Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 (1)

After my previous post in which I compared snapshots of the Nokia 808 PureView and Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1, here's a new post, comparing the new contender from Japan with the second 41MP device Nokia ever released, the Lumia 1020. Many visitors are convinced the 808 PureView still is the best smartcam, but I've shown several times the imaging quality of the Lumia 1020 isn't that far behind - and it benifits from OIS.

To be honest, I brought all three to the same scene last week. Yesterday, by a few friendly comments here at the club, I was reminded that comparing smartcams is no small effort if you want to write anything meaningful. Most important (amazing) omission on my part was not to choose a similar ISO setting on the Nokia 808 PureView, so I just have to leave those results out.

I was waiting for a friend inside a few centuries old building in the heart of Amsterdam (again), the Schreierstoren (opposite Amsterdam Central Station). Built as a defense tower in 1481 (!) it is a  café nowadays - definitely worth a visit when you're in Amsterdam. The scene was captured in the late afternoon so it was getting pretty dark already. The place was emtpy at the time. I adore seeing the many centuries old walls and picture how life must have looked like in the past more than 500 years... 

This is the scene I captured with both devices - here's the resized version of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1, 1 second shutter time, ISO 125, no flash.

And here's what I got from the Nokia Lumia 1020 - ISO 100, 0.6 second, no exposure compensation, no flash.
White balance on the Lumia 1020 is okay - a bit to my surprise to be honest. The resized result appears to be quite comparable to what I got from the Lumix DMC-CM1 in fact. So let's have a look at the crops.

Crops
In this case I chose to resize all results to 5MP. Sure, you'll lose detail, but it will be easier to compare the results at about the same size - all originals are on Flickr anway. Of those 5MP results, I made two crops: one from the middle, one from the left top corner. Same order: Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 first, Nokia Lumia 1020 second.

This is a crop from the original 5MP shot coming from the Lumia 1020 (captured the larger version in raw .DNG, ISO 100, 0.59 sec).

I'm not blown away with the result coming from the 1020 I must say, especially considering the fact it needed less shutter time and even has OIS. Let's have a look at the second round of crops, from the top left corner. Same order: Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 first:

And the Lumia 1020? The 5MP result gives reasonable detail in comparison - at ISO 100, no flash and 0.59 sec shutter time - but it simply isn't as bright and you can't make out the words.

So also in this second crop, the Lumix DMC-CM1 simply gives a much cleaner result: brighter, sharper, less noise. Corner sharpness is stunning as well, details are in fact amazing. 

Mind you: this comes from the .JPG, not from a post-processed RAW version. There's one thing I have to add to be complete: aperture value wasn't the same in all shots. It was on f/4.5 on the shots I've shared here from the Panasonic and f/2.2 on the Lumia 1020. Can't set it on the Lumia and I should have checked what it chose to match the Panasonic (must admit I don't even know why it wasn't on f/2.8).

I did capture the same scene with flash as well, but since the Lumia 1020 always "forgets" your last settings (apart from flash and aspect ratio), the ISO setting was on auto and chose ISO 1000, whereas the Panasonic still was on ISO 125. Comparing those results is useless. So let's move on to the next scene I captured today with both devices.

Still life
Now here's something you don't see every day - but I do. I captured the next scene inside, not only since the weather has been awful all day, but also I needed a bit darker scene. I even have a "premiere" to share. For the first time since I started this club, I actually worked with a tripod. I found a solid grip I could trust the Lumix DMC-CM1 with. It came with some kind of luxury "selfiestick" (imagine that) and looks like this:

For the Nokia Lumia 1020, I used the official camera grip (the one with the battery inside). My tripod is about the most simple you can buy, but it does the trick - I don't have to stop breathing and concentrate not to move, which is somewhat of a relief too I might add.

I carefully checked the settings in this case. White balance is on auto on both devices. Aperture is lowest on both: f/2.2 on the Lumia 1020, f/2.8 on the Lumix DMC-CM1. ISO is lowest as well: ISO 100 on the Lumia, ISO 125 on the Lumix. Shutter times are more or less similar: 0.7 on the Lumia, 0.6 on the Lumix.

I did add -0.7 exposure correction on the Lumia 1020 however, to match the outcome of the shot as much as what I saw in the display before making it. In other words, without exposure compensation, the shot came out too pale on the Lumia 1020. The difference between the outcome of both devices still is pretty remarkable. Let's start with the Nokia Lumia 1020 this time (resized from the 5MP result)

And here's what I got from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1:

There seems to be an issue with the white balance - it doesn't take a genius to see the outcome of the Panasonic is too yellow, but remember I had the white balance on automatic on both. Being inside in the evening, I maybe should have chosen Tungsten/Incandescent on the Panasonic instead. So I tried that - and it out made things worse in fact.

Updatethis morning, I suddenly realized I still had Photo Style on "Vivid" on the Lumix, not "standard" - I think that's the reason the result has become this oversaturated. Quite annoying how I manage to still overlook (at least) one aspect while working with this camera UI - just shows it's a whole new ballgame I guess.

Now of course, this is something you can easily correct working with the RAW files (and even the JPG for all I know), but still - it's surprising. On the other hand, I'm not too fond of the colours and contrast coming from the Nokia Lumia 1020 - it does seem quite pale and I do prefer the depth of colours coming from the Lumix (although one might argue it looks like the outcome has been "varnished" so to say).

Crops in different sizes
Now let's have a look at the crops. Since I only have two shots in three .JPG sizes (5MP, 17.7MP and 38MP) I resized them in every way. I shrinked the Lumix to 5MP and blew it up to 38MP, I shrinked the 38MP shot of the Lumia to the 17.7MP size of the Panasonic. I chose different parts of the shot each time. Here we go:
5MP - Nokia Lumia 1020 (original), Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 (shrinked about 3 times)


17.7MP Nokia Lumia 1020 (at about 50%), Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 (original)


38MP, Nokia Lumia 1020 (original), Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 (blown-up twice)


After seeing these crops I really wonder what you think about the sharpness. To me it looks like Panasonic should look into the .JPG compression of the Lumix CM1. The amount of detail you see (especially in the second crop) is amazing, but there seems to be a bit too much oversharpening, even in the crop where I didn't change the original size from the Lumix (second example). And although it shouldn't come as a surprise details are ruined when you blow up a shot to twice it's size, it does show the fine detail the Lumia 1020 is able to capture in the original 38MP result (so without any oversampling). And that is an accolade to the imaging team now working for Microsoft. 

So what did I show in this post? Amazing corner sharpness and detail from the Panasonic in the first example from Amsterdam - even much better than the Lumia 1020 performed. Troublesome white balance and oversharpening from the Panasonic in the second example, remarkable detail coming from even Lumia´s 38MP result.

There are many readers here that know a lot more about photography than I do. I'm really looking forward to your opinion. Please keep in mind I didn't use the tripod in the first example from Amsterdam: the fact the Lumia 1020 is not doing as well might have to do with that.

You will find all original shots in a dedicated album on Flickr. You'll find the four RAW files I got on OneDrive. If what I'm doing is worth your time, please follow the club on Twitter, like it on Facebook. If you really appreciate what I'm doing here, please touch the Donate button on the right hand side of this page. Thank you very much in advance :-)