Video Challenge: Nokia's Lumia 920 takes on the iPhone 5

One of the more anticipated features of the Nokia Lumia 920 is the camera. The optical image stabilization (OIS) should make for better still and video imaging. The OIS will aid in taking low light pictures and smoother video footage.

But how does the Nokia Lumia 920's video capture compare to say... the iPhone 5? Engadget conducted a side by side comparison of the two phones and the results are as expected.

The video footage is shot while running across the parking lot and using a prototype of the Lumia 920. From the first step, you can see the advantages OIS gives the Lumia 920 over the digital (or software) stabilization of the iPhone.

Source: Engadget (opens in new tab); Thanks, Jason, for the tip!

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • Awesome. This is why I love the 920.
  • I agree and I am anxiously waiting for it to come out.
  • +1
  • one interesting point.  the camera of Lumia 920 is further away from the center where she holds, which might have caused more vibration.
  • That guy was a he...
  • Both a little shaky, but the Lumia 920 less so.
    Considering that the Lumia 920 used in this demo is just the prototype, I think that it did quite well.   If Nokia can tweek it just a bit more, especially given that they've got several weeks to go before it hits the shelves in November (hopefully), it will be even more impressive.
  • They were running.
  • It will probably be end of October for ATT.
  • Remember this 920 is still a prototype.
  • Like someone else already noticed, the camera for the iPhone is in the center of the contraption and the Lumia's is towards the outside. Therefore there would be more shake with the Lumia over the iPhone. And yet the Lumia still easily beats the iPhone.
  • I think it would have caused less vibration.
  • Someone never played "Whip the chain" when they were a little kid.  Think of a diving you move further and further to the edge, near the pool, does it get more or less bouncey?
  • Think of an earthquake,,,where is the shaking and damage more severe? At the center or furthest away from the center.
  • Earthquake is probably the worst analogy you can think of. the iphone 5 is at the more stable end of things because the lense is close to the center. That is where his hand is holding the device. Unless the guy holding the device has parkinsons, thats the most stable part of the entire thing. apple fanboys should really think before typing sometimes
  • Before you start calling people names maybe you should try reading a few of my other post,,I'm 100% for WP and can't stand Apple or there products,,,and earthquake is the perfect analogy because the center where the iphones camera sits will get more shock from the shaking compared to the 920's being farther away,,,,,ASSHOLE!
  • Ohh,,but you've only been a member for just over an hour and already talking trash,,,so I guess that makes you more of a troll than anything else lol
  • Ummm, no. Think about a wheel. Or a fan. Or any round object rotating about a central point. The outside of the wheel covers a greater circumferential distance per unit of time than the inside of the wheel. Independent X, Y, and Z plane translational displacement will be equivalent between the two phones, leaving just rotation to worry about.
    Shock has little to do with it as it will be transmitted relatively evenly through both phones.
  • Yeah,,,but the closer to the center the greater the frequency,,,take for example a wheel,,over a given distance a smaller wheel will have made many more rotations than a larger wheel to travel that distance also the smaller wheel will need higher RPM's to keep up with a larger wheel.
  • Except these phones are on the same wheel, with the iPhone closer to the center. The amplitude of rotational shake will be greater on the phone farther from the center (the 920) than for the one closer to the center (iPhone), but they both rotate at the same frequency (the inside of a wheel completes the same number of revolutions as the outside of the wheel in a given timeframe).
  • But this isn't a wheel. I think a closer example would be a childs teeter totter,,,,place 2 cameras one near the fulcrum and the other at the very end both facing the same direction away from the center,,the camera closest to the center will show a video with less up and down motion but will seem faster because its traveling less distance where the camera at the end will have travelled a longer distance and have a smoother "sweeping" effect. Kind of like a camera on a boom.
  • The wheel and the teeter totter are the same thing. Take an extreme example: you put a camera 1 inch from the fulcrum. You put another camera on the teeter totter 100 yards away from the fulcrum--it's a very large teeter totter. Both are pointing off the side of the teeter totter at a building 1 mile away, and both can see the building in the viewfinder when you hit record. You sit down on the other end. The camera that's 100 yards from the fulcrum traverses a huge arc in the sky in the same amount of time that the camera 1 inch from the fulcrum traverses a tiny arc in the sky. You teeter this totter a few times. Exhausted, you hop off and review the videos. The camera that was an inch from the fulcrum records a movie in which the distant building is visible in the frame the entire time, sure it moves but you can definitely make out the entire building the entire time. Then you review the video from the camera that was 100 yards from the fulcrum. The building falls out of the picture and for a while all you can see is blue sky until woooosh the building flies back across the screen for a split second before all you can see is green grass and then wooooosh there's the building again but not for long as the blue sky reappears. All you see are split seconds of the building flying by. So which one looks more stable? The frequency is the same for both cameras, the distance is different, and therefore the speed of the more distant camera is greater. The camera closer to the center will show less up and down motion, and because frequency is the same (both cameras have to reach their peak altitude at the same time),  and speed=distance/time, the image on the center camera is moving slower.
