I know you like comparisons like this – and I do too, but realizing them is extremely time consuming. This week I was very happy with two things though.
First of all, a bright sunny morning, that gave me the chance to finally do some shooting in the exact same light conditions, with the Nokia 808 PureView, Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520 and Sony QX100.
Second, I was very glad Harsh Verma - who’se been analyzing some of my shots earlier – was willing to do his analysis of these early morning shots. There has been some intense data exchange between The Netherlands and India, and I’m happy to present the result here.
This is a true collaboration in the sense that all I did was the shooting with the different cameras. These shots are not spectacular in any way, but provides you with a lot of details to compare. You may do so yourself as well, since I put his selection of all the shots used in this comparison (and more) on SkyDrive.
All the text you will read below however – including the conclusion – is written by Harsh Verma.
A detailed comparison of the Nokia 808 PureView, Lumia 1020 and Sony QX100
I am doing detailed comparison of the 808 vs 1020 and of the QX100 vs 1020. The reason for going separately is due to difference in resolutions. Having advantage of RAW of 1020 I can oversample to 20 mp and compare with best possible image quality. For this I use Lightroom 5.2. These are excellent shots because of same light conditions and same shot angle. Further any kind of artificial post-processing will easily be noticed in these natural scenes.
1) I converted .DNG files of 1020 to respective 38 MP JPG for comparing with 808 Pureview with a very slight change in white balance to match 808’s colour.
2) I converted .DNG files of 1020 to 20 MP JPG for comparing with Sony QX100.
3) Right hand side images and crops are of 808 and QX100 while left one’s are 1020’s.
EXAMPLE A – The Pond
1. Nokia 808 PureView vs Lumia 1020
Next, I took crops of several points in images. You will find most of the original crops in links below the shots. You will find all crops here.
On seeing these crop comparisons, the Lumia 1020 takes brighter images. The 808 PureView suffers from .jpg compression and applies some sharpening and NR causing detail losses. Though the levels are very minimal, they are quite visible on comparing crops. In the trees,grass, artifacts are easily visible. 1020 captures better details here.
2. Sony QX100 vs Nokia Lumia 1020
Left: QX100 18 MP Original (ISO 160, Shutter Speed 1/200 sec)
Right: 1020 20 MP Original (ISO 100, Shutter Speed 1/470 sec)
I chose the same crops, and again you’ll find most of the original crops in links below the shots.
I took the same crop points as above 808 vs 1020’s comparison. Look at the grasses and balcony, the bricks. The level of sharpening and post-processing is more applied in sony’s .jpg’s than in the 808, resulting in some artifacts and detail losses. In my opinion, the Nokia Lumia 1020 performs far better with details than Sony QX100.
EXAMPLE B – A Forest
1. Nokia 808 PureView vs Nokia Lumia 1020
This is an interesting comparison. Here we can see the clear advantage of Raw. Despite capturing at ISO 64, 808 has applied noise reduction causing a somewhat smeary, more saturated water-painting kind effect.
And even due to JPG compression, artifacts are easily noticed here. Look at leaves’s tip. 1020 has preserved great amount of details with minimal noise. Great recovery of details!
Sony QX100 vs Nokia Lumia 1020
Left: QX100 Original 18MP (ISO 160, Shutter Speed 1/100 sec)
Right: 1020 Original 20MP (ISO 100, Shutter Speed 1/400 sec)
While the Nokia 808 PureView chose to apply noise-reduction causing a somewhat smeary effect, QX100 applied aggressive sharpening, losing the original fine details. It’s quite visible in all crop comparisons above. The Lumia 1020 wins here with zero processing.
Conclusion: in this interesting comparison, the differences between RAW and JPG are easily seen. Most surprising thing was even though Sony’s QX100 has I” largest sensor here, but looses to 808 PureView due to heavy post-processing in daylight scenes.
While having the smallest sensor and pixel size, the Lumia 1020 preserves most details than these due to RAW. Images are pure. The lens takes bright photos. Though it exhibits some noise, but it’s of a very fine type. And when you oversample it to 5MP, it’s almost negligible.
by Harsh Verma, January 2014
Again, I’d like to thank Harsh for his time to work on this detailed comparison. Like I wrote, all the writing and the conclusion is his, I did no more that capture the shots with the different devices.
They were clean and simple as you have seen, most important they were full of details and captured in absolutely the same light conditions, like so many of you have urged me to do. You will find all original shots used in this comparison – and also the ones taken with the Nokia Lumia 1520 – here on SkyDrive.
I’m not sure myself if I fully agree with Harsh’s conclusion though. I can imagine some people would – for instance – prefer the colors from the 808 PureView, or the sharper definition in the images of Sony’s QX100.
Using Sony’s QX100
I have written about it before in an earlier comparison but I’d like to add a bit more practical information. It’s a very tempting high-end gadget of impressive build and offers some very good image quality, but I must say it’s very unpracticle compared to a smartphone camera.
It only works with iOS and Android, and since I don’t have an iPhone, I connected it to a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (that does fit actually!). Connecting it works fine via WiFi Direct (after installing the specific software “PlayMemories Mobile” on the phone), but connecting really takes time every time you want to make use of it.
You can get used to clamping the QX100 to your phone as well, but again that takes time and it will hardly be possible to use your phone for other purposes. Holding the combination needs quite a bit of practice as well: of course, the QX100 is very heavy and you’ll need to find your own way how to balance this when making shots.
Taking it off your phone is not uneasy, but you’ll have to take good care not to drop either the lens or your smartphone. And like I wrote before, it’s very strange Sony didn’t add the possibility to shoot Raw with this device, since most likely it will only attract professional photographers who don’t want to carry their complete gear on a day off.
In this comparison, Harsh has shown how important it is to be able to use Raw to get the very best result out of your shots. In all, however tempting it is, it might not be the extra gadget you’re looking for after all.
I think I can say this has been the most time consuming comparison I ever did. Together we’ve been working for days on this post, and Harsh and I are looking forward towards your reactions and opinions very much.