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Lumia 950/XL still the best Camera in 2018?

Asked: Jan 05 2018 | 11:03 am EST 28557 Views 76 Answers View Best Answer

Just wondering what those of you who have tried some of the newer phones think. Personally, from comparison shots by trying newer phones in stores and reading reviews on newer tech out there that the Lumia 950/XL has the best overall image quality.

It's the main (almost only) reason I haven't upgraded yet. I can't justify spending $300+ for myself and my spouse to upgrade to get matching or potentially worse camera performance.

The App gap doesn't bother me as I don't game and since I use Windows 10 on everything at the house along with my Bands 1/2 when working out it's a great setup.

I don't want to reinvest $1000+ per person to get the latest iPhone/Android + Smart Watches for us to upgrade when our Microsoft tech still works flawlessly.

Sorry for the ramble...


Best Answer

5,848
Jan 12 2019 | 11:11 pm EST raycpl

my 950xl has been with me for exactly two years.... probably will keep it til end of this year.
Battery usage was never been stellar (for Lumias, it goes to the 1520), usually 12 hours but I'm a very heavy user. But like @MBytes said, new batteries does wonders. I have bought two over the past 6 months, mainly as spares....

More Answers

21,060
Jan 05 2018 | 11:30 am EST worldspy99

I had the 950XL and there is no contest between the newer Pixel 2 and the 950. In fact Dec 2016 and Jan 2017 I used a 950 and the original Pixel side by side and even then the Pixel consistently crushed the Lumia 950. The Pixel 2 is even better. This HDR+ / Machine Learning thing that Google employs is amazing.
3,536
Jan 05 2018 | 5:01 pm EST Scienceguy Labs

Interesting article above. I gotta say, though, I'm no professional photographer, but I've never gotten shots on my P2XL as bad as that guy. I'm not sure what he was doing. My 950 XL has an awesome camera, but from what I've gotten, it can't beat the P2XL. But, like I said... I'm not a pro. I just point and shoot.
1,118
Jan 05 2018 | 6:41 pm EST mark233

I'm not dissatisfied with my LGV30's camera's ability ... particularly using manual mode. To my ears the audio captured by the V30's video is cleaner and more desirable to me. The only phone camera (particularly video) I've used that closely rivals (if not outshines) the 950 is the V30...
525
Jan 06 2018 | 1:26 am EST Iain_S

I would say the top 2 cameras on phones right now are the pixel xl 2 and the note 8. The 950 is definatly not the best camera anymore.
1,866
Jan 06 2018 | 4:18 am EST anthonyng

I'm still pretty damned happy with the results from my 950XL! :)

It's why I keep fixing the screen when I smash it. As an overall package, it's good enough for me, I don't feel I'm missing out on too too much at this time. I've been big on quality camera's on my phone since the Nokia N73! ;)
143
Jan 06 2018 | 7:37 am EST fin11

I'm also still very pleased with my 950XL camera. My GF has a new Samsung S8, it has a good camera, but it doesn't match the 950XL. She always wants me to shoot pictures in demanding light conditions (ie low light, sunsets) and I beam them over to her S8. My friends with various other new top end smartphones are also still amazed when they see the pictures taken with my phone. Low light conditions are of course tricky with any phonecamera. When using autofocus without flash the 950XL sometimes doesn't focus in low light, so I use manual focus, longer exposure and try to keep the phone steady with excellent results.

I've considered the hp Elite x 3, but the camera and glance screen are the reasons I will not change. I would also try to replace the screen or try to buy another 950XL if this phone would break. I replaced the battery, and have another spare battery so I hope I can use this phone at least 2 more years.
386
Jan 06 2018 | 11:47 am EST Ariel Takom

OFF-TOPIC: Wow, it's been so long since I last answered a question or participated in this forums.

ON-TOPIC:

TL;DR: NO. The 950/XL phone no longer has the best camera in the smartphone world. The article from AAWP should be taken with a grain of salt since the author is very biased towards Windows Phones.

Text-Wall: About a few months back (probably in September or October) I've decided that I need to upgrade from my Lumia 950. The 950 was a great phone when I first had it, but after a year's worth of use, the phone, along with the OS, became too much of a burden for me to keep using.

From the phone's hardware perspective, the battery could only give me about 3 hours of SoT before turning off, and this was on WiFi. Also, the camera sensor of the phone is very, VERY fragile. Within that year of using the 950, I broke the camera sensor twice. The first one was from a very hard fall, but for the second one, the phone never got dropped. The hardest drop I gave it was probably a throw to my bed where it bounced on the bed a few times. That was enough to cause the camera sensor to malfunction, in a sense that it has a hard time focusing on subjects and while it's trying to focus, it makes this weird spark noise (I concluded that this sound was produced by the sensor's rapid movement to focus and defocus).

From the OS perspective, well, you know how it is. No need for me to explain. What makes this more of a problem is the app gap. I'm going to transfer to another university soon, and that uni is apparently very large and is very easy to get lost in. The uni's admin made an app for students which allows them to navigate through the school easily, but it's only available for Android and iOS. Bummer.

