12-29-2015 03:33 AM
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  1. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Hello and welcome to my little comparison. It's the first one of it's type for me and I hope you find it entertaining and worthwhile. I'll try and do a thorough job here comparing the cameras of these three models with a variety of Apps, shots and videos. I've also realized as I work on this thread that it is going to be very long so I will be adding to it in sections... First, let's get some proper introduction to the subject out of the way.

    Why the 928, 1520 and 830?

    Good question! The answer is that I happen to find myself with all three phones at once. I've been using the 1520 for some time now (since August of 2014) and love the beast. I've really been using it a lot to try and stretch my photography skills. Recently I came into possession of a 928 as part of a bundle I purchased mainly for the two DT-910 Qi charging stands included. The solid feel, the spec, and the reputation of the 928 made me hold onto it as a backup and sell off a recently purchased Blu Win HD. I'm also nostalgic about the 925 I owned before the 1520. And then a super deal on a refurbished 830 came to my attention and I just could not resist. 830 is the phone I almost bought before committing to the 1520. All the rumors/announcements/early peeks made me curious about the "affordable flagship" that was about to come out. Now I have two backups which seem very worthy and this shootout will help me decide between the two.

    Why NOT the 928, 1520 and 830?

    There is more to it than just my personal reasons. There are the phones themselves.

    The camera on the 92x series is justly venerated, IMHO, and is one of the things that makes me so nostalgic for my old 925. It was great as a point a shoot and the best low-light-no-flash camera I've ever used on a phone or otherwise. (OK so I'm not a DLSR user - let's get that out of the way right now.) The 928 takes the 92x series that one step further with the inclusion of xenon flash. Now is my chance to really try out the xenon along with a known to perform camera module and see how it shines!

    The camera on the 1520 is touted by many as a megapixel wonder. The 1520 and the 930/Icon are the only two phones to get this camera module to date and the only other Windows Phone to surpass the raw power of it is the 1020. I don't have a 1020 or I would have thrown it in the mix, but 1020 -vs- 1520/930/Icon is a staple discussion in it's own right. When you combine the 20MP camera module with Lumia Denim features exclusive to it, this remains the pinnacle of Windows Phone photography potential until Microsoft Announces the next flagship or possibly beyond. Although I tend to believe the first true flagships from Microsoft Lumia will up the ante a little over the 1520/930/Icon in terms of raw camera potential.

    The camera on the 830 epitomizes the new order in many ways. It's not the old guard camera, but it isn't the megapixel blaster of the last gen flagships either. Microsoft seems to be steering down the middle of the road since taking over the reins of Lumia and the gently upscale camera on the 830 was countered by compromising elsewhere in the spec and all these things have to balance out for it to work in the real world. I plan to discover how well the balancing act plays out.

    The Tale of the Tape

    To be clear, all three of these phones have the following elements in common.
    • Carl Zeiss Optics (Lens)
    • PureView Technology
    • Optical Image Stabilization
    • Backside Illuminated Sensor
    • Autofocus with a Two Stage Capture Key

    These are desirable traits and things that make a camera stand above the normal field of players in the phone arena.

    Lumia 928:
    The 928 weighs in with an 8.7MP camera featuring a sensor size of 1/3" with true 16:9 aspect ratio, an f/2.0 aperture, 26mm focal length, a minimum focus distance of 8cm and a xenon flash. The main camera offers 4x digital zoom. Video is 1080p @30fps capable with 4x zoom, continuous autofocus, OIS and the flash is usable as a video light.

    The 928 is powered by a dual core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 SoC and 1GB RAM. My 928 is running official 8.1 Update + Lumia Denim.

    Lumia 1520:
    The 1520 is the heavy weight of the group with a 20MP camera featuring a sensor size of 1/2.5", an f/2.4 aperture, 26mm focal length, a minimum focus distance of 10cm and dual LED flash. The main camera offers 2x high res zoom and can capture high resolution jpg or DNG images. Video is 4k @30fps enabled with 3x zoom, 4 microphones for surround sound audio recording, continuous autofocus, OIS and the flash is usable as a video light.

    The 1520 is powered by a quad core 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 SoC and 2GB RAM. My 1520 is running official 8.1 Update + Lumia Denim.

    Lumia 830:
    The 830 brings a 10MP camera featuring a sensor size of 1/3.4" with true 16:9 aspect ratio, an f/2.2 aperture, 26mm focal length, a minimum focus distance of 10cm and a single LED flash. The main camera offers 4x digital zoom. Video is 1080p @30fps capable with 4x zoom, dual microphone surround sound audio recording, continuous autofocus, OIS and the flash is usable as a video light.

    The 830 is powered by a quad core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 SoC and 1GB RAM. My 830 is running the ATT RM-983 ROM with official 8.1 + Lumia (1/2) Denim so it does not have Rich Capture, DNG or Lumia Camera 5 enabled.


    Pics or It Didn't Happen

    Below is where I'll show pics side by side from all 3 phones. When a picture is labeled as taken with "Lumia Camera" it will mean: Lumia Camera 4.9 with the 928, Lumia Camera 5 with the 1520 and Lumia Camera Classic with the 830. I'll also be using different Apps and a variety of shots under different conditions. Additionally, pictures will often need to be reduced in file size (resolution) to fit this forum and I will size them all the same or nearly so if I am able. Resizing will be via Office 2010 Picture Manager. For 1520 I will distinguish between 5MP oversampled, 16MP high res or 16MP dng, in which case editing in Rawer will be noted - for fairness sake I will try to just use Rawer for straight throughput with no tweaks.

    In the interest of readability I will be breaking the analysis up into individual posts revolving around certain uniform conditions and will be adding small batches of posts over an extended period a time to allow for reader absorption and discussion. I want to be very comprehensive, but do not want to turn off the reader by inundating the forum with a ton of pictures and huge walls of text to wade through.

