Low light: Nokia Lumia 925 even better than Nokia Lumia 920, obliterates Samsung Galaxy S4

| May 14, 2013 | 60 Replies


Nokia had a special room to compare the improved low light performance of the Nokia Lumia 925 against its competitors.

They had a Samsung Galaxy s4 for testing (not everyone carries a competitor device, e.g. I only had the 920). Now we know the Nokia Lumia 920 was unmatched for extreme low light.

Holy heck, the Nokia Lumia 925 performs even better! The room was soo dark my DSLR and the lens I had on couldn’t take pictures or videos properly inside (the lens has OIS too! and it’s super heavy!).

When we took some pictures on the SGS4, I thought I hadn’t taken the picture or I had inadvertently locked the phone.

Nope. Nokia pushed the low light capabilities even further to the point that the SGS4 could not produce an image.

Here it is against the 920. Apologies for the poor angle – the room was packed and I had to capture what I could given that I had to catch this train back to uni.

Now remember how good the pictures are from the 920 low light sans flash. Look at what the 925 can do.

MNBIMG_5000Yes, there’s motion blur because that guy tried to duck out of the photo last minute, but if you tried to pose for a picture or tried to capture some scenery where not even 1000 flash guns would have helped, the technology in the 925’s low light would rescue you.

Admittedly the angle is a bit poor there. Another thing to note on the AMOLED display of the 925 is the extreme viewing angles, especially in comparison to the 920.

DO NOT compare the image quality between the 925 and 920 based on a picture of a phone screen. I hadn’t adjusted the settings on my camera to even see the screen let alone the fact I should have attempted to bluetooth pictures over.

My camera wasn’t focusing at all here…:(

I did end up doing the rest of my recordings on the 920 as my DSLR was failing me on that regard.

Note the photos are much clearer. The 925 isn’t overexposed, it’s just that the camera wasn’t able to handle it.
MNBScreen Shot 2013-05-14 at 12.51.52With flash, the results are also improved for the 925. Again, apologies I couldn’t get my camera to handle the lighting properly on this.




So no additional lighting from the flash gun, just the lighting from the displays. You can see just how much more the 925 captures with flash. Again, the 925 is not washed out, it’s just the effect from incorrect camera settings on my end with my DSLR not being able to get the capture correctly.




Imagine this kind of technology WITH the xenon lens. It’s at least one way of improving low light without making the phone thicker than you’d expect due to having xenon. I’m not one to fuss too much on thickness though so bring on xenon + this for me ๐Ÿ˜€

Against competitor devices like the SGS4? Both with flash, the 925 of course still wins. You can’t tell because I did a sucky job and doing this comparison (never again doing this rushed! I shall ask to take the whole day free or get someone else to do it next time. Though on the plus side for me, it was a privilege meeting all these Nokia/Tech peeps in person. I reckon I should have just stayed in London, especially in hindsight now the train in front appears to have hit ‘something’ and we’re stuck on the line and I’m going to be even more late, possibly missing that thing in Uni).

In the picture below, the trees don’t even exist in the SGSIV photos. Having flash certainly helped it but not in the same way the 925 did.ย MNBIMG_5004

Hopefully someone else has managed to do a better comparison that what I’ve managed. We’ll find and link to them. Sincerest apologies from me, I should have produced something better or at least tried to redo them, alas, timing issues (I hope it was more me not getting the settings quite right rather than my lens still being broken after coming back from repair on Friday). It was indeed very exciting though – how to get material for posting in 30 minutes and not miss the only train to get you back in time for uni. Haha.

Thanks Nokia for the invite to the end. We have some hands on demoes and other pictures to share later on today or perhaps tomorrow.




Category: Nokia

About the Author ()

Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablogย and ย Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]
  • Mapantz

    I commented in another post about this lol
    I’ll put it here anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Loving the 6 different lens elements with the ability to set ISO 3200, my photography friend claims this will be a pretty good thing against now having a Xenon flash, and with OIS built in, iโ€™m willing to bet thatโ€™s true?!

    • Perhaps in bringing light, yes, though I’m not sure about how it would handle ‘freezing’ low light moments in a way a super bright flash and fast shutter speeds would work.

      Looking forward to future comparisons ๐Ÿ™‚

      • does 928 also have 6 element lens?

        • Viipottaja

          most likely not, but just guessing here.

        • Bob


      • corect

        We need a video Jay!

  • shansp3

    Is the algorithm different or its a new hardware. If its the algorithm then will it be coming to the 920.

    • They’ve improved both software and hardware apparently. We could yet see improvements for the 920 in low light though not sure as much as the 925 could.

