Can the Lumia 1020 take on a compact system camera?

The Nokia Lumia 1020 has shown us what the current limits of smartphone photography are. It has the best smartphone camera you can buy today, and it's a nice bridge between smartphones and compact system cameras. However, it isn't going to replace your dedicated camera system.

Below is a 100% crop of a flower taken by the Olympus E-PL5, Nokia Lumia 1020 and iPhone 5, respectively. As you can see, the Olympus didn't quite nail the focus on flower's stigma like the Lumia 1020 and iPhone 5 did. However, you can see that even with its lower pixel count, it reveals more detail than either of the smartphones. Just take a look at the fine, white hairs behind the star-shaped stigma.

Nokia Lumia 1020 review comparison photos

The Lumia 1020, which did nail the focus perfectly, looks pretty incredible. We never would have imagined this kind of quality and resolution from a smartphone five or six years ago. In fact, it would've been hard to imagine this kind of performance from a phone camera just three years ago.

The iPhone 5 turns out to be a great all-around camera for snapshots and taken fun photos for filters and edits. It also does pretty well for prints up to a certain size. But if we are going to continue pixel peeping photos for their technical quality rather than their beauty and content, the Lumia is the better phone camera.

In the end, it turns out there is really no comparing the three cameras. The Olympus offers so much more flexibility and control, and its picture quality and performance is arguably better than either of the smartphone cameras.

The Lumia 1020 has its triumphs over the iPhone 5, but at the sacrifice of speed and performance, as well as operating system. After all, when you buy a phone, you're not just buying the camera, but the entire device and software as a package.

Whatever you take away from this comparison, we hope that we can shift focus away from all the technical stuff at the end of the day, and enjoy taking nice, meaningful pictures instead.