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We know this sounds absurd for the Lumia 520 compete against the iPhone 5 on this camera shoot out test – low-end vs high-end smartphone. And most of you will thought that its a sure win for the iPhone 5 since it has an  8-megapixel iSight camera while the 520 has a non Carl Zeiss 5-megapixel camera. But  let’s see if the Lumia 520 can withstand this test.

The Lumia 520 is Nokia’s low-end smartphone offering boasts of a 4-inch display and a 5-megapixel camera capable of 720p HD video capture. It has an interchangeable back shells and a robust build quality. It has a powerful dual core Snapdragon processor and most of all, a long battery life. On the other hand, the iPhone 5 is Apple’s latest smartphone flagship device with a 4-inch display and an 8-megapixel camera. It has a dual core processor too using Apple A6 chip and has the same iPhone design philosophy.

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Lumia 520 Iphone 5
Pixels 5-Megapixel 2592х1936 pixels 8-Megapixel 3264×2448
Display 4-inches 480 x 800 pixels 4-inches 640 x 1136 pixels
Lens iSight
Aperture f/2.4
OS Windows Phone 8 iOS 7
Flash Type No LED
Video 720p@30fps 1080p@30fps
Front Camera No Yes
CPU Snapdragon dual core Apple A6 dual core
GPU PowerVR SGX 543MP3 Adreno 305

Looking at the processing power, the Lumia 520 and iPhone 5 both shares the same amount of cores. But there is a difference on its camera, the 8-megapixel iSight camera on the iPhone 5 should really make a difference. To lower down its cost, Nokia decided to ditch the Carl Zeiss lens on the 520. You can get the iPhone 5 for $849 (64gb) unlocked while the Lumia 520 is only priced at $150.

Can a cheaply-priced smartphone stack up against the iPhone 5 on this camera test? Let’s find out!

**Both cameras were set to Auto.

iPhone 5

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Lumia 520

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On this image, the iPhone 5 shows more details and decent color production. However, the Lumia 520 shows a better contrast and colors are much closer compared to the actual subject. The Lumia 520 also provides a better lighting on this shot.

iPhone 5

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Lumia 520

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On this shot, both shows readable texts but the iPhone shows more details even on the side portion of the fire extinguisher. I’m not sure if using the physical button shutter on the Lumia 520 makes a difference compared to the on-screen camera shutter on the iPhone 5.

iPhone5

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Lumia 520

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On this image, both shots look good but the Lumia 520 has a brighter shot capturing more background details. While the iPhone has a warmer contrast.

iPhone 5

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Lumia 520

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On this close up shot, texts are readable on both photos. The iPhone 5 has a warmer/yellowish contrast while the Lumia 520 has a cooler contrast.

iPhone 5

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Lumia 520

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Though both phones have no special low-light features such as OIS but we still tried to make a low-light shot and we are surprised with the results. The iPhone 5 has managed to capture more light on this shot but there are more noise on the image quality. The Lumia 520 was able to pull it off better than the iPhone 5. It was not as bright as the iPhone 5 but we are surprised by the image quality. The subject is decently visible and there is less noise produced. This is something that we don’t expect with the 520 and we are happy about it.

This is how it looks like on the Nokia 808 PureView

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On a closer look, you will see how the Lumia 520 took a better quality shot compared to the iPhone 5  with less noise

test

At first, we were reluctant to do this comparison because we know that camera is not the Lumia 520′s strength. With its very low price, no one would expect that this phone can even match the iPhone 5′s camera. Considering the megapixels, the iPhone 5 has a bigger amount of pixels and has a proprietary camera lens called iSight.

We don’t say that the Lumia 520 has a better camera than the iPhone 5 but neither the iPhone is better than the Lumia 520. Both have its ups and downs in terms of its camera capabilities. But we have higher expectations on the iPhone 5 considering its price point and we did not expect that a non branded camera can be at par with the iPhone in some cases.

Nokia and Microsoft is marketing the Lumia 520 in the US with a very competitive price. After this test, we realized that this phone is really a bang for the buck, for only $150 you’ll get a powerful smartphone, great build design, plenty of exclusive services and a very decent camera that can even withstand the iPhone 5 in some aspects.

Please share your thoughts on how the Lumia 520 performs on this test.

**credits to Russell Sangoyo for lending us his iPhone 5.