    • stylinred

      Harlow did say they’ve got new algorithms so I imagine 920 owners will see some improvements further down the line, perhaps with the Amber release?

  • Shaun

    Ok, we get it Nokia, it’s always dark in Finland.

    This emphasis on really low light photography is surely missing the point – WP8 is dying on it’s arse due to lack of developer interest and the OS is stagnating more than even Symbian did.

    • The emphasis here wasn’t only low light sorry. There are quite a few things the 925 addresses, but this is what I managed to post for the moment. Camera in general has improved. Both daylight as well as low light. Better sunlight readability, better viewing angles (if that’s important for you), improved screen sensitivity, slimmer package and a very interesting external antenna that isn’t prone to losing signal no matter how you hold it.

      • Symbianitta

        Does it have a similar antenna design to iPhone 4S?

        If that’s the case, it’s probably going to work pretty well.

        • stylinred

          is that a joke? lol

          • Symbianitta

            Why would it be a joke?

            Care to explain?

            • Mapantz


              • Symbianitta

                Did you know that iPhone 4S has a very similar antenna design to iPhone 4 but it doesn’t have that antennagate issue?

                Apple fixed the antenna for 4S but it’s still visible just like in iPhone 4.

        • Ronny

          As far as I can tell. Yes, is almost the same desing (The iPhone 4/4S vs. Lumia 925). But there are two cases:
          1)Or Nokia wants to prove that you can have that antenna design without the “antennagate”.
          2)Or… I don’t know what the hell was that.

          • Symbianitta

            Why trying to prove 1) since 4S already had that antenna design without the โ€œantennagateโ€? I know iPhone 4 had some issues with the antenna but it was already fixed for 4S.

      • Patata

        All this might be great for this particular device, but what about wp8 in general? Of course, its mostly up to MS to finally start to deliver. All they have done is to announce a few more apps or redesigned apps for wp8. Its time to improve wp8, time to offer more reasons why people should switch to wp8. As someone who switched from wp7 to 8, I’m somewhat disappointed by the lack of bigger changes / new features

        • I love Win8. This crushes Sammie and all Androids.

      • Shaun

        First line of the press release is…

        “Today we announce the Nokia Lumia 925, bringing together the best in low light imaging, a smarter camera and a beautiful new look.”

        IMHO their low light imaging sucks donkey balls with truly awful fake colour reproduction but then I’m usually carrying an f1.4 Leica around if it’s dark. If something is supposed to be black, it’s supposed to be black, not light purple. I can see how people can be easily impressed however by capturing something that would otherwise be just black and no detail on other phones. I just wish Nokia would sort out the colour profiles.

        • Mark

          Yeah. I often carry a camera around in pubs and clubs where light is poor.

          Oh wait I don’t because I’m not a weirdo.

          Haters gonna hate.

          • Shaun

            Better a weirdo than a troll.

            • Symbianitta

              You are calling him a troll because you think he has a wrong opinion. You just can’t accept people who have different opinions.

              How about growing up?

              • Shaun

                Are you new around here?

                No, I’m calling him a troll because as usual, Mark has resorted to ad hominem attacks and that’s all the time I’m going to waste on the irritating sociopath.

        • sreeni ra

          the purple thing is because Nokia trying to white balance stuff as best as they can.

          If u don’t like it, just set white balance to ‘sunny’. This should help u see blacks as blacks.

          Nokia delivers imaging capabilities as good or in some cases better than the imaging companies. Im a cinematographer and i can vouch for that.

          • Shaun

            Perhaps they should do that automatically then because as it stands now, it’s broken.

            • sreeni ra

              it is not broken. Thats the whole point of white balancing an image. Whites should look white. Which means a Nokia device will always try to accurately WB an image while other phones will fail doing that thus u will end up with a warmer image.

              So if u dont like it, just change it and click. More power to u brother. You shd be happy about it. Trust me, once u get a hang of it, you’ll know how useful it can be.

              • Shaun


                The lumias fail to get dark areas the right colour, eg skies at night so you’re suggesting I manually fix it by setting the white balance to ‘sunny’ to get accurate night skies?

                Can you see what is wrong there?

                • Sreeni Ra

                  I’m really sorry Shaun, I don’t own a 920 so i exactly don’t know whats happening there. But i’m speaking out of my experience with Nokia devices. My friend used my suggestion on a 720 and it worked.

                  I was just trying to help here, but i do understand that this extra step cud be very annoying, no argument there.

                  All i’m saying is that Nokia is technically doing what is rite, Aesthetically nope.

