Post no. 1250: time-out
A moment in time for me, post no. 1250. This all started as the PureViewClub in May 2012 so I've been at this for over three years now. It's been more than a hobby, more than a passion even: it has become an addiction. So I think it's high time for a time-out.
In three years, this has become a small but passionate community, looking for the best quality in smartphone photography. Every day I have people from all over the world visiting the club, to read and discuss my posts.On Twitter, there are now over 7610 (!) people reading my tweets and retweets (the Nokia 7610 from 2004 was the first phone with a 1MP sensor ;-)
The PureViewClub page on Facebook still has over 4000 people liking it (and counting) and there are already almost 1000 likes for the SmartCam Club. A bit over 1000 see what I share on Instagram. It's not a massive success, I know, but I can assure you it's all pretty addictive.
The best devices in three years time
There's been an tremendous amount of smartphones I compared to the very best I knew, and after just about every post, visitors have been thinking of some other tests to do. I've been happy to oblige but I'm sure there have been many unfulfilled requests.
The verdict after three years?
The Nokia 808 PureView probably still has the best camera and some even like to use it as their daily driver. Probably best even after three years... Amazing.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 is runner up, but it still has this yellow tinting and it's painstakingly slow (I can only hope that what I hear about Windows 10 will turn out to be true).
The Nokia Lumia 1520 and Lumia 930 are currently the best Microsoft has to offer - mind you, both are still from the days Nokia was printed on the devices. I hear Microsoft is finally working on a new flagship and I'm really looking forward to what it has to offer!
Best smartcams on Android are:
the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1, although for some reason its .JPG compression is quite disappointing at detail level when you choose manual settings. Moreover, it's extremely hard to get and if so, it's very expensive, lacks OIS, optical zoom and Xenon flash. You won't find Xenon on the other best smartcams on Android either:
In release order they are:
the Samsung Galaxy Note 4,
the Galaxy S6 and recently - much to my surprise -
the LG G4, which I think performs best at the moment (I have to be honest I can't compare it to the Note 4 since I had to send it back)
It's a complex matter of personal preferences though - I'm really impressed with LG G4's camera for instance, but as a smartphone I prefer using the Galaxy S6 (better screen and size to my taste). From the other brands I tested I think I was most impressed with the Oppo Find 7. Sony has been underwhelming in every version of the Xperia Z-series I'm afraid. Honor gets a honorable mention for incredible night photography from the Honor 6+.
And what about the iPhone? Well, I know it's been improving over the years and I've seen some impressive results from the last version - but iPhone owners don't really care about my comparisons because they're going to use an iPhone anyway.
So it's pretty clear you'll have pay a lot of money for a recent high-end smartphone to expect the best quality - with one possible exception: I've seen some very impressive results from the Lumia 640 XL (13MP, you'll find a few samples here) but unfortunately I haven't been able to test it yet.
If you can't spend all that much on your smartphone, I guess you can settle for a second hand 808 PureView or Lumia 1020 and live with the limitations. Or you could buy a cheap or second hand compact or system camera anyway... Like I did.
This may come as somewhat of a surprise to you, but I'm concentrating more and more on shooting with another kind of "smart camera" - the connected kind, not the smartphone ("the one you always have with you"). Why? Well, why not? I've been comparing smartphones for about three years now and I certainly see progress - the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4 showing very impressive results. But not this kind of progress.
In this Flickr album I'll be sharing more and more random shots I happen to like from the second hand Samsung NX300 I got for a bargain, using two different lenses (the NX 20-50mm kit lens and the 30mm F/2.0 pancake). Suppose it's some kind of escape for me - just shooting with one device, not several, no pressure to post the results. It's nice to concentrate on my own photography, instead to always feel the need to compare different devices.
Hope you'll be interested in them nevertheless, to see what you might get when you leave your smartphone at home for once :-) Here's one of my grumpy friend, my favorite model, click to check the original on Flickr.
I'm not shutting the club down - there's way too much interesting content in the comments alone. I guess I'll be sharing stuff on my Facebook accounts, Twitter and Instagram. But this will most likely be my last post for the time being. I first want to thank my family for their amazing patience, and of course my readers, loyal club members and sponsors (!) for their interest. It's been a privilage.