  • Iim not sure if this helps me out more or you out more,,,but its awesome to have an intelligent conversation with somebody on here with out having to resort to petty name calling =) but in the 1st example of the video I imaging the camera as being on the smaller green circle traveling faste to cover the same amount of distance in the same time frame meaning that the video would seem more jumpy and the camera on the red circle would be moving slower to cover that same distance giving the camera a more slow paced feel.
  • you are right. i unfairly judged you and i apologize. it seems we are both wrong and should just enjoy the fact the windows phone is on the rise.
  • Apology whole heartily accepted,,and I also apologize for the name calling,,,I'm looking forward to the time when we can compare notes on each of the new windows phone we choose,,,I myself will be getting the HTC 8X what is your phone of choice?
  • apology accepted as well...personally i am unsure between lumia 920 and the HTC 8X...both phones have their own great features...but since i am really into my music and not to into picture taking ill probably get the 8X as well
  • Well, it doesn't help me out except to point out that you're still looking at it wrong. In the first example of the video they changed the angular velocity and kept the linear velocity constant... this is not what is happening on the teeter totter or on this Engadget contrapation. The angular velocity is the same when both cameras are mounted on an apparatus that rotates about the same axis... it has to be! The point on the teeter totter 100 yards from the fulcrum covers the same number of degrees as the point on the teeter totter 1 inch from the fulcrum in a given timeframe (i.e., angular velocity is the same). But the camera 100 yards from the fulcrum covers a much greater distance through the air in the same amount of time the camera 1 inch from the fulcrum covers a much smaller distance (i.e., it has a greater linear velocity). The second example in the video (at 3:40) is what is happening in these examples... angular speed is constant, linear velocity is smaller the smaller the radius. So getting back to the 920 vs. iPhone comparison, the iPhone benefitted from being closer to the axis of rotation, but was handicapped by its narrower field of view (which is a completely different subject).
  • Yeah,,,,but its still a pretty cool video though lol I'm glad I had this opportunity to nerd out with you and maybe we should just agree to dissagree haha ;)
  • Color and contrast appears to be richer on the 920.
    But I'm not sold on the OIS. The 920 has a significantly wider field of view than the iPhone 5 which minimizes the effects of camera movement all by itself. If the 920 were zoomed in to the same FOV as the iPhone 5, I'm not sure the difference in jitter would be so apparent.
  • So the Lumia 920's wider FOV still makes it better than the iPhone's camera. That's what you're saying right? - in a long, roundabout, technical way.
  • Well, sort of. I'm saying that sans OIS, a wider FOV lens will appear to have less motion in the image than a more "zoomed in" lens. So in the case of 920 vs iPhone it's not apparent how much of an effect the OIS has because it may just be the wider field of view overshadowing the image stabalization.
    Think about handholding one of those handheld videocameras--if you you're zoomed all the way out while looking at the moon, it'll appear that you can hold the camera pretty steady. But if you zoom one of those things in to 240x or whatever zoom factor they have, the moon is going to be bouncing around like crazy in the viewfinder.
    If the Engadget reviewers had zoomed the 920's camera to the same FOV as the iPhone, the OIS effect would be more fairly assessed.
    I think the 920 has the better camera and I prefer a wider angle lens. Recording at a wider FOV helps minimize apparent camera shake, but that doesn't necessarily make it better if you don't want a wider angle shot. To say that the image is significantly more stable (which it really isn't) because of the OIS is overstating its effect simply because the video also benefits from a second variable--the wider field of view.
    All that said, OIS really shines for low shutter speed shots where it can correct for minute motions from handholding. I don't think it's reasonable to expect the OIS to correct for macromotion from marching around recording videos.
  • Aside from the obvious superior stabilization, there is a more vibrate color pallet than the iPhone 5.
  • The iPhone also exhibits some of the "rolling shutter" effect, when he pans around with it quickly it looks like the scene is jiggling.
  • I,noticed that too.
  • Well the contrast/sharpness isgood on the lumia, but the stabilization is not 'super' impressive. Still is better than the iphone that's for sure.
