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iPhone 5 vs. Lumia 920: Image stabilization challenge

Nokia(s nok) 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(s aapl) 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.

38 Responses to “iPhone 5 vs. Lumia 920: Image stabilization challenge”

  1. I honestly can not understand how anyone can say the Lumia wasn’t the clear winner? There is less up/down jerkiness, white is whiter, black is blacker, it is just a touch sharper. There really is no need to cover one while watching the other. Although I tried that too.

    Are you kidding Adam?

  2. Wahid Roshan Surya

    a manner of taking base data for resolution and colour would have been to mount these two devices (or three) on a double armed tripod so they would be at exactly the same level… each of the lenses would then have to be slightly angled (in an arc for multiple devices) to face, a relatively common “vanishing point”, so the comings and goings of traffic or people (into and out of the frame, that is) would be very similar… then have them take outdoor shots and indoor shots (one may add shaded outdoor shots, as well)… then we could compare them to the handheld shots, yes? however, some people’s hands are naturally shakier than others, as well…

  3. Mark Langston

    Wow! The Lumia did kinda embarrass the iPhone. The colors were a lot crisper, the framing seemed to be capturing more to the left and right, and the stabilization was night and day.

    I’m really, really impressed and honestly jealous. I’d almost consider getting a Lumia just for the camera but I don’t think I could stomach the Windows Phone 8 interface. I’m not a fan of Win8 at all and the new 8 interface just looks like a congested mess with no negative space meaning the end of personalized wallpaper.

    The wallpaper is now whatever images and information that’s sliding up and down in the live tiles and the color of the tiles.

  4. Tümay Kılınç

    Lumia 920 video is clearly more stable and offers richer colors. I read the comments, although i am an Apple user, i have to disagree with the comments. The difference is too much to ignore.

  5. Interesting how we all perceive it differently. I thought the Nokia excelled at this compared to the iPhone…like it wasn’t even close. Obviously we all perceive it differently so it becomes subjective.

  6. Oh, and I think the iPhone has more realistic color ;) (just look at the one guy’s face walking ahead of the crowd into the parking lot… looks sunburnt… unlikely for Finland this time of the year :D )

  7. Two points of contention:

    Compare the videos agarin… the Nokia seems to do better when there is a lot of hand movement going on, with much smoother video motion at those times, while moments of smaller jerks of the hand seemed to make the video from the Nokia jump, while the iPhone remained smooth. So iPhone for day-to-day careful filming when trying to get a birthday party memory, Nokia for trying to catch a bus? :D

    On the color side I see a serious issua with “better color”. The question is whether you want vibrant color, or realistic color. Personally, I always want realistic. I am not trying to make a hollywood movie, I want the scene to be as I remember it. Plus, you can always make video more vibrant later on in processing. trying to get back to the actual color of the scene is nearly impossible unless you have something to compar… difficult if you are already back home after your trip to disney world ;)

  8. Nice post and according to me iPhone is far better than Lumia 920 because there are so many features in iPhone like A6 processor, light weight, wireless technology etc and Lumia 920 have Microsoft window 8 phone. Both have 8 mega pixel camera but Lumia have better camera quality, but overall iPhone have better stabilization.

  9. Peter Deep

    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.

  10. 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 :-)

  11. Gary Dauphin

    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.

    • 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.

    • 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…