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Editorial: Lumia 920 camera review and detailed imaging comparison with N8 and 808 PureView!!

2013-05-22-0807

If you have followed all our posts regularly then you would remember our promise of coming back with a camera comparison of Lumia 920 with pre-PureView flagship N8 and the first PureView 808. There have been many kudos for the low-light champ that Lumia 920 and that amazing video stabilisation which “floating camera lens” imparts to Lumia 920. But at the same time many criticisms about its daylight performance has also been heard, though seems with GDR1 and with second firmware update the Lumia 920 camera has started taking sharper daylight images.

So, what better way to judge it than pitting against two best of the lot performers N8 and 808 PureView.

Methodology:

N8– Camera resolution of 9 MP, 16:9 , default, Belle Refresh

808 PureView8 MP PureView mode, 16:9, Belle FP2

Lumia 9208 MP, 16:9, default— Latest firmware 5957 with GDR1 OS version 8.0.10211.204

Many would argue against N8’s 9 MP advantage, but this is the best resolution, which we can use from N8 without losing any quality and keeping comparison fair.

In all the sets Lumia 920 sample is on extreme left followed by N8 sample then 808 PureView sample.

You can check full resolution samples with all Exif data from our Flickr link here. We are producing crops here followed by our opinion.

Daylight comparison:

We captured the same building in broad daylight with all three devices. Have a look at the crops from different parts of the building.

L 920-N8-808

The BSI sensor shows its strength in case of Lumia 920 sample with capturing the shaded area better than N8 in terms of details and dynamic range shown. Though 808 PureView still is much better in arresting the noise and rendering most detailed image out of the three.

1

In case of the part of image well exposed by sun, N8 and 808 PureView start showing their sensor strength. Though Lumia 920 image is also well detailed but there is hint of “noise reduction” leading to minor loss of details as compared to N8. Also, Lumia 920 renders slightly saturated yellow hue to the lighting compared to how N8 and 808 pureView interpret it, though nothing over the top and the image capture by Lumia 920 may appeal to many :). 808 PureView still is the top gun here!!

Roof

Crop of top of the building. Very well-lit obviously and anyone can notice slight loss of details in Lumia 920 image due to noise reduction post processing. Lumia 920 image may look better to an untrained eye, but zoom in and you will see even if N8 image is noisier it is with better details and 808 image is better detailed with lesser noise than N8.

Macro mode:

Macro

Lumia 920 shows its strength in capturing close up photos. It is easiest of the three to capture a really close shot of the flower. N8 struggles in going extremely close like always :P. 808 PureView manges to get closer it with help of lossless zoom only. Anyways I am happy with performance of Lumia 920 here. Well detailed image with good color reproduction!! Here also you will note that noise reduction has been applied in Lumia 920 while N8 does what it is famous for, capturing details and giving image as much unprocessed as possible. But here, Lumia 920 has upper hand.

Low light with flash:

With Flash

Capture from some distance from the object to test flash strength. All the three flash do their work well since the object is stationery, but again Lumia 920’s image will look better to an untrained eye with less noise, but N8’s images is with better details and more noise. 808’s image is a class apart and you can read most of the letters if zoomed in. It seems like a theme now that difference between Lumia 920 and N8 images in terms of details capture is not that significant, but Nokia can do better with using noise reduction as little as possible on Lumia 920. As always, 808 stands out unchallenged!!

 Low light without flash:

WP_20130524_009

After the macro mode, Lumia 920 scores another win. Much more light capture than both N8 and 808 PureView. The image looks alive and useful. N8 and 808 PureView images are comparable but still you can see N8 produces noisier images, testimony to its algorithm which use post processing to the minimum.

 Moving object with flash:

With flash moving

Windy nights and flashes in action!! LED can’t compare to Xenon, we all know it. See, how leaves and flower gets blurry in Lumia 920’s image while N8 and 808 PureView just “freeze” it. But, the color capture with Lumia 920′ flash is the closer to 808 PureView. N8’s Xenon alters leave’s color here.

Dark room test without flash:

Dark wo flash

Another win  for Lumia 920. It is hard to notice objects in N8 and 808’s images though still they do better than most of the competitor devices. Lumia 920 still will let you know much of the details.

Conclusion:

During this shootout and through our use of these three devices, what we realised is that Lumia 920’s camera with OIS and 8.7 MP BSI sensor is really capable shooter with amazing low light performance especially without flash and better than competition with Flash. In daylight it captures detailed images with vibrant colors but still retains natural color of the object.

What is actually interesting here is the change in Nokia’s approach to post processing of the images. While images from N8 were loved by camera enthusiasts for retaining most of the details even while keeping some of the noise left in image. Nokia has tried to remove the noise from Lumia 920 images even at the cost of sacrificing some details. The visually good-looking images with reduced noise appeal to many after all.

If you will go through above crops then you will realise that there is not huge difference between details captured by N8 and Lumia 920 but the approach to post processing makes difference. 808 PureView is a class apart with much better details than both N8 and Lumia 920 but at the same time less noisy as well due to “oversampling”.

There is much to love about Lumia 920 though. The OIS, low light performance, decent daylight performance with less noise and goo color-reproduction. It is the camera to hold for close up shots. What Nokia can do here is,

Provide an option of choosing level of sharpness, the user wants to have. As in N8, we have an option of selecting three sharpness levels of “Soft, Normal, Hard“. So, for camera enthusiasts,Hard sharpness without losing details may be the way to go, while normal users may be happy with automatic “Normal” with noise reduction.

Do let us know in comments what you think of the above comparison and Lumia 920 ‘s camera?

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Nayan

Nayan has more than 10 years of experience of covering Technology and innovations. He is a big Nokia fan and Tech disruptions aficionado. He loves to review new cool gadgets and writing about Android, iOS, Gadgets and general Technology stuff. He has been associated with other well-known Tech sites WinCentral and GadgetOx since long.

He currently sports a Lumia 950 XL and Nexus 5X. Other interests include listening to Nu-Metal Hits and Kick-Boxing.
Write to him at Email: [email protected]

http://www.nokiapoweruser.com
  • mrinal

    But after d amber update post processing has become a curse to Lumia phone right ??

    It completely ruins d pic quality

    Kamal does ur 1020 also has a yellow tint pics after post processing???

  • Stephan

    Hi, nice comparison, thanks.
    Could you please update your Editorial with a post-amber comparison?
    Thx

  • hpons

    Could amber firmware incraese quality in 920 photos?

    • hpons

      Increase

  • slimmer2

    can you make this test with the original photo and not with the set it was edit on pc

    • All images used in the comparison are unedited.

  • Anssi

    Thanks Kamal! Truly nice comparison. To my untrained eye 920 is much better than N8 and the approach they have chosen with the noise reduction is the right one!

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