    Please remember, all opinions given are necessarily subjective and limited to myself. I present the opinions as a jumping off point, along with the photographs and videos, to help you draw your own conclusions. Ultimately this is an open discussion thread.

    Enough housekeeping, let's take some pictures!!!
    Last edited by RumoredNow; 05-01-2015 at 12:02 PM.
    04-28-2015 11:24 AM
  2. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Little People in the Dark:

    On these pictures I set up some Lego men on a table and used a tripod. I tried to keep the tripod distance/angle/etc. consistent not only between shots on one phone, but between all three phones as well. The pics are taken with some low light LED's off behind me on the left. These were all taken using Lumia Camera on all three phones. All pictures are original size, but note that the 5MP oversampled copy was used from the 1520.


    Low light, no flash with tap-the screen focus: first near, then far.

    Lumia 928
    928-001_lumia-cam_low-light_flash-off_close-focus.jpg
    928-002_lumia-cam_low-light_flash-off_far-focus.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-001.jpg
    1520-002.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-001.jpg
    830-002.jpg

    Overall I found it easiest to view on screen in low light (and thus focus more specifically on Chicken-Man [near] or Eomer's Horse [far]) on the 928 and least able on the 1520. Of the three, the 1520 is my least favorite being very pale in color and grainy in appearance. To my eyes the 928 has a warm, natural tone to it and the best light capture. The 830 though, seems to stand out better in terms of color capture and clarity (see the purple brain on the Alien Queen in the middle ground). Because of the color reproduction and depth of focus I have to give this one to 830, followed by 928 and 1520 bringing up the rear.


    The same conditions and focus pairings, but with flash turned on...

    Lumia 928
    928-002_lumia-cam_low-light_flash-on_close-focus.jpg
    928-004_lumia-cam_low-light_flash-on_far-focus.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-003.jpg
    1520-004.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-003.jpg
    830-004.jpg

    I had the same viewing/focus area issues on the screen with this set as the lights were very low. Overall the 1520's dual LED seemed to strike the best balance at general illumination regardless of where the focus was placed. The 830 was least able; failing to penetrate to the back when the focus was forward and washing out the foreground when the focus was moved to the back. The 1520 illuminated most evenly, but has a "flashlight" look to it. I think the 928 wins this one as a warmer feel to it on the individual pictures, even though I preferred the 1520 as a pairing due to the evenness of the illumination.
    Last edited by RumoredNow; 04-29-2015 at 10:05 PM.
    04-29-2015 05:52 PM
  3. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Little People in the Light:

    This is the same set up of Lego men and I used the same tripod positioning. These pics are taken with some shaded incandescent bulb's turned on overhead and some behind me to the left as well. These were taken using Lumia Camera on all three phones. All pictures are original size, but note that the 5MP oversampled copy was used from the 1520.


    Incandescent light, no flash with tap-the screen focus: first near, then far.

    Lumia 928
    928-005_lumia-cam_incandescent_flash-off_close-focus.jpg
    928-006_lumia-cam_incandescent_flash-off_far-focus.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-005.jpg
    1520-006.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-005.jpg
    830-006.jpg

    Of the three, Lumia 830 seems to have the widest capture by a slight margin over the 928. These are the two with True 16:9 sensors. I believe the 1520 crops in automatically for these 5MP oversampled pics. The 830, however, produces an image that is a bit flat and listless. Although the 928 produced better colors than the 830, it also has less depth of focus. Overall I favor the 1520 shots for vibrancy and depth.


    The same conditions and focus pairings, but with flash turned on. Flash is not needed, but let's see what it does to an already adequately lighted macro scene...

    Lumia 928
    928-007_lumia-cam_incandescent_flash-on_close-focus.jpg
    928-008_lumia-cam_incandescent_flash-on_far-focus.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-007.jpg
    1520-008.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-007.jpg
    830-008.jpg

    Again that single LED on the 830 does some weird effects when you shift focus and the light shifts with it. It makes the flash overly pronounced, IMHO. The 928 does look warmer, but once more produces a very zoned effect of concentrating the focus. The 1520 takes this one in my eyes with a more even lighting and depth of focus.
    ven07, aximtreo, HeyCori and 3 others like this.
    04-29-2015 11:01 PM
  4. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Be of Stout Heart, Samwise:

    Once more from the same tripod setup. This time we've added a small bit of distance by shooting diagonally across the table. Frodo is being defended by Samwise as Golum urges Shelob to go for the kill.


    For these pairs we have the Low Light behind to the left. Original sizes for all with the 5MP oversamples for 1520. Lumia Camera with auto everything; once without flash, then again with flash.

    Lumia 928
    928-009_lumia-cam_low-light_flash-off_auto-focus.jpg
    928-010_lumia-cam_low-light_flash-on_auto-focus.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-009.jpg
    1520-010.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-009.jpg
    830-010.jpg

    IMHO, the 928 is strongest here by a wide margin. The shot without flash is superior to the others in clarity and the xenon flash is just the right touch. Quite honestly flash is what would normally be the go to in this situation. The 830 surprises me as a close second in the flash department as it became less heavy handed with just that bit of extra distance while the 1520 flash is the most over-pronounced. And the 1520 is grainy again without flash while the 830 is passable.


    For these pairs we have the Incandescent lights back on. Original sizes for all with the 5MP oversamples for 1520. Lumia Camera with auto everything; once without flash, then again with flash.

