iSource compares cameras of Nokia Lumia 1020 with iPhone 5, “As much as I like the iPhone, the 1020 bests it”

| August 11, 2013 | 57 Replies

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 17.26.57

Here’s another comparison between the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the iPhone 5 by an Apple fan site.

It’s taken with the basic photographer in mind, so everything in auto, no additional apps (e.g. HDR lenses for the 1020). Though I don’t know if that means we should consider Smart Cam into the mix since that’s pre-installed.


Verdict? “Lumia 1020 is still the winner of this camera showdown any way you slice it.”

At the end of the day, the Nokia Lumia 1020 clearly outperforms the iPhone 5. But that really shouldn’t come as any surprise. The 1020 has vastly superior specs, and it is technically a generation ahead of the 5. However, I wouldn’t expect the coming 5S to be a massive leap forward, so this is still a valid comparison.

Just a little pointer on “The only problem is that you are limited to 2-finger zooming” You can zoom with one finger.

Something to learn is that Nokia needs to add functionality within the ProCam. No stepping out to use a lens (e.g. HDR or Panorama). ProCam needs to be its own entity.

Quite recently another Apple fan compared the iPhone to the 1020 in the camera where, ‘of course’ the 1020 won. Cameras are important to quite a lot of people. Why settle for ‘good enough’ for capturing those memories when you can have the best?

Cheers Alvester for the tip!

Category: Lumia, Nokia

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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 @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]
  • chris wayne

    1020 yeah!!!

  • Pingback: Nokia Lumia 1020؛ یک وینفون با دوربین 41 مگاپیکسلی. - صفحه 9

  • Werner Ruotsalainen

    “However, I wouldn’t expect the coming 5S to be a massive leap forward, so this is still a valid comparison.”

    Indeed it won’t be – at least it surely won’t add any manual mode, not even proper exposure compensation. (See my recently-published article on the question of the latter if interested: ) This surely can be stated after scrutinizing the iOS7 Camera API’s (I’ve done it to find out what iOS7 / the 5S will offer, manual modes-wise. Almost nothing.)

    I don’t think it’ll even be able to beat the LG G2, which seems to be considerably better than the S4, while, of course, being worse in at least the DR department than the 1020. (My latest, dedicated posts start at )

    • johan

      The G2 seems to have a surprisingly good camera from the early samples! Have you seen the video sample which was recently uploaded to youtube? It appears to be genuine, as the same user has a hands-on video with the G2. The OIS appears to be very good, and I bet the video bitrate is nice and high. It truly is an interesting device in many ways.

      • Werner Ruotsalainen

        Thanks! Excellent find!

        Indeed there seems to be little jerking – the OIS seems to be working OK. No abrupt changes in ISO (=brightness) either (something that pretty much spoiled the IQ of the, otherwise, for video shooting, excellent Nikon 1 series).

        And, which is even more important: STEREO audio!!! (And 60fps, at least as promised by LG.)

        Now, if this thing can also record calls, it’ll be my next generic phone, instead of my 808.

        • n8thebest

          I can’t say I’m all that impressed. While detail capture seems better than other generic smartphone cameras, the LG has worse dynamic range it looks like than the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4, not to mention the 1020. The LG photos look very “flat” as does the video. Also surprised none of you have mentioned just how SLOW the auto-focus is in that sample video. The 1020, iPhone 5, and S4 auto-focus are lightning fast in comparison.

          LG has never had great cameras in their smartphones, and it doesn’t look like this is going to change a great deal with the G2.

    • Random Random


      It’s better to forget the 3rd party apps so that the competition can do better in comparisons.

  • Werner Ruotsalainen

    “Though I don’t know if that means we should consider Smart Cam into the mix since that’s pre-installed.”

    Yup. Currently, the stock Camera app in iOS is completely unable to be used for action (burst) shooting and this is unlikely to be changed in iOS7, at least based on my iOS7 tests on the iPhone 5 (the 5S may introduce full-res burst shooting though. It’s impossible to predict, given that the iOS7 API doesn’t have anything burst-related.)

