Nokia is breaking new ground in the smartphone world with the 41MP camera on the Lumia 1020. Sony is also leading the pack with a new camera for your smartphone. The Sony QX10 is a wireless lens that attaches to any smartphone. It is the same lens that is found on Sony’s mid range point and shoot cameras. Nicole Scott puts the 41MP Shooter up against the 18MP QX10 with a 3X physical zoom in a head to head competition.

Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Sony QX10 – Camera Review & Comparison

Taking a closer look at the Nokia Lumia 1020 getting the smartphone hardware out of the way it has a dual core 1.5Ghz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2GB of RAM 32GB of Storage, a 4.5″ 1280 x 768 with a 334 ppi AMOLED display. The camera specifications are much more robust with a 41-megapixel 1/1.5-inch backside-illuminated sensor, F2.2 lens the has a 25mm equivalent focal length in 16:9 and 27mm in 4:3. The 41MP allow for 2.7x downsampling digital zoom along with Optical image stabilization. We take a closer look at the manual shutter speed, focus, and ISO control which are the most robust we’ve ever seen on a smartphone. Keeping the scenes well lit it comes with a Xenon flash and it can shoot 1080p video at 30fps. On the front it has a 1.2MP F2.4 camera.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 is a portable ‘camera unit’ that clips onto your smartphone. The Sony QX10 is the little brother to the larger QX100 which has a more limited focal length with a 1 inch 20MP higher-quality f/1.8-4.9, 3.6x Carl Zeiss lens to match. All you have to do is download the Sony PlayMemories Mobile app that connects the lens to your phone and lets you use the phone as a display. The QX10 features an F3.3-5.9, 10X optical zoom, equivalent to 25-250mm paired with an 18.2 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor. The only smartphone on the market that even comes close is the Samsung Galaxy Zoom.

I put these two cameras up against each other in a series of tests from zoom right through to pocketability. Check out my video below, I filmed the entire thing in Toronto, Canada while I was home visiting my parents! So I hope you enjoy a bit of tourism with your review!

The Sony QX10 offers much better photos in most cases, we have put together a series of comparisons. The colors of the QX10 are more true, but the Lumia 1020 will often look better as they offer slightly higher color saturation and contrast.

The Lumia 1020 and the QX10 are trying to fill the same category for smartphone cameras pushing the boundaries, but ultimately only one of them is realistically portable. I never got used to having to turn everything on as I was touring around town. Having said that, when I had it on, I enjoyed the quality of the photo. Having said that there are other downsides, your smartphone battery will continue to drain with the screen and wifi running. At least the Lumia 1020 has the camera grip which is equiped with an extra battery so when you are taking a lot of shots you’re not loosing out on percious battery life.

Here is a closer look at the hardware.

Verdict
Is is clear that the QX10 takes a better picture than the Lumia 1020. The QX10 is $250 and can be used on any smartphone, if you’ve got a crappy Android smartphone and don’t want to upgrade to one of the many great devices that are out there (LG Optimus G2 and HTC One are my current favorites) then this might be the device for you. You’ll be able to cheap out on your devices and have excellent photos in a compact form factor. The excellent photo quality will make it easy to over look how long it takes to get the camera up and running and the lag when you take a photo. It is for a certain type of mobile photographer, someone who goes to one location or an event and is taking a lot of photos at one time. If you’re jetting around town and want to snap a few quick shots, this is not the device for you. If that is what you are looking for then the Lumia 1020 will be more your speed. The photo quality is the best we’ve seen in a smartphone and the cameras features are comparable to what we’ve seen in real cameras.

We take a deeper dive in the verdic as well as the specific features of each device in the 13 minute review above.

If you want a closer look at the images, here are the Sony QX10 Raw Photos:

If you’re curious about the Lumia 1020 photos, here they are!

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  • Sergio

    Great job ! Thx !

    Could you give me the link for the real photos to download ??? Ireally appreciate.

    regards from Brasil,
    Sergio

    • Nicole

      Added! :)

  • Pingback: Mobile Tweaks | Nokia Lumia 1020 vs. Sony QX10 – Camera Comparison

  • Steve

    Very nice comparison. Do you need WiFi for the Sony? The ease of use for the 1020 seemed much better, like that dial. Nokia is working on an update to improve the quality already, much like they did with the 920, one would have to ask can the Sony software be upgraded to the degree the Smartphone 1020 can it being an attachment? Love the steps at the cottage. The “back of the pants” segment was most enjoyable.

  • Eric

    Pics no. 5, 9 and 11 taken with the Nokia are definitely better IMO, the others I´d say it´s a tie. Color really seems more natural in the Sony but that can be corrected by software fix or post processing.
    Also it´s questionable if you really can compare a camera with a 10x optical zoom to a smartphone with a digital zoom even if it´s 41 mpix with oversampling technology.
    Didn´t check the exif values, suppose the ISO/ exposure settings were equal for both cameras?

    • UbuntuLover

      Why the settings should be equal? Even the sensors and optics are not equal!

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  • Foo Bar

    I hate Windows Phone.

  • James

    Where can I buy the Nokia Lumia 1020 pd-95g camera grip in Toronto?

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  • Gabriel

    Every time I click on the images it just takes me back to the same review page.
    tried Chrome and Firefox.
    Any way to get the download links?
    Thanks’

    • Nicole

      fixed it! you’ll be able to download them now.

      • Gabriel

        I dontk now but I click on the thumbnails and all I get is the main review loading again :/

  • malak

    Very good review, simple but refreshing, with a good focus on pratical use, thanks.

    Unfortunately, all raw shots at end of article are not accesible anymore (when you click them, it only reloads the article page).

    Please could you make these files accessible again ? Full resolution files would be (as intended) a great complement to this review.