We kicked off a Flashback collection on our YouTube channel simply final week, with the first video starring the Nokia 808 PureView. It’s a smartphone with a cult following because of what was a groundbreaking digital camera on the time. That video prompted a closer look at the PureView camera, which we did in a head-to-head with the present picture high quality benchmark, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Extremely.
One factor led to a different and right here we’re with one more famed opponent for the Xiaomi – a Nokia Lumia 1020. A non secular successor to the 808, the 1020 builds on the PureView idea however drops it from the official mannequin title in favor of the then newly adopted Lumia branding introduced by Microsoft’s acquision of the Nokia smartphone enterprise. PureView stays etched on the again of the 1020, alongside the Zeiss brand which marks the continued collaboration with the German optics specialists.
It says 41MP on the sizeable digital camera bulge of the Lumia 1020, so identical nominal decision as on the 808 PureView. As soon as once more, it is a kind of multi-aspect sensors the place you possibly can’t truly get all of the 41 million pixels as a result of the acute corners fall outdoors of the picture circle projected by the lens. Nonetheless, it may seize 38MP 4:3 pictures or 34MP 16:9 ones, very similar to the 808.
However identical this sensor is not. It is a smaller unit at 1/1.5″ vs. the outdated mannequin’s 1/1.2″ sort and pixel measurement has shrunk accordingly – from the 1.4µm of the unique PureView to 1.12µm on the 1020. On a optimistic observe although, the 26mm-equivalent lens now has a barely brighter aperture (f/2.2 vs. f/2.4) and, extra importantly, it options OIS.
The Mi 11 Extremely, in case you have forgotten, is provided with a 50MP 1/1.12-inch sensor on its major digital camera, the biggest on a smartphone. It does have 1.4µm pixels – identical measurement as on the 808, and notably bigger than the 1020’s. To reiterate, the Mi’s sensor has a Quad Bayer design (with 4 adjoining pixels grouped underneath the identical Crimson, Inexperienced, or Blue filter) whereas the Lumia is utilizing a traditional Bayer array. The Xiaomi has a stabilized lens too, with a wider 24mm-equivalent focal size and an f/1.95 aperture.
The Nokia is a bit restricted by way of decision settings and allows you to select between three modes – 5MP JPEG solely, 5MP JPEG + 38MP JPEG, or 5MP JPEG + 38MP DNG RAW recordsdata (38MP adjustments to 34MP if you happen to want the 16:9 facet). Principally, in order for you moderately sized JPEGs, you have to make them your self. We did that in two alternative ways – one was by beginning with the out-of-camera 38MP JPEGs and different by processing the RAW recordsdata, in each instances saving 12.5MP pictures to match the Xiaomi decision. We additionally processed RAW recordsdata out of the Xiaomi, as a result of why not.
One factor that you could’t inform from wanting on the photographs is simply how excruciatingly gradual the Lumia 1020 digital camera is to launch. When beginning it with the devoted shutter launch button with the cellphone in standby, it takes a superb 4-5 seconds for the viewfinder to look after the cellphone vibrates that it is registered your lengthy press on the button (which itself takes a couple of second). The 808 is markedly quicker on the subject of launch time.
One other challenge we skilled on the 1020 is the prevailing incapacity to lock focus when zoomed in. Devoted efforts of tapping on the display to focus labored most of the time, however not for each scene, and never for each shot of the identical scene. It’s an eight-year-old unit, nonetheless, so we are able to attribute that to an extended and storied life.
These are largely curious observations that aren’t essentially important on the subject of the duty at hand, which is evaluating the picture high quality out of the 2 telephones. That’s, so long as we handle to get in-focus pictures out of each telephones, which we did.
Daylight picture high quality
Let’s begin out with a fundamental comparability – 5MP photographs out of the Lumia versus 12.5MP ones from the Xiaomi, or primarily the default output of each telephones. Not like our expertise with the Nokia 808, the Lumia 1020 exposes accurately – there was no underexposure to talk of. Dynamic vary is excellent – not Xiaomi-level good, with a bit extra clipped highlights right here or there, however definitely higher than on the 808.
One other change we’re seeing coming from older Nokia to the newer one is a rise in colour saturation – the Lumia 1020 approaches the extent of pop of the Mi 11 Extremely. The Xiaomi has a means of of warming up greenery that the Nokia does not exhibit, and we would probably concede that the Lumia’s rendition is extra true-to-life on this respect.
On the subject of element, the hole between 5MP and 12.5MP is a major one and the Nokia cannot match the Mi’s resolving energy. Nonetheless, the distinction is not big on a per-pixel stage, thanks in no small half to the longer focal size of the Nokia. As 5MP pictures go, these are fairly stellar.
We explored the nominal resolutions as properly. The Nokia has an edge each by way of amount and high quality of element. The common Bayer colour filter signifies that the Lumia can report extra intricate colour data, whereas the Quad Bayer Xiaomi must compensate for its coarser colour filter grid with heavier sharpening. Having mentioned that, the Nokia pictures have a prevailing throughout softness and may benefit from some sharpening in submit processing themselves to disclose the most effective the cellphone is able to.
We then proceeded to resize these 38MP JPEG pictures of the Lumia to match the default 12.5MP decision of the Xiaomi. Since sharpening is in our palms now, we utilized a liberal quantity. Below these circumstances, the Nokia information extra element within the remaining picture than the 5MP mode, and we would say it is also a step forward of the Xiaomi.
