Cameras: HTC One vs Nokia Lumia 920

At the HTC One launch, it was clear that HTC had put a lot of effort into the camera assembly of the HTC One, including the use of larger pixels to capture "up to 300%" more light than competing smartphones, and optical image stabilization similar to the Lumia 920. Now I was carrying my Lumia 920 to the event in Sydney, and couldn't resist testing the camera out against the HTC One.

The following shots were taken in similar conditions with both cameras: the Nokia Lumia 920 was using default settings and no flash, and the same for the HTC One except Zoe functionality was also disabled so both phones were taking only still shots. The Lumia 920 is the top photograph from each of the few samples below, while the HTC One is on the bottom.

The Lumia 920 here appears to display more contrast than the HTC One, although the One does display relatively acceptable dynamic range

Again it looks like the Lumia 920 (top) has taken the better photo, as it has more vibrant colors with less grain.

This is a true low-light test of the Lumia 920 vs HTC One, with the shots being taken in a dark environment around 9 PM. The Lumia 920 is not only sharper in the image it produces, but it's also brighter and clearer. The lighting delivered by the HTC One appears closer to the amount of lighting I perceived at the time, but the quality of the shot is not necessarily better.

Of course it should be noted that these tests were conducted in a very short amount of time, and they aren't particularly scientific comparisons. Also, the HTC One could potentially be using pre-release software and the photos I took at the event may not be indicative of what a final product will produce. However, it does give a good idea as to what the "Ultrapixel" camera is capable of versus the trusted "PureView."

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I don't see any hands down winners either. In fact, it looks to me like the difference is in how each chooses to gauge exposure and post-process.

I want to see a real comparison - a more scientific test
This is such a stir-up for nothing valuable
I simply must not take any sides before we see something more comparable
Maybe HTC finally has a crown jewel here...we'll C

A more fair comparison will be to compare the HTC One with whatever Nokia announces on Monday. Comparitively speaking, the 920 is 6 month old tech.

The first comparison is skewed. There is more light coming through the window in the shot by HTC, leading to a darker foreground. That said, both the Lumia 920 and HTC One took amazing photos for the first comparison!

However, for the second and third comparison, I think the Lumia 920 wins, hands-down.

Looking at the second picture, it's pretty clear that the Lumia needs a longer exposition time in order to capture the same amount of light as the HTC One.
You can see that looking at the blured image of the moving object in the left screen and by the fact that overall the picture is more blured and less sharp.
The color fidelity of objects outside of the window is better in the picture taken with the One.
There's no way that the Lumia picture can be declared "better", at least not for that specific picture.

920 hands down. The middle photo is up for speculation though, some people prefer more contrast (professional photographers for post production) whilst others prefer a more limited dynamic range meaning they will have a decent photo but won't be any good to work with post production.

The HTC images look more sharp to me, the first 2 pictures shows that HTC has better low light pick up since you can see the equipment much better on the stage and the last one was a little odd for me as the Lumia looks to have more of a HDR effect going on?

to me the HTC One does look better but we do really need high resolution photos to see them side by side.

Tony. said,
The HTC images look more sharp to me, the first 2 pictures shows that HTC has better low light pick up since you can see the equipment much better on the stage and the last one was a little odd for me as the Lumia looks to have more of a HDR effect going on?

to me the HTC One does look better but we do really need high resolution photos to see them side by side.

In the first image the HTC looses all the detail in the giant HTC display and all the detail of constructions outside the window.

In the second and third the HTC images are just more grainy and washed out.

I suspect that optimizing the settings on both cameras would produce much better results

Deviate_X said,

In the first image the HTC looses all the detail in the giant HTC display and all the detail of constructions outside the window.

In the second and third the HTC images are just more grainy and washed out.

I suspect that optimizing the settings on both cameras would produce much better results

Tbh, the first HTC image, the display is on more of an angle so it could be the display itself that is crap (on angles) but I know what you mean about the outside view, but you have to admit, in the Lumia equipment you cannot see the equipment as well as the HTC one.

I think different white balancing is an issue there.

The Lumia in the second image is a lot more blurred than the HTC version. The HTC version doesn't look 'grainy' looks like there is a lot of detail there.

We could argue about this until the sun goes nova but we need high resolution pictures to compare them.

I think the issue is simply that the Lumia over-saturates the pictures a lot, it's kind of the same effect that the iPhone has done for years and now everyone is spoiled and expects every camera to produce unrealistic results.

