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Shootout: Sony Xperia Z1 vs Nokia Lumia 1020 vs LG G2 vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom

126
The contenders from left to right: Sony Xperia Z1, Nokia Lumia 1020, LG G2 and Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom.

It's only been four months since we published our shootout between Apple's iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and Nokia Lumia 920, but four months in the mobile technology universe is like an eternity. Since then we've seen some interesting innovations, especially in the mobile imaging field. It seemed the time was right for another shootout with a slew of new devices. The candidates are:

Launched in July, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is the long awaited first device that marries Nokia's PureView imaging technology that we first saw on the 808 with a current mobile operating system, Windows 8 in this case. With its 1/1.5-inch 41MP CMOS sensor, optical image stabilization and a fast f/2.2 lens, the Nokia boasts an impressive spec sheet and has already demonstrated in our full review that it is capable of delivering excellent image results.

The Sony Xperia Z1 was only announced at the beginning of September during the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Germany. From a design point of view it is very similar to its predecessor, the Xperia Z, and also comes with the Z's water- and dust-proof shell. However, the Z1's imaging unit is brand new and looks, at least on paper, impressive. The Sony's 20.7 MP backside-illuminated CMOS sensor is of the 1/2.3 variant, which is the same size you would find in most consumer level compact cameras. The Sony comes with a fast f/2.0 lens but it's the only device in this test that has to make do without an optical image stabilization system. If you want to see more images from the Xperia Z1, check out our sample gallery.

 Device Sensor Aperture Optical IS  Focal Length Flash 
 Sony Xperia Z1    1/2,3" 20.7MP  F2.0  no  27mm  LED
  Nokia Lumia 1020   1/1.5" 41MP  F2.2   yes  27mm (4:3)
 25mm (16:9)
 Xenon
 LG G2    1/3" 13MP  F2.4  yes   29mm  LED
Samsung S4 Zoom    1/2.33" 16MP  F3.1-6.3  yes   24-240mm  Xenon

The LG G2 is the Korean manufacturer's latest flagship device. Its 5.2-inch screen is framed by an impressively thin bezel and the G2's other specs place it firmly in the high-end bracket of the market. Its 13MP backside-illuminated CMOS sensor comes in the smartphone-standard 1/3 format, a more conventional approach than the high-resolution units in the Nokia and the Sony. That said, the LG is one of the currently very few Android phones with an optical image stabilization system. 

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is arguably the most unusual device in this test. It is a fully functional smartphone that comes with a 10x zoom lens and a 16MP 1/2.3 sensor.  Due to the optical zoom it's inevitably thicker than the other phones in this comparison, but compared to its bigger brother, the Galaxy Camera, which we reviewed in February, it's much more pocketable and a potential alternative for those mobile photographers who cannot live without an optical zoom.

Now that we've had a good look at the specifications, let's see what these devices can deliver in real life situations. Like in our previous shootout we've taken pictures in various test scenarios: a landscape shot and portrait in good light, a night scene, a low light portrait and a flash portrait. To simulate realistic use cases all images were taken hand-held in Auto modes (M-Mode on the Xperia Z1 to enable maximum image size). Scroll down to see the results.

Comments

Total comments: 126
silambu
By silambu (3 months ago)

Thank you for nice article

0 upvotes
MistyFog
By MistyFog (6 months ago)

Actually, I find it quite unbelievable that the 1020 could not be stabilized at 1/9s handheld. I've taken quite a number of shots at 1/2-1/6 seconds which are quite sharp at full resolution, and these required maybe 3-5 attempts at most, certainly not 30. And these are totally handheld, without leaning on anything or without any unusual body posture. At 1/10s the success rate is very high to get a sharp image in one attempt.

0 upvotes
tjutjut Bramantoro
By tjutjut Bramantoro (6 months ago)

Thank you for the review. I'll buy Z1.

1 upvote
brdeveloper
By brdeveloper (6 months ago)

Boring review... Lumia 1020 wins with a slight margin against S4Z although Nokia 808 has a way better camera for still pictures, albeit it's outdated. In videos, however, the competition is tougher.

Maybe we'll have a better cameraphone landscape when we'll have truly Nokia competitors. But at that time we'll have an even better Nokia phone - a Lumia 1120, maybe.

Currently, when you have a near-premium compact camera performance, you have to buy a Nokia. There aren't any other reasonable options.

0 upvotes
Overdrive
By Overdrive (6 months ago)

808 PureView is without a doubt the king of cameraphones.

Maybe with Lumia 1025, 1120 or whatever they'll call it, Nokia will finally be able to topple the monster they created in 808.

Till then nothing compares. 1020 is not a successor either with it's smaller sensor, no ND filtre, overprocessed and over saturated images.

All that said though, I recently searched for some RX100 vs 808 comparisons and while in daylight images and even night time they are comparable and 808 wins at times(daylight). In the video department, especially night, RX100 is on another level.

0 upvotes
bigley Ling
By bigley Ling (6 months ago)

"It's hard to pick a winner here. The Nokia Lumia 1020 is again capable of the best results if you're lucky enough to get a sharp image"

quote from the review on page 2. The key with the 1020 is to only compose and crop close to the center of the frame, otherwise at times when capturing at Infinite focus, the sides and corners will suffer from this non sharp image.

