nokia-lumia-1020

Nokia’s PureView flagships, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and: Jolla (2)

Let's go outside for a change. To a very small general aviation airport in my neighbourhood.  Carrying three Nokia PureView devices, the Samsung, Sony and Jolla.

Yes, I know the comparison isn't completely fair, the Jolla being cheaper and never "camera centric" and all that. True. But its camera sotware has been recently updated and the Jolla still costs you €400: you might expect a pretty good smartphone camera module for that kind of money as well I guess?

There has been some confusement about the amout of MP the Jolla's camera has - and I've been adding a bit to it as well, I'm sorry to say. Based on a too quick glance on the internet  I thought 3264 x 1840 pixels equals 4MP - but obviously (just do the math) it's 6MP.

Now why is Jolla mentioning 8MP for its camera? Probably because the sensor is that big - you know, like the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 have a 41MP sensor, but you will only get 38MP in 4:3 and 34MP in 16:9 aspect ratio.

Like - for instance - the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a 13MP sensor but will only give you that in 4:3, and "only" 9.6MP in 16:9. The Jolla gives you 6MP in 16:9 and you can't change the aspect ratio to 4:3. So I guess it's 8MP when you would have had the possibility to use 4:3 - maybe after a future update.

Enough numbers. Let return to the small aviation airport. The light was bright, it was a clear afternoon and the clouds on the horizon made for an impressive scenery. All camera settings were on automatic - I didn't change the white balance, didn't put any focus to "infinity" (although that might have been wise in this case).

The shots aren't very interesting from an artistic point of view (although the clouds are beautiful). But to see how the different cameras cope with the contrast of the bright sunlight and the darker foreground - I think that's what makes these shots worth your while. And the 640 x 360 crops, of course, showing which offers you the best detail.

First the two smallest resolutions, 5MP coming from the Nokia Lumia 1520 and 1020 (shown in that order). Both devices chose ISO-100, the difference is remarkable - the light was exactly the same.

7 Nokia Luma 1520 Sky

7 Nokia Lumia 1020 Sky 5MP

Now one might argue the grass looks very green in the last shot, but on a very bright sunlit afternoon, it actually looks this green. I think the 1020 has done a better job here - maybe because of the bigger sensor? Who knows... You'll see quite a bit darker shade of green in all the other shots though.

Nokia's Pureview flagships, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and: Jolla (1)

Thank you for your patience all. I've been enjoying "some" peace of mind, but I've been walking around with six smartphone cameras lately nevertheless. The three Nokia PureView flagships of course (808, 1020, 1520), the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact and one (more or less) new kid on the block: the Jolla phone.

Jolla: a short introduction
Before I go on with my first comparisons, let me explain a little bit about Jolla. I won't write a review of the Jolla phone here - it's not what the PureViewClub is about, but I will provide you with some background information before I share some of its shots - and compare it with some of the big guns out there.

Jolla 3

First of all, for those who don't know, Jolla was formed by about 80 ex-Nokia employees who started the bold adventure to take "the road not taken". After Nokia took the decision to leave Symbian and choose Windows Phone, they started their own company to create a new smartphone based on their own OS called "Sailfish".

It will remind you of MeeGo when you see it for the first time, but there are differences, for instance in the way you "swype" your way through the menu. I found their initiative brave and inspiring (I have a natural sympathy for the underdog I guess), so I decided to order one and show my support.

Jolla 11

To be able to offer more applications than available in the original Jolla Store, you have the possibility to use Android stores like Yandex for applications - interestingly enough, it's the exact same route Nokia now takes with it's "forked Android" Nokia X devices.

As I already own a few Android devices, I've been waiting for the Jolla Store to grow, which it apparantly does, but as an average user, you will still need to turn to Android I guess. Without wanting to offend anyone, I think the Jolla phone still is a bit of a "geeky" device. I have the Jolla for a few months already to be honest, but I've been waiting for updates before writing anything about it.

Jolla 14

Jolla has been a somewhat disappointing experience for me in the beginning, although I really did like its design from the start: in a worldwide market loaded with different brands that all have their own devices, it's no small achievement to think of a design that is genuinely new and original.

The Jolla slogan is "we are unlike" and that is very well chosen. You'll recognize a Jolla smartphone directly by it's looks and the same goes for the Sailfish user interface: there's simply nothing like it (apart from MeeGo maybe, which never was a very large OS).

Jolla 8

You can even buy a different " other half" - a new back cover that will directly change the way your Jolla screen looks like - and there are more "other halfs" to come, putting a different emphasis on the way you use your device. Only thing is I find these other halfs quite expensive at €29 (but I will get one if they think of realizing one that is centred around the camera functionality :-)

After its recent, important update to "Ohijärvi" the Sailfish OS has left the beta stage. Also, the (only 4MP) camera has seen a major impovement in terms of settings etc. Now you can adjust Light sensitivity (from ISO 100 to 400) and choose different white balance (Cloudy, Sunny, Fluorescent and Tungsten).

You can tap to focus or set it to infinity or continuous autofocus. You can set a delay up to 10 seconds. Still, it's no more than 4MP: 3264 x 1840 pixels in 16:9, and you can't shoot in 4:3. Here's a shot I captured from the Jolla settings menu.

Jolla Camera Settings

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Nokia Lumia 1020 - first comparison based on a few shots

You might have read I'm more or less enjoying a short "time-out", but some shots are just too "important" not to share I guess. Like these ones, coming from the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the brand new Samsung Galaxy S5...

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is the first comparison with shots coming from the Samsung Galaxy S5. Today I was happy to be invited to an event called the Samsung Experience Day here in The Netherlands, and I asked if I would be allowed to take a few shots with the Samsung Galaxy S5 (and take those with me) and to compare them with a Nokia PureView device.

There was not a doubt in their mind, and since it would be necessary to take a few shots outside as well, they even let me borrow the brand new Galaxy S5 from the national Marketing Manager. You'll understand I couldn't take that with me for a very long time (and they didn't let me leave the building alone either :-). So although I only had a few minutes to make these shots, I'm very grateful for their trust and the opportunity they've given me to share them here.

But not without a few disclaimers first (you know me by now).
- First, maybe I should have grabbed the Lumia 1520 with its 20MP sensor, for a more "fair" battle with the 16MP results of the Galaxy S5. I didn't, I guess I just wanted to compare the Galaxy S5 to the best smartphone camera at the moment.
- Second: light outside was awful (nothing but grey clouds).
- Third: for some weird reason my Lumia 1020 reset itself (for the first time ever, great timing), while making shots, so I appear to miss one high-res shot. Since I have only a few, I decided to share them all nevertheless.
- Fourth: I guess I was so excited to be able to give the Galaxy S5 a try, there are quite a few things I forgot to capture (like screenshots of the different camera settings).

So although this post is limited in some ways, it will just have to do for now.

HDR
To start, first two shots only from the Galaxy S5 itself - one with HDR off and one with HDR on. The difference is obvious, the effect fantastic, but the really great thing is that you will see the effect of using HDR in the screen even before you make the shot. No need to explain why that's great - and I could add that there (still) is no direct HDR option in Nokia Camera (why not?).

Samsung Galaxy S5 Test HDR - off Samsung Galaxy S5 Test HDR - onJust one test with two shots, and I think the result speaks for itself. Like I said: you can immediately see the difference in the screen before capturing it. I really think that's a great feature and moreover, there's a direct button in the screen to control HDR (on/off).

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

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