Summer photo shoot with HTC One, Nokia Lumia 925 and Lumia 928 (Gallery)

Summer photo shoot with HTC One, Nokia Lumia 925 and Lumia 928 (Gallery)

Summary: In this gallery I show several photos taken with three high end smartphones in typical summer time situations. Even though the HTC One uses a unique ultrapixel approach, it still holds its own against Nokia 8.7 megapixel cameras.


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  • HTC One: Seattle Waterfront

    There is no better smartphone hardware than the HTC One and I have no intention of giving it up. However, given the fantastic Nokia camera technology, and my desire for a good test Windows Phone 8 device, I just picked up the Nokia Lumia 925 on T-Mobile. I went on a short photo walk to see if the camera could sway me to use the Lumia 925 more often than the One. I also included the Nokia Lumia 928 since the 925 has an extra lens and I wanted to check if that made a difference too.

    This gallery of images is not a scientific test and I will leave that kind of detailed testing up to those sites who have the tools and resources to conduct those full tests. My intent and purpose was to just capture several photos that a typical consumer might take along the Seattle waterfront, near the Clink, and around my yard. Everything was left in auto with the two Lumia devices switched to macro mode for the close up shots.

    Like many of you, I am not a fan of the ZDNet gallery design, but that's what I have to work with. If you want to see the original images then feel free to visit my Flickr set collection of the images.

    Viewing and judging these photos is subjective as some people focus on clarity and detail, some on color replication, others on how much is captured, and more. If you zoom into the photos you will see that the ultra pixel method doesn't provide for much depth in the images. That said, for typical viewing online I found these images to show the HTC One shot the best in most cases (7/10 photos in my opinion), but the Lumia 925 could be chosen for many of those winning shots too. I did see that the Lumia 925 performed better than the 928 as well.

    To get another person's opinion, I had my wife perform the comparison test and she too selected the HTC One as the best result for the majority of photos I posted.

    I thought the Nokia Lumia 925 would be tops in nearly every photo with the six lenses and Nokia PureView technology, but HTC's One does very well and surprised me with its performance. I don't have to compromise on apps and services with the One while I still make tradeoffs with Windows Phone. It was good to see the HTC One camera stack up well and I will continue to use it as my primary device.

    Which phone do you think performed the best, the HTC One, Lumia 925, or Lumia 928?

  • Nokia Lumia 925: Seattle Waterfront

  • Nokia Lumia 928: Seattle Waterfront

Topics: Mobility, HTC, Nokia, Reviews, Smartphones

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  • Lumia

    The lumia bodies exhibit a lot of color cast in some images but, I wish HTC went with a 7 MP camera as that seemed to be the sweet spot for that size sensor.
  • Wondering if you are sponsored by HTC...

    Everybody knows that the Sensor of the 925 is much bigger, 8.7 is much more as the HTC. So you did on purpose no cropping pictures. That makes me wonder why? I think you are "biased" in this. Did not expect a thing like this from ZDNet. Did you get the HTC One for free?
    Herman Van Der Blom
    • come on

      @herman van der blom, what's with the conspiracy theories? he specifically points out that images from the HTC One lose depth when zoomed in. he also states that this was not a scientific test, and more for the everyday user.
    • sigh

      the only person biased here is you.
    • Bought the One and 925 with own money

      Did you read my text? I gave you all the link to full res Flickr shots where you can go check them all out yourself. The limited ZDNet gallery is just good for thumbnails.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
  • At the end of the day.....

    There are minor differences with the devices, but unless I'm making 8x11 prints, I don't see that much difference. The nokia seem slightly sharper on the back end, but the HTC One seems to have a wider angle on the front.

    At the end of the day, there is little to say that this camera will sway me on a handset purchase. Both HTC, Samsung, Apple and Nokia do camera well (during the daylight at least). The difference are too minor for a typical user to base their decision on. I'd rather be on Android at this point in time, so if I had these three choices, I would choose HTC One.
    • you never know

      Trouble is, you never know if this particular shot will be worth making a 8x11 print and hanging it on the wall. Most of the time, you won't get a chance to go pick up a good camera to retake the picture, so I'd rather have a phone capable of taking print-worthy pictures. For 400x600 pixel thumbnails to post online, even 1-2 megapixels is more than enough, so we shouldn't be comparing cameras on the basis of that use.
  • Huge Fail camera test

    I like reading your blogs but this one is the pits.

    1 photos need to be side by side for proper comparison not the format of zdnet.