0 upvotes
Elikan
By Elikan (6 months ago)

Before reading the article I looked at the pictures and in my taste the samsung pictures were the most pleasing . What I liked most in the Samsung was its natural colors. Usually I discard pictures where the colors are not right. I guess that most smartphone users also value correct colors. Smartphone pictures are rarely enlarged to a size where the weaknesses of the Samsung camera described in the article matter.
A possible explanation for Samsung's caring for the colors, is that of all the g four compared makes, Samsung is the only one that manufactures cameras

0 upvotes
vv50
By vv50 (6 months ago)

unless you're forgetting, sony made some of the first digital cameras

3 upvotes
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (5 months ago)

Do you realize how stupid you sound? Samsung fanboy

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (6 months ago)

AAWP has just published a direct 1020 vs. Z1 comparison at http://allaboutwindowsphone.com/features/item/18471_Nokias_PureView_copied_Lumia_1.php

Needless to say, the IQ of the 1020 is _significantly_ better - as I've also pointed out in my comments below, based on DPR's shots.

2 upvotes
bigley Ling
By bigley Ling (6 months ago)

IQ is definitely better but the 1020 does need user adjustable sharpness, contrast and saturation

0 upvotes
Hawaii-geek
By Hawaii-geek (6 months ago)

For me, the image compares of the Smartphone images should be only on how they "Size Down" a JPG at 5mp. I am thinking a FB or Instagram pics needs good "Downsizing" in JPG. So, the SMALL JPG compare is most important. Larger JPGs there is other cameras with WiFi / NFC that is the better tool, imho.

0 upvotes
NoTx
By NoTx (7 months ago)

Is there any way we could get the LG G2 and Xperia Z1 compared to their real peers like the Galaxy S4 and HTC One and IPhone 5S? Right now we have two "dedicated" camera phones vs two general phones. Not a good comparison.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (6 months ago)

well, the S4 Zoom has a zoom lens, I admit that but in what way is the Lumia 1020 more or less a phone than the S4 or HTC One? But also, we aim to put devices in those shoot-out that we haven't used before to cover as many as we can. If you look at the old shootout that included the S4 and HTC One that should give you a good idea what they can do, compared to the LG G2 and Z1, even though the images a are not the same. Also, once our full reviews are finished you'll find our usual comparison widget with the studio scene in them.

2 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (7 months ago)

It's interesting how much excitement the Pureview system generated on its announcement, based on the technology advances. Yet when you pit it against some decidedly traditional cellphone cameras, in terms of concrete results, the differences are minimal.

Admittedly the sensor size has been scaled back somewhat since the Pureview system was introduced with the 808. But it still goes to show how easy it is to get carried away about a new and exciting sounding technology, rather than judging it in terms of what it can actually do.

Comment edited 40 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Petrogel
By Petrogel (7 months ago)

I totally agree, tho Samsung's S4 10x zoom is quite tempting.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

"I totally agree, tho Samsung's S4 10x zoom is quite tempting."

And its IQ is far better than I would have thought, even beating the 1020 in some tests... too bad its phone part sucks with its heavily outdated hardware.

2 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (6 months ago)

Yes! They totally left out the Pro Camera's unique manual settings which shows BEFORE you take a picture what will happen. Excellent for beginners and a check for a tired (semi-)pro.
Also the possibility to re-frame and re-zoom has been left out.
Why?
Because this was a comparison, and it seems, about the Image Quality.
The far superiority of the very cheap Lumia 1020 is missed here.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (7 months ago)

I did not expect this, but the lowest-spec LG gives the best results as a whole (not on pixel-peeping level) except with the flash sample. Nokia unfortunately did not get colors right, and Samsung is often wrong too (look at the "grey" jacket which is blue in RL - IN DAYLIGHT).

1 upvote
vlad0
By vlad0 (7 months ago)

Where is the 808 ?

2 upvotes
mythdat
By mythdat (7 months ago)

In 2012

6 upvotes
bigley Ling
By bigley Ling (7 months ago)

There is little need to compare the 808 against these mobiles, as even though it is 2012, as long as the 1020 wins, there is no doubt that the 808 will be even better. The key now is to get out there and capture the moment!

2 upvotes
bigley Ling
By bigley Ling (7 months ago)

:)

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Infms
By Infms (6 months ago)

The 808 is undoubtedly the best camera phone but irrelevant in today's market due to its aging (but great) OS.

2 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (6 months ago)

Do a video test and nothing but OIS is acceptable.
The mighty Nokia 808 has fallen...

0 upvotes
Overdrive
By Overdrive (6 months ago)

@Infms

It's not as if Windows Phone is very relevant. It's more locked down than iOS.

0 upvotes
CaptureAll
By CaptureAll (7 months ago)

Good review but you should have included the Nexus 4 and iPhone 5S.

Going slightly OT here; the main benefit (imho) is regular OTA updates, both of the above have them. All other Androids get updates when your carrier approves them, which takes months, or may never happen at all. Sure, you can root your device then put on a custom ROM but. not everyone wants or knows how to do that.

My point is hardware is good but if software is buggy or lacks a feature the updates (to the camera) my not come as quickly as the Google Nexus or iPhone devices.