Subsequent up, some RAW pictures out of the 2 telephones, processed to style and exported in 12.5MP once more. There’s little to set the 2 telephones aside by way of colour (seeing how they’re processed to the identical particular person’s style). Dynamic vary is a bit wider on the Xiaomi, however you do not wish to be capturing RAW on a contemporary smartphone if dynamic vary is an important factor – the picture stacking within the default Photograph mode will get higher outcomes anyway.
On a pixel stage, with the suitable angle and sufficient time and deliberation to bump sliders left or proper, you will get very related outcomes. The Nokia will do higher with preventing off moire because of the finer colour knowledge it is captured within the first place. The Xiaomi, however, has barely cleaner outcomes on the subject of noise, although if we had the persistence to additionally fiddle with these sliders on the Nokia, we might have most likely achieved related outcomes.
It wasn’t a straightforward determination what precisely zoom stage we must be evaluating these at, however we in the end settled on zooming in all the way in which on the Nokia and matching it on the Xiaomi. That may be a 3.1-3.3x zoom stage for the Mi, hardly favorable because it falls proper in between its 1x and 5x cameras. However then once more, it might be 5MP vs 12.5MP pictures, and the Xiaomi can even do composites from the primary and tele cameras, supplying you with tremendous sharp facilities in most scenes.
We might name this a straightforward win for the Xiaomi, significantly for middle of the body topics at distances far sufficient in order that the telephoto digital camera focus and take part for some composite motion.
Low-light picture high quality
In low gentle, the Lumia 1020 is a notable step up from the 808 and really manages to show in comparatively darkish scenes. Dynamic vary stays restricted, with gentle sources and their instant neighborhood getting blown out. Element is pretty good in areas of balanced lighting although shadows stay murky.
The Xiaomi, in distinction, delivers glorious publicity and large dynamic vary in all kinds of demanding scenes and can squeeze out gentle in darkish settings in addition to protect highlights from clipping to white.
Images processed from RAW recordsdata make for a considerably extra stage taking part in subject. Exported at 12.5MP, the Nokia’s JPEGs have related element ranges in comparison with those out of the Mi. The Lumia pictures aren’t fairly as sharp and are noticeably noisier, although. On a optimistic observe they do cope with moire higher (the blinds within the window within the middle of the primary pattern).
The Xiaomi wins in dynamic vary, although it is not the identical big lead right here as in full Auto – you must let the auto picture stacking do its factor for the most effective outcomes.
Zooming in to 3x, the Xiaomi does not fairly have the large dynamic vary we have come to anticipate however it nonetheless manages to retain a bonus in tonal improvement on the extremes. It additionally achieves superior sharpness and resolves extra element. The Nokia does do an admirable job for its age, nonetheless.
As was the case with the Nokia 808, the Lumia 1020 enters the video recording comparability as a predetermined loser – it maxes out at 1080p decision and just about the lousiest fashionable 4K seize will look higher than the most effective 1080p by way of element, and the Xiaomi 4K is something however awful.
Certainly, we are able to learn automotive license plates within the Xiaomi 4K clips and may primarily rely leaves in bushes, whereas the Lumia renders these extra as normal shapes. Actually, the 808 PureView’s 1080p video was extra detailed than the 1020’s. And whereas we did not have a lot love for the muted colour replica on the 808, the 1020’s oversaturated output with a powerful heat solid does not look any higher.
Dynamic vary on the Lumia 1020 is about on par with the older Nokia, presumably even barely narrower, which means nowhere nearly as good as on the trendy cellphone.
In low gentle, we’re seeing a considerably surprising improvement, in that the Lumia 1020 with its smaller sensor captures movies which are a tiny step forward of the 808 PureView. The brand new cellphone exposes brighter, lifting some midtones that have been clipped to black on the 808. It isn’t fairly shiny sufficient for us to name the outcomes from our check scene ‘usable’, and the flipside to the brighter publicity is a hike in noise, one thing that the 808 did not present in such a pronounced means.
Naturally, the Mi 11 Extremely captures vastly superior low-light movies. Right here, you possibly can see that it is not truly the nighttime and the sky continues to be a darkish navy blue. You’ll be able to see bushes and the buildings within the distance and you may make out sidewalk tiles – the upper decision together with fashionable sensors and processing makes a world of distinction.
The one additional yr that Nokia had after the 808 PureView meant some significant upgrades within the digital camera efficiency for the Lumia 1020. We might say the discount in sensor measurement was efficiently countered by the introduction of OIS, extra highly effective chipset and optimized processing.
Extra surprisingly, nonetheless, the Lumia 1020 additionally prevailed over a modern-day beast of a cameraphone just like the Xiaomi Mi 11 Extremely – admittedly, solely in some methods and in remoted situations, however nonetheless. The high-resolution common Bayer sensor of the Lumia permits it to seize finer element than the nominally higher-resolution however Quad Bayer imager of the Mi. That is in broad daylight and if you happen to’re prepared to place in some work in submit processing to extract that element.
On the subject of low-light seize, or video recording in any gentle, or simply normal picturetaking the place you wish to press a button and get a great-looking picture, or pace and ease of use, the Xiaomi reigns supreme, as anticipated. That mentioned, the Lumia 1020 was an excellent performer in 2013 and whereas undoubtedly outdated now, it may nonetheless present a factor or two to the present crop of cameraphones.