Game over for Apple, right? Not so fast. When you head to the hardware store to buy a drill, what do you want? A drill? No. A hole. The purpose of the drill and bit is to give you a hole. Likewise, megapixels are less important than the quality of the photo a camera takes. Here are a couple of smartphone camera shootouts with interesting results.
Apple vs. Nokia
Good reviews for Apple’s iPhone cameras are the norm, but how can an 8-megapixel iPhone 5S camera stack up against the industry-leading 41-megapixel Nokia Lumia 1020 monster?
Apparently, megapixels just are not what they once were. ZDNet described the differences between the iPhone 5S and Lumia 1020 shortly after the iPhone launched.
The first page is a mere comparison of each smartphone’s feature set, including dimensions, weight, display, battery life, and camera capability.
As is typical with trade industry rags, the shootout isn’t really a shootout. It’s a list of basic features, with no regard to comparing iOS to Windows Phone, or usability.
On the other hand, the folks at Laptop magazine performed an actual shootout between the respective cameras in the iPhone 5S and Lumia 1020. The results?
41-megapixels just isn’t what it used to be. As you would expect, though, both smartphones have very good cameras, photos are good, but there are differences in how each camera approaches a photo.
Laptop used both cameras to take photos of various subjects and scenes– bottles, octopus, Manhattan, flowers in low light, and many more. Of the 10 categories, the Nokia Lumia 1020 topped the iPhone 5S camera in only two– Coffee machine, and New York skyline in daytime.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 5S generated wins in 7 of the 10 categories (and tied in the scarves photo). In summary:
The Lumia 1020 offers much greater control over individual settings, letting the user manually adjust ISO, shutter speed, white balance and more. However, when it comes to being able to whip your phone out of your pocket and fire off a quick shot or two — the way most smartphone cameras are used — the iPhone 5s is the better everyday smartphone camera.
Here’s a sample image.
Clearly, Apple is not interested in playing the bullet point feature game with the iPhone 5S (64-bit CPU notwithstanding). To Apple, usability is more important than specifications. Who cares if a smartphone has 2GB of RAM if it scrolls worse than an iPhone with half that amount?
Such shootouts are subjective, of course, and clarity, like beauty, is probably in the eye of the beholder. But there’s a reason the most popular camera in the world is in an iPhone. It’s just easy to take good photos.