1 upvote
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

We would have liked to include the 5s but unfortunately this did not work out due to logistical constraints. We're working on the iPhone at the same time as we did this shootout. The Nexus 4 is last generation model though and due to be replaced very soon. Don't get me wrong, I own one and love it but it's not quite on par anymore with the Xperia Z1 or LG G2.

2 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

"Going slightly OT here; the main benefit (imho) is regular OTA updates, both of the above have them. All other Androids get updates when your carrier approves them, which takes months, or may never happen at all. "

Go for the Nexus 5? It is rumoured to have the camera module of the LG G2. Surely not the best smartphone camera, IQ-wise - but, as you can see for example in many of these comparative shots, it's better than the Sony Z1 outdoors.

And

- the Nexus 5 will be dirt cheap (compared to other flagships)

- it'll always and immediately get the new Android versions.

Comment edited 54 seconds after posting
1 upvote
NorthwestF
By NorthwestF (7 months ago)

Z1 is better sexier looking phone with glass on both sides. LG looks cheap next to it.

Z1 looks and feels premium. LG looks and feels like a toy.

Z1 is dust and water proof with dedicated camera button to take photos even under water. LG would
be dead if it gets wet.

So it's not as one sided as your continuous anti Z1 comments would suggest.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

Gotta agree here, the Z1 feels ways nicer than the G2, althogh the G2 has got that superthin bezel...a combination of the two could be really nice :-)

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

NorthwestF, noone questions the merits of the Sony - better build quality, waterproofing, styling etc.

However, for ME, screen quality and camera quality are more important. (I tend to keep my phones in a durable case so build quality isn't that important for me. Plus, styling / "being sexier" are absolutely unimportant for me.) The G2, at least according to my own pixel peeping, is better than the Z1 WRT camera quality. In addition, every single comparative review I've read states the Z1 has a sub-par screen compared to IPS screens (incl. the iPhone, the G2 etc.)

In addition, the G2 will be / is considerably cheaper than the Z1. If the Nexus 5 only differs from the G2 WRT battery / screen size (but not quality) / placement of buttons, I think it'll be a smartphone with much better price / performance ratio than the Z1.

Again: for me, for whom style / "sexiness" are in no way important (neither is waterproofing) - unlike having an quality (read: IPS) screen and a good camera.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 47 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (7 months ago)

G2 screen has better viewing angle, but Z1 has more accurate colors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6nRuBOwlDw

As for camera, according to Lars Rehm (who has both phones) Z1 has a better camera

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (7 months ago)

Also watch this video. She goes in very detail showing how LG G2 screen has inaccurate colors

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DChnGXLErrI

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

(This is a continuation to my previous series of answers targeted at "Rooru S" and starting with "Yup, the Z1 shot at ISO 400 1/10 s" for the flickr links.)

I've continued playing with the same “Landscape” set of daylight photos on the top of page 2. This time, I've downsampled the LG G2 and the Samsung S4 Zoom pictures so that they too can be directly compared to those of the Sony Z1 / the Lumia 1020. The downsampled versions are as follows:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/33448355@N07/9981144676/ (LG G2)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/33448355@N07/9981101024/ (Samsung S4 Zoom)

And the respective crops:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/33448355@N07/9981145396/ (LG G2)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/33448355@N07/9981101644/ (Samsung S4 Zoom)

(cont'd below)

1 upvote
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

(cont'd from above)

Basically, when downsampled, the Samsung S4 Zoom has the best pixel-level IQ of all the four – even if you take into account that it has the widest FoV (in 4:3) – even slightly wider than that of the 1020, let alone the somewhat narrower Z1 and the significantly narrower G2; that is, it had the biggest handicap in the contest, while the G2 had the biggest advantage. It also has the best foliage rendition.

Of the four, the Z1 is definitely the worst. Absolutely awful foliage and it's by far the most marred by NR.

While the G2 is much better than the Z1 on the pixel level, you also need to take into account that it has a narrower FoV, giving it a sizable advantage.

The 1020, interestingly, is definitely worse than the Samsung S4 Zoom – and it has a little bit narrower FoV than the Samsung S4 Zoom, making the latter even better.

All in all, the order of IQ, from best to worst:

Samsung S4 Zoom
1020
G2
Z1

2 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

Posted all these posts as a separate thread here at DPR with inline images:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52239796

2 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (6 months ago)

Yay!

0 upvotes
Yasir Mahmood
By Yasir Mahmood (7 months ago)

You saidvthqt LG G2's camera performane isn't as good as Sony's or Nokia's.
What I think, Lumia 1020 and Xoeria Z1 are more of Camera-Phones.
What if you compare the G2 with S4, i5/5S, HTC One? What would be your conclusion then?

0 upvotes
Doministry
By Doministry (7 months ago)

Fantastic review. Happy to see Sony beeing good here.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

Dunno if the Z1 is indeed good. On the pixel level, with level playing field (everything downsampled to 12 Mpixel so that the images can directly be compared), the Z1 is the worst in every respect with the daylight shot - see my just-posted comment series.

0 upvotes
martin0reg
By martin0reg (7 months ago)

What about the video mode?
Especially image stabilisation while shooting handheld videos - and also audio recording quality?
On dpreview there should be at least some samples to judge this..

