Sony Xperia Z1 vs Nokia Lumia 1020 – Camera Comparison

I’ve really been looking forward to the Nokia Lumia 1020. Y’all know how crazy insane I am about phone cameras, and my obsession with carrying my 808 PureView everywhere I go. For some odd reason, no other manufacturer has focussed on imaging as much as Nokia, which was a shame.

PureView lumia 1020 vs Xperia Z1

But hey, then the Sony Xperia Z1 was announced and my ears perked up at the ’20 Megapixel Camera’ part of the press release. Sony developed a new camera sensor and technology, and the 20.7MP Exmor RS Sony sensor has a Superior Auto mode that creates 8MP shots from the raw 20.7MP images similar to what Nokia does with their PureView technology. Unlike the 1020 though, the Xperia Z1 cannot save both the full resolution image and the smaller photo, which is kinda similar to what the 808 PureView did, though Nokia’s Symbian phone allowed for way more control over the hardware. The Z1 also lacks optical image stabilization and only has an LED flash instead of a xenon flash, which means you probably arnt going to get awesome pictures of your friends at the club. The Z1 does have the advantage of being dust resistant and water proof, which means underwater images and videos are possible. Some might even argue that the Z1 running Android is a huge advantage over the Windows Phone. I could move on from the camera hardware and talk about how the Xperia Z1 has a TFT screen at 1080p resolution while the 1020 has an AMOLED 720p-ish screen, but let’s focus on the camera for now!

Sony Xperia Z1 vs Lumia 1020

Unfortunately I’m down with a bad fever right now so I dont have the energy to provide commentary on each image result (I’m really sorry guys), but you can pretty much tell for yourself from the samples below. In my tests, the Z1 was great for close-up shots in day time, but struggles with close-ups in low light, while the 1020 does allow for manual focus to get around this. I’ve also switched on the Z1′s twilight mode for the low light images, but it doesnt really prove to be a huge quality difference, atleast for me.

I promise I’ll update this section with more details when I get better, but for now, here’s a camera image and video comparison between the Sony Xperia Z1, and the Nokia Lumia 1020.

Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Zoomed in:-

Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Zoomed in:-

Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Flash Test: Xperia Z1′s LED flash vs the Lumia 1020′s Xenon Flash.

Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Flash Test Again:-

Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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Sony Xperia Z1:

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Nokia Lumia 1020:

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The Video Samples:-

Xperia Z1 vs Lumia 1020:

Untouched version from the Sony Xperia Z1:

Untouched version from the Nokia Lumia 1020:

Xperia Z1 vs Lumia 1020:

Untouched version from the Sony Xperia Z1:

Untouched version from the Nokia Lumia 1020:

Xperia Z1 vs Lumia 1020 in Low Light this time:

Untouched version from the Sony Xperia Z1:

Untouched version from the Nokia Lumia 1020:

But the Xperia Z1 has one important advantage. It’s waterproof! Which means underwater photos (upto depths of 1.50 metres of freshwater for up to 30 minutes in compliance with IP58). It’s also dust resistant for what that’s worth.

Warning: Rain is low so if you’re wearing headphones, dial down the volume:

So, after seeing the results, which camera phone do you think is the one to get?

Additional Coverage:

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About The Author

Clinton is currently based in New Delhi, India and is executive editor for UnleashThePhones. He is responsible for all editorial decisions, and covers all forms of Mobile and things-that-connect-to-mobile. Cj is addicted to Starbucks, Instagram, and technology. Almost a hipster but not quite. Always up for a good conversation, you can reach him through the contact form, on Google Plus , Instagram Instagram or Twitter: or on YouTube

Number of Entries : 11147
  • krlkrstffrfrnndz

    Xperia overall because although Lumia is in fact 41 MP, there are still some photos where 20.7 MP camera of Xperia is somehow dominant over Nokia’s 41 MP plust Xperia is waterproof and Android and Snapdragon 800 which all-in-all made it dominant over Lumia 1020.