  • The point is Nokia's PureView technology is superior to ANY smartphone camera on the market - PERIOD
  • Some bounce still shows up in the Lumia, but its obviously significantly better than the iPhone 5.  Nice job!
  • Myriam even said that she was doing nothing to keep the phones and their little 'holder' still.  It was one of those tests to do 'real world' settings, but knowing full well that folks are going to be holding the camera with two hands (more than likely) and try to at least minimize the shakiness to the video.
    Regardless - the iPhone5 was pretty smoked in that comparison.  Picture quality the L920 was much crisper, brighter, and more full of color than the iPhone5.  I couldn't help notice that the iPhone5 video was pretty dull and blurry at times, especially in the quick pans compared to the L920...
  • Myriam is a guy. Other I agree. I the real world use you will hold the phone in the middle and the shaking should be a little less than using a styrofoam holder with 2 phones  and the phones are different weight and size.
  • Miriam is not a guy. UR kidding, right?
  • Wow, that's scary
  • That was a girl?
  • Yes...
  • So it's OK to call people dykes and queers again, like she does?  When did that happen? haha
  • Nice :), 920 is mine, in red please, xox Nokia he he he
  • You better be a woman or a small boy for sending kisses to Nokia lol. Man that's just super geekie...
  • LMAO or a small girl, maybe?
  • Lol yeah
  • It's so Otaku....
  • Not very impressed... The prior one with GS3 is way better.  I will wait for more tests.
  • Mykaela Maroney not impressed or just not impressed? 
    Seriously, what will impress you?
  • I guess I had higher hopes - from a Nokia fan
  • What exactly?
  • It's not a night & day difference, in terms of vibration reduction, but agree subtly better.
    There are other advantages of OIS vs. digitial IS, though.   Does anyone know if the 920 is/will be capable of grabbing frames from a video to use as a still image?  If so, I think this could also be a way to show the superiority of OIS vs. digital IS - the latter *can* degrade image quality, but that's going to be highly dependant on the processing algs.
    Just trying to think of other ways to comapare these.   The side-by-sides I've seen thusfar have been "OK" but not like "WOW!"
  • colors are WAY better in the 920!
  • I noticed that too - the trees are actually green on the 920 where as with the iPwn the trees were gray.
  • That's all I need to hear
  • Well, what I noticed is that everything was bigger in the iPhone5 video. Something to do with the lens specs no doubt, but I liked it bigger I must confess.
  • Smaller lens width so everything appears zoomed in, but it's not. The Lumia just has a wider aperture so it captures more. It's a highly desirable quality.
  • Wider aperture captures more light, but that is not the reason for zoomed out image on Nokia. Nokia actually has wider angle lens - 26mm compared to 33mm for iPhone 5, I think (both in 35mm camera equivalent).
    I found that wider is usually better on fixed cameras with no zoom. When trying to shoot people or large object (cathedral or something), one can usually come a bit closer, but more often cannot move further away to catch everything (with movement limited by size of the room, width of street - you name it). My widest camera lens is 28mm and while I'm finding it much better than 35mm on some of my older cameras, I'd like it to go further down - 26 or even 24mm. So I'm quite happy with what Nokia has in there.
  • That's what she said.
  • Hmm tough ! but who cares about the camera quality, what people do really care is how good looking the phone is and the price ! 
  • Price? Yes. How good looking it is? Not so much. That's important to a few people, but I'd take function over form any day. I want the great camera and would get a generic black slab phone if that was the only one that had it. Camera quality on the phone is one of the most important features these days - people don't always have a camera on them, but they usually have their phones. Fortunately, the lumia has the camera and the looks
  • Then I guess you have the Pureview 808? Because as of now no other phone can compare in camera quality.
    Design is just as important, because it influences you on an emational level. And of course the normal users that make up most of the buyers aren't geeks like you and me.
  • No, but it has to be of reasonable quality. The 808 isn't even WP (OS matters too). He said "who cares about camera quality" implying that any old crap VGA piece of junk will do, just so long as the phone looks pretty :P
  • @schlubadub...Price...a non issue for me, especially if the device is very attractive.  So, yes, attractiveness of the device weighs in at about 90% of my purchasing decision.
    Call me shallow, but looks matter to me - my device, my car, my lover, my attire, you name it.  Looks matter!
  • +1
  • As a parent, camera quality on my phone is very important. Almost all of the pictures I have of my son have been taken with phones. I always have my phone with me and would put camera quality in my top 3 important features.