1 upvote
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

There are 1020 vs. 5s video real-life IS video tests at, say, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4N_CliHGUk

I don't know of tests directly comparing the Z1 / G2 to these cameras, IS-wise. However, the Z1 isn't a very good phone to begin with (somewhat sub-par screen and definitely not the best camera) and the G2 is a little bit disappointing too. (Nevertheless, if the Nexus 5 is indeed a not really dumbed down G2, it'll still have a VERY good price-performance ratio, making it a Best Buy for everyone not refusing to use Adnroid.)

1 upvote
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

can't do everything in one article. There are video samples from the Nokia in our full revi ew. We published Z1 video samples with our sample gallery and there will be samples in the G2 review once it's done. You'll find links to those articles on the smartphone product pages.

1 upvote
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (7 months ago)

Lars Rehm: not in one article, no,
but another article to compare OIS video shootout
and some w/o OIS (Z1,N1,5S)
People would realize why the year 2014 is the year of OIS - I know, I know, Nokia did it in 2012 already.
I mean when Android and even Apple catches it!
I have already pre-ordered an iPhone6 OIS 1080p

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

"I mean when Android and even Apple catches it!"

Well, with Apple, "Form over functionality". If OIS would add, say, a mm to the thickness of the phone, they surely won't add OIS...

That is, I definitely wouldn't hold my breath. Apart from the excellent sweep pano mode and the shoot-to-shoot speed, they have never put much emphasis on camera quality.

1 upvote
ET2
By ET2 (7 months ago)

Z1 in video mode does have electronic image stabilization. And it works from what I have seen

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

Electronic IS does sort of work but it crops the frame quite significantly, pretty much the same as on the Galaxy S4 for example. For video OIS is a real advantage.

1 upvote
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

Lars, so does on the iPhone.

Too bad the stock Camera client doesn't allow for disabling it (when you shoot, say, on a tripod), which would make the FoV about 10% wider. You'll need to use third-party apps for this like

FiLMiC Pro (note: it records in 1080p24 and IS is disabled by default)

Camera Awesome (free)

King Camera (free)

BetterCam (free)

(full list at http://www.iphonelife.com/blog/87/why-you-may-want-disable-image-stabilization-during-video-recording )

1 upvote
HarrieD7000
By HarrieD7000 (7 months ago)

So much fuzz for these crappy pictures? I use a phone to make my calls and a camera to make pictures. These "tests" look to me as a cheap kind of advertisement.
It is a pity DPR can't make more articles with real camera's.

1 upvote
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

Come on, it's obvious that the cameras in phones are getting better and better and I bet even you don;t carry your DSLR everywhere, so it's nice to have backup device that fits in your pocket. We all have nice cameras at dpr but on those occasion we don't carry them we want our phone to capture the best possible images :-)

7 upvotes
Jonne Ollakka
By Jonne Ollakka (7 months ago)

On my latest trip I took a ton of photos with my 5D, but even more with my Lumia 900. Waiting for the 1020 now.

2 upvotes
Serenity Now
By Serenity Now (7 months ago)

Your in the wrong section. Go be a pain somewhere else

1 upvote
Infms
By Infms (7 months ago)

You're missing the point.

This is DPreview CONNECT which deals SPECIFICALLY with mobile photography.

Go and troll somewhere else, buddy.

2 upvotes
dark goob
By dark goob (7 months ago)

I guess you guys couldn't get your hands on a 5S. It would be nice to see a more unbiased comparison. Many of us are satisfied with 8MP for a phone. The speed of rapid-fire and length of bursts on the 5S is really nice. I'm not sure I could live with a 4-second shot recovery time like on the Nokia.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

Yes, it'll all depend on your personal requirements. This shootout of course focuses on image quality, check our full reviews to get more information about operation and features.

1 upvote
BrunoH
By BrunoH (7 months ago)

@dark goob

If you cant stand the 4-second wait then please use any of the other 200 Phone apps available for Windows Phone which takes Pictures with much higher speed. Try to uses Nokias Smart cam app - 10Pics/sec!

1 upvote
McKinky
By McKinky (7 months ago)

You commented that 99% of the users only use their phones in Auto. Granted that those people are just interested in a phone with good camera and not indepth usage, then your statement is true.
I don't see a point including the Nokia 1020 and Sony Z1 in this test, because users that purchase one of those are definitely more interested in its full potential with all the manual settings they offer. Please add some pictures with optimized and manual settings and this shootout will be more interesting to read.

Was the firmware updated to the latest for each phone? Latest firmare to the Sony Z1, should improve its image quality for instance.

Comment edited 50 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

yes, of course the devices run the latest firmware. The Z1 hasn't got more manual control than any other Android phone. Only in its Auto mode you cannot select the large image size and not change any settings. in M mode you can select the 20.7MP resolution and set things like white balance but of course this is not comparable to a Manual mode on a DSLR.

1 upvote
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

"The Z1 hasn't got more manual control than any other Android phone."

Yup - however, it's already plenty (manual WB / ISO / proper exp. comp.), compared to iOS.

