More rigorous Lumia 920 vs HTC One OIS testing

Published by at

You may remember that I recently produced a video, shot ad-hoc, trying to compare the Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) capabilities of the Nokia Lumia 920 (and, by proxy, the 925 and 928) and the HTC One (running Android, of course)? It wasn't shot with the two phones shooting at the same time, but (as promised) I've now done the job properly, with the Lumia 920 and One in a special jig, making sure that all wobbles and movements got transmitted to the phone cameras equally.

From my earlier piece:

Of course, all OIS is not necessarily created equal. HTC clearly state, talking about the One, that 'Leading the industry standards, it can counter motion on two axes and operates at an unprecedented frequency of 2000Hz, which means it detects pitch and yaw movements of the camera, and adjusts for those movements, 2000 times a second. This is much faster than any comparable phone camera with OIS.’

As anyone remotely familiar with aviation will know, pitch and yaw are just two ways in which an object (whether an aircraft, or a phone in human hands) can rotate in three dimensions - 'roll' is missing. What HTC fail to say is that their limited OIS implementation, which seems to just use two axis gyroscope data, affects just the angle of one element in the lens assembly in its One camera, and can't cope with roll at all. In contrast, Nokia's holistic approach, using 3-axis gyroscope and accelerometer data and with the whole optical assembly involved, should produce significantly better results.

This time, I shot a variety of subjects in daylight, indoors and at night, trying to introduce movement typical of a careful amateur (I've got so used to keeping camera phones rock steady that I had to force myself to be a little more relaxed, in order to 'stress' the OIS enough!). The Windows Phone-powered Lumia 920 and the Android-powered HTC One were mounted side by side and held rock steady by a jig. Aside from minor sync issues between the footage from the two devices, what you're seeing below is the difference in the OIS implementations.

One comment I got after producing the video was that a comparison between OIS footage and some 'normal' 'software-stabilised' footage would have been good, to show the difference in quality going to OIS in the first place. I'm working on that 8-)

The footage forms the main part of Phones Show 203, embedded here. You may want to skip ahead to around the 3:45 mark, which is where the feature starts. As usual, maximise the playback window and up the quality to 1080p, if your connection can stand it, for best results.

For 1080p video capture, I can't think of any other smartphone in the world that can match the Nokia Lumia 920/925/928 at the moment. The Nokia 808 PureView produces slightly clearer and less noisy results, with lossless zoom and with stereo sound, but I'd still rather have OIS on balance, for real world footage involving people and moving things(!) 

Some of the Android competitor flagships now have 'HDR' video (shooting at 60fps, with every other frame at reduced exposure, then combining the results in real time), all have software stabilisation, and some have extra tricks (picture in picture, etc.), but again, I'd rather have quality video that's smoother than a baby's bottom. Which, I contend, is what Nokia provides here.

Comments welcome!

Source / Credit: The Phones Show