    Lumia 928
    928-011_lumia-cam_incandescent_flash-off_auto-focus.jpg
    928-012_lumia-cam_incandescent_flash-on_auto-focus.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-011.jpg
    1520-012.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-011.jpg
    830-012.jpg

    This is split for me. Without flash the 1520 is just so sharp and concise in the rendering, followed by the 928 which becomes a bit softer and then the 830 is too soft - almost fuzzy. While in the flash shot the xenon of the 928 is perfect again, the 830 a nice safe second and the 1520 way too obvious with the lighting.


    Don't Be a Chicken, Man:

    Single pics for this. Incandescent lighting and the tripod was used. Lumia Camera, auto everything but focus. These are close-up shots of Chicken-Man. I dialed in the macro as tight as I could. Auto flash was on so it used the light for focus assist even though the flash did not go off for the shot.

    Lumia 928
    928-013_lumia-cam_incandescent_auto-flash_macro-focus.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-013.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-013.jpg

    I may have been closer to 8cm than 10cm and that might account for the better focus on the 928. The 830 is a bit washed out. The 1520 has great tone and depth yet again. Check out the grain on the table. Still, the 928 wins for focus on the actual subject. I might have to repeat something similar with just a bit more distance. Maybe when we move outside...

    I'll take a break here and allow for interested parties discussion before continuing...
    Last edited by RumoredNow; 05-01-2015 at 12:21 PM.
    04-30-2015 12:05 AM
  5. mark233's Avatar
    Thank you for this time consuming task/comparison. It's really interesting to see this. Will visit again after your break.
    05-01-2015 05:40 PM
  6. RumoredNow's Avatar
    A Bridge and Some Falls Makes For a Nice Scene:

    A real "picture perfect day" around here so I headed out to the botanical gardens. There will be a few posts of shots from here using various aspects of the sun and shade.

    First up is the bridge over the falls at South Creek. I used a tripod as I wanted some HDR shots courtesy of ProShot App. These are +/-2.3ev in full sunlight conditions with glare on the water. Original sizes were uploaded for 928 and 1520, but the 830 image had to be reduced to 95% of original..

    Lumia 928
    928-014_proshot-hdr_2.3ev.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-014.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-014_95-.jpg

    Overall the 830 seems to be too overexposed or favor the overexposed part of the bracket and it spills over to a false garishness. Some like overblown HDR, but I don't see the need on such a pastoral scene. The 928 gives a wonderful luster to the water that the others can't match and I'm almost tempted to pick that shot for the water alone. However, the 1520 really seems to make the most use out of all three pictures from the bracket to produce a very even effect.


    While I was set up, I switched over to Camera360 Sight for a straight auto-everything shot of the same scene. Again this is full sunlight. All pics are original size.

    Lumia 928
    928-016_sight_auto_full-sun.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-016.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-016.jpg

    Separated out from each other these three are close. All are acceptable (as they should be on such an easy shot). When they are side by side it's still difficult and comes down to some nit-picking. The 830 made the sky pop. That may be just because of the angle of the shot was unintentionally a bit higher on that one. But look at the way the 830 shies away from the full light in the foreground, almost afraid of it. The 928 really produced a richer color of the retaining walls, but then sacrificed tone on the grass and trees. Once more the 1520 makes the most even use of what is presented to it, IMHO.


    Then I moved back to just inside of a tunnel running under a roadway so that I was shooting the waterfall from a shaded spot. I used ProShot in auto mode and no tripod, just leaning against a wall for support. The original size images are uploaded here.

    Lumia 928
    928-015_proshot-auto_from-shadow.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-015.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-015.jpg

    Let's talk about that 1520 shot, shall we. You may very well wonder what happened there. Is it some sort of filter being applied? No. I think I finally fell prey to a phenomena I have only read about. Electro-magnetic interference with the 1520 lens. The wall I was leaning against had some loud hum of machinery behind it. Possibly a transformer hidden back there. I think that affected the 1520. I know that the onscreen level of ProShot was going nuts! So we have to throw the 1520 pic out.

    The 830 and the 928 have now swapped. Taking the phones out of the direct light and shooting into full sun from a shaded vantage makes the 928 shot look listless and the 830 picks up a vibrancy it had been lacking.
    Last edited by RumoredNow; 05-03-2015 at 08:07 PM.
    05-03-2015 07:40 PM
  7. mark233's Avatar
    When I click on the attachments I'm directed to this page:
    capture.png
    05-03-2015 08:05 PM
  8. RumoredNow's Avatar
    When I click on the attachments I'm directed to this page:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Capture.PNG 
Views:	12 
Size:	3.9 KB 
ID:	103739
    Sorry... We have a parking area I can use. I had the above and several other posts pre-made there. I can not move them without them going into chronological order and thus bumping some comments down where the y don't belong. To combat that I tried copy from an edit box in holding to a new post here. When I reviewed it all the pics showed. Then when I posted they all disappeared.

    I have re-uploaded the images for the new post and will fix the next two coning over before I move them.

    You should see the pics above now.
    aximtreo and mark233 like this.
    05-03-2015 08:13 PM
  9. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Head West, Young Man:

    Turning west and stepping away from that wall with the transformer or whatever behind it, we get a long look through the dark tunnel. Back on the tripod I took two shots with each phone. The first with Camera360 Sight and then another with Lumia Camera; auto-everything on both except flash is shut off. I'm shooting in shade down a dark corridor with a bright light at the other end to see which camera penetrates farthest and gets the most detail. The original sizes were uploaded and on the Lumia Camera picture we see the 5MP oversample of the 1520 again.

    Lumia 928
    928-017_sight_in-tunnel.jpg
    928-018_lumia_in-tunnel.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-017.jpg
    1520-018.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-017.jpg
    830-018.jpg

    Of all the shots... The Lumia Camera on 1520 gave the most penetration. I think that is probably due to the sheer amount of raw data from the sensor that is available for the App to work with. Camera360 Sight penetrated well on 1520 also. But in both the shots the color is very pale. There is no graininess, yet the weakness of 1520 for lower light situations presents itself again. The 930 shots are acceptable. I found the 830 the best pairing of the three however due to tone and color representation as well as clarity down the farthest stretches of the shot when compared against 928.


