Microsoft is currently releasing the Lumia 830 worldwide, and it’s dubbed as an affordable flagship with its high-end design and its 10MP PureView six-element Zeiss lens featuring their thinnest version of optical image stabilization. The Lumia 830’s camera competes with the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S5 and we’ll also do an in depth comparison with it and the iPhone 6 in the near future.
For now we’ve decided to put it to the test against the Lumia 1020 which represents the benchmark of smartphone photography from a pure quality perspective.
The images below should cover most types of photography scenarios showcasing the full capabilities of both smartphone cameras.
It’s worth mentioning that the Lumia 830 comes pre-installed with Microsoft/Nokia’s latest firmware “Lumia Denim” which has the latest photo processing algorithms, while the Lumia 1020 currently doesn’t have the firmware update which is said to significantly enhance its photo quality and increase speed between photos.
The Lumia 830 will get an app called “Lumia Camera” in the next few weeks which will enable HDR mode and video recording in 4K. HDR mode will enhance the photo quality of the Lumia 830 and it’s something the iPhone 6 shoots in by default.
While the Lumia 1020 is known to produce saturated images which really stand out and have that “pop”, the Lumia 830 in this case seems to have an even more saturated look in this photo. However, it’s not the good kind – it looks darker overall and some colors seem off.
The Lumia 1020’s image just feels more refreshing and has a better overall contrast while the Lumia 830 has a much more oversaturated and darker look.
The Lumia 1020 clearly has the sharper image here but not everywhere, as the Lumia 830 tends to focus better on the outer edges of the scene despite the subject of focus being the bench. This is something that is common on all photos between the two, but even more noticeable when the subject of focus is at a closer distance.
When zooming in, although the Lumia 830 performs well, this is where the difference in detail becomes very apparent between the two. The Lumia 1020’s image manages to retain much of its original detail and still looks very sharp, while the Lumia 830 clearly starts to show detail loss. We used the 5MP oversampled image for the Lumia 1020 Zoom in this photo.
With a heavy zoom, we choose to use the Lumia 1020’s 34MP image as it manages to retain more detail despite producing more noise, while the 5MP image would start to deteriorate at this point. This zoom really shows just how having a high resolution sensor can be beneficial and the difference between the two devices is significant at this point with the Lumia 830 looking very pixilated.
HSBCLumia 1020 HSBC (5MP oversampled)
With this photo, the same type of oversaturation occurs with the Lumia 830 and the photo seems to have a yellowish tint, while the Lumia 1020 produces the more natural colors and doesn’t oversaturate any one particular color.
The Main focal point of this photo is the HSBC sign and when we zoom into it, the Lumia 1020 once again has the much sharper image quality.
Macro photography has always been a weak point of the Lumia 1020, as its lens design doesn’t focus on anything closer than six inches. This is something the Lumia 830 does a much better job at as it’s able to focus two inches from the subject.
Playground (Vibrant Colors)
This scene has bright vibrant colors and it’s a great example of how the two devices see them differently.
The Lumia 830 once again has a darker tone with much more saturated colors compared to the 1020, which gives it more of an oppressive feel as the sky is also darker. Overall the Lumia 1020 produces a much more natural tone and also has a much better representation of the actual colors despite it too being a little on the saturated side.
We used this photo to really push the zooming limits on both devices, as you can see the distance from the sign is pretty far. We used the Lumia 1020’s hi-resolution photo in this example.
It’s quite incredible to what the Lumia 1020 can achieve with digital zoom and there isn’t a better example than this one. The sign is very pixilated with such a massive zoom the Lumia 830 makes it unreadable while the Lumia 1020 is still clear and very readable.
This is not a fair comparison with the Lumia 1020 having such a higher resolution camera, but it’s a perfect example of its zooming prowess.
Low Light Without Flash
Both phones focused at the centre of the controller, but at this distance, you’re able to tell a major difference in the way each device focuses on the subject. The Lumia 1020 tends to have a shallower depth of field and the focus on the subject is much shaper than the rest of the image, while the Lumia 830 keeps its sharpness all around.
The wrinkles in the leather are very visible in the Lumia 830’s photo while the Lumia 1020’s image is softer everywhere else except the centre of the controller.