    Currently, the only way to shoot burst in iOS is using third-party apps at non-full resolution. Resolutio & speed-wise the best of them is SnappyCam, of which I’ve posted quite a lot at MacRumors. Most other apps are pretty bad – most of them use plain 16:9/4:3 1080p video framegrabs for simulating action photography, with all the problems the 1080p video involves on iOS7 (considerably narrower FoV even if you disable EIS; considerably worse low-light performance etc.).

    • Random Random


      And what is the speed and resolution of the SnappyCam?

      • Werner Ruotsalainen

        Around 2200×1800 at 20 fps. That is, considerably better than apps just extracting framegrabs from videos.

        I’ll also dedicate a complete “iOS Action Shooting Bible” to these apps. I’ll let you know when it’s ready – you’ll find it useful. BTW, have you seen my latest article on exposure compensation / bracketing on iOS?

        • Random Random

          And with the best possible resolution? What is the resolution?

          I have not seen your article about exposure compensation / bracketing on iOS.

          • Werner Ruotsalainen

            1, it’s the best possible resolution. No full-res 20+ fps camera sampling / storing is possible. After all, this isn’t Nokia.


            • Random Random


              There seems to be something wrong with your phone. With my iPhone I can get 3264*2448. Yes. That’s pretty much 8MP.

              Nokia is not capable of delivering that kind of performance when doing rapid shooting.

              The iPhone is definitely not made by Nokia.

              • Werner Ruotsalainen

                “There seems to be something wrong with your phone. With my iPhone I can get 3264*2448. Yes. That’s pretty much 8MP.”

                You may have misunderstood me.

                1. There is NO way you can burst shoot at full 8 Mpixel @ 20 fps on any iPhone, particularly not more than for 2-3 seconds.

                2. the 808′s sensor can be fully sampled at 30 fps, unlike the iPhone, which has much-much fewer photodiodes (but still can’t be sampled at full speed)

                • Random Random


                  1. With iPhone I can burst shoot 8MP images. Sure, you can set the capture rate to 20 fps to make Nokia look better but that’s just cherry picking for Nokia.

                  The iPhone can rapidly shoot 8MP images. Nokia is not capable of that.

                  2. It’s not possible to store full resolution images 30 fps. This time you are trying to tell that 808′s 2MP video footage can beat iPhone’s rapid shooting. This is very unprofessional from you.

                  • Werner Ruotsalainen

                    “1. With iPhone I can burst shoot 8MP images. Sure, you can set the capture rate to 20 fps to make Nokia look better but that’s just cherry picking for Nokia. ”

                    At what fps? Don’t tell me at 20 fps. I’ve been talking about 15+ fps burst shooting. Again, it’s not possible with the stock Camera app. 8 Mpixels can’t even be sampled at 20+ fps, let alone stored.

                    “2. It’s not possible to store full resolution images 30 fps. This time you are trying to tell that 808′s 2MP video footage can beat iPhone’s rapid shooting.”

                    With the 808, I’ve spoken of sampling the full sensor, not storing the images – as I’ve did with the iPhone when talking about 20 fps. Of course I know it’s not possible to store images at 20 fps. This is why for exampel SnappyCam’s highest-res shooting’s speed is reduced to 4 fps (from 20 – again, it’s NOT full-res, “only” around 2200×1600 or the like) when the internal memory buffers fills in.

                    • Random Random


                      808 can take a picture every few seconds in full resolution. Barely more than a picture / second with 8MP.

                      The iPhone can do so much more. It’s a definite winner what it comes to taking lots of pictures in a short time.

                      Remember, with iPhone you can take so much more pictures in second compared to 808.

                • Random Random

                  Just to make sure you understand the difference.

                  I was talking about full image resolution. Not about how much of the sensor is used.

                  You may not know if but the details of 808′s video footage just can’t match 8MP images from iPhone.

