2014: from Lumia Icon to Lumix DMC-CM1

Let's see what 2014 has brought us! In this last post of the year I'll be linking to a few posts I hope you'll like to be reminded of (or might like to read for the first time). Most of them are from the "old" PureView Club, since it's not that long ago I redecorated the place and got a new sign on the wall :-)

I will try to refrain from linking to my comparisons however - there are simply too much of them and if you look for a specific device it's easy to find what I shared about it earlier. Look for Samsung Galaxy S5 for instance, Oppo Find 7, or Galaxy K Zoom.

In January, I was happy to introduce you to the great Spanish mobile photographer Javier Garcia Gonzalo, who in fact shared his 900th PureView shot on Twitter this weekend. In february I shared my very best result ever with  Nokia Refocus. I asked Nokia a few times to get the users something like Instagram, to collect and share their own results. For some reason that appears to be too complicated, so you'll have to bookmark your own to find them (here's the  full screen version). 

Meanwhile, the Lumia Icon for Verizon was announced (it would take quite a while before the very same device would find its way to the rest of the world as Lumia 930), and for lack of any other great PureView news I ended up comparing the imaging capacities of two tablets: the Nokia Lumia 2520 and the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro. With the same sensor as the Lumia 720, it wasn't very suprising the Lumia 2520 won

During the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, there wasn't any PureView news either, but I did share what I thought of Nokia's move to go Android with the Nokia X-series (I thought it was kind of smart, but obviously Satya Nadella didn't agree with that later). And I shared some shots from the beautiful old city of Barcelona, captured with my Nokia Lumia 1020 - I was quite blown away with one night shot with an incredible atmosphere the 1020 provided me with (please find all original shots on Flickr).

In the same period I started exploring Tiny Planets, which still is an fun application to use now and again. We had to wait until April for Nokia to finally announce the Lumia 930 during the BUILD conference. Microsoft introduced Windows Phone 8.1 that day - introducing cool stuff like Cortana, a background image on your device, swiping in the calendar (finally) and Word Flow (which proved to be the best kind of predictive text input I've ever seen on a mobile device).

Also in April,  Gergö Harcz from Hungary was the lucky winner of the Nokia Lumia 1020 in a contest sponsored by Nokia to  "celebrate" my 1020th post (you might know I have a thing with numbers). He was the second Hungarian after Dávid Detkó won a Nokia 808 PureView in 2012. And I introduced two more very interesting mobile photographers - both from the Netherlands this time: Deepak Khoenie and Rosstek (shot below).

It wasn't until May that I could publish  my first shots from the Lumia 930. In the same month I wrote my review about the  Nokia Lumia 1520 vs the Lumia 930 (conclusion being "the Lumia 1520 is epic, de Lumia 930 is cool").

Also in May I shared the PureView Wish List, collecting everything you contributed to a list of what you would like to see on a next PureView device. I'm sure the imaging team over at Nokia/Microsoft has seen all your input, I have no idea what we'll see from it in the future though. Anyway, I urged Nokia to bring more flagships to the battlefield - guess they still haven't stopped laughing ;-)

Of course I did many more comparisons and a few reviews - if you're considering to buy the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom for instance, don't forget to read my review. Way more interesting to many readers however, has proved to be an article by my PureView friend Peter Meijs, writing about PureView Drone Photography (although I can't complain about the reactions on the first time I suggested to rename the Club...)

There was quite a serious issue as well this year - remember all the Nokia 808 PureView shots disappearing from Facebook? It took Nokia/Microsoft quite a while to figure out what was the problem at all, but eventually they managed to fix it.

In the beginning of September I'm really excited about the new Lumia 830, running on Lumia Denim and offering some impressive innovations in mobile imaging, like Dynamic Flash and Rich Capture. For faster devices like the Lumia 930 and 1520 even a 4K burst mode is announced.

And in fact, it still looks very promising to  me, since although it's almost 4 months later now, most of us are waiting. Not only is Denim rolling out very slowly, for some reason Microsoft never pushed Lumia Camera to the Lumia 830 (although it's been on Denim from day one - Microsoft works in mysterious ways...)

Looking forward to test all innovations a lot, I actually bought the Lumia 830 as soon as I could - in October, way before the official release in the Netherlands. I shared the unpacking of course, as I shared my disappointment I didn't find any of the innovations Nokia/Microsoft promised during the announcement: Rich Capture and raw .DNG should have been on the Lumia 830. And (in November) I wrote a short review about the two last devices with the proud Nokia brand: the  Nokia Lumia 830 and Lumia 735.

Meanwhile, out of the blue - in September, during the Photokina in Frankfurt - Panasonic announced what is supposed to be a monster smartcam with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1. The specs are as whopping as the price tag is at no less than €899. Only available in Germany and France (mind you, an international company actually testing a device in Europe) and the wait would be long - but not as long as for Lumia Camera I'd like to add.

Also from September, I shouldn't forget my introduction of another great smartcam photographer, from France this time:  Massis Sirapian. Can't resist to share one of his breathtaking shots here either:

And this large shot marks the break from the PureView Club to the current SmartCam Club, which opened on October 20. I started a few new "series", like SmartCam Review, the first being about the new Motorola Moto X absolutely no-one seemed to care about. Same goes for another ambitious project about the Camera UI which I kicked off with a post about the quite impressive camera UI of the  Sony Xperia Z3.

Luckily, there was a lot more interest for my post with the specifications and first German experiences with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 and - as always when there is a chance to win something - many more reacted on the chance to win the Nokia 808 PureView (and its official cover). Beginning of this month I was proud to announce the winner - again from Hungary: Mudri László from Debrecen. Many other people agreed his shot really reflected the theme of the contest: Change (original here):

Meanwhile, I've been posting a lot about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1, no doubt the most exciting smartcam release of 2014. I've been crowdfunding to buy one myself after I couldn't get a review sample from Panasonic. I aimed at €450 but ended at €76,50 - that looks like a mission aborted, but I really do want to thank those contributing! 

I'm sure they liked me to buy it anyway to be able to review it here (and no, I still can't afford it, but what kind of a choice do you have with a club like this?).  Unpacking was fun, and I wrote another, very long post about its absolutely stunning  Camera UI - which appears to be exactly the same as on Panasonic's dedicated cameras, even more impressive on a large 4.7 inch touchscreen.

And I started working with it, writing parts of my review as I went along. It's been quite an adventure I might add. You'll read about my first experiences in Part 1, and I'm sharing a lot more shots from Amsterdam - daytime and low light - in Part 2. If the amount of reactions are anything to go by, it looks like this last one has been my most popular post of the year...

So this shot will the last of this post - a scene from one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam, coming from the Lumix DMC-CM1. I've been capturing dozens more since and I feel I'm slowly getting acquainted with all its settings and possibilities. No doubt it's not the easiest smartphone camera to work with, but it definitely enters a new stage of smartcam photography - or does it bring the smartphone closer to the compact camera? ( original here)

I'm really looking forward to share what I learned about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 - and to compare it with a few other high-end smartcams (like the 808 PureView, Lumia 1020 and Galaxy K Zoom). I hope to be able to post more in the beginning of next year, after everything I'm going to capture in the coming days. Let me finish the last post of this year by wishing you all lots of happy shooting in 2015! :-)