A better comparison would be to compare these two results to a DSLR, then that's the only way to know which one produces a more accurate result. Then again, just by looking at the last picture it's clear that the Lumia is not representing reality, or do you see that much yellow-ish glow with your bare eyes?

You got to be kidding right? HTC wins for me.. it has more natural colors (look at the last image), and the second image is clearly better on HTC. On Lumia is blurry.
And the first image is also better on HTC, IMO.
Please at leas provide links to full-res images, to make a better idea. 640x360 px images doesn't help.

How can you say HTC wins on the first pair...? You can barely make out the LCD display in the HTC shot, and the Lumia also picks up more details from outside the room in the sunlight.

What exactly in the picture is the HTC camera picking up that the Lumia isn't? o.O

Joshie said,
How can you say HTC wins on the first pair...? You can barely make out the LCD display in the HTC shot, and the Lumia also picks up more details from outside the room in the sunlight.

What exactly in the picture is the HTC camera picking up that the Lumia isn't?
o.O

wow... natural colors are not common to you... Get a pair of glasses.. LOL *troll face*

Personally I'd say the latter 2 photos have better colour on the HTC, the Nokia appears to be far too dark and the white balance is off. Both impressive but as others said, it's a phone so no point expecting too much

I am very tempted about the HTC One, but my mobile phone camera is my ONLY camera so it will be interesting to see if it gets improved.

Very much poor color reproduction that requires photoshop postprocess on Lumia 920 judging by those shots

The 920 may have a better camera, but that HTC looks a lot better! Waiting for a Windows Phone 8 that's sleek and professional looking.

nub said,
Why do people give a **** about their phone camera? Its a damn phone not a digital camera.

Probably because for many, it's the only digital camera they have.

because some people might use it for pictures... the whole point is to get rid of digital point and shoot cameras in the next few years..

nub said,
Why do people give a **** about their phone camera? Its a damn phone not a digital camera.

For the same reason they care about it's SMS, MMS, app, social media, video playback and web browsing capabilities?

Because its the only camera they can have with them always. Any other camera, you will have to plan beforehand to take with you. And when your camera is not with you, you would want your phone to take pictures good enough to not regret missing the moment.

nub said,
Why do people give a **** about their phone camera? Its a damn phone not a digital camera.

I used to feel this way but since getting a 920 I've changed my mind. I finally have a phone that takes photos that are as good or better than photos taken with a dedicated point and shoot. Video taken with this phone is also superb.

nub said,
Why do people give a **** about their phone camera? Its a damn phone not a digital camera.

Why do people give a **** about their phone gaming? Its a damn phone not a play station.
Why do people give a **** about their phone 1080p screen? Its a damn phone not a HDTV.
Why do people give a **** about their phone broswer? Its a damn phone not a laptop computer.

dying said,

Why do people give a **** about their phone gaming? Its a damn phone not a play station.
Why do people give a **** about their phone 1080p screen? Its a damn phone not a HDTV.
Why do people give a **** about their phone broswer? Its a damn phone not a laptop computer.

Oh man that's like the best response ever.

Look like you need better monitor to view

jasonon said,
does the 920 really look that much better? they look almost the same to me!

jasonon said,
does the 920 really look that much better? they look almost the same to me!

I don't mean this in an offensive way, but a trip to the local eye clinic might help

920 looks impressive, but still no contest to an SLR
Yes, that was an unnecessary comment, I couldn't help it.

Fair play to HTC though. They are fairly acceptable results that hopefully can be improved by firmware updates.

korupt_one said,
just wait till next week and we maybe will see a true Lumia pureview, what will the htc phone look like then.

cannot wait =]

ZipZapRap said,
920 looks impressive, but still no contest to an SLR
Yes, that was an unnecessary comment, I couldn't help it.

Fair play to HTC though. They are fairly acceptable results that hopefully can be improved by firmware updates.

A thin phone with a camera vs an SLR camera.

Is this honestly a surprise to anyone though? It's floating lens hardware and sensor are considerably better, and will likely remain better than the competition for most of this year, if not all of it.

But the HTC One is 2013...

Although I still think that Nokia Lumia 920 camera is still the best of all camera phones - including HTC One. Can't wait until the Nokia EOS and see how that goes.

wow that low light difference

Not sure if its just me but the middle one looks very choppy around the edges on the HTC one..

Any chance of some higher res comparisons?