IPhone 4S vs. Lumia 800: camera wars, round 1!

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On Monday afternoon a Nokia Lumia 800 review unit appeared on the doorstep, and after a quick configuration, I started snapping pictures. Why? Nokia hardware is typically known not just for the great build quality but also for the excellent camera sensors that are often paired with Carl Zeiss optics. The Lumia 800 is no exception, so I shared a few pictures on Twitter last night, which raised comparison questions between the Lumia and the iPhone 4S.

I haven’t spent nearly enough time taking pictures with both devices — and I haven’t tried any video capture with the Lumia yet — but I thought I would share a few unedited images taken this afternoon. All pictures were taken with the default settings, and I tried to take the exact same shot. Here are four comparison images, with more to follow when I provide a full review of Nokia’s latest Microsoft Windows Phone handset.

IPhone 4S Lumia 800

Overall, the iPhone images appear warmer while there’s a darker, bluer look to the Lumia’s pics. The first two images are in relatively low light in the afternoon. The latter pair is outside in the final hour before sunset. All of the images can be clicked to see the full-size shot.

I have plenty of pictures to take yet before passing a final judgment, but based on these few pictures and some others I have taken in the past 24 hours with the default settings, I’m preferring output from the iPhone 4S. It’s very possible that scene modes and other software features could improve one, the other or both, but for the default mode — likely to be used by many consumers — the iPhone 4S looks better to me.

Boxing image courtesy of Flickr user mikecogh

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