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Two smartphones with 20MP sensors: Nokia Lumia 1520 vs Sony Xperia Z1 Compact (3)

No, these are not the best shots I got artistically, but I’ll share them anyway since I believe they’re interesting in itself. In my previous two comparisons, I shared shots from the 20MP results from both the Nokia Lumia as the Sony Xperia.

In the first comparison, the Sony obviously lost, in the second comparison - in bright sunlight - its result was already a lot better and some might just prefer it since it simply looks sharper at first sight.

I promised some shots comparing the Sony on its “Superior Auto” setting, and compare that with the Nokia Lumia 1520. In Superior Auto, you can only shoot in 16:9 at the moment, but it wouldn’t suprise me if an update will change that, since in Barcelona I’ve seen 4:3 in the same setting on the Xperia Z2.

So I need to choose 16:9 on the Lumia 1520 as well, but: which setting to choose? Everything on auto? Change the white balance? I didn’t have much time to experiment since the sun was setting when I took these shots, but the differences are interesting.

There was another “problem”: Sony’s 8MP versus Nokia’s 5MP resolution. Some advised me to shoot on high-res with the Lumia and manually adjust that to 8MP, but I don’t have the software (nor the knowledge) to “oversample” shots on my PC . Moreover, I think it’s fair to show what you get as a consumer just using the device.

Here are the few shots I captured in the setting sun. As usual, Lumia 1520 first, Xperia Z1 Compact second, both on auto settings (so the Xperia on Superior Auto)

2 Nokia Lumia 1520 - tree - 5MP

2 Sony Xperia Z1 Compact - tree - 8MPAs you can see, the difference are marginal – the only thing is you’ll get a bit more of the scene with the Lumia 1520 (as usual, I didn’t move an inch). Next, two crops from these two shots – again you’ll see that choosing 640 x 360, you’ll get “closer” in the 8MP shot of the Xperia Z1 Compact.

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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.

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Two smartphones with 20MP sensors: Nokia Lumia 1520 vs Sony Xperia Z1 Compact (1)

This is the first part of a few battles between two 20MP sensors – those of the Nokia Lumia 1520 and the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact. Sony boasts it’s offering a very good mobile camera and does so with a lot of technical brouhaha if I may say so.

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact – and I quote – redefines the premium smartphone market by placing the best Sony technologies from the flagship Xperia Z1:  Sony’s leading camera technologies “G Lens”, “Exmor RS for mobile” and “BIONZ for mobile”; a 4.3 inch TRILUMINOS™ HD display and X-Reality™ for mobile; premium dust-resistant and waterproof (IP55/IP58) design.

Well: it’s waterproof, that’s for sure and I think it’s amazing that the mobile industry is allowing Sony to have this USP for this long (yes, I know Samsung announced the same for the S5 at the Mobile World Congress). The HD display of the Z1 Compact is certainly better than even the FullHD screen of its predecessor in terms of visibility – black is much deeper black on the Z1 Compact. But its no competition for Nokia’s FullDH ClearBlack, IPS LCD display.

Now how do the sensors compare? That’s what this battle is about. In this post you will see (only) two shots from both, shot in 4:3 to get the maximum out of the sensors. Both shots were taken inside, in more or less good lighting conditions. As you know, you only need to push the button once to get two shots from the Lumia 1520: one in high-res (hence 19MP) and one in PueView (5MP).

With the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, you’ll have to go to manual settings and choose 20MP for the first shot (the sensor is 20.7MP to be exact), and then choose 8MP for another shot in 4:3.

Like I wrote in an earlier post, you can’t choose 4:3 in the “Auto Superior” setting on the Xperia Z1 Compact, since that will only allow you to shoot in 16:9. You’ll have to wait for the Xperia Z2 to do so, but that will be a few months from now I guess.

I don’t know if the camera software on the Z1 Compact will be updated to do the same by the way, and in fact I’m not completely sure if the Z1 compact uses oversampling when it makes the manual 4:3 shots in 8MP (I guess so, what else would it do?)

