The Clash of the PureViews: After Dark edition

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There's a nice comparison set of photo samples here by Aatif Sumar, looking at how the Nokia Lumia 920 (with OIS) and the Nokia 808 PureView (with large sensor and oversampling) handle the specific use case of after dark photos, very definitely in the 920's comfort zone, though both phones were allowed to be tripod mounted for some examples and the 808 allowed to use its Xenon flash once. Plus 'night mode' was used for each, which was interesting though perhaps a little misleading. I'll let Aatif off though, in view of the tripod use in a couple of cases - 'night mode' without bracing or mounting, on any phone camera is a bad idea in general...

Great to see photo samples that are more varied in terms of subject than the somewhat rural ones you get from me! Happily, you can click through any of Aatif's samples to see the original images on Flickr. Here's a typical photo pair from the set:

Lumia 920:


808 Pureview:


This is a hard one. The 808 flared up ahead of the horse a bit, but is noticably sharper than the 920

Aatif concluded:

  • If both the phones has a Self Timer mode, it would make things a lot simpler and reduced chances of camera shake by a lot. I would say the same for the lack of tripod mount. If the N93 had it, others can have it too. Will stop us from being dependent on the HH-23 and other such contraptions.
  • Both cameras performed admirably, and took images as good as, if not better, than a mid range Point and Shoot.
  • When in a dark scene with no objects close by (like the shots of the sea), the 920 was significantly faster at focusing than the 808.
  • Most of the time, colors on the 920 were punchier, but the 808 was a more accurate depiction.
  • The 808 is more susceptible to introducing Light Pollution into the image in the form of glare from light sources.
  • Whatever people say (or imply), neither can come close to replacing a dedicated DSLR. However, it is easily good enough for most folk.
  • We did not use the 808 in Creative Mode, though if we did, there would be a lot of scenes in which the 808 would perform better. However considering most people wouldn’t be doing that, we avoided so.

A well put together comparison set, though I'd have liked more consistency in terms of shooting handheld or tripod-mounted (i.e. not mixing the two up). And I'd have liked to have seen more 'Auto' photos, with 'Night' and 'Creative' versions of the same scene as alternatives. Maybe there's an article/test there for me to approach, for AAS? I'll get my thinking cap on for decent subjects!

Overall, the 920 just edges a victory across all Aatif's photos, but it does have to borne in mind the caveats above and that this scenario is what the 920 was designed for. See here for my most recent 920/808 comparison across a wider range of light conditions.

In the meantime, see Aatif's full comparison set here.

Source / Credit: Unleash The Phones