After doing my research on what phone is best for me to replace my 950 with, I ended up buying the Huawei Mate 10 (the non-pro version). The phone is a beauty (but also fragile. Glass is glass), has higher-end internal specs, bigger screen with a really good screen-to-body ratio, very big battery (8 hours SoT on Mobile Data), very good speaker, and a camera set-up that so far, in my experience, has been better than the 950 ever did. While it lacks the RGB flash for natural tones, it does come with a dual camera set-up which made my picture taking ability go to the next level.

It offers a whole lot more camera modes such as light painting, star trailing, night shots, portrait, and more! The manual/Pro mode is also imo much better than the 950. The Mate 10 can take pictures at a maximum of 30 seconds of exposure time vs the 4 s maximum exposure time of the 950. The post-processing of the photos I took are also top-notch because the colors of the photos are very accurate. In terms of pixel-peeping, the 950 slightly wins because the regular camera sensor has a very high MP count, but in terms of image quality, the Mate 10 is better, ESPECIALLY in low light.

The only thing that the 950 wins considerably over the Mate 10 is in terms of video recording. The videos in my 950 is slightly smoother than my Mate 10, despite both having OIS. Also, the audio recording with the 950 is much, much better than the Mate 10. Other than that, however, the Mate 10 wipes the floor with the 950. It even has the somewhat Continuum-like function similar to Samsung's.

All in all, the Mate 10 has so far impressed me. I felt sad when I was about to part with my 950, but honestly, after a month of using the Mate 10, the only thing I missed about the 950 is very insignificant.

Anyway, if you want to find cheap but great phones with great cameras, check XiaoMi, OnePlus, and also some of the older Huawei phones like the Mate 9 or the P9.

P/S: Forgive me if what I'm talking about doesn't make sense. I'm quite tired while writing this.
1,254
Jan 06 2018 | 4:15 pm EST vEEP pEEP

Nokia used to make great camera phones.....until.....
525
Jan 06 2018 | 8:11 pm EST Iain_S

Nokia used to make great camera phones.....until.....
will be interesting with the Nokia 9 and what HMD do with this device.
517
Jan 13 2018 | 2:15 pm EST MBytes

I had the 950XL and there is no contest between the newer Pixel 2 and the 950. In fact Dec 2016 and Jan 2017 I used a 950 and the original Pixel side by side and even then the Pixel consistently crushed the Lumia 950. The Pixel 2 is even better. This HDR+ / Machine Learning thing that Google employs is amazing.
Based on reviews I see, and image comparison with friends, the Lumia 950 camera is now equivalent to others. Note: I am comparing rear camera, with auto mode, as this is the realistic mode that most would use a phone camera. A Point & Shoot camera, not a professional DLSR camera.

The Lumia 950 / XL camera is on par as other premium phones with a difference of 5-10% (subjective percentage) + or - depending on the phone. In other words, some things other phones are better at by a few percentage, and some things the Lumia 950 camera is better at by a few percentage.

Not bad for a 2 year old phone.
That said, I expect that the Samsung Galaxy S9, and the Pixel 3 to really have something that you can pretty much clearly say, yea it is better, it worth an upgrade to. But upgrade to a 950 to a Pixel 2 or S8 (which uses the same camera as the S7), would be a disappointment (for the camera specifically, I am talking about), as you would have spent all this money, for a phone that will give you similar pictures quality. They would be better, but marginally. I am comparing shot with friends Pixel 2 and S7 (S8 uses the same camera, as mentioned) even, and they are surprised by the Lumia 950 results. It is so incredibly close.

That said, I want to be clear, if you have NO Lumia 950, or S7, S8 or Pixel phone, DO NOT buy the 950 or 950 XL. It is not worth it. Other premium camera are at worst equivalent to a bit better. If you have Lumia 950, WAIT.

What wait?
  • Coming up gen phones should have a better camera that is visibly better over the Lumia 950
  • Google hopefully should figure out how to finally fix all the production issues that keep happening, and still read stories about people having to exchange their device due to issues... let alone software issues that Google takes ages to fix like the lock screen with the latest Android (go figure).
  • Microsoft apps on Android are getting visibly better each month, so by the time these new phones come out, and you have your hands on it, you should expect great MS apps, better than on the Lumia 950, more advancement on Cortana on Android (maybe even SMS on PC feature), and a killer MS launcher, which is already excellent and supported by excellent reviews and 10+ million downloads.

In other words, if you want to stick to Microsoft ecosystem the most, and Windows 10 integration to treat your phone as an extension of your PC as the Lumia 950 you have was, it should be all be ready by then, or mostly.
21,060
Jan 13 2018 | 2:19 pm EST worldspy99

Based on reviews I see, the Lumia 950 camera is now equivalent to others. Note: I am comparing rear camera, with auto mode, as this is the realistic mode that most would use a phone camera. A Point & Shoot camera, not a professional DLSR camera.

