Much as they're different, both the Nokia Lumia 900 and the iPhone 4S have a lot in common.
- They have elegant and unique industrial designs - They're halo products for their respective manufacturers - Have 8MP rear cameras - Both are easy to use - Are both available on ATT
There's been quite a lot of variation in reviewers' opinions of the Lumia 900's rear main camera, and I know some of you are feeling a wee bit confused. We like the Lumia 900's camera, and think it's one of the better shooters on the US market. But can it beat the iPhone 4S with that remarkable backlit sensor and HDR function? Not quite. But the Lumia nonetheless turns out lovely photos.
In general, the Lumia 900's photos have a cool color cast compared to the iPhone and higher apparent contast in outdoor shots. Any desktop or even phone-based photo editor can adjust color cast to your liking, and you can bring a little zing to photos. But the iPhone does manage to capture more shadow detail in bright outdoor shots, and that's something you can't fix with an editor.
When it comes to video, the Lumia 900 is hobbled by Microsoft's current OS limitation to 720p video recording. The iPhone 4S along with several high end Android phones, shoot 1080p video. Now that only gets you so far: if all those extra pixels are jaggy, jerky junk the higher resolution doesn't matter. But as well all know, the iPhone 4S shoots some very nice quality 1080p video. The Nokia Lumia 900 shoots very pleasing 720p video at 30 fps, but obviously not 1080p.
Here are sample photos taken with both the iPhone 4S and the Nokia Lumia 900 so you can see for yourself. We've tried to capture the same image with both, but the wider lens on the Nokia changes composition and we've also noted depth of field changes and perspective flattening due to how much closer we had to get to our subjects for closeup shots like the Buddha statue below. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the very good Carl Zeiss F 2.2 lens on the Lumia, it's just different from the iPhone's lens focal length.
In each case, the Nokia Lumia 900 photo precedes the iPhone 4S photo. First we show the photo, then a 100% crop to really compare those pixels.