Microsoft Lumia 950 Review

June 27, 2016 | Amy Davies | |

Image Quality

On the screen of the Microsoft Lumia 950, images look fantastic, especially those taken in good light. If you think it’s reasonably likely you’re only ever going to be sharing your images on on social media etc with other people using small devices, then you should be very impressed with the image quality.

However, if you want to print or use your images larger, you may not be blown away quite so much by the quality on offer here. While images taken at low ISOs display a good level of overall detail, as soon as you start to step up to ISO 200 detail at 100% starts to become smudgy and painterly.

At ISO 400, image smoothing is apparent at A4, but again, if you’re unlikely to print or view at that size, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. At the top rating of ISO 3200, smoothing makes images almost unusable at A4, but again, not so bad at smaller sizes.

In terms of metering, the Microsoft Lumia 950 copes well to produce accurate exposures in the majority of conditions. If there’s a huge amount of contrast in a scene then it may struggle, but it’s comparable with how well a compact camera might do, and certainly a match and more for other mobile phones on the market.

Automatic white balance does very well, too. You might see a yellow tinge when you first point the camera at the subject, but it doesn’t take long for it to correct out in the majority of cases. If the camera does struggle, you can always set a specific white balance setting from the pop out menu.

Using the digital zoom isn’t really recommended if you can help it - the resulting image suffers from a loss of detail, but once again, if you’re sharing at small sizes you might find it acceptable.

The Microsoft Lumia 950's front facing camera is reasonable, but suffers even more from image smoothing than the rear camera. If you’re using it in good light, the images provided are good though.

Noise

There are 4 ISO settings available on the Microsoft Lumia 950. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

JPEG

RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg

Focal Length

The Microsoft Lumia 950's lens offers a wide-angle focal length of 26mm in 35mm camera terms, as illustrated by this example:

26mm

focal_range1.jpg
 
Digital Zoom
focal_range2.jpg

Macro

This image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card).

Macro

macro.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Microsoft Lumia 950 are Auto, Fill Flash, Red-eye Reduction and Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off

ISO 64
 

Flash On

ISO 64
 
Flash Off
ISO 64
 
Flash On
ISO 64

Night

The Microsoft Lumia 950's maximum shutter speed is 1/2th second in the Night scene mode.

Night

night.jpg