Camera comparison: Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Sony Xperia Z1

The Nokia Lumia 1020 with it’s 41 Megapixel PureView camera is picking up awards as the best camera on a mobile phone. At IFA, Sony launched their Xperia Z1 touting it as the best camera for a smartphone. Which one is better? While here at IFA in Berlin, we managed to take some pictures with both these phones and do a quick comparison to see which one is better. Click on the gallery below to see higher sized images.

The Xperia Z1, we noticed, tends to produce more vibrant images during daytime that look better on your screen but might not reflect the actual colour. On the other hand, the Lumia 1020 produced warmer images during night-time photography making it look a bit better than the Z1 but again, this is not reflective of the correct colours.

The large 41MP sensor on the Lumia tends to give you more zoom or detail in your images as you can see from the few images that we have cropped at 1:1 ratio. The night time full zoom image is of a window in a building and neither of the cameras can clearly depict that a person is sitting with in front of a table and a lamp hanging from the ceiling- something visible from the naked eye.

At the end of the day, almost all our readers will scale their images down in size and quality when sharing them online. When you post pictures to your Facebook accounts or send them over twitter, you are not sending the full resolution image but a scaled down image. Mane email clients do that to pictures you send as attachments as well. When that happens, images from both these cameras look quite good. They’re certainly the best shots I’ve seen from phone cameras.

UPDATE: Our review of the Sony Xperia Z1 is now online with the Lumia 1020 to follow next week. I’ve also been asked how the video quality compares between the two and from my preliminary tests, the Nokia Lumia 1020 seems better. Check out the Samsung Galaxy Gear hands-on video that was recorded using the Lumia 1020 with ONE hand. The quality and OIS really works well.

UPDATE 2: A lot of people are asking/questioning the settings I used. To make things clear, both cameras were set to auto mode and these pictures are representative of what a casual user would get out of these phones. I will get our pro guy in the next couple of days to do a rematch between these two devices with manual settings fine-tuned to get the best pictures from each of these phones.

UPDATE 3: Pro Photography comparison between the Lumia 1020 and Xperia Z1 is published and can be seen here.