Two smartphones with 20MP sensors: Nokia Lumia 1520 vs Sony Xperia Z1 Compact (1)

This is the first part of a few battles between two 20MP sensors - those of the Nokia Lumia 1520 and the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact. Sony boasts it's offering a very good mobile camera and does so with a lot of technical brouhaha if I may say so.

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact - and I quote - redefines the premium smartphone market by placing the best Sony technologies from the flagship Xperia Z1:  Sony’s leading camera technologies “G Lens”, “Exmor RS for mobile” and “BIONZ for mobile”; a 4.3 inch TRILUMINOS™ HD display and X-Reality™ for mobile; premium dust-resistant and waterproof (IP55/IP58) design.

Well: it's waterproof, that's for sure and I think it's amazing that the mobile industry is allowing Sony to have this USP for this long (yes, I know Samsung announced the same for the S5 at the Mobile World Congress). The HD display of the Z1 Compact is certainly better than even the FullHD screen of its predecessor in terms of visibility - black is much deeper black on the Z1 Compact. But its no competition for Nokia's FullDH ClearBlack, IPS LCD display.

Now how do the sensors compare? That's what this battle is about. In this post you will see (only) two shots from both, shot in 4:3 to get the maximum out of the sensors. Both shots were taken inside, in more or less good lighting conditions. As you know, you only need to push the button once to get two shots from the Lumia 1520: one in high-res (hence 19MP) and one in PueView (5MP).

With the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, you'll have to go to manual settings and choose 20MP for the first shot (the sensor is 20.7MP to be exact), and then choose 8MP for another shot in 4:3.

Like I wrote in an earlier post, you can't choose 4:3 in the "Auto Superior" setting on the Xperia Z1 Compact, since that will only allow you to shoot in 16:9. You'll have to wait for the Xperia Z2 to do so, but that will be a few months from now I guess.

I don't know if the camera software on the Z1 Compact will be updated to do the same by the way, and in fact I'm not completely sure if the Z1 compact uses oversampling when it makes the manual 4:3 shots in 8MP (I guess so, what else would it do?)

In this post, first you'll see the resized shots coming from the 5MP and 8MP results from both smartphone cameras. Next, you'll see screenshots I made at 100% from those same shots. Last, you'll see two crops from each shot I took at the highest resolution. So even with only two shots from each device, this will be a pretty long post I'm afraid - but quite revealing.

You know the drill, you'll find all the original shots on OneDrive. In all comparisons, you'll see the Lumia 1520 first. Here we go.

The first scene was captured inside a sports hall. The light was okay, not very bright, not too dark either. Average, I'd say, but certainly bright enough. Here are the resized results (from the oversamped shots - 5MP and 8MP).

2 Nokia Lumia 1520 Sports 5 MP 2 Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Sports 8 MPYou see colours are much deeper and more defined coming from the Nokia Lumia 1520. Next, the 100% screenshots from these oversampled results (5MP and 8MP).

What Nokia PureView flagship to choose: the Lumia 1020 or 1520? Or still the 808 PureView?

What Nokia PureView flagship to choose: the Lumia 1020, the newest Lumia 1520? Or still: the 808 PureView? I'm getting the question more and more often these days - and boy it's a pretty tough one to answer. Like so often in life, it all really depends on your personal situation and preferences.

So I'll just share my thoughts here for whoever is pondering on the same issue. This has become a pretty long post, and to those who already know what they want or like what they have, there might be not much news to read in this post, but you might be willing to add a few suggestions of your own.

I'll illustrate this post with some of the shots I got from all three devices, working with them over the past months or even years. Click on the shot to see the original on Flickr (or OneDrive). Like this shot very dear to me, captured on the first day I could actually use the Nokia 808 PureView I had been looking forward to so much.

Nokia 808 PureViewClub - Now Famous Husky 640 x 480

Meet Heikki Sassi, Head of Audio Technology Management at Nokia

At an event like the Mobile World Congress it's really remarkable how Nokia is not only showcasing its products, applications and services, but its own personel as well.

Where many other producers choose to have their devices demonstrated by stunning young female models, you'll find lots of ladies and gentlemen who all actually know what they are talking about. They even know so into detail, since very often they either work at the specific department, or appear to be the ones responsible for it. This really shows Nokia's passion for its own products.

Three PureView Nokia’s versus the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1 Compact (3)

I'm still in the big decoration and gardening warehouse where they allowed me to shoot whatever I wanted. I'm still working with five different smartphone camera's, as with the green vases and wooden shoes.

Not only am I once again testing the Nokia 808 PureView against the Lumia 1020 and 1520, also I'm comparing them with the brand new Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and the still recent Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

In this post, you'll see a few large bottles attracting my attention. And different then the last post, you will only see resized version and crops from the uncompressed shots. There is one "but", alas.

Turned out afterwards that during that afternoon I managed to make the lens of my Lumia 1020 greasy (wrote about that in post no. 1 already). So I will show the crop - which is about detail in high resolution - but I won't share the shot itself, since it's simply too bad (my bad, that is!).

Here we go. Just like in the previous posts you'll find all the high resolution results on OneDrive. Here's what I got from the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact (set manual to get the 20MP shot)

1 Sony Xperia Z1 Compact - Bottles 20MPThere is some difference in colors (all settings are on automatic) - seems like every camera has his own opinion about the light in this scene. Below you'll see the Nokia 808 PureView seems in agreement with the Xperia Z1 Compact.

Three PureView Nokia’s versus the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1 Compact (2)

As you all know, the Dutch excel in speed skating. in fact, we all could have made it to the Olympics, it's not something we need to qualify for - all Dutch people go this fast: we have a lottery decide who will beat the rest of the world (except Norway). And when we stop skating we all wear wooden shoes. Simple as that :-)

In this second post comparing the Nokia PureView flagships with the new Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, I'll focus on new wooden shoes I noticed in the large store I wrote about yesterday. You really should read my first post for all background information about this small series, otherwise I will keep repeating myself.

Wooden shoes are not a myth, like the American (!) story of Hans Brinker is. Wooden shoes are actually for sale like in these kind of inside and outside decoration stores, since there's at lot of gardening involved. This shot from the Lumia 1020 shows what this short post is all about.

2 Nokia Lumia 1020 - Wooden shoes - 5MP

Farmers wear wooden shoes. People who work in their garden often do. I never had any pair of wooden shoes on my feet as far as I can remember. But it makes for a very Dutch subject, so why not capture them to compare?