The Lumia 950 / XL camera is on par as other premium phones with a difference of 5-10% (subjective percentage) + or -. In other words, some things other phones are better at by a few percentage, and some things the Lumia 950 camera is better at by a few percentage.

Not bad for a 2 year old phone.
That said, I expect that the Samsung Galaxy S9, and the Pixel 3 to really have something that you can pretty much clearly say, yea it is better, it worth an upgrade to. But upgrade to a 950 to a Pixel 2 or S8 (which uses the same camera as the S7), would be a disappointment (for the camera specifically, I am talking about), as you would have spent all this money, for a phone that is essentially the same in camera quality.
You are basing your comments on reviews.

My original post was based on owning the 950, 950XL and both Pixel devices.

I just wanted to point out that minor difference.
506
Jan 13 2018 | 2:29 pm EST Ejay Lozano

It still has the highest megapixels, but it's missing the dual camera feature that the newest smart phones have today.
341
Jan 13 2018 | 2:47 pm EST Player Piano

I guess a better question might be is the 950XL still considered a smart phone in 2018?
73
Jan 13 2018 | 2:50 pm EST SvenJ

Some things are subjective, and there are numerous aspects that can be compared. I still think the 1020 camera competes favorably with most of the current offerings with the huge exception of speed. It is dog slow, but the pictures it produces and the post cropping abilities are second to none. That's using WP8, not an upgraded 10. It was way more than just a super high pixel count.

That said, I have a 950, 950XL, iPhone X and Pixel, (and a couple of 1020s) and while they each have their strengths and failings, you wouldn't be disappointed in the shots any of them take, unless you are super critical. These are designed to capture memories, not works of art.
73
Jan 13 2018 | 2:58 pm EST SvenJ

I guess a better question might be is the 950XL still considered a smart phone in 2018?
The snark is strong with this one.
386
Jan 13 2018 | 3:05 pm EST darrell reimer

I tried the Lg V30 for 2 weeks; loved the phone, but the camera was not nearly as good as my 950 XL; i noticed it right away, indoors and out, so i returned it. I take a ton of pics, so a top notch camera is near the top of my requirements. I'm trying an S8+, and am super happy with the pics. I've always liked Samsung cameras; my first Windows phone was the ATIV S; then i moved to the ATIV SE. Both took amazing pictures (still and vid), and the S8+ is now also making me very very happy with my pictures.
358
Jan 13 2018 | 3:10 pm EST slysy

Not bad for a 2 year old phone.
That said, I expect that the Samsung Galaxy S9, and the Pixel 3 to really have something that you can pretty much clearly say, yea it is better, it worth an upgrade to.
I think the Pixel3 is just a little too far away and I'm too impatient ;) The S9 could be interesting though. Do you think it will have a market leading camera, based on leaks so far (variable aperture etc)?
49
Jan 13 2018 | 4:23 pm EST Vincent McLaughlin

The 950 XL certainly has a great camera and it can still rank in with some of the best IMO, but I wouldn't say it is the best, at this point. My Note 8 takes excellent pics and just as good, if not better than my old 950 XL. However, despite not being the best, I wouldn't necessarily say it would be blown away by newer phones.
98
Jan 13 2018 | 4:48 pm EST sporosarcina

Of course it is not still the best, advancement happens. Having said that I still feel like the 950 is a great camera that produces a great picture. In particular the three LED flash produces great results and still outperforms many cameras.
22
Jan 13 2018 | 5:02 pm EST Blomsternisse

The 950 is too slow at taking photos and the white balance is often entirely off. My old iPhone 5s took better pictures 95% of the time. Comparing my 950 with my Samsung Galaxy S8 is not even funny. 12 Mpix (S8) beating 19 Mpix (950) in almost every situation.
10
Jan 13 2018 | 5:35 pm EST squeezy99

I still love my 950xl, the camera is great. I use the raw with Lightroom and the results are terrific.
Come on MS lets have a commitment to develop W10 mobile.
43
Jan 13 2018 | 6:10 pm EST Dare2Blink

I would say the top 2 cameras on phones right now are the pixel xl 2 and the note 8. The 950 is definatly not the best camera anymore.
Definitely not. I went from a lumia 950 XL to a Note 8 and the lumia's camera is definitely better, especially in low light. The only photos that can compete with the lumia in low light is probably the pixel 2
491
Jan 13 2018 | 6:26 pm EST Elky64

I guess a better question might be is the 950XL still considered a smart phone in 2018?
Exactly. Since its initial intention was to be a smartphone first a discussion about its camera competing in 2018 feels kinda mute IMHO.
3,689
Jan 13 2018 | 6:37 pm EST realwarder

Have to say I took my 950xl to the kids Christmas play to video it rather than using my iPhone. Zoomed video works very well on the 950 with good stabilization and the photos are still good but I used a DSLR for that that day.