    On the other end of the tunnel I stayed on the tripod and I stayed with Lumia Camera. The original sizes are uploaded with the 5MP oversample for 1520. Shooting from the shadows out into sunlight again, but due to the time of day the light is not pointed directly at the subject. Rather the light is slanted at the camera, but the shade protects the viewpoint from being overly immersed in light. Auto-everything on this shot.

    Lumia 928
    928-020_lumia-auto_from-shadow.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-020.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-020.jpg

    Here again, this is an easy shot and all 3 must be judged on the smallest differences. To me it is the same as the other end of the tunnel shooting from shade at the lit waterfall scene. The 928 lacks oomph, the 830 looks improved and now we see the 1520 come into play where it was shut out on the other end due to interference. I think the 1520 makes the most of what is presented to it here. Note the tones in the grass and trees and the reflections in the water.
    Last edited by RumoredNow; 12-31-2015 at 11:16 AM. Reason: typo on model number
    05-03-2015 08:37 PM
  10. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Everybody Loves Panorama:

    What's a photo trip out into nature without a panorama shot? A missed opportunity, IMHO. Here I'm standing above the dam on a path in full sunlight. The sun is high and behind my right shoulder as I start the shot from left to right. So the stitching starts left, moves out over the glare on the water and as it approaches to beneath the sun's position on the right we are shooting into some shade coming from a tree. Tripod was used along with Lumia Panorama App in full auto mode. I will say before we look at the pics that I had no problems with alignment on the 928 and all the captures went off smooth and quick. 830 was just a touch fussy once and the 1520 proved balky a couple of times, but that has been my ongoing experience with 1520 and Panorama - it just never seems to want to go from capture to capture without a lot of concentration and attention from the user. Due to file sizes all pictures have been reduced to 50% of the original size so they will upload here.

    Lumia 928
    928-022_50-.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-022_50-.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-022_50-.jpg

    The fussiness of the capture aside, I'm disappointed in the underexposed look of the 1520 picture. It's really noticeable when placed next to the others. But so is the flatness of the 928. Again, these are small differences that laying the pics side by side help reveal. All three are acceptable, yet they show some tendencies of the camera modules at work and that's what we're after here. The 830 really shows off the broader field of capture it is capable of here. Note the significant difference in how much more the 830 captured than the other two. I'm also more pleased with the way it handled light and color. Overall the 830 takes this one.


    Gnarly, bro:

    Dappled sunlight makes a pretty scene and a photographic challenge as the lens has to capture those alternating shadows and lights. Again the sun is high behind my right shoulder. I'm standing under a sparse tree canopy and shooting at a half lit tree trunk filling 2/3 of the scene and in the remaining 1/3 is that dappled light leading off to a bright spot in the farthest background. Lumia Camera on each shot, auto-everything, no tripod. What I did was stand back from the tree and hold out each phone in turn at full arms length thrusting it close to the tree trunk to get a macro with a deep background included. Due to file sizes each photo was reduced to 80% of original size.

    Lumia 928
    928-021_lumia_macro_shadow-sun_80-.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-021_80-.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-021_80-.jpg

    Wow. Definitely three distinct approaches to the shot here. Is it the camera modules or the versions of Lumia Camera? Remember that 928 is on LC 4.9, 1520 has LC 5 and the 830 is using LC Classic. (There may be room for further study later on IF my 830 gets upgraded to full Denim and I can use Lumia Camera 5 on it.) Again, all three photos are acceptable, but we see some more of the tendencies emerging. The 928 looks soft. Compare the 928 and the 830 as well to the 1520 and note how very sharp the definition is on the tree bark in the 1520 shot, especially the notches on the left edge of the trunk. Also the shadows on the grass. The 1520 definitely captured the bark best, IMHO. However, when we look at the whole shot, the 830 is reasonably crisp with the bark and the shadows, but also has the best depth of focus. Check out the barn in the back. 928 leaves you no idea anything is there, 1520 shows something and only the 830 reveals the object. I have to give this to 830 in the overall.


    Pretty in Pink:

    Full sunlight, tight macro, Lumia Camera, auto-everything. Unfortunately, I was kneeling on something pointy during the first shot with 928 and had to adjust for the next two so there is a bit of my shadow in the 1520 and 830 pics.

    Lumia 928
    928-019_lumia_free-form-macro.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-019.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-019.jpg

    I've got to score another all around win for the 830 here. The depth of focus again, but also the oversaturation on the 1520 and the overly sharp definition of the petals knocks it out of the running. The 928 looks way too soft once more and that narrow field of focus bothers me. It may be what accounts for some of the flatness I keep seeing in the 928's wider shots. The 830 just handles the subject matter with a better balance, IMHO.


    We'll take another break here... I'm not nearly done examining this subject.
    05-03-2015 08:58 PM
  11. HaibaneReki's Avatar
    in for some more great work.

    One point to note though. I've seen multiple people complain against Lumia Camera 5 on the 830 claiming it over-sharpens things due to updated algorithms. It's a pity this review can't explore that.
    RumoredNow likes this.
    05-04-2015 03:23 AM
  12. RumoredNow's Avatar
    in for some more great work.

    One point to note though. I've seen multiple people complain against Lumia Camera 5 on the 830 claiming it over-sharpens things due to updated algorithms. It's a pity this review can't explore that.
    Wow, thank you. That is point on to a sidebar I wanted to post regarding dng (Digital NeGative). Right now 1520 is the only one of the three I'm using that supports dng... My Lumia 830 should be getting it if ATT/Microsoft ever push it out. And dng becomes a huge advantage when applied. After months of (laziness?, stupidity?, ignorance?) ignoring dng I have come into the habit of shooting on 1520 with 5MP.jpg + 16MP.dng.

