Short comparison: in difficult light - with Nokia, Samsung and Sony

This is from a scene inside a store on a cloudy day, captured - without flash - with the Nokia Lumia 930, Lumia 830, Samsung Galaxy K Zoom and Sony Xperia Z3. Quite a difficult situation, from which you'll see two devices performed as expected, one disappointed and one made for a pleasant surprise. 

A few weeks ago I visited a funny store in the old Dutch city  Deventer. They have vinyl records on the ceiling, offer comic books, cards, an enormous amount of games, toys et cetera. They even had this original, rare Beatles phone for sale in the window (I know it's way before even the first GSM device, but I simply can't resist sharing it here :-)

Cute, isn't it? I asked, it appears to be an original from the UK, somewhere in the eighties. Inside the store, I captured the following scene with four of the smartphones I brought with me that day. All settings on auto, no flash - I just let the cameras decide which settings would be best. I know it's tricky, but it still is the way most people will capture their shots, right? 

The shot above comes from the Nokia Lumia 830 in 8.3MP. It chose ISO 400 and it took 1/19th of a second. The light on the ceiling is a neon lamp by the way, don't mistake it for a skylight. 

Lately I´ve been been resizing all shots to the smallest size (5MP) before cropping them for comparison. This time, I'd like to show you again what it means for your shot to capture in different resolutions. So these 640 x 360 crops come from the original shots without resizing. I'll start with the Lumia 930 (ISO 160, 1/10 sec), cropped from 5MP. Point of "focus" was the basket in the lower right hand corner.

The two next crops are from the results in 8.3MP - the Lumia 830 and Sony Xperia Z3 have the exact same resolution, although the Z3 uses oversampling from it's 20MP sensor. Lumia 830 first, Xperia Z3 second. Interesting to know both chose ISO 400, but the Lumia 830 needs 1/19th where the Z3 only 1/32 of a second - just about half the time!


So the Xperia needed about half the time to get a brighter shot... Wow. Also, the result coming from the Lumia 930 (above) is on the dark side (like we´ve seen on earlier occasions). The 830 really shows quite a bit of noise in this part of the scene - guess you can tell it's a smaller sensor at work.

The next crops are similar in size as well. 16MP from the Lumia 930 (high-res, no oversampling) and 15.5 coming from the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom. You'll see the Lumia 930 first (ISO 160 and 1/19 sec) and second the K Zoom (ISO 250 and 1/15 sec).  


Ouch... Not only does the Galaxy K Zoom appear to be over-saturated, but the detail - especially in the basket - is actually awful. Would it have been much better when I would have used flash? On a few devices I did use flash, (but not on all so I can't use them for this comparison). And although the colours are in fact much better, it's doesn't appear to make much difference in sharpness for the objects a few meters away.Here's the same crop.

I guess this shows once again the K Zoom certainly has its weak points - like more demanding light situations.

Now let's do one more set of crops with these shots. For this I did resize all shots to the smallest size (5MP) and chose to crop from the far left side, in the middle. First the Lumia 930, its original 5MP result.

Nice, clean and sharp up to the very end of the scene. Next, the Nokia Lumia 830, giving a better result this time, because this part of the shot has way more light than in the previous crop. And it's resized from 8MP of course.Still there's noticably more noise than in the shot above. 

How is the Xperia Z3 doing on the far end of its shot? Coming from it's 8.3MP shot, this is what you get in 5MP

Again a brighter result and less noise, but the difference with the Lumia 830 is less striking than in the previous example. In earlier posts I've shown the Galaxy K Zoom has an issue with the far sides - and it's obvious this case is no exception...

Some of the merchandise is hardly recognizable I'm afraid. Not much noise though, which might have to do with the fact this result is three times smaller due to resizing. It's amazing how much information you can squeeze from just few crops from a few shots sometimes, isn't it?

In short, the Lumia 830 and Lumia 930 do perform as expected - a bit more noise in the 830, the 930 being a bit on the dark side (or dull, if you will). The Sony Xperia Z3 performed much better than I expected it to under these circumstances. The K Zoom however, is seriously disappointing me this time.  I still use it as one of my daily drivers however, since I do use the optical zoom a lot.

All the originals are in a dedicated album on Flickr if you want to have a closer look at them. Please don't hesitate to share what you think of all this below! And if you like what I'm trying to do here, spread the word! You might consider making a donation as well to keep the SmartCamClub open (the club doesn't support itself). Just hit that Donate button on the right hand side. Any donation is appreciated and I will add you to the list of  sponsors. Thanks in advance!