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Nokia Lumia 900 camera shoot-out vs. iPhone 4 (photos)

CNET's Jessica Dolcourt puts two 8-megapixel cameras to the test in 11 shots to see which one comes out on top.

Nokia Lumia 900
Putting the Nokia Lumia 900's 8-megapixel camera to the test.
Josh Miller/CNET

Nokia has hyped the Nokia Lumia 900's 8-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, and you know what that means: it's time for a camera shoot-out. I traipsed around San Francisco with four smartphones with 8-megapixel cameras: the Lumia 900 and the iPhone 4S to see just how well they captured the moment. I took close to 20 comparison shots, but to keep you from going blind, I narrowed it down to the two best phones and the 11 most representative pictures.

I'm no professional photographer, but I did keep a keen eye out for differences in focal range, overall detail, color tone, and contrast. I share my opinion below, but check out the photos for yourself to make up your own mind.

Unless otherwise stated, all photos were taken using automatic settings. I've resized the images, but left them otherwise untouched.

Mural: The Nokia phone's picture looks richer, but the iPhone 4S' looks brighter.

Mural Nokia Lumia 900
Mural iPhone4S

Zoomed in: I zoomed all the way in and focused on the building's dome. Point: iPhone 4S for overall image quality, but it does wash out the wall.

Zoom Nokia Lumia 900
Zoom iPhone4S

Sculpture: Both statues look good, but I do like the deeper contrast on the Lumia 900's.

Sculpture Nokia Lumia 900
Sculpture iPhone 4S

Plant life: Apple's iPhone 4S brought out the purples, but the Lumia 900's contrast made the icy light green seem more detailed.

Ice Plant Nokia Lumia 900
Iceplant iPhone 4S

Bay Bridge: The Lumia 900 is far more yellow, but it also keeps more gulls in focus.

Bay Bridge Nokia Lumia 900
Bay Bridge iPhone 4S

Bear: The iPhone captures much more detail in the plush bear's fur, its bow, and the writing on the box of tea, but the colors look a bit more washed out compared to the Lumia 900.

Bear Nokia Lumia 900
Bear iPhone 4S

Macro: Macro mode on the Lumia 900 captured pollen detail (you could see this at more than 3,000 pixels); the iPhone 4S auto-focuses, but has no macro mode.

Macro Nokia Lumia 900
Macro iPhone4S

Flags: I prefer the cooler colors in the iPhone 4S, but in terms of focusing on distant objects, they're pretty close.

Flag Nokia Lumia 900
Flags iPhone 4S

Snack shack: The iPhone 4S shot looks much more vibrant and sharp than the yellowed, lower-contrast Lumia 900 photo (especially when the photos are blown up on the big screen.)

Snack Nokia Lumia 900
Snack iPhone 4S

Fountain: The iPhone 4S captured the water droplets more distinctly, but in this scene, I like the Lumia's contrast and warmer tones. The actual color was somewhere between them.

Fountain Nokia Lumia 900
Fountain iPhone 4S

Low-light: I had to turn on night mode to extract Mike the CNET engineer from his dark, dark surroundings. The colors are richer, but he has red eye. The iPhone 4S just needed the flash to extract color, but it isn't as precise.

Low-light Nokia Lumia 900
Low light iPhone4S

Check out even more photos of the Lumia 900, and taken with the Lumia 900, in the slideshow below.