More modern smartphones (Pixel2/Note8/iPhoneX) are now better for daily shots than the 950, but it still holds out well for its age!
240
Jan 13 2018 | 7:06 pm EST kurtd

Living images on the lumia 950 worked absolutely amazing, especially how you could view them on your windows 10 pc without any effort.
4
Jan 13 2018 | 7:28 pm EST Jonathan Osachuk

I just bought a new Pixel 2 XL to replace my 950xl a couple days ago. I bought an LG G6 last year and found the camera to be terrible and ended up using my Lumia whenever I went anywhere I'd take photos. I find that Lumia to be better in terms of hardware still (screen quality, reception, battery life...) and ended up using it most of the time because I just liked it better. Figured I'd just do it right amd go for the big guns (Pixel 2 XL 128gb) since I am starting to find problems with the Windows apps I use becoming outdated and so that I can still sell this phone for something. I'll definitely miss it.
341
Jan 13 2018 | 9:24 pm EST Player Piano

The snark is strong with this one.
Honest question. How does one define a smartphone in 2018?
289
Jan 13 2018 | 10:10 pm EST anon(7929613)

I've just bought Lumia 950. One striking aspect of it's camera is ACCURATE COLOR REPRODUCTION. This is different from older Lumia that over saturated the colors.

I am literally stunned by it's camera. It's different but it's awesome! I don't know how they did it.
809
Jan 14 2018 | 1:56 am EST Great deal

Jeez, just let it go, move on, pivot a bit and chat about enterprise services, rehashing dead tech is not the way to go unless you have too many staff and not enough to talk about..
13
Jan 14 2018 | 2:29 am EST pdixon0

Agree with Dare2Blink above, I moved from a 950XL to a Note8 in October, the low light photos in particular from the Note8 are embarrassing in comparison to the 950XL.
1
Jan 14 2018 | 2:40 am EST Pritam Das

I had the 950XL and there is no contest between the newer Pixel 2 and the 950. In fact Dec 2016 and Jan 2017 I used a 950 and the original Pixel side by side and even then the Pixel consistently crushed the Lumia 950. The Pixel 2 is even better. This HDR+ / Machine Learning thing that Google employs is amazing.
Best smartphone camera on a Windows smartphone. Nowhere remotely near best accross all phones. Last generation Pixel and iPhones way ahead. I'm not even mentioning this year's Pixel phones.
142
Jan 14 2018 | 2:53 am EST G4Grandad

Best camera on an obsolete smartphone. What an accolade!!
2,716
Jan 14 2018 | 3:20 am EST neo158

I think this is a very, very subjective question. I prefer the camera on my 950XL over the Nexus 5X that I also have any day due to the amount of options available on it. However, this doesn't mean that there isn't better camera software on phones out there but I have noticed that the hardware all seems to be around the 20MP mark that the 950XL was at when it was first released. For me it comes down to the feature set in the camera software, I want the option of full DSLR style manual control, something that still isn't standard even on high end Android smartphones, and that's what the 950XL gives me.
27
Jan 14 2018 | 4:57 am EST Stephen Townsley

I had the 950XL and there is no contest between the newer Pixel 2 and the 950. In fact Dec 2016 and Jan 2017 I used a 950 and the original Pixel side by side and even then the Pixel consistently crushed the Lumia 950. The Pixel 2 is even better. This HDR+ / Machine Learning thing that Google employs is amazing.
Nokia sold the Lumia on smartphone photography. Not having a flagship phone for 2 years means the Lumia 950/XL is now lagging way behind.

If you are buying a smartphone in 2018 for picture quality then Windowsphone isn't the best.

However if you compare it with the average and general affordable Android device in 2018 then the Lumia could still be viable. Of course it's not a like for like, flagship to flagship, comparison.
2
Jan 14 2018 | 8:29 am EST Steve Litchfield

Steve here from AAWP, so I've been doing 950 vs the rest camera comparisons for two years now. The new iPhone X and Pixel 2 range are the first two competitors which have bested the 950/XL in terms of results (and factoring in things like zoom, in the iPhone's case).

Obviously the newer chipsets and sensors are much faster (not least in focussing!), but the 950 range's camera STILL is competitive in terms of high quality photos with the best in the world - as long as the subject is relatively compliant(!)

554
Jan 14 2018 | 9:07 am EST erzhik

Nope, not really better. May be better in the dark and when zoomed in, but overall 950XL camera lacks too many features to be called the best cameraphone.
639
Jan 14 2018 | 9:24 am EST Allen Rhodes

What is with all the Uncle Rico's(watch Napoleon Dynamite) still on these forums? Of course a camera from 2015 is bested by 2017 phones. There aren't many tests needed for this. It may beat some phones but holding onto a dead platform device bases on tech that I PROMISE will be bested by every phone released in Q3 and Q4 of this year is past sad, it's borderline pathetic at this point. If you CANT afford a new phone, guess what... You don't fall in this category. But the constant propping up of a defunct OS and obsolete hardware is mind boggling. Are y'all still playing with a Sega Dreamcast too?
6
Jan 14 2018 | 9:37 am EST Cornelius Hardy

For a 2 year old camera, it still competes with newer cameras and that's worth something. I am a photographer and I use my 950xl a lot for the fact it can fit in my pocket vs always carrying my Canon dslr. I just got a new battery and reset it last week so it's like new again. I have a gs7 that I use for just a few real estate apps. I don't particularly care for the camera though, and the phone lag makes me want to toss it out the car. My wife has a iPhone 7, and both of my kids have iPhone 8. The cameras are pretty good on the ip8 but I can still consistently get shots on my 950, that they can't get. I've even tried. Not sure what you mean about not being fast. You press the camera button and it opens instantly. I did a test with the ip8 and it's the same if not a . faster.

