In this, part 2 of our new series in imaging comparisons, I'm looking at the Lumia 950/XL in comparison with other phone cameras, looking at specific aspects. Previously, I had tested (mainly) the telephoto zooms on the Galaxy S9+ and iPhone XS Max, this time I'm attempting a four way low light extravaganza, by throwing in the 950 too (of course), along with the well respected Google Pixel 2XL. Is there a low light winner?
The last few camera head to heads between the mighty Lumia 950 range and the telephoto-equipped competition have seen the latter win out by virtue of that extra lens. And, let's face it, who doesn't want to zoom in every now and then? But, if you're thinking of moving from Windows 10 Mobile to Android or iOS, which is the best zoom-equipped camera phone to consider? In the first of several such 'alternative' features, here's the Galaxy S9+ against the new iPhone XS Max...
With Apple picking up several of the ex-Nokia PureView team, it was clear that the iPhone's imaging was only going to get better and better, and the new XS Max is terrific. Thanks to the stablised 12MP telephoto lens, it can pick up detail at distance even beyond the mighty Lumia 950 (from 2015). But what about artefacts and performance under challenging light?
Having been highlighting PWAs here on AAWP for months, it's becoming clear that a little guidance might be needed in terms of the 'best' way to run them. In fact, it turns out that 'best' is subjective and depends on how you like to run your Windows 10 phone - but hopefully the advice and examples below will clarify the situation.
The Lumia 950 and 950 XL were announced almost exactly three years ago, in October 2015. Not exactly to huge fanfare, and they needed six months of Windows 10 Mobile updates for the phones to really fly. And, for a short period, they were competitive with the best of iPhone and Android, but the pace of hardware development on the latter has been astonishing and unrelenting. Even imaging, the Lumia 950/XL's star feature, has now been overtaken. Where will it all end?
It's a fair cop, Windows 10 Mobile is still alive, so maybe it's too early to do a little grave-jumping. And devices like the Lumia 950 are still eminently useable and even enjoyable. But at the same time, there have been some stinkers in Windows phone history - and I've never compiled an list... until now. Whatever you might think of the development of the OS itself, there's little to excuse some of the hardware below.
One extra that came along for the ride with Windows 10 Camera (née Lumia Camera) was digital stabilisation for video capture, perhaps because this was something enabled by the faster and more capable chipsets as 2015 rolled into 2016. But it may be that you've resisted turning 'digital stabilisation' on in Camera's Settings? I often wonder whether to do so myself and then thought that a comparison video would be interesting for others too. Long story short, it's definitely worth turning on for 1080p footage and below.
Conventional wisdom for the Lumia 950 and 950 XL is that when snapping something you shouldn't go too far down the route of using 'zoom' in the UI, since the PureView lossless zoom only goes so far. But how does this work out in practice and where exactly in the UI should you stop zooming and 'crop later'? Here's a clue: it's sooner than you might think!
There's so much to like about Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile in terms of hardware options, interface, and ecosystem (in that W10M is part of a larger whole), that you might be surprised, in hindsight, that it failed so badly - in relative terms, compared to Android and iOS. There's no one single reason for this - rather many reasons, with cumulative effect, over the best part of a decade. Here's my - rather damning - list.
It CAN be done. But that doesn't mean you should do it. In fact, it's a last resort if this is something you feel the need to do. What am I talking about? Reframing. Exemplified by the Lumia 1020, this was part of Nokia Pro Camera back in 2013-14, and the idea was that you could zoom in to take a photo, then - back at home - decide that you wish you hadn't zoomed in so far and that you wanted to 'reframe' the photo, either zoomed out or with a different zoom centre. It worked brilliantly. And, well, you can't do exactly the same on the Lumia 930 or 950. But you can get close... with caveats!