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Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Sony Xperia Z1 vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Camera Shoot Out and Spec Comparison
We live in a time where people are trying to perform the majority of their digital functions through a single device. Smartphones have made that possible to an extent by allowing us to send emails, enjoy multimedia content, get productive with word processors and spread sheets, stay in touch with friends and even click pictures and grab videos. Of all those features, Imaging is becoming a rather prominent feature, with manufacturers packing consecutive phones with better and better cameras, allowing them to slowly narrow down the gap between smartphone imaging and imaging by SLRs. Today, we take a look at three of the most important and powerful smartphone cameras to understand which device comes on top. Our contenders are Nokia's Lumia 1020, Sony's Xperia Z1 and Samsung's S4 Zoom.
Among the three handsets, Nokia's Lumia 1020 has a reputation for powerful imaging since the phone is built around its splendid imaging system. We love how the Finnish phone maker has managed to squeeze in so much camera-innovation into this device. The handset takes pictures as large as 38 megapixels, meaning that even if you crop images down, you'll still have enough detail to take poster-size prints. However, if you choose to save file size and snap pictures with less detail, you can create smaller image sizes. Images are shot at 38MP (4:3 aspect ratio) or 34MP (16:9 aspect ratio).
Talking about tis imaging system, the Lumia 1020 uses a 41MP camera. It calls upon high-end PureView image processing technology, easily the best we've seen on a smartphone. By using a backlit sensor design, the camera gets more light, there by allowing it to deliver brilliant lowlight images.
So the Lumia 1020 delivers extremely detailed pictures, brilliant colors, and flaunts the best low-light performance that we've seen on a smartphone camera. It also uses the largest lens and sensor on a smartphone, making it a one stop option for those looking for the best imaging capabilities on a handset.
Sony Xperia Z1
As far as imaging is concerned, there's nothing ground breaking with the Xperia Z1, but we're impressed that Sony was able to pack in such a nice camera into a slim, waterproof phone. Even though its one of the best snappers among the Android fraternity, the Xperia Z1 can't really offer the level of detail delivered by the Lumia 1020 since it has a smaller lens and sensor.
Sony has given the Xperia Z1 a new 20.7MP CMOS sensor along with G Lens and the BIONZ image processing engine. This results in brilliant pictures, good saturation and all round sharpness. Low-light image quality was good, but not great. We liked features like the Time Shift Burst mode which takes 60 pictures in under a second each time you press the shutter, making it an excellent feature for sporting events. All in all, the Sony has managed to pack in an advanced camera into the Xperia Z1. We understand that the company has not pushed the envelope with imaging since it has launched the Cybershot QX 10 and QX 100 attachable cameras for smartphones that deliver imaging quality that's on level with cameras like the Sony RX 100.
Samsung S4 Zoom
We believe that Samsung put in a lazy effort with the Galaxy S4 Zoom. The South Korean electronics giant simply took a camera body and an optical zoom lens and stuck it to a phone. This results in a handsets that is rather bulky and not pocket-friendly.
The flipside is that you get a nice camera. The S4 Zoom sports a 16-megapixel BSI sensor with a 10x optical zoom, great for snapping pictures in low light conditions. It also uses OIS or optical image stabilisation for preventing blur if you've got shaky hands. Pictures are great in low-light and from a distance and we loved its color reproduction.
The S4 might be bulky and uncomfortable to hold, but its sacrifice with form factor allows it offer some powerful imaging. It is also the only phone among the three with an optical zoom lens, an important feature, since the Xperia Z1 and Lumia 1020 both use only an inferior digital zoom system.
General Spec Comparison
The Xperia Z1 and Galaxy S4 are Android phones and use the version 4.2. The Lumia 1020 uses Windows 8 Phone, meaning that you'll get fewer apps when compared to the Android App ecosystem.
All three devices use a candy bear form factor. While the Xperia Z1 uses a 5 inch screen, the Lumia 1020 uses a 4.5 inch screen and the Samsung S4 calls upon a 4.3 inch screen.
Nokia has used a 720p HD display(334 ppi), while the Xperia Z1 uses a Full HD 1080p display(441 ppi). Samsung has provided a poor 540 x 960 pixels resolution Super AMOLED display to make more space for its bulky imaging system.
Sony's device is fastest with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB or RAM. Nokia has added a less powerful Snapdragon S4 with an Adreno 225 GPU and 2GB of RAM. Samsung has used a home made Exynos 4212 along with 1.5 GB of RAM and a ARM MALI-400 MP4 for graphics.
While the Xperia Z1 is the best all rounder smartphone of the lot, the Lumia 1020 and the S4 Zoom are more focused towards imaging. The Lumia 1020 offers the best pictures on a smartphone, while the S4, as per its name, has solid Zoom technology.