    If we look at Lumia Camera 5 on the 1520 we see some over sharpening in images, most notably in this shot of all the ones previously displayed. And remember, this shot came in second to 830 and Lumia Camera Classic:

    1520, Lumia Camera 5 @ 5MP Oversample, reduced to 80% original size:
    1520-021_80-.jpg
    The reason I put 830 ahead on this shot was ostensibly the background detail on the barn and a more balanced use of the subject presented. It's true enough and the main reason, however, the slightly over pronounced sharpness of the above 1520 image is also a detraction when placed side by side with 928 and 830. On it's own it looks nice on the surface, but there is definitely a too pronounced sharpness to the bark.

    1520, Lumia Camera 5 @ 16MP DNG, not retouched, reduced to 50% original size:
    1520-021_dng_50-.jpg
    This one was opened in Rawer and saved straight away without any manipulations, it looks very dark and dull when compared to what the algorithms of Lumia Camera 5 did when processing the shot. It also, IMHO, shows how harsh the light use was and the over sharpening from the 5MP version when you lay them next to each other. Look how the barn stands out in the background. I think this version shows more of the potential and that is what dng is supposedly about: potential.

    1520, Lumia Camera 5 @ 16MP DNG, processed via Rawer, file size not reduced:
    1520-021_dng_processed_rawer.jpg
    This one I processed through Rawer on the phone. I tweaked this and that and in the end I was pleased enough to save it. I think it's still quite a bit darker than the 5MP version, but I'm OK with that. I brought out just enough sharp in the bark and the shadows of the tree trunks on the ground... More than the 16MP.dng, but backed off from the overly sharp 5MP.jpg. What I really was after was balancing the composition and I think I did that, making the barn almost as important as the bark. Bringing out a richness to the grass. Highlighting the dappled light through the canopy.

    IMHO the manipulation of the .dng data allows an OK shot to become better with patience and practice. If I was judging the Rawer processed 1520 image against the 830 and the 928 captures of the same subject, I'd give it to the Rawer version. But of course I tweaked it in the directions I wanted it to go and that's the real beauty of the whole .dng system. I could pass the .dng file over to you, HaibaneReki, and you could make something else of it that suited your eye. Maybe that's what critics of 830 pictures on Lumia Camera 5 need to examine... the .dng option.

    Note that it won't rescue a poor shot, beyond the capabilities of the camera module. Those grainy low light shots from 1520 we saw with the Legos are still grainy under .dng manipulation. You can make it better, but you can't make it disappear.

    IMHO, .dng helps you manipulate the strengths of the camera module and improves your photo overall.
    05-04-2015 11:35 AM
  13. HaibaneReki's Avatar
    Enjoyed the thorough read, I was going to experiment with the DNG on my 830 some time soon. I even had Rawer installed but refused to pay $2 at the time to edit photos. Might as well do now. Regarding the supposed over sharpening I for one like a crisp shot and You're right that a little edit can always make wonders. But hard to explain that to people who want an easy fix :)

    Off topic - doesn't the Lumia recovery tool offer the Denim update to You? Shouldn't be a big loss of data since You are not using it as a daily driver, no?
    05-05-2015 05:06 AM
  14. RumoredNow's Avatar
    For reasons unknown the ATT RM-983 and the Factory Unlocked North American Variant of RM-985 Lumia 830 have not received full Denim even yet. And the ATT version which I have can not be cross flashed to a suitable alternative ROM as ATT has locked that option out in the Firmware. Still, since I got it for $125 off eBay as a refurbished and it looks mint I will not complain since it is a very capable device in the all around.

    I don't really mind the 5MP shot for how sharp it looks, but it is very pronounced when taken out of isolation. And thus makes a good example for what editing the DNG can do... I'm looking for more opportunities as I go forward here.

    I've found Rawer well worth the price... It's a very flexible editor. And here's a trick. If you use Rich Capture, flash off - then the phone uses what you have set for Bracketing (resets to +/-0.5ev by default so if you want more you must adjust when opening LC5) and merges them in the JPG, but you retain all 3 Brackets individually as DNG and thus gain 3 versions to edit in Rawer!!!
    HaibaneReki likes this.
    05-05-2015 10:54 AM
  15. P1ng0fDeath's Avatar
    amazing thread, thank you for all this work. I'm especially surprised with the 830's performance. Looking forward to see how good they film
    jmshub and RumoredNow like this.
    05-06-2015 02:05 PM
  16. RumoredNow's Avatar
    amazing thread, thank you for all this work. I'm especially surprised with the 830's performance. Looking forward to see how good they film
    I appreciate the encouragement. Next up (and already in the can) a few pictures and a short video at Twilight... Coming soon.
    P1ng0fDeath likes this.
    05-06-2015 05:49 PM
  17. HaibaneReki's Avatar
    regarding video - from what I hear, the FPS can make a difference in the video brightness (exposure), care to test that out?
    RumoredNow likes this.
    05-07-2015 03:01 AM
  18. RumoredNow's Avatar
    regarding video - from what I hear, the FPS can make a difference in the video brightness (exposure), care to test that out?
    I will... That's an interesting Idea. I have a dedicated video segment on my roadmap. The coming video is more related to twilight light conditions and is a brief aside to the photos.
    05-07-2015 10:03 AM
  19. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Magical Light:

    I live at 37.2* N. I used to live at 42.3* N and I've traveled as far north as 46.0*N and as far south as 27.0*N. Something curious happens when you change latitude. The further towards the equator you travel the faster twilight comes and goes at dawn and dusk. The further towards the poles that you travel the longer twilight lingers. Those people in the tropics and sub-tropics may not get the chance to appreciate twilight as much as those who live in the northernmost and southernmost temperate regions.