                  When comparing rapid shooting even iPhone 4S unfortunately just beats 808. Nokia just wasn’t able to design that like feature Apple did at the time.

                  Yes, apparently they didn’t have the talent for that.

                  • Werner Ruotsalainen

                    There has been a misunderstanding here. I’ve bright up the question of sampling the 808 sensor (as opposed to that of the iPhone) because I wanted to explain why it’s not possible to achieve 20+ fps with full sensor sampling on iOS.

                    Opposed to this, the 808 sensor IS fully sampled at 30p.

                    Of course, the true burst shooting (including storing the shots) speeds are way lower with both phones.

                    • Werner Ruotsalainen

                      “bright up” = “brought up”

                      Sorry, should leave to sleep…

                    • Random Random

                      Taking pictures is what matters.

                      Not sensor sampling if the images can’t be saved.

                      With 808 it’s just not possible to shoot several pictures in a second when doing 8MP.

                      That’s where Apple comes in.

                    • n8thebest

                      For your own good, ignore this troll.

                    • Random Random


                      Please don’t say that. He is definitely not a troll. He has a very deep understanding of photography. Something you apparently just can only dream of.

                      Yes, we may have very different views on photography, Werner and I but that’s what makes discussion interesting.


    Nokia should tone down saturation, this is exceeding iphone levels.

    • Werner Ruotsalainen

      Exactly. And also make downsampling optional, particularly if that would speed up the shot-to-shot times. I don’t need those 5 Mpixel images with their strong demosaicing artifacts slowing down the camera.

  • virobloc

    “Something to learn is that Nokia needs to add functionality within the ProCam. No stepping out to use a lens (e.g. HDR or Panorama). ProCam needs to be its own entity.”
    Well said. I second this. Perhaps two separate apps, ProCam for serious things and another one for “funny” things.

  • milojko

    how long are these reviewers going to be excited about 1/1.5″ sensor beating 1/3.2″? :D

    • Werner Ruotsalainen

      The photodiode sizes are still pretty much comparable – after all, there are 41 Millions of them on the 2/3″ sensor (1.12 micron).

      This is why the full-res image of the 1020 is approximately as noisy as that of the iPhone 4S/5.

      • Random Random


        808 on full resolution was more noisy than iPhone.

        1020 on the other hand is superior to 808.

        • Cod3rror

          You are talking absolute nonsense! Really, you have zero, ZERO clue what you’re talking about.

          808 kills 1020.

        • stylinred

          lol what?! rofl

          • viperkid

            he is a blind iPhone fan. he is PROUD of iPhone delivering faster burst modes with mediocre quality.

          • Random Random

            Yes. You don’t clearly understand what I’m saying.

            One native pixel on 808 has more noise than one native pixel on iPhone.

            Do you even understand what is a native pixel?

            • stylinred

              you clearly dont know what you’re saying

              • Random Random

                Sure I do.

                You are ignorant.

                That was confirmed.

      • milojko

        apples and oranges, it’s like saying that VGA camera from 7650 is comparable with 808 because it has even bigger photodiodes ;)

  • stylinred

    I cant believe people could even think the iphone has a chance -_-

  • viperkid

    Nokia 808′s oversampled photo is WAY superior than iPhone 5′s 8mpx image that looks like garbage. anyone who says otherwise are blind fanboys and maybe bcoz they prefer faster burst modes :D

    • Random Random


      You truly are ignorant if you think iPhone delivers garbage.

      It’s like saying how N95 delivers garbage.

      • milojko

        in comparison with 808 both iPhone and N95 deliver garbage, the point is both 808&iP didn’t exist in 2008

        • Random Random


          Pictures are either great, good enough or garbage.

          From those phones iPhone definitely delivers good enough quality for most people.

          808 delivers better quality for a number of purposes but then again it fails to deliver in some situations. There is nothing wrong with that. Even DLSR’s sometimes fail to deliver while N95 deliver.

