I've spent the last hour and a half looking over the same pics in the DxO P20 Pro review and it's just super apparent to me that the p20 isn't anywhere CLOSE to the same league as the 1020. It's actually quite a bit worse than I initially thought. I'm sorry, it's just not even close.
The biggest thing I see is that is smears the living snot out of details. Even at low ISO. And at high ISO, it smears it so damn much that it has that "pastel" look, but it's so far past the pastel look that it just looks like it is posterized. I didn't know it was as bad as it was until I looked closely at the pics in the review. And the noise reduction is SOOOO aggressive that there are artifacts on EVERY edge. When it's so bad like that, you cannot reduce it yourself. If the noise reduction is reasonable, then it's pretty consistent throughout the entire image, which means you can post process it really easily to your preference.
When I looked at the ISO 800 and 1000 photos, they really shocked me how they had NO detail left at all at 100%. The pixels have no clarity. I would rather have 5MP resolution with clarity and detail over 10 or 20MP of smeared mush. I tried reducing the P20 photos to 5MP, but they still looked smeared and void of detail.
Here are the same photos from the DxO review, who sell themselves as digital imaging experts. (Though I totally think they are out to lunch)
1. Huawei P20 Pro - ISO800 Full image -
2. Huawei P20 Pro - ISO800 100% crop
The detail is so smeared out it looks like pastel.
3. Huawei P20 Pro - ISO1000 Full image
4. Huawei P20 Pro - ISO1000 100% crop
Even worse at ISO1000. So smeary it looks practically posterized. No detail whatsoever. It looks like someone took a photo, printed it out, and then took a photo of the print in a very dark area. It looks horrific. But... not very surprising for a smartphone.
What WAS surprising was how bad it still looked at LOW ISO. It's supposed to look amazing at low ISO, but it still looks all smeary and lots of lost detail. Not as bad as high ISO, but still what I would consider to be ugly as heck.
5. Huawei P20 Pro - ISO50 full image
6. Huawei P20 Pro - ISO50 100% crop See how blended the hairs are, the fuzz on her scarf looks like puke. Skin looks plastic. It is SO overprocessed.
And at first glance, the below photo looks good....
7. Huawei P20 Pro - ISO50 full image
Until you zoom in to 100%, and the grass looks horrendously BAD.
8. Huawei P20 Pro - ISO50 100% crop
So I was just wondering if it had been so long since I used the 1020 that maybe my memory of it was a little too rosy. I went into my images and looked up some high ISO, low ISO faces, and some grass.
Here is a grass shot for comparison
9. Lumia 1020 - Full scene
10. Lumia 1020 - 100% crop
And what do you know, the grass still looks like grass.
Then I tried to find a photo I took that would challenge the noise processing of the 1020. That would be a lot of high contrast lines on a darker toned image:
11. Lumia 1020 - ISO1000 Noise test full scene
12. Lumia 1020 - ISO1000 Noise test 100% crop
Looking at these above, I am still blown away at what the 1020 could do. I honestly wouldn't get results significantly better on my professional camera gear. It would be more resolution, but I don't think I'd extract any extra usable detail.
Here is a high ISO 100% crop (I can provide the full images too if people want)
13. Lumia 1020 - ISO1600 @ 100% crop
Look at how controlled and consistent the noise pattern is. And it's not even very noisy at all. It would be SUPER easy to reduce the noise if I wanted to. The clarity and detail is excellent. I can count each stitch on my son's shirt. It doesn't look smudged at all. You can see texture and perceive it's depth so easily because it isn't smeared at all. The 1020 is still blowing me away, 5 years after I first got it.
14. Lumia 1020 - ISO100 @ 100% crop
And at ISO100 above, it looks fantastic... comparable to a true DSLR in clarity.
So yes, I DO applaud Huawei for their attempt. And functionally the phone is much better than the 1020, but when it comes to pure imaging prowess, it is not even remotely close to the 1020. Upon careful comparison, the gap is a lot wider than I originally thought it was.
I would definitely not think it would be worthy to be called a viable Lumia 1020 successor.
It just makes me sad that I have nothing modern to use that has comparable image quality to what I had 5 years ago.