    Having been raised in a fairly northern clime I've come to love that light we call twilight. The long slow wake of dawn, wrapped in pastel hues that last well after the sun has risen and the gentle tumble into full sunlight. And at night; the light softens and the world knows night approaches, but slowly unraveling as the sun sets and the gloaming fades out revealing the stars. Twilight can be beautiful. It can lend a magical aspect to our sight and quicken our eye. It can also be a challenge to convey all this into imagery of any kind. Let's see how our three Lumias handle it, shall we? I have to shoot fast. Twilight doesn't last as long around here as I'm used to after 48 years further north.


    Twilight calls and I step out of the house to see a pale sky and scudding clouds in the east, reflecting the colors of the imminent sunset and framing the moon. Wonderful background and exactly the sort of sky one wants to capture accurately and quickly. Lumia Camera, hand held shots with auto-everything except flash forced off. The full size originals are uploaded with the 5MP oversample for 1520.

    Lumia 928
    928-023_lumia_hand-held_auto.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-023.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-023.jpg

    Separated, all three are fine in their own right. However, when you lay them side by side you get to see those differences that make or break a shot. The 1520 shot, while overall very pleasing to me, fades behind the other two as being too dark and the hue of the sky really is not quite right. Although 1520 did do a better job on the color of the clouds than 928, IMHO. And on that 928 shot, if you zoom in, you see four artifacts around the moon in a half circle at the top. I can't account for those. They bothered me even at 28% view in Office Picture Manager. Overall, 830 takes this one by a wide margin; tone and color are wonderfully reproduced and the crispness on the bricks of the buildings is astounding.


    On this next shot I have an area in front of where I park my car that makes a natural frame and is pointing west, into the setting sun so it is naturally backlit with color at this time of day. Another Lumia Camera shot from a hand held position and auto-everything with flash forced off. Original sizes, 5MP for 1520.

    Lumia 928
    928-024_lumia_hand-held_auto.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-024.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-024.jpg

    On this shot I think the winner is quite clear and easily spotted. The 928 does a great job of gathering light, but it takes in too much and sacrifices all the magic of the scene. The true subject, that sunset sky, is all but obliterated to show the lawn in front of it. Maybe manual focus would have helped, but this is a "quick get a picture of that" type of shot. The 830 does the best render of the sky, but throws away the foreground making for an unfocused composition. 1520 made the best balance of this tricky light situation and that sort of surprised me in a pleasant way as I was expecting it to fare the worst of the three. I'd have liked more emphasis on the sky, but will definitely accept the balanced composition that 1520 captured.


    This is a distance shot to the south by southwest. Hand held, auto-everything, flash forced off. This time we use Camera360 Sight for the capture. Original sizes for all.

    Lumia 928
    928-025_sight_hand-held_auto.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-025.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-025.jpg

    Here the fading light is running almost parallel to the lens. Again, 928 shows how strong it is at gathering light and how weak at depth of focus. It's just too fuzzy. Maybe 928 is a portraiture specialist? Must investigate. At any rate the 1520 and the 830 make nice work of the composition. 1520 lags though in it's inability to interpolate lower levels of ambient illumination. 830 gathers more light, retains better hues and outdoes either of the other two with a crisp, clean, colorful vista.


    Next, we get a bit advanced and go on the tripod to take a pic with ProShot in HDR mode. +/-2.0ev and auto everything except flash is forced off. A nice close subject, but not a whole lot of light. Full size originals uploaded.

    Lumia 928
    928-026_proshot_hdr_2ev_tripod.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-026.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-026.jpg

    First, I'll apologize for the 830 shot. On the right margin, that is part of the mounting clip I use to attach to a tripod. I didn't even notice it until post production. It may have squashed out a bit of light as it is in the way of the source and that may have accounted for 830's lackluster performance on this capture. May have. The 1520 is darker still. I like the sky best in the 1520 shot, but that isn't the subject this time. The 1520 pic becomes altogether dark and brooding. The 830 just isn't up to snuff either. The 928 capture looks fantastic. The subject is bold and stands forth with a vibrant color. Note the far superior reflections off the Mustang's body panels, the detail in the wheel and the wonderful color in the 928 pic. And for a change (maybe that "portraiture tuning" thing?) the subject and the background look to be in harmonious agreement.
    Last edited by RumoredNow; 05-08-2015 at 02:47 PM.
    The_m, gpobernardo, Mach_E and 1 others like this.
    05-08-2015 12:35 PM
  20. RumoredNow's Avatar
    [S]Hammer[/S] [S]Crunch[/S] Video Time:

    I had to put on a bit of hustle to get the video portion in before it got too dark. And then I borked it a bit by realizing too late that the 1520 had been left on 720p @30fps and I had to redo that one last. Which, it should have been first as we have seen it needs more light than the other two. Oh well.

    Tripod mount. I stood on a corner and filmed traffic in Lumia Camera running 1080p @ 30fps and auto-everything with flash forced off. I used a mini tripod with a selfie stick mounted on top. That means the legs are rather stubby and the passing cars made the rig wobble. (I was hands off.) Thus we get to see also how OIS fares with a slight wobble every now and then on each of the three phones. [S]These have been uploaded to my host at Dailymotion and the site allows full HD playback. The viewer may want to examine these full screen and adjust for their bandwith to avoid lag and artifacts. Play each in the same settings configuration for fairness.[/S] Most likely due to my poor internet at home, these have failed to load with full audio several times to Dailymotion, even though I've never ever experienced this problem before with this host before... I've instead uploaded them to OneDrive in their original quality. Since this site will not embed OneDrive video, users will have to click the links for separate tabs or windows...

