- 11-19-2012, 04:48 AM #1
First let me start off by saying that I have pretty good experience in the photography arena and DSLRs, which is one of the reasons I bought the lumia 920. Anyone who's familiar with DSLRs understand the significance of having a lens with a fairly wide f2.0 aperture and OIS, and their advantages and disadvantages. The first few times I shot pictures with the lumia, I started to notice that most of my pictures were lacking sharpness (very uncharacteristic of carl zeiss optics), and so I played with the settings a bit in hopes that I get better results if I manually set the settings based on what I was shooting. That didn't help either, and so I told myself that maybe my hands are too shaky for the advantage of the OIS to realy show. Then I started using a tripod and STILL didn't get better results. Then it hit me. Regardless of the lens, wider aperture generally results in softer images, as opposed to stopping down the aperture in order to get sharper results. Surely that'll explain the lack of sharpness in the corners of the images, but what about the image entirely? Then I remembered some of the disadvantages of having OIS. Whenever your camera is sitting perfectly still, the OIS feature will "look" for shake which will also result in softer images. Reason I'm posting this all here is not only so we all know the limitations of our gear and learn to work with it, which in this case it's the lumia 920, but also because I'm afraid that this is something that a simple firmware update from nokia won't fix. This is one of those things where I would love to be wrong, and I'm hoping that I am, but my experience with camera gear tells me that this is just the way it's gon' have to be. I posted a link to my skydrive with images of the pictures I took with a tripod, a couple are in 16:9 format and the rest are in 4:3. Some places I shot multiple times to see if the results were consistent. On a side note, the colors the lens renders are amazing. http://sdrv.ms/UPPOdt
11-19-2012, 01:53 PM #2
- 91 Posts
I have also noticed the lack of sharpness on some, but not all photos. I knew aperture effects depth of field, but didn't know it had any other effect on focus or sharpness. Is the effect you are describing related to depth of field? I have only shot in 16:9 so far.
I used my phone as my only camera on a recent fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico in bright sun, and didn't notice any other bright sun issues, just the lack of sharpness. I shot quite a few videos and was happy with the steadiness of the video. Huge improvement over the iPhone.
- 11-19-2012, 02:38 PM #3
Engadget spent a fair bit of time with this phone's camera a few months ago, using pre-production firmware, and didn't seen this problem. I'm hopeful it was a firmware bug that crept in at the last minute. These things can happen when you're under a time crunch, you fix one bug only to cause another somewhere else.
- 11-19-2012, 02:43 PM #4
On the topic of aspect ratio, I have shot in 16:9 and 4:3, and at 100% I see no difference in image quality at all.
Also, a question regarding aspect ratios and printing to photo paper. If I am going to print some of these shots on 4x6 paper, I have been using the built-in crop tool and selecting '6x4' option for horizontal images. I believe this to be correct to match it to standard photo paper as the '4x6' option is for a vertical image. I have tried cropping 16:9 images and 4:3 images to this 6x4 crop, and still can't tell any difference when I zoom in at the resulting image. Is there advantage to either aspect ratio if I am cropping and printing?
- 11-19-2012, 02:57 PM #5
The image you see right as you are shooting your picture with all its sharpened glory makes you think that, finally, you have a photo worth posting to Facebook from your phone. Then, you get a softened photo. Well, I get a softened photo. I could mess with the settings and get a decent shot with software on the phone. It's not terrible though, and if we are going to be that picky about a camera on a phone we need to first explain to the world how we cured cancer.
- 11-19-2012, 03:55 PM #6
With all the hype that was surrounding the camera as people waited for the phone, the sales pitch prospective consumers will get at their local AT&T store, it's not being picky. The camera was one of the main features of the phone and when Suzy soccer mom takes a snap shot of little Timmy failing to score a goal (he'll still get the orange slices after the game even though he sucks) and wonders why her pics all look washed out compared to another mom's SGSIII or iPhone, she has a right to get pissed.
11-19-2012, 04:33 PM #8
- 9 Posts
A number of things point to the problem being caused by post-processing software, apparently introduced later in the development cycle. Notably, earlier photos taken by reviewers using pre-release versions of the phone did not show the problem, and the image is sharp on screen prior to the photo being taken but is soft in the final image.
In any event, according to the following post, Nokia will be delivering a software fix for the softness problem with 920 daylight performance:
Last edited by mxyztplk; 11-19-2012 at 05:49 PM.
- 11-19-2012, 11:26 PM #9
Last edited by Chris Parsons; 11-20-2012 at 09:04 AM.
