain circumstances it's vital to choose the correct white balance with Nokia Camera, but other than that, I generally do rely on the software algorithms of each device. But algorithms are a bit like human beings in a way: their decisions may be doubtful. I have to add I've taken at least three shots per scene and picked the very best of each - but still, Kalle Petter has a point.

So soon - as soon as possible that is -  and although it's far from common practice of the "average mobile photographer", I'll be comparing the Nokia Lumia 830 and 930 with all important settings fixed. I'm looking forward to it already. If you like what I’m doing here, please consider making a donation. There’s a button on the right hand side of this page, leading to PayPal. Any donation is welcome since this club doesn’t support itself. I’ll mention you as a sponsor  here, so this is your way to be featured in the Club yourself :-)