1 upvote
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (7 months ago)

Unlike main use cameras where you can own several makes and models, it would be pretty weird lugging a few camera phones along with you.

.

1 upvote
Rooru S
By Rooru S (7 months ago)

C'mon, in the night scene page 2 it was clearly the Sony that provided better details overall.. Yes, noisy but much better details.

Anyways, Nokia is still the device to look at when doing benchmarks.

1 upvote
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

"C'mon, in the night scene page 2 it was clearly the Sony that provided better details overall.. Yes, noisy but much better details."

Yup, the Z1 shot at ISO 400 1/10 s, while the Nokia at ISO 800, 1/9 sec. The latter is a bit more exposed than the former because of the more than 1EV difference in total exposure. (While the G2, also shooting at ISO800 but at 1/15s only, is definitely less exposed than the 1020.)

With double the (already high) ISO, no wonder the 1020 delivers lower IQ. I think by forcing ISO 400 (and, accordingly, a lower shutter speed), it would have produced better image than the Z1.

Interestingly, while it has double the base ISO than the Z1, the 1020 still delivers per-pixel sharpness and much better foliage than the Z1. I've created two 12 Mpixel downsamples of the uppermost (Landscape) images:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/33448355@N07/9979478423/ (Nokia 1020)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/33448355@N07/9979479143/ (Sony Z1)

(cont'd below)

1 upvote
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

(cont'd from above)

Now, two crops:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/33448355@N07/9979372554/ (Nokia 1020)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/33448355@N07/9979372984/ (Sony Z1)

As you can see, the Nokia delivers better image quality after downsampling, despite it shooting at ISO100, while the Sony shot at ISO 50.

2 upvotes
chriswife
By chriswife (7 months ago)

I chose my phone based on best camera! :)

2 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (7 months ago)

Yay!
That's the way!
Both night and day!

0 upvotes
luxor2
By luxor2 (7 months ago)

These phone tests need a benchmark, a good point and shoot like a Canon S100, or other small competent camera.

7 upvotes
wlad
By wlad (7 months ago)

..and comparing 100% crops from sensors with different resolutions makes sense because .... ?

Correct. It makes absolutely no sense. It's like comparing a 3" square cut out from a 6x9 photo to a 3" square cut out from a billboard.

A 100% crop would make sense only if you downsampled all pictures to 13MP - ie the resolution of the sensor with the lowest resolution in test.

2 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

wlad, you can do this with the studio test already - albeit, not with the Z1 / G2 yet. While it's not the same as these real-world images (no way to measure DR or OIS efficiency), at least they show how the noise gets reduced and the effective (per-pixel) sharpness increases with downsampling.

With the 1020 is downsampled to 8 Mpixels, it easily becomes the camera with the best details and least noise. (Except for the bad corners, in which even the 5s, which also has pretty lousy corner, is better, let alone the iPhone 5 / GS4)

I've produced several of these 8 Mpixel-downsampled crops between the iPhone 5/5s, GS4 and 1020 here in the DPReview forums: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52202175

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 15 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
wlad
By wlad (7 months ago)

that's my point. These 100% crops of an object at different "magnification" levela are absolutely worthless. In fact they make the obviously best sensor look worse than the rest.

That's simply a totally wrong way to compare sensor performance.
A 10 years old 6 megapixel DSLR would look better on a per-pixel level than a current D800 with its 36MP. And there's absolutely no doubt about which sensor performs better.

2 upvotes
Greg VdB
By Greg VdB (7 months ago)

Definitely a poorly presented test. On a related note: why include the S4 Zoom in a group test without testing its main selling point? People bying the Samsung will mainly do so because of the optical zoom, so it would make a lot of sense to make a comparison between its optical zoom and the other phones' digital zooms (or crops in PP). Again, downsized to the same size for comparison of course...

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

The 100% vs equalized size thing can be discussed to death, there are pros and cons for both methods, I don't argue with that. However, every single camera test ever done on dpreview has used 100% crops. Of course when we interpret the results we take into account if cameras have different resolutions. But this shootout is hardly the first article on dpreview that uses 100% crops.

1 upvote
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

"that's my point. These 100% crops of an object at different "magnification" levela are absolutely worthless. In fact they make the obviously best sensor look worse than the rest."

I've just posted some downsampled, directly comparable daylight comparisons - see my answer targeted at "Rooru S" and starting with "Yup, the Z1 shot at ISO 400 1/10 s" for the flickr links.

The 1020 does produce better pixel-level quality than the Z1 at base ISO, even with the base ISO being the double.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Greg VdB
By Greg VdB (7 months ago)

Lars, if this was a shoot-out between similarly-specced "cameras" I would agree with you, but with resolutions ranging from 13 to 41 MPix, comparisons at 100% are rather ridiculous. I'm not saying you shouldn't include 100% crops, but if the essence of this article is providing a direct comparison as a buying guide for these cameras, you really should include a section where you convert the pear, the banana and the peach to *allow* direct comparison to the apple. And I repeat my inital criticism: for that reason you should also have included "zoomed" samples (or the S4 Zoom has no reason to be included).

