Nokia Lumia camera sample comparison

Up top is the Lumia 1020. Everyone loves taking flower photos in broad daylight for some reason, so we'll get it kicked off with that. Below is the iPhone 5.

Nokia Lumia camera sample comparison

Immediately, we can see that the Nokia Lumia 1020 looks slightly more favorable since it does a better job in this case of isolating the subject. That's because it offers slightly shallower depth of field, so the flowers behind the main flower are a little more blurry. With the iPhone photo, everything is a little more in focus, so the image looks more muddled.

The iPhone's color saturation and white balance might be too rich and warm compared to the Lumia 1020. So we're giving this one to the Lumia 1020.

At 900 pixels wide, which is how big these images are when you click on them, details appear similar, though the iPhone 5 seems a bit sharper.

Nokia Lumia camera sample comparison

The blurry image above is the Lumia's sad attempt at taking a macro shot. Whether you have it set to autofocus or manual focus, it just isn't meant to shoot closer than six or seven inches away from its subject. The photo below, however, is the iPhone's attempt at taking the same macro shot. It does much better than the Lumia here.

Nokia Lumia camera sample comparison

The next two photos are low-light shots taken at my desk.

Nokia Lumia camera sample comparison

Nokia Lumia camera sample comparison

The iPhone 5 is the first image, and it surprisingly did better in terms of exposure. However, it's obvious that the Lumia 1020 does better with focus and overall clarity--it has less noise than the iPhone image. Colors are accurate for both photos, but we're giving the edge to the Lumia here for its sharpness, focus and for being a little cleaner when it comes to noise.

Nokia Lumia camera sample comparison

Nokia Lumia camera sample comparison

The top ocean scene is shot by the Lumia 1020, and the one right below it is by the iPhone 5. Colors aren't that great for either photo, but the iPhone does a little better with exposure. You can see more detail in the shadows.

However, the Lumia's overall image quality and sharpness seems a little better, and it captured the sky color a bit better than the iPhone 5. Perhaps that's because the Lumia underexposed the photo just a little.

In this case, it's really hard to pick either one as a clear winner because it's a matter of preference. We like the Lumia 1020's photo overall because of its sharpness and clarity, and we really don't mind the underexposed trees and buildings.

Nokia Lumia camera sample comparison

Nokia Lumia camera sample comparison

The two photos above are with mixed lighting: tungsten indoors, with the door open and letting daylight into the room. As you can see, it's really a toss up, but the top photo is the Lumia 1020 and its colors are a little more rich than the iPhone 5. So we'll give the Nokia points for that.

iPhone vs. Lumia 1020 conclusion

No surprises here, really. The Nokia Lumia 1020 camera is better than the iPhone 5's camera. Though the iPhone 5 has bigger pixel sites than the 1020, 1.4 microns vs. 1.12 microns, it seems that the Nokia's bigger sensor and overwhelming number of pixels makes for better image quality.

We already know that you can "zoom" or at least crop in on the Lumia's images without much loss of quality. Its advantage over the iPhone 5, aside from general image quality, is the fact that you have so much room to play with when it comes to cropping.

However, it's not all in favor of the Lumia 1020. Before we forget, it's still on the Windows Phone 8 platform, which means it doesn't have nearly as many apps as the iPhone 5 for photo editing and sharing.

With the iPhone 5, you get Instagram, Vine, Snapseed, Camera+, Pro Camera and thousands of other image editing apps.

The iPhone's camera can also shoot faster and in rapid succession, whereas the Lumia 1020's camera is sluggish and slow to process images.

If you're looking for the best quality images out of your smartphone, and speed and timing are of no importance (like with landscape photography), then the Lumia 1020 owns the iPhone 5 all day long. But if speed and ease of use matters to you in capturing fleeting moments, the iPhone 5 will run circles around the Nokia.