- 11-19-2012, 11:48 PM #10
Aperture indeed affects depth of field but depth of field also depend on the size of the sensor (1/3' on the lumia), the focal length (26mm on the lumia) and the distance between you and the subject. For example, if you want to take a portrait of someone with a shallow depth of field (blurry background), you might have to be within a 1 foot of the subject in order to get a shallow depth of field - which will also distort the person's face, maybe by making their nose appear larger. With something like a full format sensor, you can be a little further away. But in terms of taking landscapes, where a shallow depth of field wouldn't be needed, having a wide aperture can result in softer looking images, especially around the edges. This is why photographers always advice you to stop down the aperture to about f8 - f11 when you're taking landscapes.
Hopefully a software update can fix all this. Here's to hoping
11-20-2012, 12:46 AM #11
- 1,062 Posts
^its slightly bigger than 1/3" .. Custom made by Sharp to Nokia's specs so that they can implement 16:9 aspect ratio. They started doing that with the N8 back in 2010, and as far as I know they are the only manufacturer that does this.
@OP Thank you for sharing that... I didn't even think about the fact that the ois stays on the whole time regardless if there is shake or not.
As far as the lens.. Yes I've mention this on here before, the wider the focal length it is the more difficult it is to keep the frame sharp towards the edges, but its not impossible. I am sorry that I have to keep going back to the 808 but that is the only other pureview product currently on sale, and I have a lot of experience with it. The 808's lens is carl zeiss as well, and it is just as wide, but the frame is pretty much razor sharp from end to end, so its possible to achieve this on a mobile but much more difficult due to the size limitations.
So I am going to stand by my on innitial opinion that the general lack of detail is due to the jpeg processing.. They are not extracting the maximum out of the available hardware. I can't believe that they would put a camera module not capable of more that what we've been seeing in terms of daylight image quality.
- 11-20-2012, 07:48 AM #12
ITs definitely in the processing. Watch when you take the picture. it will show the picture in its raw state really quick which is nice and sharp then shows you the jpeg picture which comes out blurry and washed out.
you have to pay attention because it shows you the raw image from the sensor really really quick. If you
see it you can see its a jpeg conversion problem.
11-25-2012, 04:34 PM #18
- 231 Posts
A photography enthusiast here.
I don't think the softness has anything to do with f/2.0. It doesn't make sense unless you are talking about the shallow depth of field that comes with wider aperture.
Personally most of my shots (both macro and landscape) come out quite sharp. That is unless you pixel peep at 100% crop. Don't pixel peep at 100% zoom because most DSLR also will look crappy at 100% crop.
Having said that, I do believe there is a bug in their JPEG engine that results in unusually crappy picture once in a while. Not a deal breaker in my opinion. I am guessing that's what Nokia said will fix soon.
11-25-2012, 06:08 PM #19
- 24 Posts
The shallow depth of field that one associates with a DSLR at an aperture of 2.0. Simply is not a factor when that same aperture is implemented against the incredibly tiny sensors that are used in camera phones. Camera phones and indeed most pocket cameras have an incredibly deep depth of field due to this. The only time there will be a noted shallow DOF is when taking an extreme close up. So any softness being seen in typical daylight photography is unrelated to the 2.0 aperture. The softness is almost certainly related to a suboptimal jpeg processing algorithm. The good news is this can be corrected with a software update.
- 11-25-2012, 06:33 PM #21
I believe I read somewhere that the camera's on our phones have become more widely used then point and shoots. Look at what you can do to a picture after the fact on most smartphones today. Edit it, filter it, crop it, save it to the cloud, ect. I'd almost go as far to say that the camera is about as equal if not more important to many as call quality (the actual phone portion).
11-25-2012, 07:31 PM #22
- 135 Posts
Yesterday i was in my mom's backyard, and a hawk dove in for a kill. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to use my new phone, but unfortunately, all of the photos show the bird as nothing but a mass of brown with a bit of white, barely identifiable. I even got within about 20 feet of it for the last 2 I took. Today I was taking some pictures and found the same thing, the camera just can't seem to get the focus down on anything more than 10 feet away. The infuriating thing was I'd see the preview go to a well-focused view, and then pull back.
All my setting are default on the camera, except for turning the focus assist light off for daylight shots, and I used the shutter button.
Trolley stop https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resi...Gaf2KNQps7AjyE
this one shows better close focus/sharpness: https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resi...BzCs5K70DpBQx0
but you can see how much better close-ups are:
while others just inexplicably are unfocused:
This isn't my first rodeo, I'm sure I held the camera steady and the lens wasn't smudged, but possibly the fact that the phone was in my pocket and it was cold outside affected it.
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