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An empty pedestrian bridge, captured with three Nokia camera phones

You need a bit of patience to capture a scene like this, but it was quite early so now too crowded yet. In this post you’ll find shots from a pedestrian bridge near where I work. It’s pretty long, crosses two railroad tracks and a busy road. With me, I had the Nokia 808 PureView, the Lumia 1020 and Lumia 1520. I made shots in different formats and resolutions, and for comparison I chose the most similar ones.

Light conditions were quite terrible because of a dark sky about to rain. From the shots I chose the results with flash – but I didn’t get the chance to make the same shot with flash on the Lumia 1520 after a few dozens of people left their train to go to work, so you’ll have to forgive me for that. With the Lumia 1520 I did make a raw .DNG version as well, and asked Pixel Peter if he would have the time to work with them.

In this post you will see the resized shots, and the result Peter got from the .DNG files. First the high res and 5MP shots. Hover with your mouse over the shot to see which smartphone you’re looking at, click on it to see the original on Flickr.

Nokia 808 PureView 5MP flash

Nokia 808 PureView full res flash

Nokia Lumia 1020 5MP 640 x 360

Nokia Lumia 1020 Pro__highres

Nokia Lumia 1520 5MP 640 x 360

Pixel Peter did some analysis of the DNG files and the 5MP shots (examples below), and he wrote me: coming directly from the 1520, the 5MP shots are just excellent – great detail and good control of noise. These results are great for sharing or even print up to 26×15 cm – or 10x 6 inch).

In a raw converter you can open the .DNG files and convert these to JPG without editing. You may use these for prints up to 46×26 cm (18×10 inch).  Of course you can edit the .DNG files and make considerable improvements, but it will depend on the shot if that’s necessary or even desirable.

For his analysis he used the only shot I got with a person in the far back of the shot (again, click to see the orginal)

Nokia Lumia 1520 - tunnel - 5MP (person)

DNG-AsSuch-ScreenShot small

5MP-UpScaled-ScreenShot small


Edit vs NonEdit

I actually do prefer one cam over the other, but being accused of prejudism a few times already, I’ll just leave it all up to you which results you like best :-)

Please don’t hesitate to let me know below, and also, please don’t forget to join PureViewClub on TwitterFacebookFlickrGoogle+ and/or Instagram.


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30 Responses

  1. tm

    Hey mark,
    could you please do me a really great favor? I want to give you some magic at hand. To do this, I need a minimum of 16 images from 1020 (or 1520 if you prefer color reproduction and white balance over pure pixel count)

    all fullresolution
    tripod mounted
    same focus point
    same exakt position/scene.

    I think a 41mp image with zero noise, great dynamic range and extremely good signal-to-noise ratio would be something awesome for “pure”view enthusiasts

    I would make an tutorial of how to do this and send you an email with the results and the how to.

    (I have only a 920 or 925 at hand but really want to make this happen with the best camera possible :)

    • Hi tm, this is a nice occasion to come back to your post of 28 nov about the optimization of 920 and 925 images. I studied your workflow on wpcentral. Interesting but quite laborious. I tried it on a 1520 image but was not that impressed to be honest. I now rely on the new upsampling (while maintaining details) algorithm in Photoshop CC (the could version of Photoshop). The advantage is that you can denoise (adjustable from low to high) at the same time with that tool.

      I’m curious about your results with the 16 images that you ask Marc for. (should these pictures also have the same aperture number or not?).

      • tm

        Hi Peter, yes there are really intense calculation made so it takes time.

        my original post on wpcentral is a bit ago, so I improved on it, but as I said last time, the magic happens with the anisotropic filter.

        try the following.
        take your image, upscale it by 300/400% with your PS cc algorithm and denoise it the way you want to.

        then in the 300/400% upscaled version sharpen cautious and use the anisotropic filter.

        • tm

          * after the filter, downsample with bicubic sharper by an amount of 33,33% or if you upscaled by 400%, downsample by 25%.

          aperature? Its locked. Or what do you mean? :)

          • Forget the aperture thing.

            Tomorrow I will try your workflow but now some sleep.

            • Hi tm
              I used your workflow on an full res picture (dng) and it seems to work good. Also found a number of youtube videos with the same pocedure and one with additional Photoshop’s smart sharpening filter.

              I often use the unsharp mask trick with 15% 50 pix.
              That looks grazy but can be a nice finishing touch
              after “normal” or advanced sharpening and upscaling.

            • Forgot to say I used a Lumia 1520 picture

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      Cool, will work on it. I don’t have a tripod mount for the 1520, so it’s going to be 1020 anyway I guess. Would you like it to be a close-up or a landscape? Looking forward to this experiment and your results already! :-)

      • tm

        Landscape or close up would be up to you, there should be a minimum of motion in the scene. In Closeup it would be very easy to achieve this but I think if you find a scene where there is no wind or people moving landscape would be great because of its amount of complexity and detail.

        you also could do both :)?!

        for the best results take a minimum of 16 images (32 or 64 would be even better by a factor of 1.5 and 2) manual focus (you don’t want different focus points), lowest iso.., and the timed shutter release feature of the Nokia camera :)

        • Marc @PureViewClub

          64 full res shots from the same subject? Wow :-) I’ll see what I can do, have to think of a great scene, preferably outside, no people, no wind. Going to be interesting. I’ll keep you posted :-)

  2. Oli

    i own a 808 and a 1020. i also prefer the pics from the lumia 1020 over the 808 in this comparison. for me the 1020 is the new camera smartphone. 808 was never a good smartphone for me, just a good camera. when i want to take a good camera then i rather the my olympus zx-1. lumia 1020 is just the much better package.