                  Cheers, It wud be really helpful if you cud try this when u get some time and reply to this thread so that others can benefit from this ๐Ÿ™‚


                  • Shaun

                    I’ve only got a Lumia 800, though that’s not been switched on for months. The camera software in that was rubbish too.

                    I’ve an N9 also and despite them sharing the same camera module, the N9 was leagues ahead of the 800 in accuracy, though I’d still not say it was very good. It’s another one of those technologies that Damien Dinning hyped but in reality was a bit so-so. Not quite EDoF levels of hype v reality but close.

                    These new Lumias, since the 920, have majored on their purported brilliance at low light photography but almost every shot or comparison I’ve seen taken at night has just made me think someone at Nokia really doesn’t understand that night is supposed to be dark, not purple.

                    It feels like almost everyone is praising the Lumia while a few of us are sat going “the emperor has no clothes on”.

                    Nokia seem to lurch from new technology to new technology with their cameras but underneath I just find their software algorithms are weird and not just in a Nikon v Canon colour profile preference kind of way.

                    As I said earlier though – I’m a buttery Leica kind of person so a phone camera is always going to be a bit of a let down.

    • incognito

      Actually, Finland is one of just a handful of countries where you can see the ‘midnight sun’ – i.e. it never goes down during the ‘night’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Not disagreeing with the rest, tho…

    • corect

      Idiot, the 6 element lens on the 925 also improves DAYLIGHT photos, which is a big deal.

      • Shaun

        The extra lens element is there to resolve more detail allowing them to push the the ISO to 3200, improving low light capabilities.

        Of course it has a beneficial impact on daylight shots also but that isn’t how Nokia are continuing to frame their marketing

  • shansp3

    Wow…any idea what’s the added hardware?

    • Bob

      6 element lens. The 920/928 is 5 element.

      This will also mean sharper photos from the 920, truly pushing it to best phone camera (behind 808).

  • sailfishos rocks

    it is better than my 808 when using tripod?

    • johan

      808 is far superior in this regard…

    • sreeni ra

      no way, 808 is an excellent snapper. U cant beat that while its on a tripod.

      808 opts for long exposure time while in low light and absolutely nails the colors too. Dont forget there is oversampling which removes most of the noise.

      So 808 is still the king and will stay that way until they bring the same unit to WP with OIS.

      • D Harries

        Yay!! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Mapantz

        I was experimenting with that yesterday.
        Keeping the shutter open for longer on the 808 during bright conditions is hard. I had the tripod, set it to ISO 50, ND filter on, and hyperfocal and managed this of my waterfall ..

        If i do it around dusk, the exposure is much longer.
        Still not bad though. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Symbianitta

          808 is lacking a control for exposure time. It’s very hard to understand why they crippled that kind of device with leaving out that kind of feature.

          • sreeni ra

            oh man, there is
            never a day iโ€™ve not
            wondered abt this. I
            even tried contacting
            Nokia reg this. Their
            answer was simple, we couldnโ€™t do it
            because of this n that
            n this n that. But i feel
            its so stupid not to
            have that manual
            control. Nokia did mention
            that, if there is enuf
            req for this they wud
            try working on it. I
            say they shd work on
            it asap. Cud Jay or Ali create a
            post as a request for
            this feature? Which
            can be then brought
            to Nokiaโ€™s notice???

            • Symbianitta

              It’s a lie if they claim it can’t be done. I can set the exposure time even for my iPhone 4S and that feature really makes all the difference.

              I have also 808. It’s a great tool when there is enough light but when there is not, it’s just PurePain to try to get the exposure time right with ISO settings and exposure compensations.

              That’s why I use 4S in those situations if I don’t have lots and lots of time for the single shot.

              One example comes from the last winter. It was dark and really cold. I managed to use the phone only for 15 seconds before getting inside for some warming up. I took 3 pictures. First one with 808, and it wasn’t that good with the auto mode. Second one with 4S and it was ok. Not great but ok. Third one was taken with 808 and it was pretty bad.

              if I only had setting for exposure time, I’m sure 808 would have managed to beat 4S in that situation, but no. Nokia in their infinite wisdom decided that a setting for exposure time is not a relevant feature for a camera.

              Yes. For a camera.

              • sreeni ra

                to be really honest, i dont know what situation u were in so its hard to comment on this, but im interested to know how 4S trumped 808, which is like impossible.

                Personally i’m yet to see a phone that could perform 75% as good as 808 in any given condition, i work with ppl carrying apples, sonys and sammys n point n shoots. Sometimes they all give up because its impossible for them to get what my 808 gets.

                Again u cannot validate this, its just ppl claiming.

