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Summary:

Any excitement Nokia generated with its “floating lens” technology in the Lumia 920 smartphone was quickly squashed thanks to a video demo that didn’t use the Lumia to capture footage. This hands on video, however, shows that Nokia’s stabilization technology is the one to beat.

iPhone 5 vs Lumia 920

Nokia introduced new image stabilization technology earlier this month with the launch of its Lumia 920 smartphone, but audience excitement was quickly killed off: The company demonstrated the feature in a video that didn’t actually use Lumia handsets to capture the footage. So how impressive is — or isn’t — Nokia’s “floating lens” technology? There’s one way to find out: a hands-on test.

That’s exactly what Myriam Joire of Engadget did earlier this week. At Nokia’s research and development facility in Tampere, Finland, Joire mounted both a Lumia 920 and an iPhone 5 on a mount to capture the same video footage with both smartphones at the same time. The results are quite impressive, with the Lumia video far more stable:

How important is a high-quality stabilization feature in a smartphone? Some may not see the need now, but one only has to look at the trend of smartphone optics to see where things are heading. As Om pointed out this month, handheld devices are fast replacing point-and-shoot cameras thanks to improved image capture combined with connectivity for sharing.

The same attributes could easily apply to video on the go with smartphones eliminating the need for dedicated camcorders. I think Nokia is on to something here and expect other phone makers to focus — no pun intended — more on video capabilities in the near future.

  1. “The results are quite impressive, with the Lumia video far more stable.” You’re kidding, right? Watch that again.

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    1. I agree with your comment! The colors look better on Nokia, but stabilization? give me a break. Regardless, I do feel that Windows will be a strong competitor in the mobile space in a couple years.

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    2. The lumia on this video may seem kinda shaky at times in comparison to the iphone…but that’s simple physics…the lumia camera lens is much further away from the middle where the guy is holding than the iphone lens…the vibration is more when the distance from the origin of the shake increases…
      IMO the lumia still managed do quite well even after that…

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  2. Would be easier to tell the difference if the videos had the same crop/magnification.

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    1. That makes sense, but buy using the native image capture, the video shows another key difference; a wider view from the Nokia camera.

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  3. Wow Nokia camera is better. The iPhones camera jumped up to much.

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  4. @Kevin. Sorry but you’re smoking crack if you think the Lumia is far more stable. More realistic colors yes, but OIS is unimpressive in the video.

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    1. So to your eye, the iPhone 5 offers better image stabilization (but less realistic colors)?

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      1. Correct. To my eyes the Lumia had better image quality. But that side by side comparison for the OIS feature did not make me think it more stable than the iPhone.

        Last week, The Verge posted some Russian developers doing an OIS comparison with the Lumia 920 vs a Galaxy S III. They mounted both phones to a remote controlled car. The OIS was much more impressive there.

        Link: http://mobile.theverge.com/2012/9/21/3368146/lumia-920-radio-controlled-car-ois

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        1. Fair enough. I’m not suggesting people dump iPhones and get a Lumia by any means – people should buy and use what suits their needs best. To my eye, the OIS is better on the Lumia FWIW. Thanks!

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    2. I would recommend to turn on HD resolution and then watch each video separately (by putting a piece of paper to cover the other video). That helped me to see the difference, which was actually quite big then.

      What OIS solves really well are those low-amplitude, high frequency shakes. The big ones are still there. I guess camerawoman should have tried to keep camera a little bit more stable. If you are interested, then look at the RC car test in youtube done by some Russians (though it was SGS3 vs Lumia 920 and not iPhone 5)

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      1. Perhaps the test should have had less shake overall to prove anything?

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    3. are you serious? watch the vídeo again in the part when he stars running. there is no comparison the iphone is all over the place while the nokia is quite stable

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  5. I am an iPhone user and i find the Lumia image quality better, but the stabilization subjectively appears to be about a wash to me.

    How about retesting against a bunch of horizontal and vertical lines (fence posts are a good sample test) while walking over un-level terrain, instead of a level parking lot?

    Otherwise your conclusion is baseless.

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  6. “At Nokia’s research and development facility in Tampere, Finland”
    Hmmm… Smells of bias.

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    1. The Lumia 920 isn’t available yet, so the test pretty much had to be done in conjunction with Nokia.

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  7. I noticed earlier that the iPhone software OIS seems to also compensate for rotation, something the sensor shift tech cannot compensate for. Or am I imagining this?

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  8. The video is kinda nice way to impress one but I think there is at least one major difference everyone should be aware of.
    The two camera predictably has different focal lenght (I assume this becasue of the very different field of view) which causes different inches/millimeters (pixels are irrelevant) movement at the same angle change (shaking the cam) resulting more or less blurry/broken frame.

    However, I’m not tallking about the quality of the image (color, resolution, etc.) that’s only question of taste :-)

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    1. I was thinking the same thing. To be taken seriously, they should have set the same focal length.

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  9. Lindsworth Horatio Deer Friday, September 28, 2012

    Very True. By making the lens effectively suspended in a pivotless system akin to a gyroscope, image stabilization is vastly improved for fast, jerky situations. Lumia 920 get a one-up on Apple with this one!! http://bit.ly/TOr3xS

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  10. I would have to agree with the masses here. As I was watching, it seemed the iPhone had better stabilization but they were both very close. How the author could deduce that the Nokia’s stabilization, “is the one to beat.” Clearly, they both did well. I will agree that the colors appeared richer on the Nokia video.

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    1. are you blind or what? :D , how can be better that frickin apple DIGITAL stabilization .. :D

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