I have to confess - even after writing hundreds of articles about smartphone imaging I still get confused sometimes about digital zoom, especially in the realm of PureView. Exactly how far can you zoom in, on each device, for stills or video? What are the limits and what happens if you go beyond them? Here’s a helpful guide that I prepared earlier.
Recent Features - Hardware
With the movement of its feature phone business (acquired from Nokia as part of the deal) to a joint Finnish/Chinese partnership (HMD/Foxconn), Microsoft also made it clear that there won’t be any new Lumias for the time being, but that doesn’t mean no new Windows 10 Mobile smartphones. In fact, there are quite a few companies now involved in the ecosystem, so I thought I’d enumerate and introduce them. Some you’ll have heard of, some you won’t.
Yes, it's the second imaging shootout of the week, sometimes these things get bunched up and the LG G5 and HTC 10 arrived on the same day - both with pretensions at the Lumia 950's imaging crown. With totally different native resolutions though, meaning that in order to use our comparator I had to go out and shoot different test scenes at different times - here's the result of the 16MP fight between the Lumia 950 and LG G5.
With the HTC 10 now in for review on The Phones Show, I couldn't resist pitching it (it claims camera prowess) against the Lumia 950, looking at image quality. And, me being me and this being AAWP, I couldn't resist throwing in some comparisons with the classic Lumia 1020 as well - a different beast, but it does provide a known benchmark of sorts for what a phone camera can do.
One of the requests in the comments recently was to test audio capture when shooting videos. And, as it happens, I'd been thinking about doing this for a while anyway. So I headed out with six smartphones and tried to shoot video and audio in as controlled conditions as possible: in a quiet garden, by a windy, noisy road, and in a rock-level music setting. That should be enough to set the best from the rest, I thought...
OK, it seems that my comprehensive Venn diagram was a little too confusing for some readers - which is fair enough. Maybe it was a little ambitious. So I've broken things down more simply below. Here, in a single diagram is what will/should happen to your current Windows phone* in the coming 12-24 months. It also represents my own recommendations, you don't have to follow them, you know...(!)
The latest generation of Google Nexus devices claimed to have a 'powerful' camera with 'larger 1.55μ pixels that let in more light'. The Nexus 6P is a close match for the Lumia 950 XL in many ways, meaning that I couldn't resist pitching these two heavyweight phablets together, here in terms of the photos that they can capture.
Reading through all the comments on previous stories, I'm gathering that there's still some indecision as to whether to put the beloved Nokia Lumia 1020 up to Windows 10 Mobile, against Microsoft's official advice, via the Insiders Program and its 'Threshold' Release Preview ring. In an attempt to come down again on one side or another, here are my top 10 reasons why you should definitely keep the 41MP-sensored monster on the older OS.
As anyone who's messed around with operating systems or technology knows, it's easy (and tested) to upgrade an OS, it's usually a lot harder to downgrade (since all the old files have previously been blown away by the upgrade!) So, needing to downgrade from Windows 10 Mobile 'Redstone' Insider builds back to the more stable, fully working pastures of 'Threshold' (the 10586.xxx current production branch), I knew I'd hit a hiccup or two along the way - but I also wanted to bring you along for the ride, in case you also need to revert to an earlier version at some stage.
One of the most popular sub-topics in my features on camera-toting smartphones is low light and night time capabilities. Now, partly this is about arty shots of sunsets, churches and fountains, but more usually in the real world this is about friends and family in living rooms, pubs and events. Which usually means relying on your smartphone camera's flash. With LED flash now coming in 'triple' form and with many differences in processing capabilities under the hood, I thought some tests were in order. Will Xenon, the original winning tech, still come out on top?