Home » Misc. Mobile Phones » iPhone 5s vs. Nokia Lumia 1020 vs. Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom: Camera comparison

iPhone 5s vs. Nokia Lumia 1020 vs. Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom: Camera comparison

I used to flinch after I’d see folks taking pictures treasured reminiscences with their goodphones. Even supposing most goodphones have megapixel counts much like what stand-by myself cameras provide, they have got been inferior in lens high quality and handbook controls. Photography have by no means been as just right unless now.

Over the last two months, I’ve shot greater than three,000 take a look at pictures in 4 states the usage of 9 camera phones, some degree-and-shoot camera and a excessive-finish, single-lens reflex camera (sometimes called an SLR). Not one of the sensiblephone cameras are excellent sufficient to interchange a $1,000-plus SLR, however I am shocked how smartly one of the phones did, specifically in low-mild settings that problem even the very best cameras.

Three phones stand out: Nokia Corp.’s Lumia 1020, Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy S4 Zoom (Review I Pictures) and the new Apple iPhone 5s (Review), which comes out Friday.

The Lumia 1020 squeezes a lot of camera innovations into a small device. It can take photos as large as 38 megapixels, which means you can crop the image to a quarter its size and still have enough detail for large poster-size prints. With smaller files, you’re limited to smaller prints when you crop.

The 38 megapixels is about three times the 13 megapixels on Samsung’s regular Galaxy S4 and nearly five times the 8 megapixels on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c (Review). It’s also more than what many SLR and point-and-shoot cameras offer. The downside: The Lumia runs Microsoft’s Windows system, which has relatively few apps from outside parties.


The Galaxy S4 Zoom works much like other Android phones from Samsung, except that it has a real (optical) zoom lens, offering up to 10 times magnification. Other camera phones have digital zoom features, or magnification using software, but all that does is blow up shots without boosting clarity. With the optical zoom found in the Zoom and stand-alone cameras, you retain the sharpness as you zoom in. The Zoom’s 16 megapixels is better than most phones. The downside: It’s not available in the U.S. yet.

The iPhone 5s, meanwhile, has a better camera than last year’s iPhone 5. The decision continues to be at eight megapixels, however the camera is ready to feel gentle higher as a result of particular person pixels are higher and the shutter can open wider. The draw back: It can be in the back of in megapixels.

Most of the variations in photography are refined, however each bit helps when making prints or viewing on greater monitors.

Low mild pictures
The Lumia is probably the most constant of the three at getting just right night time and indoor pictures. Chums have marveled at photographs I’ve taken in bars with out the flash.

The use of a technique referred to as oversampling, the Lumia squeezes 38 megapixels price of information right into a 5-megapixel picture, a measurement extra manageable for sharing. What that additionally does is mix the small quantity of sunshine from a couple of pixels into one, leading to higher lighting fixtures. A picture stabilizer compensates for shaky arms.


Apple takes a distinct manner with the 5s. As a substitute of including extra megapixels, it makes each and every pixel higher – 1.5 microns, when compared with 1.12 microns on the Lumia. The brand new phone additionally has a picture stabilizer and a much wider shutter than earlier fashions. Its flash produces two bursts of sunshine immediately, each and every quite totally different in color and robotically adjusted to compare ambient lights. It’s a technique I’ve by no means viewed earlier than in a camera – phone or in any other case – and ends up in higher pores and skin tones and extra pure colors.

A photograph of my Sunnyvale lodge’s illuminated signal within the distance got here out sharp on the 5s. Many cameras overcompensate for low gentle by using making the few factors of sunshine too brilliant. With some cameras, the “O” in “Sundowner” did not seem like an “O” however an exceptional dot. The 5s saved the letters clear. The Lumia additionally did that and went additional than the 5s in preserving the darker elements of the resort constructing taking a look just right, too.

Far-off photographs
The Zoom wins palms down on this one.

Nokia talks about “reinventing zoom.” While the Lumia squeezes all these pixels right into a 5-megapixel picture, it retains the whole model so that you can crop and blow up later. One good contact: Even supposing you utilize the camera’s digital zoom to focal point in on a topic, it nonetheless retains the remainder of what the camera sees. Different cameras throw out that knowledge. So your 5-megapixel model will focal point in on what you wish to have to fast share, however that you may return to the greater model to find one thing you will have neglected within the surrounding space.

However digital zoom is digital zoom and is not going to change what an actual zoom lens can do. Among the many three phones, most effective with the Zoom used to be I in a position to make out faces of band individuals at a contemporary live performance in New York.


On a regular basis photographs
Each the Lumia and the Zoom provide a better vary of guide controls than standard camera phones. A Grip attachment for the Lumia additionally has a gap for screwing the phone onto a tripod. But when I’ll take unique pictures requiring guide controls or a tripod, I am additionally prone to have my SLR, which has an impressive lens that may’t presumably be squeezed into any goodphone.

I got here to understand the iPhone’s camera whereas taking some shut-up photographs of bees pollinating a mattress of flora. The bees have been transferring too speedy for many of my cameras, together with the SLR, to get first rate, targeted pictures. However the iPhone 5 and later the 5s one way or the other managed.

The Lumia additionally wasn’t sensible for customary photographs. With a variety of megapixels to retailer, it takes time for the camera to be prepared for the subsequent shot. There used to be additionally a prolong in shooting photographs. I examined the quite a lot of cameras by means of capturing shifting automobiles. With the Lumia, automobiles supposed to be within the middle have been close to the brink or out of the body by the point the picture used to be if truth be told captured.

As for the Zoom, it is too cumbersome to hold round. Even with the lens receded, the Zoom continues to be greater than thrice thicker than the iPhone on the thickest level, the lens.

The upshot
The iPhone 5s is not all the time as excellent because the Lumia in low-mild settings or the Zoom for a ways-away photographs. It additionally cannot healthy the SLR for unique photographs that want guide controls.

However it isn’t important if the iPhone is not going to at all times provide the easiest image so long as it can be the most effective at providing you with just right photos persistently.