What’s in a sixth lens element? A lot if our latest camera comparison is anything to go by. With the announcement of the Nokia Lumia 925 last month, many were left wondering – what’s the difference between this new flagship and the Nokia Lumia 920 of old? Sure, the design is shaved down to 8.5mm and it sports metal trimmings instead of a polycarbonate unibody, but inside – it’s the same, right?
Wrong. Admittedly, it’s similar with its dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, 1GB RAM and 768×1280 display, but It’s the OLED screen technology and advanced camera features that help make it stand out beyond it design.
One of these features is Smart Camera, an app which will be rolling out to other Lumias, and the other is a sixth lens element. According to Nokia, this sixth element improves the soft focus that plagued the Lumia 920. Does it do the job though, and how does the Lumia 925 fare against the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4?
We tested all four camera phones against one another in both good light and low light. Thanks to the megapixel difference and narrow angle of the Galaxy S4, the close-up shots in the grids below aren’t all at 100%, with the Galaxy S4 resized to 50%, the HTC One 100% and the Lumia 920 / 925, 75%.
Fret not photo buffs, the 100% full photos are at the bottom of this article for you to download and scrutinise.
Kicking off with good lighting to test the sixth lens element and it looks like Nokia has delivered.
Being the highest megapixel count at 13-megapixels, it’s little wonder that the Samsung Galaxy S4 wins on the detail stakes in abundant lighting conditions. The Lumia 925’s image detail comes in a close second, with the shot offering more tapered saturation and contrast. This produces broader dynamic range, which when coupled with the wider angle, may sway some shooters in its favour.
The HTC One delivers a cooler palette and the widest angle, coming in third on the detail front. This is inspite of an inferior megapixel count to the Lumia 920, which, thanks to soft focus places fourth.
Finally, it’s flash-free low-light time, and looking at the hand-held shots above it’s a crystal clear outcome. The Galaxy S4 in a turn for the books places last by some margin thanks to a noisy, underexposed image. The HTC One comes second with blurry detail but decent exposure. With the two Nokias on top, the Lumia 925 once again stakes its superiority over the Lumia 920, delivering a cleanear, more in-focus shot and less visible hand-shake.
So what’s in a sixth lens element? If the Nokia Lumia 925 is anything to go by, a better camera. We’d be inclined to call it the best all-round camera phone on the market based on our early impressions, trouncing the Android competition. Clearly also performing better than the Lumia 920 too, it’s clear that Nokia isn’t resting on its low-light laurels, pushing its own low-light champion off its thrown.
To add to Nokia’s imaging credentials, the expected PureView announcement should unveil the EOS, a camera phone coupling image stabilisation with a 41-megapixel sensor. This means by the end of July, Nokia could well have both detail, and low-light in the bag – watch this space.
You can find the full resolution images below in the following order: Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, Lumia 920, Lumia 925, so download away and share any thoughts in the comments section below.