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Lumia 1020 and iPhone 5s get compared with DSLRs, Nokia's camera deemed years ahead of the iPhone

Lumia 1020 and iPhone 5s get compared with DSLRs, Nokia's camera deemed years ahead of the iPhone
When the renowned Dpreview makes a phone camera comparison with their favorite DSLRs, one ought to listen. When this comparison involves Nokia Lumia 1020 with its 41 MP sensor, and one of the most widely used cameras out there - the one on the iPhone 5s - one ought to listen more. The DSLRs in question included some heavyweights out there, such as Canon EOS 10D, Canon EOS 20D, Canon EOS 30D, Canon EOS 40D, Nikon D800 and the Nikon FM2 film camera.

The iPhone's camera was praised for its ease of use with nearly no manual controls and incredibly fast shot-to-shot times, which allowed the comparison authors to take ten shots per second in burst mode. When it comes to image quality in good lighting, however, the folks from Dpreview lauded the tiny but powerful lens that Nokia created along with Zeiss, which allows soaking in so much detail from the center to the edge of the frame, almost as much as the Nikon D800 was capable of, and that one is much larger. 

Lumia 1020 and iPhone 5s get compared with DSLRs, Nokia's camera deemed years ahead of the iPhone

The whole piece is worth reading, but here is the final verdict, which tells you how far smartphone cameras have advanced in the last year or two:


Gun to head … time to come up with a number. How many years are smartphones behind the best $2,000 DSLRs? Comparing detail resolved, I'll say the iPhone 5S currently sits 8-9 years behind the DLSRs in bright light, while the Nokia trails by less than 6 years — probably nearer to 3. This is even when you allow the DSLRs the luxury of a $1,700 lens, and shooting in raw. In bright light, the Nokia came close to competing with the detail from the best DLSR yet made.

Step into candlelight, and the gap between phones and DSLRs widens and becomes more a matter of taste, pivoting around your preferred tradeoff between speckly noise and smeary noise reduction. From our ad-hoc panel of 15 non-photographers, the iPhone trails the DSLRs by about 10 years, and the Nokia about 8.

Splitting the difference between candlelight and daylight, around 6 years of technology has made up for the massive difference in the size of the lenses and sensors between the best phone and the $2,000 DSLRs.

I was stunned.

This isn’t saying that the Nokia is a better camera than a 2007 Canon EOS 40D. It’s not. Detail makes up just a tiny fraction of the goodness of a camera, and none of what makes it a pleasure to use. The Nokia is much slower, can’t focus on moving targets, can’t easily defocus part of the picture, can’t change the perspective and feel of pictures by zooming or changing lenses, and can’t capture the same range of brightness in one shot that the latest SLRs can. Yet.

The curious thing about this list is that everything on it except one — changing lenses — can be fixed with faster processing. The iPhones, Galaxies and LGs have shown it already. And we know that faster processing is inevitable. The physical design of SLRs gave them a huge headstart over phones for both picture quality and usability, but advances in on-board processing are now quickly eroding that lead.

DSLRs aren’t standing still — they’re improving all the time too. But are they improving fast enough?
source: DPReview

57 Comments
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posted on 08 Jan 2014, 06:11 20

1. pureviewuser (Posts: 501; Member since: 11 Nov 2012)


Nokia is awesome in camera department now needs to catch up in the other areas of a smartphone and it will be King again.Come on NOKIA!!!!

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 07:15 1

13. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 3718; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Wow great! Yes you are absolutely right, Nokia's Cameras are always great and most of the time very ahead of others especially 1020 / 1520. Koreans are close too even Apple but not as good as Nokia.

Hey Daniel, you messed up li'l bit with DSLR - DLSR??? ;)
Anyways, nice article and I like your articles too.

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 09:04

29. adecvat (Posts: 274; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


1520 not included.

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 18:04 1

54. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 1173; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)


Its not as much as Nokia and the camera as it is the Calr Zeiss lens. The Carl Zeiss lens is what makes th Nokia camera out shine the rest. One of the beat lens ever made for a camera is Carl Zeiss.

posted on 09 Jan 2014, 03:12 1

55. Snoobab (Posts: 175; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


Let's not forget the sensor technology and image processing algorithims. That's all Nokia.

Agreed though, Nokia+Zeiss make an unbeatable mobile imaging combo.