There isn't anything out so far that I would trade my 950xl for. I'm holding out until it completely dies, or a rumored Surface phone comes out and it better have a better camera.
6
Jan 14 2018 | 9:53 am EST Cornelius Hardy

A two year phone that still competes with the best of them. That's how I see it. I have the 950xl and I'm a photographer. I recently replaced the battery on it and then reset it just because. My camera still opens quickly with the press of the camera button. The shots are also still amazing. I have a galaxy s7 that it still beats. Not to mention the lag on that phone. I spent a lot of $$$ to use 3 apps. In fact I just stream wifi to it from my xl when i need it.

My wife has a iPhone 7 and my kids have iPhone 8. I have plenty of devices to test against in my house and I have to say, I can still consistently get shots that they can't. I thought maybe since I do photography that was the issue but no. I tested my sons phone for a shot he was trying to get that wasn't coming out right. I got it easily on the xl without tweeking settings. The ip8 refused to comply.

There isn't a phone out I would trade my xl for. I use it just as much as my dslr. I don't go off reviews or how new newer tech is.
5
Jan 14 2018 | 10:44 am EST ACtrip

I work for a cellphone company so I get to play with all the phones, especially for their cameras. I did choose a 950 for my work phone when they came out and loved the camera but I can easily say the iPhone X has the best camera out there. The Note 8 is very close since this is my current work phone but the selfie on the X is better than a lot of back cameras for midrange phones.

I have a DSLR and the iPhone X is now easily my favorite phone especially because of its camera, previous to that it was my Nokia 925 which I loved. I still play with it time to time but the iPhone X is easily my favorite now
3
Jan 14 2018 | 10:53 am EST selemja

I don't know if the Lumia 950 XL camera is the best there is. But it is still superior to the camera in my new iPhone 8 Plus. There is no way I can take pictures, and especially videos with the same quality. Over all it is a very disappointing journey from my beloved 950 XL to this Windows XL looking toy operating system. Almost nothing is better. I really, miss my 950 XL.
2
Jan 14 2018 | 11:13 am EST mtl_slyr

i just wanna say i have lumia 950 for almost a year and i'm really satisfied with camera. Ofc it's 2018., cameras got better, but i've payed lumia 280$. There is no phone today with that price that gives mi what lumia does in hardware... except apps.
1,279
Jan 14 2018 | 1:33 pm EST EspHack

kind of, depending who you ask, but just barely, if you are into pixel-peeping that is, the sensor and optics are still best in class, but video and other niceties depend heavily on computing power so that fight was long lost already

besides, this topic is always controversial, which is best is dependent on what you value the most, I would say the most important metric of a camera is "capturing the moment" followed by how good(technically) you got that moment, and then lastly by how much that end result pleases your personal expectations

newer phones have the 950's beaten on point 1 and even 3 for most users, the 950 winning point 2 is like a 160mp prototype camera I saw somewhere winning raw picture quality, yeah its technically cool, if that pleases you enough then so be it

btw my hope is that microsoft reuses the same camera module on the folding thing, and considering their heavy focus on "MR" it should provide some outstanding results akin to what the pixel does but with the huge badass hardware part to maximize the result even further, long live pureview :P
18
Jan 14 2018 | 1:53 pm EST Isaiah Heart

No, however, it's better than the S6 and note 5. I believe it can compete with the LG G6 and iPhone 7.
59
Jan 14 2018 | 11:28 pm EST Sin Ogaris

The 950 XL never had the best smartphone camera, it was great, but by no means the best, its low light performance was terrible.
73
Jan 15 2018 | 2:57 am EST dhugos

It looks like you pre-empted everyone and answered your own question in this article! But my thought is that after two years, of course, with MS in so-called maintenance mode in the mobile space, other phones catching up to the Lumia 950XL in terms of capabilities is of little surprise. Despite that, and as a photographer myself, I'd say that after a point that what you do with an image is easily as important as the capabilities of the image-taking device. So, all things otherwise being equal, I still use the 950XL because it gives you so much to play with, and the Camera app is so useful. Your preference is what matters.
73
Jan 15 2018 | 3:02 am EST dhugos

Thanks. I agree.
8
Jan 15 2018 | 3:23 am EST Jelmar Andree

I still love my lumia 930 photoos, in don't know anything about other mobiles photogrsphs. I don't use them.
46
Jan 15 2018 | 8:29 am EST Vivio vrvly

