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Two 20MP sensors compared: the Nokia Lumia 1520 vs the Sony Xperia Z2 (1)

Still waiting for the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom – the newest smartphone camera with a 20MP sensor – I can’t wait with sharing a few of the first results I got from the Nokia Lumia 1520 and Sony Xperia Z2. It’s interesting to note that 20MP seems to have become the new “standard” for high-end smartphone cameras by the way.

I’ll tell you a bit about my method of comparing. First I (usually accidently) find a scene I think worth looking at. I take several shots of that with the smartphones I’m testing, making sure the light is as constant as possible. Nowadays, when it’s very sunny outside, I usually choose the corresponding white balance on all devices.

After that I copy all the results to my PC, I check them in detail and pick what I believe is the very best from each device. Then I resize them – usually to 640 x 360 pixels, to fit this page. Next I either make crops in the same size, or I zoom in to 100% (using Picasa) and make a screenshot (like I’ve been doing in this case).

Finally, I start writing the post like I’m doing now, adding the shots and details as I go along. And doing so it’s in fact the first time I actually compare the results from the devices I’m testing myself. It has become a simple method I find not only easy but also fair, and it’s a way of surprising myself during the whole process as well :-)

With the Lumia 1520 and Xperia Z2 I made a few shots in bright and not-so-bright light – in this post you won’t find the “low light shots” a lot of you seem to appreciate so much (will work on those later). First, a scene from an antique store, captured pushing both devices directly on the window to avoid reflection.

The Nokia Lumia 1520 was set to 5MP/16MP (in 16:9 aspect ratio), I need to make two shots with the Sony Xperia Z2 – one in Superior Auto (8MP) and one in manual (15.5MP in 16:9). Where the Lumia 1520 will be more or less identical, we might see some small differences between both shots from the Xperia Z2.

In all comparisons, you’ll see the Lumia 1520 first, Xperia Z2 second. First you’ll see resized versions of the smaller results.

WP_20140602_09_02_49_Pro DSC_0044The second shot (Xperia Z2) is noticably brighter, but strangly enough also a bit more “yellowish”.  Let’s have a look at the crops. First from the 5MP (Nokia) and 8MP (Sony) results.

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Steve Litchfield compares 41MP PureView devices with 20.7 MP Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

Where does he get all those wonderful toys? was a famous quote I thought of when I saw Steve Litchfield’s impressive first comparison of the Nokia 808 PureView, Lumia 1020 and the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom. I’ve been begging to test this device, but apparantly it hasn’t landed in the Netherlands yet.

Steve’s already got his hands on it and was able to share a first impressive comparison. You’ll find all results in his Battle of the Best post. I could be quoting tons of stuff, but I feel it could take too much fun out of reading the whole thing, so the only thing I’m “quoting” is this great shot he took of all three competitors.

Steve Litchfield - 808-1020-kzoom

Why am I looking forward the to the Galaxy K Zoom so much? Because of its impressive 20.7 MP sensor of course. The Xenon Flash. Optical zoom! Its daring design – looks like a combination of the 808 and the 1020 judging from Steve’s shot above. There’s so much more I’m curious about – it will all just have to wait for my own quality time with the device.

As far as the 20MP devices are concerned, I’ve started comparing the Nokia Lumia 1520 with the all new Sony Xperia Z2 (I can test some beautiful toys myself now and again, too :-) Hope to share some more from those two devices soon myself! You’ll read Steve’s complete story here.

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A Dutch windmill, by three Nokia PureView devices, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Oppo Find 7a

Yesterday was one of those typical sunny / cloudy days in The Netherlands. And I happened to be close to another typical Dutch scene: a windmill. But before showing you the shots and crops I got from the Nokia 808 PureView, Lumia 1020 and Lumia 930, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Oppo Find 7A, I’d like to touch on another theme.

On other sites I often read people reacting “mobile cameras are only good for snapshots”. Others wonder what all these MegaPixels are worth – “you’re not ever going to decorate your living room wall with one of your shots, are you?”

Well, no-one is I guess. But remember the VGA (640 x 480 pixels ) shot printed on A4 paper? You could recognize what it was, but that’s it. Since the 5MP mobile camera, like on the Nokia N95, printing on A4 became a serious possibility. I have some great family shots in my home captured with the N95.

The higher the resolution, the more details you’ll see or get to work with. It will enable you to make sharper printed results, or bigger prints with great quality. And it will provide you with the possibility to zoom in (and crop) your shots before sharing or printing.

So that’s why I keep zooming in at 100% and keep making crops – just to compare which mobile will give you the best detailed result. It’s not just about sharing your shots on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or wherever – it’s a search for the very best imaging quality you can get out of your smartphone.

Most visitors here know all this of course, I just felt I needed to explain it once more, since I’ll be sharing a lot of shots and crops in this post (and the future :-)

Back to the Dutch windmill. I grew up next to this mill, saw it working countless times. But you know what it’s like when you’re young: you get used to anything and think it’s normal. Only later you’ll realize it’s pretty special, especially to others.

