Nokia 808 PureView vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 (2)

This is my second post with shots I captured with both the Nokia 808 PureView and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1. You'll find the first post here - yes it's been a while and I hope to do more soon. These shots were taken in perfect light during extreme great weather and in .JPG only. Let me start with a few words about that.

Many readers are convinced that low light photography is the best way to test the quality of the camera - and they're probably right, too. So I've been working on many low light shots on quite some occasions, but generally - except for a few times, lik  at the pool in Crete - I don't really care for low lights shots all that much. In other words, what really inspires me to start shooting is a blue sky and bright sunlight that makes all the colours really stand out. That was the situation in which these shots were captured - it must be the sea climate I live in that makes me love sunlight so much.

Second thing is I know that being able to work with RAW files is the holy grail of smartphone photography. But I have a hard time putting myself to it. For some reason, I think that a smartphone photographer should be able to rely on the .JPG output provided by the device. Moreover, not every smartphone is able to produce RAW output - like the Nokia 808 PureView (and yes, I know it's .JPG is usable), so comparing would be "unfair".

Of course, I have nothing against those who work on their shots using Lightroom or Photoshop, but it does take more time - and moreover, there's always personal taste involved, which makes it hard to compare the outcome as well. I really believe that most mobile photographers in general will rely on the .JPG output anyway, like they will rely on the .JPG output of their compact camera's: it's very advanced software we're working with and I think the .JPG output should be as good as possible.

So that's why these shots are captured in absolutely fantastic light and only in .JPG. What you will see me compare is the high-res output of the Nokia 808 PureView (34/38MP) to what I got from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 (17/18MP). The differences are remarkable as you will see. First, let's have a look at all the four scenes (resized of course, to fit this post). You'll see the Nokia 808 PureView first and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 second.

Bar Felix

Lovely isn't it? Wait till you see the crops. On a sidenote: you're probably used to the fact there's always something I overlook in comparisons like these. In this case it's not even as bad: I kept the ISO on the Nokia on auto, and set it on 125 (as low as possible) on the Panasonic (I usually only use it on manual settings anyway, unless I need to be really fast). Not a big deal in bright light like this, just interesting to see the 808 PureView chose either 64 or 80. Here are the other scenes, all captured in Hilversum.

Red seats

Thrift store window shopping

First, you'll see the Nokia has as wider angle. Second interesting thing to note is the difference in colour, especially in the last three scenes. The blue jacket of the painted boy is deeper blue in the shot coming from the Panasonic, losing a lot of the details of what paints his jacket. The chairs are more red in the next scene - in fact all colours are "deeper" coming from the Panasonic, the 808 looks kind of pale in comparison (and yes I know, probably more "true to life"). 

In the last scene, the puppet's dress has a more abundant colour too. Should I have fine-tuned the white balance of the Panasonic, in retrospect? Well, maybe - it´s very easy to do so with the highly detailed UI of the Panasonic´s Virgin Engine. But the colours just looked fine to me at the time and you simply can't compare what you see in the display of your phone. I know, I know: that's what you can use RAW for.

Now for the crops. I worked on them a bit differently this time. Simply making 640 x 360 crops gets boring after a while, and moreover you'll be looking a extreme details coming from these large resolutions. So I manually chose a bit larger part from each scene to compare. To share those larger parts here, I had to resize them so they wouldn't be more than 640 pixels wide. Let's have a look at all the shots in the same order.

Café Felix II

In the second shot, you'll see clear oversharpening in the large Heineken logo (the green is - again - darker too). In the plate next to the door though, this oversharpening still makes the proud Heineken brand readable - that's already becoming harder in the first shot from the Nokia 808 PureView. But keep in mind these results are resized. Let's make sure with yet two 640 x 360 crops. Nokia first, Panasonic second.

No doubt in my mind which crop you'll prefer.

Like I noticed before: brighter reproduction of the blue jacket. Oversharpening isn't bothering me at all in this case.

Red chairs

Deeper colours and much more detail and contrast in the case of the Panasonic - not just in the chairs, also in the back ground: the brick wall and the tree tops! If you prefer it? I doubt it - but I do.

Thrift store window shopping
Irrestistable to see how both cams coped with the old Canon behind the windoow. The difference is impressive I must say - not sure if I moved, the angle is in fact the exact same.

But although you'll see much more information on the inside of the lens - and much more details from the camera in general - I'm again quite sure many will prefer the black result from the Nokia 808 PureView. Let's have a close look at the old puppet's dress.

It really, really shines with sparkling colours in the bright sunlight - I must admit that again I do prefer rich details like these.

In general I must admit I'm still amazed by the output of the Nokia 808 PureView (and it's been amazing me for years now). Its output - colour rendition, detail - is natural and "pure": the brand name coudln't have been chosen better. Ease of use is fantastic too, while it has a very complete and versatile settings menu. I think this comparison again has shown the 808 PureView still is the gold standard of smartphone photography when it comes to imaging quality.

So why do I keep so fond of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1? I have to admit I've been close to selling it, but for some reason I really can't. I do love the amazing amount of settings the Panasonic's Venus Engine offers. Panasonic appears to be serious about updating, too - I've seen two serious updates in three months, which is quite a lot. With the last update, Panasonic added the TimeLapse application "which takes pictures automatically at set intervals and then creates motion picture by splicing the pictures together."

I keep discovering new settings (like HDR) and possibilities on the Lumix DMC-CM1. I feel confident Panasonic will also work on the oversharpened .JPG output and might temper the oversaturation a bit (remember how much discussion we had about it when the Lumia 1020 was launched?) In all, the possibilities on the Lumix CM1 are much vaster than on any other camera user interface I've ever seen on a smartphone. That's why many see it as compact camera first and smartphone second - and they're probably right, but I don't have to explain here it has a complete smartphone functionality (and surpasses the Nokia 808 with ease in that sense, but then again: even the Lumia 435 would). Yes, the CM1 lacks a Xenon flash and OIS, but I can live with that.

You'll find the original shots in a dedicated album on Flickr so you can take your time and compare all details for yourself (you'll find the 8MP results from the Nokia 808 PureView there as well). I'm looking forward to read what you come up with. Meanwhile, I'll be trying to do more comparisons soon.

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