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Two smartphones with 20MP sensors: Nokia Lumia 1520 vs Sony Xperia Z1 Compact (2)

After the first comparison, someone on the Facebook group “Nothing but a Nokia” asked me to do a similar comparison of the Nokia Lumia 1520 and Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, but in great lighting conditions.

That’s a bit ironic, since most of the requests I got in the past years have been to test devices in less light, low light, inside or even almost complete darkness. Nevertheless: I like good light photography best myself, so I’m happy to oblige.

I made a few high-res shots from a nice house in my hometown, a scene I think I’ve shared before (not sure about it, a long time ago if so anyway). So both the devices were set to maximum resolution and 4:3 – equivalent of 19MP (4992 x 3744 pixels) on the Lumia 1520 and 20.6MP (5248 x 3936 pixels) on the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact.

I will show the resized versions first (click on the shots to see the originals on OneDrive). Mind you, these are the resized versions of the high-res originals. Nokia Lumia 1520 first, like in the previous comparison.

1 Nokia Lumia 1520 - house - 20MP

1 Sony Xperia Z1 Compact - house - 20MP

I do like the color rendition of the Lumia better personally, although the bushes in front of the house are quite green. In the EXIF you will see the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact was on manual settings, which I need to get the 20MP result (like I wrote a few times, you can’t get high res in the “Superior Auto” setting). The Nokia Lumia 1520 was on auto settings however (more about that in a later post).

Next, a few 640 x 360 crops from these two results. Lumia 1520 first.

1 Nokia Lumia 1520 - house - 20MP 640 x 360 in medio virtus 1 Sony Xperia Z1 Compact - house - 20MP 640 x 360 in medio virtus

I think you can make up your own mind about this result. Again, you’ll see more pixelation in the 20MP original of Sony’s Xperia, but it’s not as noticable as in the previous comparison, and the readibilty of “In medio virtus” (“virtue stands in the middle”) the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is clearly better. A few more crops. Nokia Lumia 1520 first as always.

1 Nokia Lumia 1520 - house - 20MP 640 x 360 2 1 Sony Xperia Z1 Compact - house - 20MP 640 x 360 2

1 Nokia Lumia 1520 - house - 20MP 640 x 360 1 Sony Xperia Z1 Compact - house - 20MP 640 x 360 3

With more pixelation Sony seems to gives a sharper impression in great light conditions I guess, but in the end the result is pretty noisy too, so I personally still prefer the high res results I get from the Lumia 1520 – but I’m looking forward to what you think as always.

In a next post, I will compare some of the shots taken in 5MP and 8MP – the last coming from the Sony’s Xperia in the “Superior Auto” setting. With many other users, I still wish Nokia would add the 8MP setting in Nokia Camera as well, like I could choose on the 808 PureView (and I know they’re reading this :-)

Anyway there’s no 5MP setting on the Xperia, so this next comparison will be somewhat of a challenge. This post  was just a short one I know, but I have a daily job to go to as well. If you appreciate what I’m doing here, please consider making a contribution and hit the “Donate” button on the right hand side of this page – thank you in advance! :-)

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10 Responses

  1. Thina

    Wah, simply super biased camera comparison.It is better not to do any comparison if the winner is already chosen before the comparing process.The noise present in Z1 is not grainy and however it produces more vivid and sharp pictures.Just in some shots the pureview colour is bit more accurate.

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      You got to be kidding me. Super biased? I think I wrote about all the pros and cons of both. I have no idea where you come from, but I have a reputation to lose. Don’t accuse me of something I didn’t do.

    • civichief

      The z1 compact with 4.3 is a big diapointment.
      I wonder how the results with 4.4 kitkat look like.
      The Sony is too sharp taking a look at the brick walls

  2. bigs

    hmm looking at this comparison, I do have to say it is a personal opinion that the 1520 does have nicer color tone, but the Sony is not that far off, and when not compared, the Sony will produce acceptable results.

    Comparing the crop results you kindly enlarged for us, it can be seen that the 1520 struggles to keep up with the Z1 compact when it comes to per pixel detail. Be there more noise in the Z1 compact, the 1520 looks rather mushy in comparison.

    Although the 1520 looks less detailed in this comparison, I would bet if the RAW DNG had bee process and used it would put the 1520 on better standing ground to compete against the Z1 compact.

  3. mike

    Nice and detailed comparisons Marc once again!!! Well, I think that although the photo quality of the sony device is lower and noisier than the lumia 1520, I do prefer it in terms of light, color reproduction and overall image representation. I still have the sense, that, although the two devices have a very good camera, the two phablets can’t match the photo quality of nokia 808 or the lumia 1020.

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      Well, the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact can hardly be called a “phablet” :-)

      • mike

        Sorry Marc, I was used to the phablet Xperia Z1! My mistake! :) Yes indeed the compact version is more close to the lumia 1020 dimensions.

  4. Sawan Bruins

    Hi Marc,

    I suggest you take the photo’s on the Nokia on 5Mpix and use their algoritms and for the Sony shoot at full resolution and than shrink it to 5Mpix on a PC. That will be the best comparison of both in my opinion.