    Lumia 928
    https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=37100...4b%2167203&v=3

    Lumia 1520
    https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=37100...4b%2167587&v=3

    Lumia 830
    https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=37100...4b%2167202&v=3

    No hint of any wobble on any of the three. OIS is doing its job in each case. On the 928, the light gathering is excellent, but the diffuse focus is troubling and autofocus really can not make the transition to any of the passing cars to snap them into focus. I see just a hint of graininess in the background as well. The 1520 is way too dark, far out of proportion to the actual illumination. There is a lot of graininess and it negates the focus advantage. I wish there would have been a bit more traffic as I think the autofocus kept up well and the depth of sound was quite rich. The 830 has good light gathering, but that graininess is actually crawling all over the screen obliterating the fine focus efforts. Sound was good on the 830 as well.

    I don't like any of them. I give all 3 a fail. If readers want to insist I pick something then I'll throw 928 out as least offensive, but that fuzziness kills it for me.


    The sun has gone over the horizon some time ago. Twilight fades rapidly. I went to the courtyard of my apartment complex and took a couple more shots with each phone. We are looking west by northwest so the last bit of light is coming almost straight at the lens on these pictures. Lumia Camera, hand held, auto everything. We'll look at pairs of the same shot; one with flash forced off, then one with flash forced on. Full size originals uploaded, 5MP oversample from 1520.

    Lumia 928
    928-028_lumia_hand-held_flash-off.jpg
    928-029_lumia_hand-held_flash-.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-028.jpg
    1520-029.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-028.jpg
    830-029.jpg

    The graininess of the sky on the first (without flash) picture by 928 surprises me. The flash shot redeems it somewhat as a pair. The 1520 is just no good at this type of light and the shot without flash is too dark and the one with flash is simply a shame. 830 did the same thing without flash and with flash that it did in the framed sunset capture above, emphasized the sky and the meager direct light at a cost of sacrificed focus in the foreground. However, it is that last bit of twilight color we are after and 830 wins for capturing it most clearly.


    There is more in the can and more on the plan. We'll take another break here though...
    Last edited by RumoredNow; 05-09-2015 at 02:21 PM.
    05-08-2015 02:36 PM
  21. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Video in the above post is fixed with a workaround... I apologize for the method of presentation not being optimal.
    gpobernardo and sahib lopez like this.
    05-09-2015 02:22 PM
  22. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Let's Harvest Some Crops:

    It is an overcast day, but not too heavy on the cloud cover. A flat, uniform light that makes for pretty easy shots. Everything is well lit without worry about the light source overwhelming the lens. First up is a simple distance shot with a well defined foreground and background. Lumia Camera for the App, hand held with auto-everything except flash forced off. The original size is uploaded with the 5MP oversample for 1520.

    Lumia 928
    928-030_lumia_hand-held_auto.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-030.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-030.jpg

    Easy shots make for hard decisions as to which camera did best... All of these are acceptable and even side by side they are very close. Remember that Lumia 928 has an aperture of f/2.0, L830 is f/2.2 and L1520 is f/2.4. The smaller number is actually a larger hole for light to pass through. It will gather more light, but a smaller hole (higher number) will allow more depth of field (focus). Aperture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This shot helps exemplify the principles of aperture in action and since it is a fixed quantity on the Lumias we need to try and understand what the strengths of the modules are.

    By laying the pics out side by side we can see a bit of fuzziness, a softening, on the shot from 928. Alone it looks nice, but scrutinized in the presence of the other examples we also see a weakness in the color capture in the diffuse lighting. The 1520 is the crispest shot and the greens of the grass and the trees pop the most... The middle of the spectrum. The 830 gives up just a touch of sharpness on the image, but gathers more light than 1520 and makes the whole spectrum of color more vivid than either two. Compare the natural greens in the foreground, the orange canopy and the colored signs in the middle ground plaza, or the blue and red of the sign in the background across the main thoroughfare and the green roof on the portico even further back. Then come forward again and look at the junction boxes on the lawn and the browns of the brick and the cedar shake shingles. 830 made the best use of the subject matter in a lot of the finer details and still produced a reasonably crisp image throughout the entire depth.


    Let's crop in on the background and look at those cranes... We're using the 8.7MP .jpg from the Lumia 928 and the 10MP .jpg from the L830. With the 1520 I set it for 5MP.jpg + 16MP.jpg and we'll take a crop from each.

    Lumia 928
    928-030_lumia_hand-held_auto_tight-crop.jpg

    Lumia 1520 @ 5MP
    1520-030_5mp_tight-crop.jpg

    Lumia 1520 @ 16MP
    1520-030_16mp_tight-crop.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-030_tight-crop.jpg

    Again, all 3 are acceptable and we have to resort to examining minor differences. 928 is the least sharp with 1520 being the sharpest and 830 not far behind. But here's a surprise. Look at the green of the glass and the blue of the sky (mid-spectrum) of the 1520 compared to the others. On such a tight crop we really need to look at size and the 16MP option of the 1520 wins there as well.


    Next we'll take a crop from a little closer in; the front end of the Pontiac in the foreground. This time we only need the 5MP image from Lumia 1520...

    Lumia 928
    928-030_lumia_hand-held_auto_tight-crop-2.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-030_5mp_tight-crop-2.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-030_tight-crop-2.jpg

    We have already seen how 928 is at a disadvantage without a specific (manual) focus point being selected. And even though this is almost a greyscale subject with white, grey and black being represented so heavily the 1520 shows a bit of weakness on the user of light and picks up a dullness from the illumination. I feel 830 takes this one. look at the clarity of the numbers on the license plate, the luster on the grey nose of the auto, the shine of light on the headlight lenses and the richness of the black in the grill.
    Last edited by RumoredNow; 05-14-2015 at 11:01 AM.
    gpobernardo and mark233 like this.
    05-14-2015 10:35 AM
  23. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Continuing on with the "flat light" I have a few more shots taken outdoors as I ran errands and a few inside the local Walmart with the high overhead florescent lighting. Let's take a look...


