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Not just another nightshot

For my work, I’m at the North Sea Jazz Festival once again (first time was in 1991 I might add, saw Miles Davis’ very last concert there, a memory I’m quite fond of). Because of what I do (editing concert recordings for our radioshow at Radio 6 Soul & Jazz, you might want to tune in later today, the next broadcast starts in about an hour :-), I can’t go actually see any concerts to make shots.

Returning to my the hotel late at night, with my Nokia Lumia 1020 I captured this nightshot which I can’t resist sharing. Now I’m getting somewhat of a reputation as “mr. Steadycam”, but of ten shots, I managed not to move for 0.83 seconds in only two of them – and this is the best one I got at ISO 100 (resized to fit this post of course, you’ll find links below)

Van der Valk Hotel 641 x 858

Now I tried to get a similar result with the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom, but it’s more complicated to work with in one specific way. When you work with the Nokia Lumia 1020, you can put it on ISO 100 and choose to leave the rest up to the device – which I did in this case.

When you put the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom on manuel, you can also put it on ISO 100, but you’ll have to choose the shutter time as well. Not being very experienced at that, I guessed 0.25 seconds would do. It didn’t, the shot came out too dark (and there suddenly were colleagues in the hall as well).

So I now know tonight I’ll have to choose between 0.7 and 1 second shutter time. Another challenge will be the that the light on the ceiling is constantly changing :-) You’ll find the original shots on Flickr in 5MP and 38MP resolution to “pixel peep” if you feel like it.

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Nightshots with the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

Last night there was a soccer game everybody was pretty excited about. I went to friends to see it, about a half hour away from where I live. Returned on my bike, very late at night, a bit disappointed and not completely sober I might add ;-) And then I passed the railway station in Hilversum – begging to be captured.

I was especially curious about how the Galaxy K Zoom would be able to capture it, since I’ve been reading horror stories about its lowlight capacities. Since it was so late, I made one mistake though – I only made a few shots with the Nokia Lumia 1020 on auto: completely forgot to put that on ISO 100 as well.

So I’ll readily admit that’s pretty stupid (a bit like missing two penalties during the semi-finale of a world championship). But I like to share all results I got from the Galaxy K Zoom with you anyway. First though, the Lumia 1020 on auto, choosing ISO 800 and 1/12 sec.

It’s the resized version of the 5MP shot.

Hilversum Station Nokia Lumia 1020 5MP ISO 800 (auto)

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Getting real close: Nokia Lumia 1520 vs Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

Now that we’ve seen that an optical zoom can be very practicle even on a device with not the very best camera specifications, let’s see how close we can actually get – and what the differences are.

With the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom, you can’t use the optical zoom when you choose the “macro” setting. With the Nokia Lumia 1520 however, you can focus as close as possible and zoom in next.

In the last case, you’ll end up with a 5MP shot that brings you a lot closer at first sight, but in fact it’s only a matter of reframing what you’d get at full resolution. With the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom, you’ll get a 20.7MP close-up of the same scene. But: which one if more pleasing to the eye?

Weather is terrible today here in The Netherlands, so I simply picked a few Nokia goodies I always carry with me, focussing as close as possible. I made several shots with both devives and picked the best they produced.

Here we go. First a part of my laptop keybooard, focussing on the center (so: the “5″). Nokia Lumia 1520 first, Samsung Galaxy K Zoom next.

1 Nokia Lumia 1520 - keyboard 1 Samsung Galaxy K Zoom keyboard

Well, that’s pretty obvious I think. Lumia 1520 is way better in colors and contrast, the K Zoom once more giving a far too bright result. Note I managed to get just a bit closer with the Nokia Lumia 1520.

I could bother you with the crops as well, but we’re comparing a 5MP with a 20.7MP shot – so in fact they’re impossible to compare – and I think these close-up results speak for themselves.

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Review: the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom – the best Android smartphone camera to date (1)

I’ve been working with the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom for a few weeks now, and this weekend I published a review on my Dutch website, Smartphone-Review.nl.  Earlier I shared a translation of my Dutch review of the Lumia 930 here, so I guess you’re interested in what I wrote about the Galaxy K Zoom as well. Everything you’ll be reading below is (freely) translated from Dutch.

A smartphone with a 20MP sensor isn’t new in itself – it’s the 10x optical zoom that makes the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom a very interesting device. So that’s the focus of this review. Probably you’re only interested in the Galaxy K Zoom if you expect the best from your smartphone. So does it give you the best results?

Of course, Samsung has produced dozens of “smartphone cameras” already. You’ll find a usable or even a very good camera in the Galaxy range – and the Symbian fans here will remember the Samsung Omnia i8910 HD with its 8MP camera as well.

Samsung’s first “connected camera” - with a 21x optical zoom - was the Galaxy Camera. It had a simcard for data only though – you couldn’t make phonecalls with it (except over Skype, but you wouldn’t find a headset in the package).

The second version was the Galaxy S4 Zoom – for sale at a bargain these days. And although that’s a real smartphone, its design reminded much more of a compact camera with a smartphone display glued to the back. With the Galaxy K Zoom, Samsung chose for a radical different approach.

Design and specifications
The Galaxy K Zoom obviously isn’t competing for the thinnest design award. It´s “functionally fat” – way too thick and heavy at first sight according to many. If that opinion will change when opening the camera depends if you’re really interested in smartphone photography or not. But anyway, it’s an absolutely remarkable achievement how Samsung managed to get a 10x optical zoom into a relatively thin designed smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - lens close-up

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Zooming in on a “flying” motorbike – Samsung Galaxy K Zoom vs Nokia Lumia’s PureView

Another very short post, sharing a funny scene I saw in my hometown – a motorbike on a high statue: something nice to zoom into. Now of course, the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom has the obvious advantage here. Still, what can you expect from your Lumia 1020 and Lumia 1520? How close can you get?

In this post I’ll share the zoomed results from all devices – but to show you far the distance was, here’s a resized version of the 34MP original I got from the Lumia 1020.

Nokia Lumia 1020 34MP 1With the Nokia Lumia 1520 – its 20MP (19MP in 16:9) you can zoom in this far.

Lumia 1520 5MPAs you probably know, with PureView you zoom in on the sensor. You’ll loose “oversampling” the more you zoom in, but you’ll get the true image – there is no digital zoom. And since the Lumia 1020 has a much bigger sensor, you can zoom in quite a bit closer. You might not have been aware of that, and here’s the proof.

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A lovely hollyhock in the morning sun – Nokia Lumia 1520 vs Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

Just a very short post – one flower I captured this morning on my way to work, more or less close-up with the the Nokia Lumia 1520 and the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom (not using the optical zoom). Similar sensors (20MP vs 19MP), all settings on auto, although the early morning sun was very bright, so I put both devices on -3 exposure value.

First: here are the resized versions. Most important is the difference in color. Nokia Lumia 1520 first, Samsung Galaxy K Zoom second.

Rose - Nokia Lumia 1520 19MPRose - Samsung Galaxy K ZoomQuite frankly, I think the Lumia 1520 does reproduce the best colors – although red is always very hard to capture for some reason. Again, the K Zoom produces a bit lighter result. It can be quite handy in less favorable circumstances, but it does have some disadvantages as I will show in a future post.

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