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
nawknai
By nawknai (7 months ago)

Not sure I agree with that. Comparing at 100% crop does show the quality of the details captured at the pixel level. I think a comparison at the same resolution is also good, but that would be even less useful than a 100% crop, because nobody shoots with the Nokia 1020 and gets a 13 MP photo every time!! Based on what you've said, you'd be better off letting every camera produce images at their native resolution, while the Nokia ouputs to 5 MP, and then comparing images that way, whether at 100% crop or not.

Also, the 100% crops on page 3 are weird? In some of the eye photos, the 100% crop of the Sony and Samsung photos result in the eyes being a very similar size, but in the first one, they Sony is more similar to the 1020.

Did the camera-to-subject distance vary between shots? It would have been nice for this to not change so that we can see how much additional detail the 1020's 38 MP images capture.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

" Based on what you've said, you'd be better off letting every camera produce images at their native resolution, while the Nokia ouputs to 5 MP, and then comparing images that way, whether at 100% crop or not. "

1. The 5 Mpixel in-camera downsampler of the 1020 could be much better (as was that of the 808 BTW). This is why I'd only shoot in full-res mode on the 1020 and would completely disable the 5 Mpixel downsampling.

2. I've done some extensive downsampled pixel peeping and found out that the 1020 has substantially better detail level and lower noise than the iPhone 5 / 5s and the GS4 when the full-res image of the 1020 / GS4 is downsampled to the native resolution of the two iPhones.

1 upvote
supeyugin1
By supeyugin1 (7 months ago)

Will there be a studio scene for S4 zoom in near future?
I'm trying to decide between it and Note 3.

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (7 months ago)

Just buy the S4mini Zoom and then write a report here so we all can enjoy your experience with a camera that has a S4 mini build in.
Thank you in advance!

0 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen
By Tonkotsu Ramen (7 months ago)

hello,

will you update this article with iphone 5s results?

it feels a bit odd you guys didn't at least include an iphone 5 in this article.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

we did not include the iPhone5 because we had it in our last shootout already. We are working on a full review of the 5s at the moment and hope to include it in our next shootout.

1 upvote
LensBeginner
By LensBeginner (7 months ago)

iPlease... iWe iDon't iNeed iSomething iLike iThat *iAgain*...

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
dark goob
By dark goob (7 months ago)

The 5S is pretty similar to the 5 in my testing. But it's super FAST. The burst rate is incredible and you can just keep going. I think it's clear Apple is going after the Go Pro dollar and the mom-whose-kids-blink-alot dollar. And they are not concerned about the "person who wants to exceed the Nikon D800 in resolution with their phone" dollar. The Nokia's interesting but it's a much bigger device. I'd actually like to see Nokia just make a camera, with a Zeiss prime lens. Let Nokia do the interface and sensor for the Sony RX-200 or Fuji X200, or OM-D E-P6.

1 upvote
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

" I think it's clear Apple is going after the Go Pro dollar and the mom-whose-kids-blink-alot dollar."

Well, they still lack the essentials:

- wideangle lens, particularly in video mode - actually, even the 5s shoots at around 38-39mm equiv (while the 5, as its FoV is 3mm narrower, shoots at around 41-42mm equiv). Pretty useless for GoPro-like UWA action shooting...

- high-resolution high-fps mode. It seems (based on the videos I've examined - I couldn't test the 5s myself as I'm living in a small European country with no official 5s'es yet) the 720p120 mode on the 5s is pixel binned, delivering 360p120 effective resolution. In this regard, the 5s is pretty much the same as the 4s / 5 - the latter does pixel binning in its 720p60 mode too under iOS7 (see http://www.iphonelife.com/blog/87/will-ios7-indeed-support-60fps-video-recording-yes-it-will )

1 upvote
Azurael
By Azurael (7 months ago)

So LG didn't learn much from the shoddy camera on the Optimus G/Nexus 4 then...

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

The Nexus 4 had a much worse camera... it's just incomparably worse than that of the G2. No OIS, far lower IQ etc.

1 upvote
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

As a Nexus 4 owner I can confirm that the Nexus 4 camera is terrible ;-) The OIS on the G2 works well but yes, overall IQ is not fantastic...we'll have a full review of the G2 in the nearer future.

1 upvote
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (7 months ago)

Really?

I compared the pictures both on Nexus 4 and iPhone5 side-by-side and I did not see any difference. They both produced pleasing image within their display's resolution and size. When I zoomed in, both are horrible. So these mediocre phones except Nokia are best viewed at 1-2MP max resolution only.

1 upvote
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (6 months ago)

"I compared the pictures both on Nexus 4 and iPhone5 side-by-side and I did not see any difference."

If nothing else, the iPhone 5 produces WAY better panoramas than the Nexus 4. Actually, the stock Android pano shooting mode of the stock Camera app is REALLY inferior to that of even the iPhone 4s / 5. Its only advantage over that of iOS is the variable exposure (definitely not as good as that of the iPhone 5s, though - see my recently-posted images of showing it producing less stellar results as the 5s at http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52252462 ) and the less picture problems caused by 100/120 Hz flickering light. Otherwise, the iPhone's pano mode is way better.

0 upvotes
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (7 months ago)

So why no iPhone 5s? It would have been nice to see it being stomped by these cameras.

And FWIW, the nokia night shot is obviously blurry so to include it in the comparison is useless. ISOs should have been fixed to one value for a fair comparison.