                • Symbianitta

                  It happened because in 4S I was able to set the exposure time to 1/3 sec with and software controlled anti shake setting. In that situation camera waits for the moment when the phone is not shaking and takes the image with 1/3 sec exposure.

                  With 808 I was not able to set the exposure time so I used auto for the first picture. 808 used not very good auto settings and the picture was not too good. The second take with 808 was a failure because of too long exposure time. I was not able to keep it not from shaking. Tripod was not an option at that situation because setting it up would have taken too long.

                  I usually pick 4S in situations where I need to take some really fast pictures (burst mode or just fastest possible point and shoot) or when it’s too dark for the auto mode. But I definitely use 808 in several situations because it’s very good in those.

                  There was also a test where 1 euro coin was shot with 808 and 4S. That was an interesting comparison.

                  • Sreeni Ra

                    Haaa… I understand now. I think i’ve gone as low as 1/7th on my 808, and i usually set it on some kind of support, not necessarily a tripod; a stone, a twig, leaves anything that i can use wud do ๐Ÿ™‚

                    I would’ve definitely provided some support to 808 and let it capture the magic in the moment. I also gather that you used an app on 4s to do this and we all know, 808 lags in app dept. But i can still bet that 808 wud’ve captured the best image given support.

                    I hope you wud agree to this too ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers!!!

                    • Symbianitta

                      I definitely agree with you.

                      I was using some support for both devices, but the weather was so cold that my hands started shaking if taking the picture took too long. Unfortunately the only support I could use was a metal bar and I had to touch it with my bare hands. But the view was worth it. If i only had that setting for exposure time, it would have been so great.

                      I was using NightCap app on the iPhone. It’s one of those apps allowing the user to manually set the exposure time and it also shows in real time how the picture is going to look like. I would pay some good money if I could get that for 808.

                      808 has bigger sensor and with proper applications it would definitely beat 4S in pictures like that. It’s a real shame there are too few applications for the 808.

                      I would also love to see one 4S app ported for 4S because it’s able to give you up to 100 pixel oversampling without loss of resolution and it can be used without a tripod. I bet that on 808 you would get that 1600 pixel oversampling because it has that additional hardware 4S doesn’t have.

                      Here are two pictures for you to compare.

                      Taken with the Nokia 808.


                      Taken with the Apple iPhone 4S.


                      Both devices were as close to the coin as possible. Same setup, same lightning, same coin.

                      Nokia 808 was using the default camera application and Apple iPhone 4S was using an app from the App Store.

                      Naturally 4S’s application can be used only for some special cases, but it’s a good example of what you can do with software.

        • sreeni ra

          sorry bro unable to view the pic ๐Ÿ™ my opera mini is so dumb. Anyways, what u r mentioning is rite. In bright light conditions it is going to be difficult to get that blurry movement thingy with the inbuilt ND filter. But u can easily fix that by rubberbanding a cheap ND that u can buy off ebay to ur 808. That’ll work like a charm. Try it when u can.

          Yup, nights are easier to get the blurry motion thingy. I will definitely see the pic wen i get to my laptop ๐Ÿ™‚

          • sreeni ra

            oh man, there is never a day i’ve not wondered abt this. I even tried contacting Nokia reg this. Their answer was simple, we couldn’t do it because of this n that n this n that. But i feel its so stupid not to have that manual control.

            Nokia did mention that, if there is enuf req for this they wud try working on it. I say they shd work on it asap.

            Cud Jay or Ali create a post as a request for this feature? Which can be then brought to Nokia’s notice???

            • Symbianitta

              Nokia fans have several times stated that a setting for exposure time is irrelevant and not important feature but I disagree with them.

              • sreeni ra

                i disagree too.

                I need the damn manual exposure and manual shutter options so bad. These are like my toppest priority in a camera.

        • Sreeni Ra

          Wowwww… Awesome set there!!! Enjoyed seeing those images. Please keep clicking, its people like you who make Nokia Proud. It is the joy these pictures give you that are permanent, which 100 cores, 1000 gb rams and 1000 inch screens will never ever be able to give you.


          Note: Loved the fireworks

          • Mapantz

            Thanks bud! I’m no photographer but i do enjoy getting some good pics with my 808 and tripod! ๐Ÿ™‚

            • Viipottaja

              Wow, pretty impressive backyard set up you’ve got going there! ๐Ÿ˜€

            • Sreeni Ra

              You are a Photographer brother ๐Ÿ™‚ Fact, Embrace it!!!

  • Andrey

    I have a 920 and its very hard to take a night photo, it takes in too much light, can I take a night photo with the 925?

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