Windows Phone Camera Shootout: Nokia Lumia 900 vs. HTC Titan II

Arguably, the two Windows Phones with the best cameras are the Nokia Lumia 900 and the HTC Titan II. The Nokia Lumia 900 has an 8-mp camera with Carl Zeiss optics, and the HTC Titan II has a 16-mp sensor, the highest of any WP7 phone to date. Yes, we know that more megapixels don’t necessarily mean better photos, but we wanted to see how the two biggest, baddest shooters stacked up against each other. So, which phone has the better camera?

How We Tested

We took photos of the same objects in several settings, both indoors and outdoors. On each phone, we adjusted the settings as follows: Resolution on max (16MP for the Titan II, 8MP for the Lumia); White Balance and ISO to Auto; Brightness, Contrast, Saturation and Sharpness on Normal; and Metering Mode on Center. On the Lumia, Focus Mode was set to Normal, and Exposure Value was at 0. 

Outdoor Photos

Titan II

Lumia 900

An outdoor shot of flower blossoms set against the New York skyline, the Titan II correctly put a branch in the foreground in focus, and in a nice artistic touch, blurred the background slightly. Despite repeated attempts, the Lumia 900 kept focusing on the background. Nokia’s photo had a colder, more bluish cast than the Titan II. Personally, we prefer the Titan’s picture, as reds were warmer. 

Indoor Photos

Titan II

Lumia 900

We then set up a few tchotchkes at a desk under fluorescent lights to see how the two camera performed indoors. While neither picture was stellar, images from the Lumia 900 were more washed out than the Titan II’s. Reds appeared more pink, and a neon orange cup was paler in complexion. 

Detail

Titan II

Lumia 900

In a shot of a stone column with decorative carvings, the Titan II again crushed the Lumia 900. When zoomed in to 100 percent, we saw much greater detail from the Titan II. Moreover, the Lumia’s picture had a lot more artifacts, which was a little surprising given how bright it was outdoors. 

Verdict

In three rounds, the HTC Titan II came away the clear winner. While we like the Nokia Lumia 900 overall as a great Windows Phone, its camera is one of its weaker points. Our full review of the Titan II will come shortly; we already know one area where it excels, though.


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  1. MarcXW Says:

    Wow, I’m really impressed by the Titan II’s shots, the colors seem very good. It clearly trounces the Nokia Lumia 900, which I find to be very dissapointing given the big deal that was made about it’s lens to be honest. It’s still a good camera, but not outstanding. I have to say, however, for the first shot, the Nokia Lumia 900 should have been set to Macro mode in order to focus on the branch. It’s not very smart of Nokia to have seperated the two modes, and it wouldn’t have improved it’s cold color reproduction, but it still would have improved the shot. Very nice review though, I think another interesting comparison would be between the Titan II’s camera and the HTC One X, I suspect the One X to have a better camera, thanks to it’s dedicated chip, but I would still like to see exactly how big of a difference it makes.

  2. Steve Says:

    @MarxXW: I agree, I’d definitely like to see a comparison with the One X. Although I think the titan II must also have a dedicated chip, the snapdragon S2 chip it’s running can only handle up to 12MP, unless it’s been tweaked? But the image processor on the S2 chips is definitely what’s holding the wp7 cameras back at the moment, if HTC has stuck something else in there it would certainly explain the nice shots above.

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