  3. bart

    good comparison Marc..
    I see people complain about these 808 images being too soft.. but that is not a valid argument because you can easily up the sharpness in manual settings if you want a sharper image.
    something you cannot do on the 1020 right now.

    all of these reviews lead people to believe this is the best the 808 can do, when its far from it.. these images are the worst the 808 will do if you leave on all auto.

    The 808 is a beast, not meant to be left on all auto settings.
    That is like putting bicycle tires on a Ferrari.

    If you manual adjust, compression, saturation, sharpness.. the 808 has no rival..
    just up the sharpness on the 808 +2 and you have image perfection.

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      Well Bart, it might help, true, and I was quite disappointed in the 808 this time as well.

      As for settings: since the start of the PureViewClub, I never ever had to work with sharpness (or contrast, or saturation) in manual settings. I never even touched this part of the menu in my comparisons.

      Furthermore, I took practically all my shots on automatic – just to use it the way most people likely do. And yet: it always produced the finest shot in whatever comparison.

      So I’m beginning to suspect something is wrong with my device :-(

      Funny you mention the great Ferrari by the way, in case you missed these posts http://pureviewclub.com/2013/12592 :-)

      • Ron

        I think that nothing wrong with your device, It looks like that because it’s relative to the 1020. Sometimes it misses but I really like the colors and sharpness of the 1020 algorithms, If Nokia can improve it more and reduce the amount of noise, it would be perfect.

        • bigs

          colors and sharpness in the 1020 is nice for an out of phone jpg. It just needs to be turned down a notch and tweaked so that in certain scenes the yellow saturation is not so intense and greens to look more natural.

          I think the 1520 has got it just right, which means the 1020 should look similar, if not better than the 1520 with the Black update.

  4. nikhil

    i have used 808 anf here i personally feel 1020 results are better. 1020 produces bit more noice than 808 but that will all change with the black update. i will choose 1020 anytime over 808 and the last option would be 1520

  5. bigs

    Marc, really impressed at the 1020′s performance in this comparison. Although a bit over processed in terms of an over sharpened result, the detail across most of the frame is consistent. This copy of the 1020 you have is a gem. I dare say do not lose it or accidentally drop or break it!

  6. BOOM!

    Don’t know who Pixel Peter is but he should go to this place or look this 1520 pic once again than comment.

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      Not sure what you mean. Pixel Peter has done a serious amount of posting here at the Club (check out http://pureviewclub.com/?s=pixel+peter) and I really do value his opinion. Mind you I asked him to analyze the .DNG shots from the 1520 – I didn’t ask him to compare the results with those from the 1020!

  7. Junnior Reis

    I am increasingly impressed with 1520 undoubtedly great results, even with such a small sensor ! 1020 as a deception, overly saturated colors, very annoying noise and softness in the corners ! Surely 808 “True PureView” was the best, with its accurate color, great detail, perfect optics and noise free… No doubt it is still the best Cameraphone the world !

    • BOOM!

      Don’t you see the colors? You guys have daltonism?

      1520 picture have yellow tint, colors are just completely off. Just look at the lighting and white bars. Maybe it has little less noise than 1020 but that pic is WRONG.

      I am sure that things will get much better for 1020 with Black update.

      • bigs

        boom, maybe Marc should have set all the phones to manual white balance. Usually the 1020 yields yellowish results with it’s current firmware.In this case it is the other way round and the 1520 has more yellow appearance. Be aware though the 1520 is running the Black firmware, so if the colors seem wrong, one can just access the full res image on a computer and adjust the white balance accordingly.

        • Marc @PureViewClub

          True, I hope to think of setting all phones to manual white balance next time. Remember these usually are shots I take “in between” so to say. Like the average smartphone user does.

      • Junnior Reis

        Boom… Rest assured that I have no blindness … As well as make sure I have EDUCATION, something that surely you have not, it does not respect and still offends those who do not think like you! That said, I maintain my opinion, that is, 1520 is undoubtedly a good Cameraphone, even taking into account that its focus is not primarily its image !

  8. steve

    The Clear winner is the 808(with a little post procesing) then 1520 and last the 1020. The 808s noise levels and dynamic range are far better then the 1020. The 1520 gets closer to the 808 but its not quite as good. Im not looking at raw detail the 1020 dose very well there. what im looking at is the noise level and dynamic range. The 1520 is stunning comsidering the sensor size. Thanks for the comparison Id love to see more Photos on flicker from the 1520.

    • BOOM!

      Just your opinion!
      When i look at all the pics 1020 looks the best.

      808 is just not sharp as it should be. But it’s 2nd for me.
      1520 colors are completely off, just look at the white bars… they are yellow, actually whole picture is yellow. Everything looks the same.
      1020 is winner sharpest picture of them all, right colors… yeah it has little more noise but still it’s the best pic of them specially for printing.

      • bigs

        When you mention printing, what size were you thinking of? For 6×4 or post card size , the enhanced sharpness from the 1020 is beneficial. For enlargements, the slightly less edge enhanced 1520 result will produce the better result. You are right though the color balance of the 1020 seems better than the 1520 in this comparison.

  9. Ron

    Very difficult to choose. The 808 is clean and pure but also soft and bland, the 1020 is sharp and colorful but also noisy. If I have to choose ONLY one image to show, it will be the 1020 image.

  10. BOOM!

    1020 again did an amazing job!
    Both pics from 1020 are just great. 1520 did good job too.

    I don’t like 808.