In this post, first you’ll see the resized shots coming from the 5MP and 8MP results from both smartphone cameras. Next, you’ll see screenshots I made at 100% from those same shots. Last, you’ll see two crops from each shot I took at the highest resolution. So even with only two shots from each device, this will be a pretty long post I’m afraid – but quite revealing.

You know the drill, you’ll find all the original shots on OneDrive. In all comparisons, you’ll see the Lumia 1520 first. Here we go.

The first scene was captured inside a sports hall. The light was okay, not very bright, not too dark either. Average, I’d say, but certainly bright enough. Here are the resized results (from the oversamped shots – 5MP and 8MP).

2 Nokia Lumia 1520 Sports 5 MP2 Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Sports 8 MPYou see colours are much deeper and more defined coming from the Nokia Lumia 1520. Next, the 100% screenshots from these oversampled results (5MP and 8MP).

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What Nokia PureView flagship to choose: the Lumia 1020 or 1520? Or still the 808 PureView?

What Nokia PureView flagship to choose: the Lumia 1020, the newest Lumia 1520? Or still: the 808 PureView? I’m getting the question more and more often these days – and boy it’s a pretty tough one to answer. Like so often in life, it all really depends on your personal situation and preferences.

So I’ll just share my thoughts here for whoever is pondering on the same issue. This has become a pretty long post, and to those who already know what they want or like what they have, there might be not much news to read in this post, but you might be willing to add a few suggestions of your own.

I’ll illustrate this post with some of the shots I got from all three devices, working with them over the past months or even years. Click on the shot to see the original on Flickr (or OneDrive). Like this shot very dear to me, captured on the first day I could actually use the Nokia 808 PureView I had been looking forward to so much.

Nokia 808 PureViewClub - Now Famous Husky 640 x 480

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Exploring Tiny Planets

Suddenly everybody is sharing shots created with an application called Tiny Planets. Not sure how long it’s been in the Store, but it must have been half a year at least – and now it’s being picked up by everyone it seems. Is it a temporary thing or is it here to stay? I’d say it’s temporary, but it’s fun nevertheless to fool around with it.

What does it do? It takes your shot and turns it into a 360 degree presentation. It’s especially effective with landscapes and panoramas, as you can see in the next example. Here’s the (resized) original from a shot I captured of the Barcelona skyline.

Barca View

And here’s what it looks like after a treatment with Tiny Planets (resized as well).

Barca View TinyPlanets

I needed to resize the shot, since the output you get from Tiny Planets is a whopping 2048 x 2048 pixel format – equal to 4.2MP (click on the shot to see the original file).

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High-res results from the Nokia Lumia Icon

Not able to get my hands on the Nokia Lumia Icon to test it for a longer period, I asked my followers on Twitter if there were any passionate mobile photographers in the US planning to buy one on Verizon – but to no avail. I was happy to be able to test the Nokia Lumia Icon (even if for only ten minutes) during the Mobile World Congress, but I had to admit I wasn’t too thrilled about my own crops.

Thanks to a tip from @Chanimehro from India (who also takes care of the PureViewClub on Google+), I’m happy to be able to share some high-res shots and crops from Juan Carlos Bagnell here, blogger at SomeGadgetGuy. He’s known as @SomeGadgetGuy on Twitter, but as SomeAudioGuy (?) on Flickr, where he shares a few of the high-res results he got from the Nokia Lumia Icon. Irresitable to downlaod and crop a few of those of course! :-)

The Nokia Lumia Icon has a 20MP sensor like on the Nokia Lumia 1520. In high-res, it will give you a 19MP shot when you choose the 4:3 aspect ratio and 16MP in 16:9. Some of the shots on his Flickr page seem to be cropped, so I’ll only use the 16MP shots he’s sharing. Those I resized to 640 x 360 pixels, and I cropped the exact same size from the originals. Piece of cake :-)

Click on the shot to see the original on Flickr. You’ll find all his Nokia Lumia Icon shots here.

640 x 360 Nokia Lumia Icon - Flower - by Juan Carlos Bagnell 16MPCrop Nokia Lumia Icon - Flower - by Juan Carlos Bagnell 16MP Read more…

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