Posted in: Android, Digital cameras, Mobile phones

Sony Xperia Z1 faces Nokia 808 PV and HTC One mini in camera shootout, shows great promise

Three companies, three approaches to the “best camera” – Nokia uses a huge sensors with a staggering amount of pixels, HTC used fewer, but bigger pixels and Sony settled for something in between. So, how did it work out for the Japanese company?

A shootout coming from Vietnam tries to provide an answer by pitting Sony’s new hotness, the Xperia Z1, against the Nokia 808 PureView and the HTC One mini.

Let’s look at the contenders. The Sony Xperia Z1 has a 1/2.3″ sensor with 20.7MP resolution. The Nokia 808 PureView has a larger 1/1.2″ sensor with double the resolution, 41MP (not all are used though). The HTC One mini has a 1/3″ sensor but with only 4 million pixels, each pixel is bigger (and will be more accurate in low light) than the pixels in the other two cameras.

Those are not the ideal competition for the Xperia Z1. The HTC One has the same image sensor as the One mini but the camera features optical image stabilization, which has a noticeable effect in low light. And the Nokia 808 is no longer relevant, as the Nokia Lumia 1020 stuffs 41MP in a smaller, 1/1.5″ sensor (here’s how it did against the Xperia Z1 in another shootout). The biggest problem, however, is that there are no full resolution shots provided, making it hard to properly judge image quality.

In the first three shots you can see one of the effects of a larger sensor – better bokeh (look at the F in the Facebook logo in the background). Other than that, the three seem pretty close when downscaled so much.


Sony Xperia Z1 • Nokia 808 PureView • HTC One mini

In the second set, the low image resolution helps the HTC One mini to provide an excellent shot, but you can see a slight oversharpening halo between the phone and the white table. Still, the line between the two panels on the back looks the sharpest in this photo.

The Xperia Z1 photo also shows oversharpening, but the gap between panels is not as sharp. The 808 PureView photo looks the softest because of Nokia’s former attitude of minimal processing – you can sharpen the photo as much as you like after that as the detail is all there. I say former, because the Lumia 1020 has more aggressive post-processing.


Sony Xperia Z1 • Nokia 808 PureView • HTC One mini

Next up is a shot in a dark alley. The Nokia photo is undexposed, but that seems to be because of the exposure setting (auto mode was used and no xenon flash). The HTC One mini photo is better exposed and with good detail, but the Sony Xperia Z1 photo looks the best (look at the stone wall or the bike’s headlights). It’s hard to tell about noise and detail at this resolution, though.


Sony Xperia Z1 • Nokia 808 PureView • HTC One mini

The next shot is pretty much the same – underexposed photo from the Nokia (the 808 got the white balance wrong here too), the Xperia Z1 taking the cake and the HTC One mini being a little behind.


Sony Xperia Z1 • Nokia 808 PureView • HTC One mini

Finally, we get to the dark shots. The Sony Xperia Z1 produced a well exposed photo full of detail, while the HTC One mini looks good on exposure but the photo is soft. Here’s where optical stabilization would have helped. The Nokia 808 PureView produced a dark, underexposed photo but it was never meant for low-light photography – Nokia focused on that with the Lumia 920 and subsequently the 1020.


Sony Xperia Z1 • Nokia 808 PureView • HTC One mini

The next three images tell the same story, except noise is starting to creep into the HTC One mini shot, while the Xperia Z1 shot looks clean (the downscaling took care of what noise there was).


Sony Xperia Z1 • Nokia 808 PureView • HTC One mini

Finally, a couple of shots showing what the Sony Xperia Z1 can do if you use the manual controls to tweak the ISO setting.


Sony Xperia Z1: auto vs. manual settings

It’s not the most telling shootout, but it promises great things from Sony Xperia Z1′s camera. Especially when you consider that the camera fits in the phone’s body without a bump, which is a problem for the Nokia 808 PureView and the Lumia 1020.

Thanks to miro for the tip!

Source (in Vietnamese)

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