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 06:26 1

2. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


Hmm not years ahead of iPhone. but just a year ahead of iPhone. Apple will "take" (i am not saying steal) everything from there as usual and then call it innovation of 2014 ...

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 06:32 3

4. Gaurav008 (Posts: 328; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)


Much Bait. Very Appericiate. Thanks.

posted on 09 Jan 2014, 03:14

56. Snoobab (Posts: 175; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


Correction: Yes, YEARS ahead of the iPhone imaging :) Just look at the photo comparisons again.

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 06:30 18

3. Gaurav008 (Posts: 328; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)


Obviously. Nokia's cameras have always been industry leading. Respect. _/\_

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 09:32 5

30. akki20892 (Posts: 3901; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


your comment too. +1020

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 06:40 3

5. maverick786us (Posts: 150; Member since: 20 Apr 2012)


God knows what the future holds, once Nokia's phone division is purchased by MS

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 07:13 3

11. alterecho (Posts: 1098; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)


After MS acquires it, You will not to connect your phone to the internet once a day, to use it.

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 07:54 2

20. tech2 (Posts: 3476; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


lol. +1

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 09:37 3

33. akki20892 (Posts: 3901; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


Lol +3310

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 09:42 2

34. Extradite (banned) (Posts: 316; Member since: 30 Dec 2013)


Lol+ 8860

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 06:45 7

6. Pedro0x (Posts: 271; Member since: 19 Oct 2012)


It may be because of lumia has a fracking bump on the back. Iphone also takes pictures way faster. Lumia 1020 is a cameraphone and should not be compared to phones like Iphone 5s, lumia 1020 is in a league of its own.

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 06:46 2

7. sergiobr (Posts: 712; Member since: 25 Feb 2013)


There´s no competition (by while) with Nokia phones, but there´s a LOT to do in OIS. I allways carried my Nokia 808 with me. Now just with my Note 3 I can take breathless photos (camera Pro in low light). Bring Pureview to Android and Nokia rules the world !

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 06:46 12

8. pureviewuser (Posts: 501; Member since: 11 Nov 2012)


Yes but it's behind iPhone and Samsung in other areas

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 06:56 6

9. shikroi (Posts: 187; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)


Like what?

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 07:15 8

12. sorcio46 (Posts: 435; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)


Everything else...

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 07:21 5

15. fouadqr (Posts: 326; Member since: 21 Nov 2012)


Like what ?! ..

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 07:41 1

17. whysoserious (Posts: 318; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)


A good start is the number of apps available.

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 07:45 12

18. Beijendorf (Posts: 349; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)


Oh great, the App-argument again. That argument became obsolete a little while, and is also irrelevant to the hardware.

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 09:35 1

31. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1635; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)


OS....simple

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 09:44 2

35. akki20892 (Posts: 3901; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


i agree, and that's true.

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 09:47

38. Extradite (banned) (Posts: 316; Member since: 30 Dec 2013)


"Restrictions" should be slightly more "Open"

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 09:45

37. Extradite (banned) (Posts: 316; Member since: 30 Dec 2013)


It still needs "Notifications" able to download via "Browser"

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 10:53 1

44. elitewolverine (Posts: 5188; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)


Notifications? What the heck do you think live tiles are for. I have over 30 tiles pined, 15 at first glance.

How many programs in your phone that you use on a daily basis that require notifications? 10 20 50 102? Please its old and only being put into 8.1 for people like you nothing more.

Download via browser...download what? UCBrowser can.

Torrent? WPTorrent

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 11:41

47. Extradite (banned) (Posts: 316; Member since: 30 Dec 2013)


Scrolling through the whole screen, swiping on the next page, looking up and down, left and right is really annoying. iOs has it, so does Android. It's much convinient.

posted on 08 Jan 2014, 13:26

50. elitewolverine (Posts: 5188; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)


again, you failed to answer the question, only presented how 'difficult' it is to look at a screen.

What apps require attention of notifications that you use everyday, that total more than 20? (amount i can put on my small screen without having to scroll anywhere)

And no scrolling down is the equivalent as pulling down a notification window, requires the same clicks, but instead of me switching to a different view for information i have my original view.

Swipping right is for your app list, hitting the letter lets me filter or search for an app. Same thing in droid when you go to installed app list and its in a grid hidden by 5 pages of info...

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