    2 Most people look at photos on laptop, desktop, or TV so we need larger photo sizes for a proper comparison. If we were to only use our phone screen or camera display to view photos ANY camera would be fine.

    3 I saved one photo to my desktop and it was only 280kb. So even if I went to the trouble of copying all the photos to do a proper comparison it would have been a waste of time.

    I started a thread over on wpcentral "How will the competition counter the 1020's camera". I guess this is one way.
    • Download full size from Flickr if you want

      Did you read my text? I gave you all the link to full res Flickr shots where you can go check them all out yourself. The limited ZDNet gallery is just good for thumbnails.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • Missed that

        Sorry.......Removing foot from mouth
  • will not last two years

    Just gave up on my Samsung Galaxy S last week to get a new Nokia Lumia. Am I pleased with the decision. Samsung Galaxy S would freeze in the middle of an incoming call. If a phone cannot take a call, it's not a smartphone, neither is it a phone. Little brother, HTC, is not likely to be any better.
  • Appreciate the effort

    While I appreciate the effort you put, the image gallery format (which you stated is no good), hurts the article so much that it becomes useless.

    Most 3 year old smartphone cameras make photos that look good at that size. Most smartphone cameras don't deliver good pictures for me, because a good picture is one that I can show to someone else on an HD screen.

    So the questions I have about the camera of any smartphone are:

    1. Does it ever make good pictures (sharp on a 20+'' full HD screen)
    2. Under which circumstances can it make good pictures
    3. Sharpness after zoom (I hope this becomes relevant with the 1020)

    I would like to read an atricle that answers these questions with side to side image comparisions.
    • Wpcentral

      Go to the forums on wpcentral there are a lot of threads on the new 1020. The one on the 808 vs the 1020 has a lot of amazing photos in it.

      sorry for double post
  • Wpcentral

    Go to the forums on wpcentral there are a lot of threads on the new 1020. The one on the 808 vs the 1020 has a lot of amazing photos in it.

  • settings

    what are your settings on HTC ONE i cant seem to get great pictures like your samples.Thanks
    • Auto only, nothing special

      I took the photos in auto only since that is what the majority of people do. I know you can likely get better with more customized settings, but never see people changing the out of box mode.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
    • Good pictures...

      I was on a party. Saw two people taking pictures on that Party. One had a Note 2 the other a Lumia 920. The pictures on the 920 are far better and represent "real life" pictures. The pictures shown on this ZDNet must be sponsored in some way, because like other people are already telling you can make pictures like that almost with any phone nowadays.
      Herman Van Der Blom
  • Lumia 925 Looks Best

    As you said, quality is subjective, but to me there is a clear victor. To start off, I do like the HTC's camera a lot and I have been impressed with other examples of its abilities compared to the iPhone or Galaxy. Despite its lower megapixel count, it punches above its weight class where it counts in clarity, low light shots, and color. However, the only clear HTC victory in your shots is the panorama, which showcases the superior photo-stitching algorithm over the Nokias. The colors also seem vibrant, yet better balanced on the HTC here.

    That said, no matter how stupidly high the megapixel count on phones climbs, their major deficit compared to a D-SLR or even a good point-and-shoot is the tiny lens. Their is justification for the scaled down optics on a phone, but it results in a loss of detail that manifests as graininess in full size photos. It can even appear to the eye as overly aggressive JPG compression. As you state, this doesn't matter much on small smartphone screens or social networks, but viewed as a true photo, and striving for the most professional results, this is where phones come up short. Simply put, the phone that can minimize the graininess, sand, and artifacts that blemish their photos is the best if it is competent elsewhere.

    The Nokias flat out rule here. Look through all of the HTC images, particularly at the corners, and notice how bad the artifacts are, even over simple solids like the blue sky. The iPhone also has issues with massive graininess at all but the fastest ISO speeds. No one wants their skin turned to acne with artifacts all over it, and that majestic sunset looses its frame-worthiness as it breaks down into digital cubes. That's how I see it anyway.
    • Tiny lens

      "no matter how stupidly high the megapixel count on phones climbs, their major deficit compared to a D-SLR or even a good point-and-shoot is the tiny lens."

      But look at your eye -- it's a tiny lens, about the size of those in the phones, and yet the image from each of our eyes is of order 50 megapixels (assuming 1 arcmin resolution and about 120 deg field of view), with a huge dynamic range. So there is hope for phone cameras -- somebody just needs to push the technology. Good that Nokia (as well as Sony and HTC) are doing that.