    Easy Shooting:

    Here are a few shots I have lined up. The first is very low across an asphalt lot looking at a small piece of lawn and a hedgerow in the background. The overcast was a bit thicker than the above post and the scene is hemmed in by buildings on either side of the perspective just out of the frame, cutting off more light.. Camera360 Sight, hand held shot with flash off and auto everything else. Interestingly, the Lumia 928 (8.7MP) had a larger file size than the 830 (10MP) so I was forced to reduce file size and went with 85% of original for all 3, 1520 using the 5MP oversample.

    Lumia 928
    928-031_sight_hand-held_auto.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-031.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-031.jpg

    It's odd how large the files were on this shot. It may be all that black leading up to a pop of color with the yellow flowers and more light at that far end of the shot. The 830 picture came out very listless and dull for some reason. Note the difference in the rocks embedded in the blacktop as a reference between the three phones. I love the tone of the black SUV in the 928 capture, but that diffused focus works against the lens again. 1520 makes the most balanced use of the subject once more. I think we are shooting into it's strengths here: a long field for the autofocus to interpolate, adequate light and most of the color in the middle of the spectrum.

    I will say that creating this thread is teaching me a bit as I go along.


    I took some pics outside the local Walmart. By the time I'd gotten there, a small break in the clouds appeared in the west, but not enough to increase the light greatly as it was still about noon with the sun high overhead. I have a pairs on the same shot for each phone. The top one will be Camera360 Sight and the bottom one is Lumia Camera. Hand held on each, flash forced off and auto settings all around. The full sized originals were used with 5MP for 1520.

    Lumia 928
    928-033_sight_hand-held-auto.jpg
    928-034_lumia_hand-held_auto.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-033.jpg
    1520-034.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-033.jpg
    830-034.jpg

    Between each shot of a pair, per phone, there is little difference beside Camera360 Sight being a bit darker... Excepting on 1520 where we also see a larger decrease in cloud detail in Lumia Camera than with Sight when compared to the other two. But look at the way the clouds really pop in detail with the 1520 Sight pic. Magnificent that. And in both the 1520 pics, if you view at 100% and examine the Kohl's signage the 1520 is clearest in both pics and shows the sharpest shadow underneath the letters. I have to give this one to 1520 for overall clarity with the Camera360 Sight winning best picture. 830 for the most consistent pairing in terms of color reproduction and general detail.

    (Note: I hope readers do know that they can right click any of these pictures and select open in new tab in order to view them full screen and may then zoom them to 100% for finer comparisons. Perhaps I should have said earlier...)


    And here is the same scene done in ProShot HDR mode. +/- 3.0ev. Hand held with auto evertything else. Full size originals uploaded.

    Lumia 928
    928-032_proshot_hdr_3ev_hand-held.jpg

    Lumia 1520
    1520-032.jpg

    Lumia 830
    830-032.jpg

    I was actually propped against a pickup bed for this scene with all 3 lenses. I wanted to minimize any wobble, especially on the HDR effort. 928's narrow depth of field really betrays it here. Look at the leaves on the trees and the Kohl's signage. The 830 looks really washed out. The smaller aperture of the 1520 helps keep it from oversaturating on the high exposure part of the bracket. 1520 takes the best shot here, but +/-3ev is intentionally overdone for the lighting. I think If I'd gone +/-2 you would barely notice the HDR effect from 1520 and the 830 would not have washed out the sky so poorly.
    Last edited by RumoredNow; 05-15-2015 at 02:10 PM.
    gpobernardo and Mach_E like this.
    05-15-2015 01:25 PM
  24. Putu Oka's Avatar
    i dont like to use third party app like camera360sight because they lack in HQ picture. better to use original lumia camera and edit it in photoshop express.
    05-15-2015 02:22 PM
  25. RumoredNow's Avatar
    i dont like to use third party app like camera360sight because they lack in HQ picture. better to use original lumia camera and edit it in photoshop express.
    I'm not sure what you mean by this. On 928, 1520 and 830 Camera360 Sight shoots at the same resolution as Lumia Camera does. All my file sizes are comparable. It is the same number of pixels when I check the properties. On1520, Sight can be toggled between 5MP or 16MP or 18MP jpg (High Res depends on aspect ratio). ProShot is the same; native size on 928 and 830. ProShot on 1520 has an amazing range of capture options as you toggle through the settings by aspect Ratio and depending on that aspect you may then select between 0.3, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 16 or 19MP. Camera360 allows me to shoot with some real time filters and has even more filter effects and a powerful editor built in. ProShot allowed me to shoot HDR long before Lumia Camera's Rich Capture and still has a more selectable bracketing value for finer and broader options. ProShot also has real time filters and a very nice editor.

    They are tools to have in your toolkit. Each tool has certain tasks they are better at. Some like (Microsoft) Camera for speed. Some like Sketch Camera for fun.

    Each user finds the tools they prefer. I'm trying to examine differences between the camera modules and am sticking to three of the most commonly used Apps to do my comparisons with.

    If you have a system that works for you (Lumia Camera + Photoshop Express) great!!! I just can't agree that other Apps besides Lumia Camera "lack in HQ picture" and I think the captures I've shown here so far illustrate that your statement is not accurate. Personally, I'm happy to have alternate lenses on my phones and am very engaged with trying to discover their best use scenarios...
    05-16-2015 01:37 PM
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