5 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

we shot all phones in Auto mode, which is what about 99% of all users would do. I took about 30 shots with the Nokia and the one in the comparison is the best one. You cannot even set the ISO manually on all phones, iPhone for example.

2 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

"You cannot even set the ISO manually on all phones, iPhone for example."

Yup - on iPhones, you can't set manually ANYTHING, except for
- extending the shutter speed up to 1s from the 1/15s maximum
- en/disabling pixel binning to enable high ISO (iPhone 5+ only)

On both WP and Android, on the other hand, you can set:

- exposure compensation
- WB
- ISO

manually.

On Nokia WP's, in addition, you can install Pro Cam, with which you can set manually ANYTHING.

3 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

Basically, I only see two advantages of the iPhones:

- shot-to-shot speed, particularly that of the 5s (the 5 "only" shoots at around 3 fps full-res)

- inbuilt sweep pano mode (also see my comments at http://www.dpreview.com/news/2013/09/24/editorial-why-i-can-t-stop-taking-apple-iphone-5s-panoramas ), which is far superior to that of almost all other phones

2 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

WRT manual modes, stock(!) Camera apps in

- Windows Phone has always and
- Android as of even old, pre-2.3 versions

supported the above-listed manual settings.

So did Symbian, at least as of 2010 (on the API level too).

3 upvotes
dark goob
By dark goob (7 months ago)

Remember the 5S is not trying to be what it's not. What Nokia has done is put a high-res camera in a crappy Windows OS phone, which has nowhere near the processor speed or app selection of the iPhone 5S. Meanwhile Apple gives you by far the fastest phone with best app selection and most advanced OS, and a pretty good camera that is FAST. The 5S is a camera that a photojournalist could use; it doesn't have the high-ISO of a Nikon D3S, but, it has the speed. Personally I'd rather have an 8MP picture of the exact right moment, than a 41MP picture after the moment is gone. A lot of types of photography are much more about timing. Nokia is going to work great for a non-moving or posed subject, but then, why not just use a regular camera for that? I dunno, none of 'em's perfect.

BTW -- iOS 7 has some new APIs that will allow apps to be made that can take advantage of setting ISO, WB, and some other things, it has a gain setting in there etc. Still no aperture or shutter speed, but I think that's because it has no shutter or aperture.

0 upvotes
tompabes2
By tompabes2 (7 months ago)

Because we've seen hundreds of tests of the iphone already. Accept the fact that we can do without the iphone, at least for once.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

"BTW -- iOS 7 has some new APIs that will allow apps to be made that can take advantage of setting ISO, WB, and some other things"

I know the Imaging API of even iOS7 like the palm of my hand - see for example my article series on programming the iPhone camera at http://www.iphonelife.com/werner.ruotsalainen

Unfortunately, it's NOT possible to set anything manually.

"it has a gain setting in there"

CaptureSessionManager.lowLightBoostSupported only allows for en/disabling high ISO pixel binning on iPhone 5 and above, not for explicitly setting the ISO.

"Still no aperture or shutter speed, but I think that's because it has no shutter or aperture."

1, it has fixed aperture
2, it, however, has a physical shutter with variable speed

1 upvote
BrunoH
By BrunoH (7 months ago)

You sound desperate to find something to defend the iPhone 5s with. And when you finally found the slow performance of the Nokia Pro camera app you thought you got it... :-) fail!

You should read up... WP has the option of changing camera apps from within the camera. That means that if speed is your most important feature then please use the smart camre app (10 frames/sec) or the built in stock camera app in WP8. Both which give you much better speed than the Nokia Pro app!

As for the apps... It's getting old to hear how WP8 has no apps. Its just not true! Apps on WP are smarter! Example:

Instagram has no officiall app for WP8 yet... but we have a ton of third party alternatives. The best one called 6tag, lets you pin your favorite persons Instagram feeds to live tiles on the front! No need to open Instagram to se the latest Pictures from your best friends - their Pictures appear live on your starta screen in Live Tiles. Hows that for an " crappy Windows OS Phone"? :-)

1 upvote
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

"As for the apps... It's getting old to hear how WP8 has no apps. Its just not true! Apps on WP are smarter! Example:"

Also note that no matter how many apps the iPhone has, it still just can't provide the user with any (traditional) manual camera setting capabilities as the camera API is very restricted. No matter how much you pay in the AppStore, you'll simply can't configure anything.

Unlike WP Nokias, where everything is configurable inside Pro Camera - for free or for even having to search for third-party apps.

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
1 upvote
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (6 months ago)

The truth is...iOS7 would be the *BEST* vacuum cleaner *EVER* what comes to imaging API and camera functionality.
And if they stick shaving off the last fraction of an inch then goodbye OIS ---forever
Otherwise...excellent phone (if you hold it right)

0 upvotes
makofoto
By makofoto (7 months ago)

?! Where's the iPhone 5s

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

We working on a full review now and will include in our next shooutout.

2 upvotes
rockjano
By rockjano (7 months ago)

Great thanks. Very interesting comparison.
The Samsung is surprisingly bad. I think the Nokia is the way to go if you want image quality.
But the most usable Phone-cam will be the Apple 5s I think. Capturing with 10pic/sec is impressive...