  • +1
  • The iPhone likely uses a slight crop of its sensor during video recording, plus the lens may be a slightly larger focal length to start with.  That's what makes it "bigger."  Wider is better for a lot of things, which is why these kinds of comparisons can be REALLY misleading.  Another thing is, nobody should expect OIS to correct for large displacement, low frequency oscillations.  It is not possible and that's not what it was made for.  It is made to get rid of the small amplitude, mid to high frequency shakes/jitters, from a user who is trying to hold the phone steady for the shot.  It would be like trying to test steering feel of a new BMW on a road filled with potholes.  You can kind of tell but mostly you'll be distracted by hitting a huge bump every 5 feet.
  • Wide is best for a phone IMO. Nothing more frustrating that shooting in a small room and not being able to back up far enough to get everything in. 
  • Precisely. Lumia for the win!
  • Exactly!!! +1
  • that was a really good analogy and explanation. cheer to you mate!
  • +1
  • Exactly what he said.  If you want silky smooth video then you're going to have to spend thousands of dollars on a steadicam.  This is for those moments when you're holding it in hand to capture things around you.
  • so, i was sold a long time ago, just waiting on the release...........................................................................................
  • Agreed, it takes way too long.. -_- I even quit smoking for it lol.. (2 contracts costs allot.. :-P)
  • You just got smoked by a Windows Phone! :D
  • I think the results are better when it's hand held as we have a natural tendency to steady the camera.  The apparatus he was using translated every single bump into the devices.  The 920 still was noticeably smoother but nothing is going to stop the big sudden jolts.  That is, unless you it strapped to a steadicam. :P
  • It will be a major help on pictures to stop motion blur, one of my biggest issues with poor pictures on my trophy, I alway take 2-3 pictures of everything important because I know at least one will have motion blur....
  • I'm just worried how much it will cost.
  • 920 ? I'm betting $199-$249 with a 2 year contract on release. I'm leaning towards $199 tho.
    Based on what the Iphone and high end Android devices go for.... If it's more than $249.99 with a contract, it wont sell and it might even have a hard time with $249 due to what you can get for $199
  • The 920s richness in color was so much better than he iphone. And the image stabalization worked alot better to, it was much moe fluid while the iphones was cutting off the edges of the video
  • Did the iPhone 5 actually stabilize anything?
  • Yes, iPhone 5 has digital stabilization and it seems it was ON.
  • Something that was pointed out to me on a different video, but is evident here too, is the Lumia 920 is continualy refocussing, resulting in a sort of pulsing that shows up if you look at the buildings. I dunno if this can be helped but it kinda bugs me.
  • Yeah I noticed that too. At least in the video interview with Elop. It got better towards the later half but it was still there. Sure hope it can be helped. No way a phone of this magnitude should have this issue. This is a prototype though. So this has to be a top priority
  • Gawd, this bugs me in the Lumia 900.  If they can't fix that focus hunting in the next gen, that's a problem.
  • What would be extremely nice is if - during video recording - you could tap the screen to set the focus point, and it would track it.   The point you tap would get a square bracket "[]" and focus would track that (e.g. a face).   Then you could change the focus point by tapping a different place on the screen - all during video recording.
    C'mon Nokia :^)
  • +1
  • Hah! Isheep can't face the fact their Iphone 4s enhanced (iPhone 5) isn't all that. Lumia 920 is excellent. We dont have to worry about how it will sell. :)
  • Also the phone is a prototype and it still beats iPhone. Im impressed by Nokia, but I expect nothing less.
  • Hope these aren't the standard settings for the Lumia. It lacks way too many details. Way too much contrast and oversharped.
  • Did you hear in the news many are complaining now of iphone 5 Siri giving out wrong weather information across of united states.
  • Meh, this and the maps issue will blow over like the iPhone 4 antenae-gate drama.  People don't actually buy these phones for their functionality - they do it to keep up with the Jones.  After seeing all of the alternatives, the sort of innovation coming out of Apple these days, etc, that is logical conclusion I can produce. And no, I'm not an Apple hater, I was an avid supporter of the original iPhone when they came out and owned several... its just that they aren't sexy anymore - the hipsters will catch on soon enough.
  • This is true. Apple customers are EXTREMELY forgiving of the iDevices' flaws. Sometimes people won't even accept the flaw and look past it, such as the Antennagate that you referenced. Apple's greatest achievement has been keeping customers coming back for more despite the alternatives.
  • You ARE an Apple hater, admit it.