          808 is a device for people taking pictures of landscapes etc. 808 need more time in order to get a nice picture. That’s where iPhone is the superior product. Just like 1020 is also superior to 808.

          It’s like you were trying to say that people always have all the time in the world to take the pictures.

          • milojko

            well, even DSLRs need longer shutter to catch more light for a beautiful picture, that doesn’t mean iPhone picture with 0,1s shutter is anywhere near that good…if iPhone could (and if there was a sense at all) keep shutter open for 5 seconds you would also need a lot of time for a nice picture

            • Random Random

              The iPhone is a nice phone people use to take pictures of normal life.

              Realistically speaking it’s not possible to take a picture with 5 second exposure time without a tripod or some extensive work for finding a support for the phone.

              Extremely few people want to have 5 second exposure times. Even 0,5 second is unnecessary for most people.

              • milojko

                because most people don’t even know how good picture should look, once they see it they will never return to poor iphone camera

                • Random Random


                  The consumers have wrong opinions and they should probably be punished if they don’t understand how using any phone without 41MP sensor is just a waste of time.

                  • milojko

                    the consumers interested in good photography are already punished if they don’t know for better than iPhone…

                    • Random Random

                      So you are saying that if they use iPhone they must be punished with iPhone and they can’t be allowed to pick another device because then they would no longer be punished?

                    • milojko

                      yeah, being ignorant is a very big punishment

      • stylinred

        the N95 still delivers better photos than the iphone5 though…

        • viperkid

          i agree. only Random Random is living in his “own” iWorld / sWorld :D

  • viperkid

    iPhone 5 delivers mediocre quality photos, but yes it can capture photos faster than 808 bcoz it DOES NOT do advance oversampling “hardware wise” processing. all iPhone 5 does is capture fast shot to shot pix to satisfy blind iWorshipers

  • viperkid

    nokia 808 vs sony cybershot rx 100 vs canon EOS 60D

    i wonder why iPhone is not even included on DPREVIEW’s list??!!

    why is it so?
    bcoz iPhones produces CRAPtastic pictures

    one more time:

    i therefore conclude that:

    iPhones have standard camera technology – i.e. sourced from ready made and ready to order components from regular camera component suppliers

    no wonder iPhones produce inferior photos vs nokia 808 and 1020 and some cases, even N95

    • Werner Ruotsalainen

      Well, actually, you CAN select the iPhone 5 onto the list.

      Nevertheless, it produces waaay worse images than the 808, both noise and detail-wise.

      The following crop clearly shows this:

      • Random Random

        Sure, just like I have always said, you can get better pictures with 808 if you have lots of time to spare for taking the picture, or if there is lots of light available.

        I hope Deaconclgi reads this message.

        I have clearly stated here how good 808 is.

        • milojko

          everybody except apple fans know that you don’t need a lot of time to take great picture with 808, at least great compared to poor iphone

          • viperkid

            only air-headed or brainwashed people needs “lots of time to spare for taking the picture” with 808. everybody knows that 808 has auto mode and an admirable IQ.

            only idiots will also say, with 808 “you can get better pictures with 808 if there is lots of light available”

            i dunno if dey know about the tiny sensor size of iPhones which REQUIRES lots of light available to have decent pix

            only arrogant, misinformed, proud and amateur photographers will say ridiculous things about a product they dislike.

            they seem to enjoy debunking 808′s imaging prowess and what nokia has done to it, miniaturizing great imaging technology to fit in a compact package. they kept on repeating on almost every blog article that 808 needs ds and dat blah blah to take good pics. when actually, 808 has one of d best camera and output ds world has ever witnessed.

            maybe ds people are PhDs, dey know how to engineer stuff better than nokia’s imaging team :D

  • Werner Ruotsalainen

    BTW, OT: DPR has just published their Pana FZ70 samples.

    My quick evaluation of their 20mm equiv ones (the feature – ultra wideangle – I’d mostly purchase it for):