The Nokia Lumia 920 vs iPhone 4S: Low-light camera test

The Nokia Lumia 920 is all about the Pureview imaging capabilities, but how does it fare against the iPhone 4S? In a test devised by Nokia at the New York event on Wednesday, we found out.

The concept is simple: shoot a photograph of a vase of flowers with virtually no light on it (through a peep-hole) with the two phones and see which one is better. Basic and unscientific we know, but it gives us some idea of the capabilities of the new Pureview tech.

What is Nokia PureView?

As you can imagine on a test devised by Nokia, the Nokia Lumia 920 wins, it's their test after all, however the results are still pretty impressive and we feel worth sharing - bias aside.

Sadly Nokia wouldn't let us have the actual shot we took with the Lumia 920, but did allow us to take a photo of the two phones side by side. The screen brightness on both phones is set to full and we haven't edited the photo aside from fixing the white balance on the whole picture via Lightroom 4. 

As you see, the Lumia 920, with the help of its image processing technology, some software manipulation in real time, and the super LCD screen has captured the vase of flowers.

The iPhone does capture the flowers, but it is hard to see them and you would have to use image editing apps like Snapseed to improve it to a point where you could easily see what is going on.

Nokia tells Pocket-lint that the Nokia Lumia 920 manages to do such a good job because it automatically uses a slower shutter speed that lets in more light and therefore captures more exposure detail. That's the easy part, however opening the shutter longer allows for more movement or handshake, which normally results in blurry pictures.

What Nokia is claiming is that by floating the entire optical assembly in sync with the camera movement - this is Nokia's latest image stabilisation method - the shutter can remain open for longer than competitors' smartphones, and combined with the bright f/2.0 lens that means plenty of light can reach the sensor. Hey presto, a detailed, well-exposed image is captured without sacrificing detail due to blur. Clever, but simple.



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