I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Microsoft Lumia 950 and Microsoft Lumia 950 XL are the best Lumia cameras we’ve ever seen.
We’ve seen Lumias redefine smart phone cameras time and time again. Lumias have become known for their camera performance.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 had an amazing 41 MP sensor, but it had its shortcomings in that it was very slow to launch the camera and take a picture. Sure, it will take a great photo, but you’re going to miss your kid’s first steps.
Then came the Nokia Lumia 1520, Icon, and 930 (in that order). These used the same oversampling technology as the Lumia 1020, except they only had 20 MP and smaller sensors so the phones wouldn’t have the bulge on the back.
The cameras on the Lumia 1520, Icon, and 930 were powered by quad core Snapdragon 800, so they were much faster. When Lumia Denim launched last year, Rich Capture was added, allowing users to adjust exposure with a simple sliding mechanism.
When Lumia Denim came out, I declared that these Lumia flagships has beaten the Lumia 1020 for best camera. After all, you can have the best camera in the world, but if you miss the shot, it’s worth nothing.
Then came the iPhone 6. Apple added phase detection autofocus (PDAF) to their camera. Now you got beautiful, perfectly focused photos in an instant. Apple had always had one of the best camera on the market and one of the fastest cameras on the market, making it great all around, but the iPhone 6 took it to a new level.
Other OEMs followed suit. Samsung used PDAF as well and LG had their laser focus that achieved the same effect. Obviously, Apple didn’t necessarily do it first, but the scope of this article is a focus on the iPhone 6S Plus and the Microsoft Lumia 950.
This is why HTC fell under such wide criticism for the camera in the One M9. The HTC One M9 camera was a good camera. The only problem was that it wasn’t great like its competitors were.
I had been saying for some time that if the Microsoft Lumia 950 doesn’t include PDAF or laser focus, they’re going to be in big trouble. Luckily, both the Microsoft Lumia 950 and the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL include PDAF, along with fifth generation optical image stabilization (OIS), a larger sensor, an f/1.9 aperture, and Carl Zeiss optics.
Of course, the Microsoft Lumia 950 and its extra large counterpart are only 20 MP. Well, really 19 MP. Fortunately, you really don’t need more than a 6 MP image if you use a 4:3 aspect ratio, as you should.
Anything more than 6 MP has to be scaled down to fit a 4K display anyway. When I write up comparisons with the Nokia Lumia 1020, some criticize me because I don’t use the 38 MP images and I use their 5 MP counterparts. It’s because it’s impossible to tell the difference. While 4K is 8.3 MP at 16:9 and about 6 MP at 4:3, 1440p is 3.7 MP at 16:9, 1080p is 2.1 MP, and 720p is less than 1 MP.
Being that Lumia camera technology is back with a vengeance, I really wanted to compare it to everything else on the market, including the iPhone 6S, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, LG V10, and of course, other Lumias such as the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the Nokia Lumia 930.
So let’s see how the Microsoft Lumia 950 compares to the iPhone 6S Plus.
|Microsoft Lumia 950||iPhone 6S Plus|
There’s a couple things to note here. The Lumia 950 is much better in low light situations and bright light situations. There are a couple cases where I think the iPhone 6S Plus handles colors better, but overall, I definitely think the Lumia 950 wins.
Let’s move onto the front camera.
Both the Microsoft Lumia 950 and the iPhone 6S Plus use 5 MP front sensors, although like the rear camera, the Lumia 950 clearly has a larger field of view. One thing that Microsoft isn’t doing is following the trend set by LG, Motorola, and now Apple, which is to light up the screen to be used as a flash. Hopefully we see that in a software update.
|Microsoft Lumia 950||iPhone 6S Plus||iPhone 6S Plus with Flash|
Clearly, the low light performance is better with the Microsoft Lumia 950, but you’re not going to beat a flash at night.