Photo shootout: Nokia Lumia 1020, PureView 808, Lumia 925, HTC One, and iPhone 5

Photo shootout: Nokia Lumia 1020, PureView 808, Lumia 925, HTC One, and iPhone 5

Summary: It's pretty clear that the Nokia Lumia 1020 has the most advanced camera software in a smartphone today and as you can see in this image gallery of shots around Seattle they have the proof to back up their claim as camera phone champion.

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  • Nokia Lumia 1020 with WP camera app

    If you want to read more about the hardware of the Nokia Lumia 1020 and software loaded on the device, please check out my first impressions article with a gallery of the hardware and some device screenshots.

    As you browse through this image gallery you will note there are multiple photos from the Nokia Lumia and 808 PureView because they have different modes and camera utilities. The Lumia 1020 has the default Windows Phone 8 camera app, Nokia Pro Camera, and Nokia Smart Camera. It turns out i grabbed the 5 megapixel images when connected to my Mac. i will have to go find the full resolution 34 megapixel ones and get them up on Flickr. With the 808 PureView I shot in Creative PureView 5 megapixel mode, Creative Full Resolution mode, and Automatic. On the Lumia 925 I used the default WP8 camera utility and the new Nokia Smart Camera utility.

    I took photos for this gallery that I would typically take as I walked around the city and will leave the super detailed, scientific analysis of the camera performance up to the real professionals, like Steve Litchfield, who have testing equipment and care about the intimate details. I come at this from a consumer point of view where most are pleased with the performance of the Apple iPhone.

    The ZDNet image gallery tool requires me to limit image width to 600 pixels wide. No other editing was done on these photos. If you wish to view, and download, the full resolution images I captured with these various phones then feel free to visit this Flickr image set I put together.

    I think it is pretty clear that the Nokia Lumia 1020 confirms its place as the best camera and I was impressed by the improvements I saw over the 808 PureView (better low light/shadow performance, in particular).

    I recently posted that the HTC One did a bit better than the Nokia Lumia 925, but after reviewing these photos in more detail and checking out the images captured in this photo shoot I see that HTC seems to be working too hard with the software and oversharpening the images to make them appear different than reality.

    If I was an AT&T customer I would likely jump on a Nokia Lumia 1020, but since I am on T-Mobile I am going to stick with the 925 and look forward to the release of the Pro Camera application. When the next version of the PureView 41 megapixel phone launches with a higher resolution display, larger battery, and support for T-Mobile then I will likely pick it up. Shoot, that could be just in time to use my JUMP! upgrade.

  • Nokia Lumia 1020 with Pro Camera app

Topics: Mobility, Nokia, Reviews, Smartphones, AT&T, Windows Phone

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Talkback

34 comments
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  • Ugh, a slideshow...

    Can't ZD|Net make a gallery that doesn't change the page every time you click a new picture?

    It's extremely annoying.
    ForeverCookie
    • No

      It's always 1996 at Zdnet. I'm actually kinda suprised they're not still using HTML frames on all their sites.
      dsf3g
    • Sorry, not my fault. I did give link to Flickr though

      I understand and feel your frustration with the gallery system. I did provide a link to a Flickr set that shows the full res images so you can crop in, etc. and see more detail in the photos.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • Thanks for the Flickr image stream

        The images and the moronic page-refresh slideshow made the images here on ZDNet useless for evaluation. After looking at them closely on Flickr, it's apparent that the 1020 has far more detail in the shadows while still allowing them to be fully dark. The others just compress the dynamic range so that shadows are no longer truly dark in order to get some detail. The 1020 is an excellent camera and definitely superior to the 808 if you're into photography. I'm impressed. I hope everyone else starts including some of the same technology into their own phone cameras.
        BillDem
      • Hi, can't find the flickr link ?

        need help or glasses
        fpbfpb
    • 808

      What I find even more depressing than how kludgy ZDNet is is that the 808 is still the king. It's pictures look better to me than the 1020's.
      x I'm tc
    • free gallery

      http://galleria.io/ will do it.
      Amy Cushing
    • its for the ads no doubt

      only reason a site about tech uses such an old gallery that refreshes the page is because it rotates the ads and gets more displays and therefore $$$ for them.
      frankieh
    • gallery of torture

      God yes, I gave up after 3 pictures. It's like they purposely want you to give up on the story.
      thewordofb
      • Flickr stream saved it

        If not for the Flickr link, I would have just closed this story without bothering.
        BillDem
    • +1000

      Slideshow #fail
      goombawa
    • Are you kidding ?

      There is no way they are going to do that. If the page changes for displaying every image in the gallery that is one more more click scored by ZDNet for collecting from their advertisers.
      pmshah@...
  • Agree With forevercookie

    Hate it when it refreshes page
    karthik007_v@...
  • Sadly...

    Doesn't matter how good this cameraphone is, the photos are just awful. Any cheap point-and-shoot will do better.

    It is also interesting spin to claim the Nokia 1020 has "the most advanced camera software in a smartphone". Wasn't it supposed to have the best camera?

    Photography is not about software, but about light. There are no software methods invented yet to process light... optics and sensors are used for this task so far.
    danbi
    • DSLR or better

      The Nokia 925 & 928's have a better camera than any Point & Click I've ever used. You just don't have a zoom with those phones. You'd have to get a decent DSLR to top the 1020, and if portability counts for something - that's quite a value.
      Tojuro
    • Not spin, it succeeds in both hardware and software

      I said it has both the best hardware and software in different spots. I am not implying that the software is best, but the hardware fails.

      I don't see many people carrying point and shoots much anymore, shoot I see people recording events with their iPad regularly, so having a fantastic camera in a phone is important to many folks.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • Not Spin....

        The DSLR in the bag in the trunk of your car won't take very good pictures. It's the camera in you HAND that gets the shot. I have a superzoom camera, which I carry on vacation in case I need zoom, but it is the iPhone 5 that gets the pictures. I started taking pictures about 64 years ago, when cameras that ordinary people could afford were rather primitive. The abilities of modern smartphone cameras amaze me.
        rphunter1242
    • Sadly...

      Well, I am sure the ride in a Rolls Royce is better than my Chevy Impala, but we buy what we can afford, and what suits our needs. I can whip out my iPhone 5 and take 15 shots before you can fish your DSLR out of you bag, select a lens, manually focus, set the lighting from a separate meter, and set up your tripod. You will get a great picture of whatever part of the scene is still around, but I will have gotten the whole thing. And I won't get tired carrying a bag with 25 lbs. of kit in it either. It's the camera you have at the time that takes the best picture.
      rphunter1242
      • Don't forget to slow down

        @rphunter1242 Having worked with a number of cameras (manual 35mm film, fancy 35mm film, super nice 35mm DSLR, old but awesome Hasselblad, even older 4x5, and my new 928) one thing has become clear, getting a good picture is more about thinking about how to capture the subject than how quickly you can take the shot. When you have to setup a tripod and load a single sheet of film in a camera you, double check everything and really think about what you are doing.

        Don't get me wrong, I love the convenience of always having a camera in my pocket for those spontaneous photos, but almost none of them are good enough to go up on my wall.
        Jeff Richardson
        • Slow Down and Miss Stuff

          I depends on the types of photos you like to take. For great landscape, architecture, etc shots, I'm sure your cameras (and your experience) produce excellent results. But if you're a passenger on a plane that has just crashed on a runway, or sitting in a pub and watching the crashing of a train, and want to get the "eyewitness" photos, I think a cellphone camera would get the shot while you're still getting set up.
          Ira Seigel