Nokia Lumia 920 Camera Review
2 DxOMark Mobile Report: Nokia Lumia 920
DxOMark Mobile Report: Nokia Lumia 920
With a DxOMark Mobile score of 66 the Nokia Lumia 920 is occupying a space at the lower end of the DxO smartphone ranking. Its score is the same as the HTC 8X Windows phone, but it cannot keep up with the best in class such as the Nokia 808, Apple iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S3.
The DxOMark team report that the Lumia 920 captures images with good overall exposure, shows good contrast even in difficult situations and very low noise, even under extreme low-light conditions. The latter is achieved by using exposure times about four times longer than most smartphones under similar conditions. Optics stabilization then compensates - at least partly - for the expected motion blur.
On the downside: "texture and sharpness are poor, even under bright light," "white balance is unstable," "colors are slightly too saturated" and "autofocus is neither stable nor repeatable for objects closer than 2m."
In video mode, DxOMark's engineers reported that the Lumia 920 offers "efficient stabilization in low light and bright light for moderate motion" and low noise. On the other hand "autofocus is inaccurate, even in bright light, white balance is unstable, even with constant lighting" and "Jello effect and rotation are not corrected, making stabilization performance only average for stronger motion."
Dr. Frédéric Guichard, DxO Labs’ Chief Scientific Officer, said: '“The Lumia 920 outperforms the highly-regarded Nokia 808 Pureview for video but for stills it misses the mark slightly. Exposure and contrast are generally good even in difficult lighting, and with very low noise levels that are mainly a result of the longer exposure times made possible by stabilization. The main drawbacks are disappointing autofocus accuracy, poor sharpness and some lack of texture.”
Color, Exposure and Contrast
The DxOMark team found that the Lumia 920's "images usually have good contrast even in difficult situations", with good overall exposure. However, DxO found "strong color shading with fluorescent illumnants" and "slightly too saturated colors." While noise levels are relatively low in low light, it was noted that "in extreme low-light conditions exposure time is about four times longer than for most smartphones" and that "the optical stabilization does not compensate for all the subsequent motion blur." Because of this DxOMark scored the Nokia Lumia 920 at 68/100 for color in bright light and 58/100 in low light.
Overall DxOMark awarded the Nokia Lumia 920 scores of
- 4.5 out of 5 for Exposure
- 3.0 out of 5 for White Balance accuracy
- 2.5 out of 5 for Color shading*
- 3.0 out of 5 for Color Rendering in low light
- 3.5 out of 5 for Color Rendering in bright light
*Color Shading is the nasty habit cellphone cameras have of rendering different areas of the frame with different color shifts, resulting in pictures with, for example, pinkish centers and greenish corners.
Noise and Details
DxOMark's engineers reported that the Nokia Lumia 920 images show "very low noise even in low light thanks to longer exposure time" but that "images are not very textured" and "many details are blurry, even outdoors."
Texture Acutance is a way of measuring the ability of a camera to capture images that preserve fine details, particularly the kind of low contrast detail (textures such as fine foliage, hair, fur) that can be blurred away by noise reduction or obliterated by excessive sharpening.
Sharpness is an important part of the quality of an image, but while it is easy to look at an image and decide visually whether it's sharp or not, the objective measurement of sharpness is less straightforward.
An image can be defined as "sharp" if its edges are sharp and if fine details are visible, but in-camera processing means it's possible to have one of these (sharp edges) but not the other (fine details). Conventional MTF measurements tell us how sharp an edge is, but have drawbacks when it comes to measuring fine detail preservation. Image processing algorithms can detect edges and enhance their sharpness, but they can also find homogeneous areas and smooth them out, to reduce noise.
Texture Acutance, on the other hand, can qualify sharpness in terms of preservation of fine details, without being fooled by edge enhancement algorithms.
At first sight, the images from these two cameras may appear equally sharp. A sharpness measurement on edges will indeed confirm this impression, and will even show that the second camera is sharper. But a closer examination of low contrasted textures shows that the first camera has a better preservation of fine details than the second. The purpose of the Texture Acutance measurement is to qualify this difference.
Visual Noise is a value designed to assess the noise in an image as perceived by the human visual system, depending on the viewing condition (size of image, size of screen or print, viewing distance). The measurements have no units and can be simply viewed as a weighted average of noise standard deviation for each channel in the CIE L*a*b* color space. The lower the measurement, the less noise in the image.
Noise & Detail Perceptual scoring
- Texture (bright light): 2.5 out of 5
- Texture (low light): 2.5 out of 5
- Noise (bright light): 4.0 out of 5
- Noise (low light) 4.0 out of 5
Phone cameras, like entry-level compact cameras, tend to suffer from artifacts such as sharpening halos, color fringing, vignetting (shading) and distortion, which can impact on the visual appeal of the end result. DxOMark engineers measure and analyse a range of artifacts. Their findings after testing the Nokia Lumia 920 are shown below:
- Sharpness is not uniform across the image field
- Strong color fringing
- Sharpness 3.0 out of 5
- Color fringing 3.5 out of 5
- Ringing center: 3.2%
- Ringing corner 2.0%
- Max geometric distortion 0.5%
- Luminance shading 5%
Distortion & Chromatic Aberrations
DxOMark also tests autofocus accuracy and reliability by measuring how much the accutance - sharpness - varies with each shot over a series of 30 exposures (defocusing then using the autofocus for each one). As with other tests these results are dependant on the viewing conditions (a little bit out of focus matters a lot less with a small web image than a full 8MP shot viewed at 100%). Using the 8MP equiv. condition the Nokia Lumia 920 results are unusually low, with an overall score of only 28/100 in bright light and 38/100 in low light.
It's worth noting that autofocus starts from a default position which is infinity in default mode and 20cm in close up mode. If the focus is not reached, the default position is chosen.
With our software version, the AF default mode is the macro mode, which can be a source of errors.
- AF is fast for objects more than 1m away
- Unstable AF in both bright and low light
Autofocus starts from a default position which is infinity in default mode and 20cm in close up mode. If the focus is not reached, the default position is chosen. With our software version, the AF default mode is macro mode, which can be a source of errors.
DxOMark scored the Nokia Lumia 920 71/100 overall for its flash performance, deducting points for occasional white balance issues in mixed light.
- Good color preservation
- Low noise
- Exposure is stable with the flash
- White balance is red when flash is mixed with an additional tungsten light source
Overall DxOMark Mobile score for Photo: 64 / 100
DxOMark engineers put phone cameras through a similarly gruelling set of video tests, and you can read their full findings on the DxOMark website here. We'll simply summarize for you. DxOMark found the Nokia Lumia 920's exposure and color reproduction to be good. However, the white balance is very unstable, even in daylight, image stabilization for stronger motion is only average and the autofocus severely lacks accuracy when refocusing to infinity. In this case, it starts refocusing from macro distance to infinity, with visible lens breathing.
- Efficient stabilization in low light and bright light for moderate motion
- Good noise
- Unstable white balance, even with constant lighting
- Color shading
- Inaccurate autofocus, even in bright light
- Jello effect and rotation are not corrected, making stabilization performance only average for stronger motion
Overall DxOMark Mobile score for Video: 70 / 100
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