The cameras are probably the biggest single talking point on the smartphones these days. The performances of cameras on modern smartphones are going up and up. In introducing the new smartphones, the mobile brands have become conscious of the consumers need of owning a smartphone with great camera capabilities that can make DSLRs run for their money.
Sony also being a camera lens manufacturer had the advantage of creating smartphones with ultimate camera capabilities. And from the past years we have seen that in their flagship Xperia Z line-up. This year with Z5, Company stepped up its game and has added a new 23-megapixel camera sensor on their new smartphone. That’s not the only improvement in the camera department. It’s more than just the megapixel boost this time.
The Z5’s camera promises the world’s fastest autofocus, yeah we’re hearing that claim a lot this year, the camera can hit focus in 0.03 seconds in an ideal conditions. There are two reasons for the claim, the large camera is housed across its 1/2.3 inch surface and uses the Phase Detection Auto-Focus (PDAF) system.
The PDAF technology has been the highlight of the flagship phones this year as it has been used in a lot of smartphones this year including the Huawei Honor 7, Gionee Elife E8 and Oppo R7 Plus. Samsung was the first to bring this fancy DSLR technology to the smartphone world on their Galaxy S5. Since, the South Korean giant has been using this on their flagship smartphones.
Artificial Light Captures – Gallery
The rear camera module aims to ensure that your image is in focus so that you never miss the action. And with Sony claiming that wide detection across the lens would allow the camera to focus every detail, not just the centre only. We have spent quite the time with Xperia Z5’s camera and felt it was really, really, fast, both when using the autofocus and force focus.
Sony integrates Super Resolution Technology, which is branded as new Clear Image Zoom that would allow a clear 8-megapixel image when zoomed up to 5X. But we experienced that the Zoom can go as much as 8X, which is nothing like seen on a smartphone camera. The technical’s of this states that “What it will do is examine the image and look for patterns in the pixels, then using an Algorithm these patterns would be replicated to neighbouring pixels, which in return would allow carrying more pixels on the image and have detailed sharpness.”
Natural Light Captures – Gallery
The natural light captures on the Xperia Z5 are stunning, and one can’t deny the fact that Superior Auto mode is one of the best auto modes present on any smartphone. I have used Samsung Galaxy Note 5 for more than a month as my daily driver for the sole purpose of the faster camera, but the Xperia Z5 forced me to switch as my daily driver for camera needs. It’s that good.
There are tons of modes on the device. Though, most of them are just fancy stuff for creative geniuses like AR effect, AR mask, Style portrait, Sticker creator and more artistic modes that has been present Xperia flagship line since quite time. Termed as camera apps, there were more of them, and the ones that interest me includes Manual mode, Multi-Camera, Background defocus and Sound photo. There was an option to download more camera apps, and all of them were third-party apps.
By default, Sony has put the camera resolution to 8MP captures, which you would have to change it from the settings if you want to take full advantage of the 23MP camera resolution. But do make a note that those 8-megapixel captures are optimized for the low light captures, which you get when the Superior Auto Mode is turned ON. Although, you can opt for higher resolution.
Low Light Captures – Gallery
Coming to the talk of low light captures, we were far from being impressed of the captures in the low light conditions. The internet is praising the camera capabilities of the device, well no doubt it has one of the highest megapixel counts and Sony has a core business as Camera Sensors manufacturers. We wonder what happened to the Sony Xperia handsets we knew, they used to be so good.
You can see in the camera samples taken; the acclaimed Superior Auto Mode did detect the low light scene (denoted by tripod icon) where we actually used the tripod since steady hands weren’t enough. But that was an ultimate failure in terms of showing details in low light captures. While even Manual mode didn’t performed as expected, note that HDR mode is available only in manual mode, we were surprised that even full exposure shot couldn’t do justice to the details in camera.
Moving on to the video, the Optical Image Stabilization makes the video content worth it. Moreover, there is an option for the 4K video recording, which has always been my favourite part of a Xperia handset. But there was always an issue, where the camera app would automatically close if the device crosses the operating heat condition. This is obviously because of the waterproof nature of the device because there are no heat passing vents. Thus, the device get hot in within couple of minutes. Processing 4K video recording is no joke for the chipset.
The Front-facing Camera on Xperia Z5 might be the worst among this year’s flagship devices. The 5.1-megapixel camera on front isn’t the selfie cam you would want on your premium phone. The sensor is capable to shoot up to 1080p video recording, which is huge for front snappers but the guy can’t even take a good selfie. Yeah, you’ll have worst time taking pictures with this camera. I was surprised that company didn’t add a wide-angle lens, so don’t even think to take captures with Z5 on dinner table, because fitting all family members in one shot would be one hell of a task for you.
For a smartphone known for camera capabilities, it is a poor upgrade from the Xperia Z4/Z3+ or even maybe Z3. The 23-megapixel camera on the back isn’t what was expected of it. I’m not saying it’s the worst but it isn’t great for low light captures. And if you’re someone who takes photos in such conditions, we’d like you to skip this handset and go with other options. Such as Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and LG G4 are currently the best camera smartphones of the year if you’re looking for premium handsets. While Honor 7, Lenovo Vibe Shot, and Oppo R7 Plus are some of the best camera phones in the range of 20-30K pricing.