Great night photo examples from the Nokia 808 and Lumia 920

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I was taken with some of Marc's test photos here, snapped in extremely low light on the Nokia 808 and Lumia 920, exploring what each phone camera can do in Amsterdam's harbour. The 808's shots are atmospheric and very decent considering how dark it was (and that Marc didn't have time to do any 'Creative' adjustments) - a comparison sample is shown below from the 30-million selling Samsung flagship, the Galaxy S III. [updated]

It's the Lumia 920's photos that are the most interesting - it's clear that it almostover exposes these night time shots - Marc found himself having to dial back the exposure manually so that the photos were dark enough!

[update] Marc has been trying to repeat the results and suspects the 920 might have been inadvertently in 'night mode' - which at least perhaps explains why he was having to adjust the exposure!

From the PureView Club post:

First a scene that completely blew us away – the only one I have three different shots from. It was very dark. The only light came from the Chinese restaurant about a 100 meters away, and from the other side of the water. In fact, it was hard to focus the camera in the exact same way for three times.

The first is just to show what you can expect from the Galaxy S3 in a situation like this. It’s trying to capture the  boat in the harbour. You can barely see it, but showing the picture serves a purpose.

Next up, the Nokia 808. Again, no flash, everything on “auto” – yes, I know, of course, you can get much better results when you play with the settings, this is just for comparison, like a snapshot if you don’t have enough time on your hands. As could be expected, the result is already a lot better.

The next one was shot with the Nokia Lumia 920, and was a genuine jawdropper for both of us. Again: no flash, all settings on auto.

We actually didn’t know where the Lumia 920 got all the light from. The sky was much darker than this, hell – everything was much darker than this. I’d like to stress this shot was only resized, I didn’t change anything else (except putting the name of the source in).

As with Rafe's photo comparisons, the super long shutter times on the Lumia 920 are actually showing details that are beyond what the human eye can see. While fascinating and a demo of what OIS can do in a phone camera, it also raises an issue - shouldn't the camera be trying to replicate what the human eye sees, rather than its own tech-enhanced version?

What the PureView team at Nokia has achieved is remarkable, in its own way, the 'phase 2' tech in the Lumia 920 is as interesting as the 'phase 1' tech in the Nokia 808. Yet I can't help but feel that, for the 920, there's a small software update on its way to fix the fact that the camera's sometimes a little too good, a little too greedy for photons of light! 

Source / Credit: PureView Club