1 upvote
ET2
By ET2 (7 months ago)

You need to add Z1 studio shots

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

we'll add those as soon as we can get a Z1 to our studio in Seattle. I am currently working on the review here in Berlin.

1 upvote
BrunoH
By BrunoH (7 months ago)

@ rockjano

All Nokia phones have a camera app built in called smart Camera. This app on the high end Lumias captures Pictures att 10pic/sec also. So iPhone 5s is again just copying the rest...

1 upvote
paulbysea
By paulbysea (7 months ago)

As soon as i saw the reviewer doesn't appear to know the difference between aperture and sensor size I decided not to read further,

0 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (7 months ago)

That's an obvious typo-type error

4 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

What makes you think that I don't know the difference?

4 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (7 months ago)

There is an error on the first page table where sensor and aperture are mislabeled. Instead of politely pointing out error, paulbysea choose to point out the error in snarky arrogant way.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

thanks, corrected.

3 upvotes
joe6pack
By joe6pack (7 months ago)

Nokia 1020 has an 1-inch sensor???

2 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

Nope, 1/1.5 as in the spec table...I'll correct the text, thanks.

5 upvotes
wansai
By wansai (7 months ago)

the IQ difference on the Nokia when it's pureviewed down to 5MP is astounding.

I always saw it that the full res pureview images were just to capture as much detail as possible; while the bulk of the magic would happen during and post resizing down to 5MP.

The difference between 38mp and 5mp downsized image is massive in terms of how well it looks afterwards.

2 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (7 months ago)

Strange...I see that Samsung's photos are the best.

2 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (7 months ago)

The inclusion of the S4 zoom makes no sense, its a gimmick device, whereas the others are the manufacturers' respective flagship phones. The S4 or Note 3 would have made more sense.

5 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

The S4 was included in our last shootout: http://connect.dpreview.com/post/9219904986/shootout-samsunggalaxys4-vs-htcone-vs-iphone5-vs-lumia920

We haven't got a Note III yet but its camera module is pretty much identical to the S4. I don;t really agree with you calling the S4 Zoom a gimmick device, if you want to take pictures with your phone it's definitely worth a look. Its smaller dimensions make it much more viable then the Galaxy Camera.

3 upvotes
siberstorm27
By siberstorm27 (7 months ago)

These comparisons will inevitably lead to fanboy flamewars here in the comments section, most notably from Nokia and Sony fanboys with little sense and big egos. The cameras, especially on the Nokia, have overblown claims of superiority based on fancy tech jargon. The end result is a mixed bag, and all these phones produce phone quality images regardless. You can focus on the "phone" part without fear of losing much image quality from one phone to another. The Galaxy S4 Zoom, however, stands out as having a unique 10x zoom that you can't approximate on other phones. It's also way thicker.

1 upvote
ET2
By ET2 (7 months ago)

"all these phones produce phone quality images regardless. "

Well, duh. Yes these are phones and "produce" phone quality images. Is your full name Captain Obvious?

4 upvotes
Jylppy
By Jylppy (7 months ago)

And this comment was written by ... Samsung fanboy? ;-D

Comment edited 54 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

"And this comment was written by ... Samsung fanboy? ;-D"

Interestingly, the S4 Zoom isn't at all bad, IQ-wise. It could even beat the 1020 in my downsampled tests (see my comments above).

After seeing these results myself, if the Zoom had a contemporary hardware (truly FHD (non-PenTile) screen, S800 etc.), I'd purchase it in a heartbeat. Too bad it has a truly dumbed-down S4 in there, which alone rules out any purchase on my part...

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
bigley Ling
By bigley Ling (7 months ago)

yup s4zoom may not have the ideal formfactor, nor may it have the best wide angle image quality, but it makes for this by having optical zoom, and a well established base operating system, Android.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

bigley Ling, yup. Too bad it's absolutely messed up with the sub-par Android hardware. After doing the pixel peeping myself, I'd certainly get it instead of any of the other phones in this test - if only it had high-end hardware (CPU etc.) and screen.

0 upvotes
rpm40
By rpm40 (7 months ago)

I think it would have been nice to see a comparison between the Galaxy with optical zoom, and some of the others with crops. Clearly the optical zoom is the main feature of that phone's camera, so I'd want to see what you gain. Obviously, much more flexibility, but how soon does the optical zoom beat out, say, the 1020 with a crop? 2x? 3x? 5x?

1 upvote
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

yes, definitely something we should look into in the nearer future as digital zoom is getting better. In this case I'd say don't use it on the LG, use it very very sparsely on the Sony, up to 3x on the Nokia and of course the full range on the Samsung.

3 upvotes
Tony Bologna
By Tony Bologna (7 months ago)

Great work! I think i prefer the Samsung despite my dislike for my own S III. Will be interesting to see similar comparisons with the iPhone 5S and HTC One.

2 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (7 months ago)

The HTC was in our last shootout: http://connect.dpreview.com/post/9219904986/shootout-samsunggalaxys4-vs-htcone-vs-iphone5-vs-lumia920

We'll do another one once our full iPhone review is done and we can use the device for a shootout ;-)

3 upvotes
Total comments: 126
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