Tell you what: 950XL wipes the floor with every flagship. Right :) not in every situation, its not without some lag, colors are not so true to reality as in new ones, daylight 4K is worse than Some flagships, it don't capture so much detail and got slow focus. Sound not good? Wait....
For DSLR and camera enthusiast, it heavenly good. If you see camera results in detail, no matter what situation(day, night,photo,video) 950/XL wins in: details without noise, warm colors, 3D audio & up to 145dB. One looking at shot/video won't see how much different it is from true colors or how much detail it capture, he will see if its noisy, if also colors are good to look at.
To be detailed: Stills daylight: less detail but also less visible noise, but not in everything, less resolution means sometimes you get output less real than from higher resolution sensor(ex. stripes and other patterns), also after zooming in you see noise, thank Microsoft for that as processing is so great, that even if there is noise, it seems natural.
Stills low light: Way less detail than in others, but also Less noise. Colors pop so you see nice noiseless colory picture, even if with less details than the others. Forget action shots, but after stabilizing and using manual shutter, 20mp results should be better than any camera(again awesome processing).
Video daylight: Again, less sharp and color accurate, but output is warm and noiseless, just try see detail of one frame.
Video low light: Losing in captured detail big way But, again, details are less noisy and surprise - not like 90' movie but colorful as rainbow. Again thank Microsoft. For me it feels like watching old web movie(other phones) then using vlc' gamma&saturation boost to make it watchable. Seriously even stills feel like went though gamma boost - just compare them to raws captured.
Not sure about high iso And long exposure in other phones, but visible purple glow(also thx to gamma boost) can be erased by capturing another shot with really covered lens, so you can subtract that noise(hot pixels).
Would the Microsoft used stacking of shots like the others, nobody would come close in stills.
Now to another part of video - audio in it, ex. pixels use Mono, some stereo, 2 I think 3D using 4 mics, 2 3D using 3 mics. All about to max 135dB. Meaning: with 950/XL loud concert and whatever else can you enjoy as if there (stereo 3D) And without ugly distortion that you will get even in newest phones. Actually That no distortion you won't find in any other brand is actually reason I got mine 950XL. I'm just laughing at premium brands because they sell phones that record mono or devices that record audio sounding like some insect.
Example on tube here( name: Lumia 950 XL ,by some jose carlos).
46
Jan 15 2018 | 9:13 am EST Vivio vrvly

As rivals for 950/XL I see only Pixel 2, U11+, possibly next premium xperia.
Rest is bad, even those 999 priced.
6
Jan 15 2018 | 9:44 am EST Bruno Coutinho1

Is it me or the Lumia 950 is much worse than the 950 XL. It's not even the same camera at all, right?
29
Jan 15 2018 | 11:52 am EST Mike Buckhurst

I have a S8+ for work and my trusty 950XL, plus calibrated monitors and a Canon EOS 80D to compare against.

The 950XL produces colours far closer to that from the EOS, but the levels of detail between the two are roughly similar. The colours on the S8+ are simply way over the top, which I'm guessing is intentional. Personally I prefer the 950XL photos, but not enough to take it with me except when needed.

The 950XL is a lot slower when taking photos, but it's a lot quicker to get to the camera in the first place.

I loved my 950XL but it I needed the apps on Android for work, so had to let them give me an S8+

mike
22
Jan 15 2018 | 12:34 pm EST Blomsternisse

The 950XL is a lot slower when taking photos, but it's a lot quicker to get to the camera in the first place.

mike
Just double press the power button to start the camera. It's faster than the dedicated camera button (because the S8+ is faster in CPU and storage).
8
Jan 15 2018 | 3:58 pm EST sardelich

ok so,after all the brains here...are we talking about the camera? sensor capabilities or jpeg procesing? how pictures look on phone,facebook or 24" lcd? so far only phone that beats 950 is huawei with leica setup.on par with new iphone.galaxies,notes,older iphones are all behind the pure image quality.especially in low light...but its just me...oh and the camera on new nokia 8 is crap...
8
Jan 15 2018 | 3:59 pm EST sardelich

so 2 press is faster than one....
12
Jan 15 2018 | 4:49 pm EST donaldvc

I have an iPhone 7, Oneplus 5T and 950XL - the latter is still significantly ahead of the iPhone and 5T in detail, depth, colour balance and low-light performance. As an example, of identically posed portrait photos submitted online to the UK Passport Agency, it was only the 950XL image which was acceptable for passport use; the iPhone and 5T images were ruled unsuitable for digital identification purposes.

I'm not suggesting that the 950XL is better than the current top camera phones and am happy to concede that the Pixel 2 and iPhone X have overtaken it, but my passport test suggests that its underlying optics and the raw images it produces may have an edge for some use cases.

As an aside, I'm really impressed by the 5T as an all-round phone even though its image processing may not match the Pixel, S8 or latest iPhones.
75
Jan 16 2018 | 4:35 am EST farhanaxiq

Its not the best cameraphone, but considering its age, it held up pretty well. With resolution to play with. And a good glass (zeiss).

