Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Nexus 6 Camera Comparison: The Gold Standard Test

Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Nexus 6 Camera Comparison: The Gold Standard Test

By Rich W Woods

Any time a new flagship phone comes in, it’s time to do camera comparisons and the Nokia Lumia 1020 is always the gold standard test. It is the closest smart phone camera to a DSLR, which is still not very close. The Nokia Lumia 1020 uses a 41 MP camera with a real xenon flash and a 1/1.5″ sensor.

I’m not expecting the Nexus 6 to be better than the Nokia Lumia 1020. Neither the Nexus 5 nor the Moto X have had fantastic cameras in low light and thus far, the Nexus 6 hasn’t been any better. That being said, the Nexus 6 does have an impressive camera.

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 Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Nexus 6: Specs

Nokia Lumia 1020 Nexus 6
Processor 1.5 GHz dual core Snapdragon S4 Pro 2.7 GHz quad core Snapdragon 805
Display 4.5″, WXGA, 332 ppi, AMOLED 5.96″, 1440p, 493 ppi, AMOLED
Body 130.4×71.4×10.4 mm, 158 g 159.3x83x10.1 mm, 184 g
Camera 41 MP, 7152×5368, 1.2 MP Front 13 MP, 4128×3096, 2 MP Front
Video 1080p – 30 fps, Front 720p – 30 fps 4K UHD – 30 fps, Front 1080p – 30 fps
Aperture F/2.2 F/2
Storage 32 GB 32/64 GB
Battery 2000 mAh 3220 mAh
Price $599 $649/$699

There is not a lot of sense in comparing the specs of these two devices. For one thing, Windows Phone requires less overhead than Android does and therefore requires lower end specs. More importantly, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is a year and a half old and the Nexus 6 is brand spanking new.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a much smaller battery than the Nexus 6; however, the Nexus 6 has one of the worst batteries of any phone to be released in 2014. Chalk this up to the 1440p display. 1440p is 3.7 MP. WXGA is 1 MP. That’s almost four times as many lights on.

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Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Nexus 6: Rear Camera

It is impossible to tell the difference between 13 MP and 41 MP. People look at a high resolution image and talk about how sharp it looks and it’s not true. There is a threshold where the resolution of a photo is higher than the resolution of the display. If you’re using a 720p monitor, that threshold is less than 1 MP, 1080p is 2.1 MP, 1440p is 3.7 MP, and 4K is 8.3 MP.

Now, if you’re a professional photographer, you’re going to want the Nokia Lumia 1020. I can tell you that without showing you the samples. The Nokia Lumia 1020 has controls that allow you to control the focus, shutter speed, ISO, brightness, and white balance. The Nokia Lumia 1020 also takes RAW photos with the native camera app where the Nexus 6 does not.

Of course, the Nexus 6 has some nifty features as well. Android 5.0 Lollipop saw a new API so apps can use RAW more easily; however, Google did not implement that into the native Camera app. A third party app can be used. The Nexus 6 Camera app has HDR+, which, being a software feature, is an odd feature to include since it is not available on other phones using the Google Camera app.

Aperture relates to depth of field. A smaller aperture means a larger depth of field, meaning the background will be more focused. The difference here is negligible, but technically the Nokia Lumia 1020 should have a larger depth of field at F/2.2 than the Nexus 6 will at F/2.

Please note that in order to enlarge the photos, simply click or tap them and scroll through the carousel. To view the full size image, there is a link in the gallery.

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Nokia Lumia 1020 Nexus 6

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One thing we can see from these photos is that the Nokia Lumia 1020 is oh so much better in low light than the Nexus 6. In one hand, we have a phone that is known for low light performance and in the other hand we have a phone that is known for poor low light performance. This is no surprise.

The Nexus 6 clearly saturates the images more while the colors in the photos taken with the Nokia Lumia 1020 are more balanced. Both of these things can be an advantage depending on the use case of the device.

The main problem with the camera on the Nokia Lumia 1020 is that it is very retarded. It is not the best camera for average folks. The Nexus 6 is very fast. It’s almost as fast if not as fast as the iPhone 6.

Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Nexus 6: Video

The Nexus 6 has 4K UHD video. That is the only video advantage to the Nokia Lumia 1020 because when the video is set to 1080p, it is 30 fps.

When you see these samples, remember that you can’t see the difference between resolution unless you enlarge it to full screen. Also, you can’t see the difference between 1080p and 4K unless you have a monitor with a resolution higher than 1080p. I hear a lot of folks talking about how great 4K looks when they’re viewing an embedded video on their WXGA monitor.

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Nokia Lumia 1020 1080p 30 fps

Nexus 6 4K UHD 30 fps

Nexus 6 1080p 30 fps

Nexus 6 720p 30 fps

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Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Nexus 6: Front Camera

The Nokia Lumia 1020 uses a 1.2 MP front camera, which is just north of 1.2 MP while the Nexus 6 uses a 2 MP front camera, which is exactly 1080p.

I apologize for this, but because of a problem with WordPress, I have to switch the order of the photos. I apologize for any confusion.

Nexus 6 Nokia Lumia 1020

Now, if you ask me, the Nokia Lumia 1020 has a better front facing camera. I notice this problem with many Android phones. The front facing cameras simply don’t handle bright lights well. There always seems to be a glare.

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Vote in the poll and let me know what you think. Think I’m an idiot? Let me know in the comments.


All Nokia Lumia 1020 Camera Comparisons

All Nexus 6 Camera Comparisons

About the author
Rich Woods

Being a computer programmer wasn't enough to fulfill his love of technology. In 2013, Rich founded For the Love of Tech and has been writing about his love of tech ever since.

  • Curren

    You can also take in consideration the manual settings on the Lumia phone. If you know what you are doing you can take much better photos than in auto mode.
    So disappointing that nobody uses manual setting on the Lumia camera reviews to show the true potential of these camera phones.