  • no im sorry but they're right. When the iphony has clear cut issues that should be addressed apple and its customers tend to sweep things under the rug. GOD Forbid any other device should have an issue, then all you would hear is (snobby voice) "my iphone never has that problem." people should seriously evaluate their blind loyalty. This is coming from someone whos owned a device from most current os' like WebOs Android Ios ala iphone 4/4s and windows phone and wp being the clear winner imho.
  • Neat. You can see the pebbles/stones in the driveway as he was walking (Nokia only, iPhone = blur).  I don't use camera much but it is nice to get the extra value. Enough of this already, put them on the shelves!
  • We love you Nokia. I can't wait until i hold the 920.
  • Very nice!
  • I thought Nokia's video is much sharper too, look at people as they come closer to the cams, Nokia is way better and its got a wider lens, wonder when this teasing gonna end.
  • Why is there no video link?
  • Its nice Nokia showing off all these things but until I play with the actual product myself, it doesn't mean anything to me nor to any iPhone user.
  • I am on the fence about it too.  I think this side by side is great...  I certainly am not going to be able to duct tape the phones together for a side by side comparison when I get to hold them in the verizon store.  Videos like this are excellent for comparing/contrasting the phones...  Much better than doing each phone separate.
  • C'mon Nokia...u had me at at hello...start selling already
  • damn, i dont see any video
  • Can't wait to have that camera! & I'm not an iPhone hater as I have own the iPhone 4 but apple has nothing on Nokia the iPhone 5 is a joke its only an upgrade from the previews versions but nothing new for me to throw my cash at apple.
  • The iPhone 5 got OWNED by a Lumia 920 PROTOTYPE. I love it.
  • Smoked by wp8 Nokia. I'll never stop feeling sorry for those tards that even stood in line for such a phone... Lumia on the other hands, deserves it. I'd never do so.
  • I have very much been on the fence about which phone to get.  Lately I have been leaning towards apples or HTCs phone but this video is realllyyyy making me want to get that 920.  It is a little bulky for me but mannn that is just so much nicer.  One of the only things I use my phone for regularly besides texting, calling, and checking my calendar is photos/video.
  • To see the video (on your WP) scroll over to - more - show in browser.
  • Is anyone really surprised? I for one believed Nokia could mqke a good camera. I can't wait untio i can test it lol.
  • Apart from stabilisation the image quality and colour balance get top marks on the nokia, beating out the longphone by a decent margin.
  • It's hard to get over that guy's stupid hair.  I don't know if I can focus on anything else now.
  • You all should start following the Engadget Mobile podcast. It is really good and you would notice that it's a girl, not a guy. With a tendency to curse but mostly very well informed and very often right with what she has to say :)
  • Gender is irrelevent; I don't like looking at the person (nothing against her personally) and I have no interest in podcasts.  Text and images relay information much faster.
  • You know there is no need to create such comaprison...Nokia lumia 920 is far better than iPhone 5 in video as well as image capturing.....!!!
  • Oh my goodness, they updated the story with Galaxy SIII and HTC One X. The 920 ABSOLUTELY DESTROYS them. And the HTC One X had its digital image stabilization turned on, no less! Very very impressive.
  • I would love to see the full uncompressed video from both phones to see how the quailty of the videos acutally are...
  • Well I just pray and home that Sprint pulls their head out of their $ss and gets both the HTC 8X and Nokia 920.
  • From everything that has been said and NOTHING, not even rumor of them getting anything, I would not get your hopes up.
    If you are on Sprint and you want Windows Phone 8, you might have to find a new carrier...
  • The iphone 5 review by engadget. Reception and call quality 8.8 Display 9.4 Battery life 8.4 Camera 9.3 Ease of use 9.5 Design and form factor 8.9 Portability (size / weight) 9.6 Media support 8.3 Durability 8.3 Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) 9.1 The nokia lumia 920 review by engadget.
    Reception and call quality 9 Display 10 Battery life 8 Camera 10 Ease of use 9 Design and form factor 8 Portability (size / weight) 6 Media support 10 Durability 10 Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) 10 Someone wanna explain to me how design and form factor got a 8.9 for the iphone when its just an elongated version of the previous phone? and how durability got a 8.3?
  • The article mentions a "prototype 920"...assuming this video was taken this week, how are we going to see the 920 in the shops within a month? Ummmmm
  • Does no one else care that his hand is holding the Lumia in the flimsy cardboard while the iPhone is secured only by the holder and not being squeezed by the hand. For it to be accurate, the frame should have a handle between them that is held. 
  • I would like to see this test done again using a proper rig where both phone will be held in place more solidly and both camera's lense equall distance from the center.
    They also tested against the  Samsung Galaxy S III  and the HTC One X. WOW the 920 kicks a$$
  • wins