Good
Great zeiss optic
Powerful flash
Cool hdr software, tell me if there is any other android phone where you can dynamically adjust the flash.
Resolution
Great audio recording


Drawback
The white balance is sometime a little off and its quite sluggish after taking a bunch of photo
Glitchy camera
Unreliable ½ the time.
1,828
Jan 16 2018 | 8:56 am EST Krystianpants

It's a great camera. The camera wars are really silly in my opinion. Cameras have gotten so good on smartphones that people literally have to do insane side by side comparisons and crazy tests to prove one is better than another. If you're doing that, it means they are both great. No one will notice a huge difference, especially since they are used for things like instagram/facebook etc.. Professionals who want to have something that will allow them to catch the best version of a picture when they don't have a professional camera may be the only ones who benefit from it. Even then they would likely be using the Raw images and feeding them into their app of choice. I do know some pro photographers and while the camera on the phone is important to them, they typically don't get the phone just because of the best camera. They get the phone that best suits them as a personal computing device. They don't update their phone right away because of a better camera either. They prefer putting money on professional equipment. This of course is only my own anecdotal experiece so it may not reflect real world stats.

950XL is a great camera but I do notice that the finishing touches often ruin images. So if you want the best you should be taking raw photos.

All about windows phone is extremely biased. It's nice to have your phone still seem like it's great so feeding into his biases makes people feel better. However, go to other comparison sites that aren't even comparing 950xl just different phones in general. The phones usually have way better shots on other sites. It's as if he subconciously takes bad shots with those cameras to make the 950 seem better. Remember biases are often in the back of the mind not something you are aware of.

I love my 950xl, it definitely isn't showing its age other than the OS. If MS had been releasing flagships on a regular basis maybe the camera would be top on newer models but that's not in their best interest.
2,716
Feb 04 2018 | 6:20 am EST neo158

Lets not forget the features that the Lumia range brought to cameras though before we start saying that the Pixel range have better cameras. High resolutions of 10MP+, the Lumia 1020 had a 41MP camera when most Android phones still had 5 and 8MP cameras, the Lumia 950/XL had a 20MP camera when most Android phones had 12MP cameras. Being able to choose resolution and aspect ratio separately, something Android still doesn't have and so forces you to choose resolution and aspect ratio as linked settings. Being able to shoot in HDR when Android couldn't do that. But perhaps the most important one for photographers is being able to shoot in RAW, something that has only been added to Android recently.

Not only the above but the 1020 brought full, DSLR style controls into the phone, something that the stock Android camera still lacks even today.

Granted some of these have been on Android before now but only as part of third party camera apps and not the stock camera app, unlike Windows 10 Mobile/Phone.
517
Jul 18 2018 | 1:11 pm EDT MBytes

Round 2. HDR+ vs. Pureview
PureView 'take two' in 2018: Windows 10 Camera vs HDR+

What are your thoughts?
Very close, both have ups and down.
I mean eventually the Lumia 950 (XL) will be defeated at a notable level (probably next gen), but still impressive that it still competitive today.
3,531
Jul 19 2018 | 3:26 am EDT nate0

Imagine that, I didn't have to buy a new phone for two years, and it's still amongst the top phones around!! I saved money!!!

... !
Unless you are cell-phone-nut like me!
386
Jan 10 2019 | 12:04 am EST darrell reimer

I've moved on from my 950XL; now using an S8+; the cameras are very very close...I love Samsung cameras. My first Windows phones were the ATIV S and ATIV SE, both Samsung phones, with excellent colour and focus cameras . My older 950XL is starting to show its age, and is somewhat unreliable; not as stable as it used to be, so I have to give the edge to my newer S8+.
517
Jan 10 2019 | 7:53 am EST MBytes

I've moved on from my 950XL; now using an S8+; the cameras are very very close...I love Samsung cameras. My first Windows phones were the ATIV S and ATIV SE, both Samsung phones, with excellent colour and focus cameras . My older 950XL is starting to show its age, and is somewhat unreliable; not as stable as it used to be, so I have to give the edge to my newer S8+.
Stability issue on Lumia 950/950XL is due to old battery. The battery can't deliver a stable voltage anymore, and the OS is not doing like iPhones where it slows down its processor (SoC) to not require anymore as much voltage as initial. So the phone act funny and crashes.

The fix is to get a new battery. The good news is that because the phone was not a success and many are stuck with batteries for this phone you can get replacement for really cheap. Like 20-25$ or so.
8,958
Jan 13 2019 | 1:54 pm EST fatclue_98

Easily top 5 which should put many others to shame considering it’s a 2015 model.
517
Jan 13 2019 | 2:20 pm EST MBytes

Easily top 5 which should put many others to shame considering it’s a 2015 model.
What I don't understanding is why phone manufactures are so disconnected and mostly non-innovative. What I mean is that innovation exists, but limited. Mostly it is rushed to market Apple copied features, some select Chinese manufacture does innovate like full screen phones, and finger print behind the screen. All great stuff I expect Samsung or LG to make, not a Chinese company.