I captured it with five smartphones: three Nokia PureView devices (808, 1020, 930), the new Samsung Galaxy S5 and even newer Oppo Find 7A (the Find 7 isn’t even on the market yet and like I wrote before, the camera is the same on both).

Let’s start with one of the 5MP results, from the Lumia 1020. Just to make sure: this is just an order I chose to present these shots, I’m not suggesting they will get better the more MP you’ll see. The first presentation of these shots is not about MP, but about coloring.Windmill - Nokia Lumia 1020 5MP

In the shot coming from the Lumia 930, you’ll see the light is quite different, thanks to the sun peeping through the clouds. In fact – just my luck – it was only with the Lumia 1020 that I captured the windmill in the shade (the inevitable odd one out).

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Pre-PureView – my shots from the Nokia N8

It took me a while to make this selection of 44 from well over a thousand shots from my Nokia N8, captured between 2011 and 2012 in Barcelona, Hilversum (Netherlands), Sitges (Spain) and Stalida (Crete).

The Nokia N8 wasn’t labeled as “PureView” in those days, but I think it could have – even after my vast experience with the Nokia 808 PureView, I’m still impressed with the quality I got from the N8.

Moreover: Damian Dinning was already deeply involved in its development (like with the Nokia N95), so I’ll consider it Pre-PureView. I’ll just share 15 resized shots here, you’ll find all 44 original formats in a dedicated album on Flickr.

Nokia N8 - 1

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Dazzling results from the Lumia Arc of Wonder

One of the things I really like about Nokia is the way their devices appear to inspire so many people. You can tell not just by an amazing amount of fantastic shots (you should really follow @pureviewclub on Twitter to understand what I mean), but there are also artists that bring photography to the next level.

Wth the help of Nokia/Microsoft, of course – I don’t see anyone actually buying no less than fifity (!) of the Lumia 1020 like Paul Trillo needed to create his amazing “Multi Lumia Arc ofWonder” (the link takes you to Nokia Conversations).

In the “making of” video you can hear Paul Trillo talking about how he wanted to capture the “New York City Moments” by”freezing time and turning the world upside down“. It’s really worth your time to see how they did that, too. All 50 Lumia’s for instance, were controlled by Microsoft’s Surface and software that was designed for the Arc. Amazing.

On YouTube

Below you’ll see the result of this Arc of Wonder – I think the end result is dazzling in every sense of the word. Extra confusing is they added a fitting soundtrack to this “video”. Enjoy! :-)

On YouTube

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Comparing Nokia PureView vs. Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2 and: Oppo Find 7a!

In this post you’ll find only two scenes, but coming from quite an amount of smartphone cameras… You’ll see one scene outside and one inside, captured with the Nokia 808 Pureview, Lumia 1020, Lumia 930, Samsung Galaxy S5, Oppo Find 7a and (just in one scene) Sony’s Xperia Z2.

I’ve been trying to get my hands on the Oppo Find 7 for quite a while. There is no Oppo PR offiice in the Netherlands (not even sure if there is one in Europe), the online channel is out of stock, so I was very happy to find one “second hand” 7a in mint condition here in the Netherlands (in my own town even :-). The 7a is the “light” version of the Find 7 so to say, check out the comparison here. The camera module is the same though, so it fits my purposes :-)

What’s so interesting about the Find 7, is that Oppo promised a 50MP (!) resolution. That’s not about the sensor itself – that’s 13MP – but about a technique combining four shots into one.

Using Oppo’s Find 7 in 4:3 aspect ratio (which provides you with the 13MP resolution) and in “Ultra-HD” mode, you’ll get a result of 8160 x 6120 pixels, adding up to 50MP indeed. But what does that offer you in the end?

As always, I made a lot of shots and selected the best from all devices. I made them in “normal” and “high” resolution and also in Raw .DNG shots if possible, but I won’t take the .DNG files into account in this post – you’ll find them on OneDrive.

Speaking of Raw .DNG – the Oppo Find 7 is the first smartphone (to my knowledge at least) after Nokia Camera that will allow you to make Raw .DNG shots. The feature is more or less hidden, but it’s possible. When shooting in raw with the Oppo Find 7, it will give you a .JPG file as well.

You might find it interesting to know that shooting in 4:3 aspect ratio, the Oppo’s raw .DNG file is 26MB, whereas the Nokia Lumia 930 gives you a 24MB file. The Lumia 1020 gives you no less than 49MB (no wonder with its much bigger sensor).

I’ll leave working with the Raw .DNG to you however – I don’t have enough experience with programs like Lightroom (and I lack the time to learn alas), but I’m looking forward to your results very much!

Let’s Go Outside
So let’s have a look at the results you’ll get from the devices directly. I’m talking about 19 shots in total, so it’s clear I can’t share them all in this post. First, the shot taken outside, a street that’s “under construction”. Just a daily scene offering lots of detail and contrast.

Mind you you’ll see the resized versions of the basis resolution (8MP which I always use on the 808 PureView and 5MP Nokia prefers on Lumia). All settings were on automatic on all devices.

Which one to see first? Let’s start with the Nokia 808 PureView.

2 Nokia 808 PureView 8MP

Being the new kid in town, I’ll share the Lumia 930 shot next

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