  • Guest

    The 1020 really runs away with most of the tests, though some are quite close. But of course, everything can be adjusted in the 1020 to get even better results. And even the full 38mp is saved simultaneously too edit later. The Z1 does very well though, but the previous comparison i.e. the 925 vs the Z1 was closer than this.

  • dfq

    if xperia z1 manages a tie, it means it has won considering that it has significantly inferior camera specs. well, it’s been a hit and miss for z1 here but it definitely is not that far behind the monster camera of the 1020. add to that the fact that it is android and is waterproof. lumias could only dream of underwater photos and shots taken amidst rains.

    • Guest

      If you see the photos at full res, specially the one’s which are similar in ISO’s ,it most definitely isn’t a tie. The Z1 is inferior by some margin. And that is simply not taking zooming into account, or people shots at night with the Xenon. Or reframing from the full 38mp images. Same for the video’s too.
      Yes, the Z1 is the best waterproof cameraphone in the world.

      • inspire

        Do you really see the photos at full res? Or do you print them FULL size? I guess no! so why the fuss when Z1 looks pretty equal and even better at some places then 1020 and when Z1 is slimmer, waterproof and ANDROID. Isn’t the choice clear?

        • Guest

          To zoom,re-frame etc, yes, certainly.
          If you are viewing them on this site like this, then even the Galaxy S2,let alone just about all flagships from this year will look similar. So that isn’t an argument at all.
          To get that slimness, they had to put the camera inside the bezel. It’s the biggest 5-inch phone out there, just a little smaller than the Note. So, if the hump is an issue, the massive size is too.

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  • http://www.lyricstaal.com/ Pranjal Gupta

    This is Nokia Lumia 1020, the best camera phone and those below comments who can’t use their own respective names are those frustrated Android customers who can’t afford these precious, magnificent, amazing, Lumias.

    And BTW be it Z1 or upcoming S5 or S6 or just whatever it could be I know you’re nothing more than a Micromax or Karbonn or Celkon customer. No offense, but enjoy your Android and let us enjoy these beautiful Windows Phones.

    Peace!

    • Amit Roshan Kullu

      Bro what you said is absolutely true those who say Lumia’s are bad they are just not matured enough to hold these precious phone. One thing I will say that Lumia 1020 has got a xenon flash where as z1 has a led flash and xenon flash is something that is found in digital cameras which are far far superior than LED flash…..

  • del_x

    The detail that the 1020 images deliver are awesome and I doubt any phone this year can compete add to that the colors that pop out and you have a winner.
    Z1 does a good job but the 1020 takes the cake.

  • Tams80

    Even at this size, the 1020 photos are better. That’s no surprise really, as the Z1 has fewer MP, a smaller sensor, no OIS (though this has hampered the sesnor size in the 1020), and possibly worse lenses. It does however have a larger aperture and is considerably smaller (the camera that is).

    That said, as someone who prefers more natural photos, the 1020 is a let down. Most of the photos seem oversaturated and oversharpened. There currently isn’t a way to reduce either. I also find low light photos on the 920, 925/8 and 1020 to be no better than some other phones’. This is not because they are too dark; no it’s because they introduce too much light. It’s just as bad, just in the opposite direction.

    • Guest

      It’s the same almost for all nowadays. No one does natural colors anymore. The only real hope is if they put it in the next update for the 1020.

      About the low-light photos – Pro Cam really makes it easy to tinker with the settings to get the night shots to be whatever anyone likes. Thanks to OIS, one can go either way, which isn’t really possible with any other phones.

  • Rei Koka

    You forgot about Zeiss lens and pureview technology and Xenon flash 1020 is no doubt the best smartphone camera ever

  • Rei Koka

    You forgot about Zeiss lens and pureview technology and Xenon flash 1020 is no doubt the best smartphone camera ever