Now it seems it is the race on who can put the most cameras on the back. Feels like a Gillette razor (now with 20 blades!). But no one thought for 2 seconds on how it would be nice to have a 2 step physical button, and not.. well in the case of Samsung...non-configurable Bixby button (beside disabling it). How hard is it to put this? It's ridiculous. instead of having a nice button to take pictures with their advertised fancy camera, you get the tap the screen so you end up with blurry pictures.
5,848
Jan 13 2019 | 9:34 pm EST raycpl

What I don't understanding is why phone manufactures are so disconnected and mostly non-innovative. What I mean is that innovation exists, but limited. .
The term innovation only truly applied to the L920 & 1020... there were so many groundbreaking stuff crammed into it. Now its new phone are all about incremental changes
517
Jan 13 2019 | 9:40 pm EST MBytes

The term innovation only truly applied to the L920 & 1020... there were so many groundbreaking stuff crammed into it. Now its new phone are all about incremental changes
Very true.
2
Jul 06 2019 | 8:10 pm EDT Pavlos Pavlou1

My Microsoft Lumia 950 XL Dual (2015) is awesome phone.
And i wish Microsoft shouldn't abandon it or at least should give us a New SmartPhone with Microsoft Windows 10 Core OS.
It has the Best Photo and Video Camera since 2015 until today for me.
I take photos everyday and i compare it with my second phone a Xiaomi Mi A2 (2018) that has also 20MP sensor but all the photos are really low quality with lot of distortion and pixeling.
Specific when i do some zooming in the photos 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x.
The HDR in Xiaomi is very low in quality and in settings like Off, On, Auto.
Why all new SmartPhones have so bad processing and saving software?
I take the same photo with those 2 phones and 950 has better quality has the Live Photo feature has the Adjustment HDR Feature and the size of the file is almost 5ΜΒ but in MiA2 doesnt support all the above features the quality of the photo is low specific in zooming and the size of the file is 8ΜΒ...
I miss my Microsoft Lumia 950 XL Dual.
I wish someone from Microsoft to give us a New Windows 10 SmartPhone with Great Specs such us:
CPU: 8 Cores.
GPU: 8 Cores.
RAM: 12 GB DDR5.
SSD: 256GB RAM.
Front Camera: Dual 48MP O.I.S. with Wide and Ultra Wide Lenses.
Rear Camera: Dual 48MP O.I.S. with Wide and TelePhoto Lenses.
Display: Super AMOLED 6" Screen with 19:9 Aspect Ratio and HDR10+.
Display Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 6.
Sensors: Iris Scanner, Face Scanner, FingerPrint, AcceleroMeter, Gyro, Proximity, Compass, BaroMeter, Heart Rate, SpO2.
Speakers: Stereo with Full Range 20-20Khz.
USB: Type-C 3.1 version.
Battery: Li-Po 5.000 mAh.
There is no phone right now with those specs in the market yet.
Except Xiaomi Mi9T Pro with lower specs and cost 350€.
https://www.gsmarena.com/xiaomi_redmi_k20_pro-9708.php
3,200
Jul 07 2019 | 4:46 am EDT Ryujingt3

It's great that you still enjoy your Lumia 950XL. When I had one, I liked it too (although I preferred the HP Elite X3). Sadly, Microsoft and everyone else has moved on now though.
365
Jul 07 2019 | 2:33 pm EDT sd4f

What I don't understanding is why phone manufactures are so disconnected and mostly non-innovative. What I mean is that innovation exists, but limited. Mostly it is rushed to market Apple copied features, some select Chinese manufacture does innovate like full screen phones, and finger print behind the screen. All great stuff I expect Samsung or LG to make, not a Chinese company.
I suspect it's because a lot of phone manufacturers aren't really doing a lot of design work. I haven't got a clue as to how phones are currently made, but the reason they're all merging towards the same devices is possibly because they're at the mercy of their parts suppliers.

Trying to do anything a little different requires customer modifications to chips or deviating from standard board layouts. I don't know if the phone manufacturers have people who can do a board layout.i presume that they get a standard design from their chip supplier and then just let a computer organise tracks to fit the space they have.

Apple is a great example of really pursuing their vision and design goals. They have a design and use engineering to overcome the obstacles. A lot of android OEMs just try to up their specs, without really improving things.

Case in point is displays and pixel pitch. Apple very successfully marketed their retina display. Android OEMs only caught up when those displays were available from their suppliers, with the exception of Samsung, lg and Sony, as they make their own displays. But then what happened is that they kept on going, and going and going... Sony has had 4k displays for a while now. Completely pointless on a phone, but since targeting pixel pitch worked so well for apple, well then they had to try to get a piece of that action.

I sometimes wonder if the android OEMs just don't understand their own products...
3,200
Jul 09 2019 | 10:23 am EDT Ryujingt3

Apple is good at pursuing what they want, you are right. Everyone else just follows them. And no, the Lumia is most likely not the best camera in any way by a long shot now.