Even in the zoom we can tell just how much shallower the depth of field the Lumia 1020 produces at this distance. When looking at the “Microsoft Studios sign” which is in focus on the Lumia 830, while the primary centre of focus (Controller) is a lot sharper on the 1020. The Lumia 1020 even keeps the detail in the joysticks visible while the Lumia 830 doesn’t capture any.
This is something that can be good or bad, depending on what effect you would like to achieve when taking photos. The Lumia 830 keeps more of the photo in focus compared to the 1020, especially when the subject is at a closer distance, while the 1020 is the opposite.
However, when a shallow depth of focus is preferred, the Lumia 1020 preforms beautifully in this regard as the Lumia 830 doesn’t do as good of a job in blurring the background as in the example below.
Controller with Flash
Lumia 1020 has a very powerful flash compared to virtually every other smartphone due to it using a Xenon flash rather than the traditional LED flash. The Lumia 830’s flash performs quite well in this scene and keeps the whole image in focus even though the primary subject is the centre of the controller once again.
The color reproduction is good, actually, and nowhere near as saturated as the photos it produces in daylight. The 1020 on the other hand produces the more saturated photos in low light situations, and especially with the flash on.
The Lumia 1020’s Xenon flash combined with the higher resolution sensor completely outclasses the single LED flash on the Lumia 830 when zoomed as the texture on the joysticks is clearly visible.
Absolute Low Light Performance Test with ISO@100
In the test below we’ve set something to hold the phones so that there’s absolutely no movement and set a timer of 2 seconds so that even a slight shake from the screen press goes away before the camera goes off. We selected the red & blue ball as the primary focus before taking the shot.
We’ve also set set the ISO at 100 for maximum light with the lowest possible noise production. The shutter speeds automatically adjusted and were just above 2 seconds on each phone. This is not ideal but it gives us a way to test the maximum potential of these devices in low light photography.
The same thing occurs in this photo as many others before it with the difference in focus between the two devices. The Lumia 1020’s photo keeps the balls super sharp with everything else being out of focus while the Lumia 830′ spreads the focus across the whole image, despite manually focusing on the blue & red ball.
The Lumia 1020’s image is clean and keeps noise very low, while the Lumia 830 image is generally noisier all around but still manages to produce a clean overall image.
When zooming in on the objects, the Lumia 1020’s image is significantly sharper as it focuses all its imaging capabilities on the subject while the Lumia 830 spreads focus to the entire image and doesn’t perform well in zoom situations.
Xenon Flash VS LED flash
When it comes to low light situations, especially at parties where subjects are moving or even taking pictures of your kids who never sit still, a Xenon flash makes a world of difference compared to an LED flash as it’s able to completely freeze the subject in motion.
In the example below, we’ve focused on the white round speaker and let a ball roll off a ramp at equal speeds in both situations and took the shot as it passed by the speaker.
This is the perfect example of just how powerful a Xenon flash is when comparing to an LED flash, and as you can see, the Lumia 1020’s Xenon flash managed to completely freeze the rolling ball and capture a staggering amount of detail.
Overall we’re very impressed with the Lumia 830’s camera and how well it performs in both daylight and low light scenarios, although we expect Microsoft to adjust the color output to be a little more neutral in daylight scenarios and a little less cold in low light scenarios.
These results go to show just how far the Lumia 1020 is ahead of every other smartphone from quality perspective and just how big of an advantage a Xenon flash is over an LED. However, it’s not a fair comparison with a device like the Lumia 830, but according to others who have compared it to an iPhone 6 camera, it’s pretty evenly matched. Although we can’t confirm this until we perform an in depth test our selves, we look forward to putting the three smartphones through a similar test.
The Lumia 830 is a very capable smartphone shooter, and with a price tag much lower than flagship smartphones with imaging capabilities in the same category, one can’t go wrong with the Lumia 830.
We’ll also be conducting a video and audio test between the Lumia 830 and Lumia 1020 to see just how capable the Lumia 830’s Dolby Digital recording microphones are compared with the 1020’s, so stay tuned for a lot more coverage on the Lumia 830, including our full in depth review.