When we talk of Sony Xperia smartphones and its cameras, there is a lot of appreciation for the software side, where Sony has included several great modes, effects for the users to try out, and with the 20.7-megapixel G Lens camera in the Xperia Z3 compact, it is the same. But the hardware again disappoints, with the device with glass body heating up very easily in a few minutes of 4K video recording. There are a few things to consider here. The temperature in the room was not very low, at 31°C. And, with regards to the temperatures, we are talking of the 4K recording. On the other modes and effects, the heating up is not much alarming.
When the software is the same and the camera module too is, there is little you can expect as a difference from the camera of the Xperia Z3, and that is what defines the camera of the Xperia Z3 compact. The 20.7-megapixel camera does a good job, and as is the case with Xperia Z3, the improvements from the camera in the predecessor are clearly visible.
The camera app is totally the same, with the similar modes as in the Z3, and the effects under Manual mode having the high ISO sensitivity setting as well, the one which was newly added to the Z3 (with the max. sensitivity of 12800). And the captures under the high ISO in low light conditions were indeed better than the Superior Auto (which automatically takes up Low light mode) or Manual mode with night scene mode.
Head to the Sony Xperia Z3 camera review if you wanted to know more about the big list of modes available in the camera app.
We’ll start off with the bad news. The glass body of the Xperia Z3 compact doesn’t get any space to dissipate the heat rapidly, and thus in a few minutes, it gets heated up to an extent where the camera app closes by itself, although the good thing here is – if you were recording a video, the content gets saved before the camera app closes. But were you not capturing the entire scene in front of you and expecting the phone to continuously run the camera app for you? It has been a disappointment since the Xperia Z2, and it hasn’t changed at all.
The device gets heated up majorly towards the center and just below the camera lens, and the temperature went up to 48.6 °C, before the app gave up and shut down after recording a 4K video continuously for 8 minutes 58 seconds. Not bad for a reason that the video was being recorded in a closed room, and in open conditions, this can go up if we aren’t trying it under the sun directly.
Now, let’s talk about the capture quality – for both photo and video. The color reproduction is good already, but the Backlight Correction HDR mode and Landscape mode, both in the Manual mode make the color output even better.
Using the flash in a dark room
This was an interesting part, as you already do not know what you are capturing, until the phone activates the flash to focus on the object, and again does it to capture the same. But, the flash can be used in two ways – Fill Flash, and Torch. For most of the cases, turning the Torch ON did a better job, because with Fill Flash, there was excessive light, brightening the object unnaturally. But with the Torch, the flash light is always ON and thus, there is a uniform light in the either frame being captured.
Background Defocus Mode
The background defocus works perfect when you are using the specified mode, and for this, there is a rule to be applied, or the results won’t be impressive – the object should be closer to the camera (same rule for anything, a face or a little stationary object), and the background should be far.
Once the capture is done, you would be able to set the amount of defocus and also have a defocus with circular blur for the background objects, or horizontal/vertical blur.
How good is the low light photography?
In the low light conditions (differs from a place where there is no light at all), the Xperia Z3 compact did a brilliant job of retaining the colors, detailing the object with very little noise. At par with the flagship Z3, but for me, this was better than those smartphone cameras that are known for low light captures. Especially for the high ISO sensitivity mode, where the brightness is increased, but that didn’t lead to any loss in details and color reproduction.
We’d share the video recording samples very soon, but talking of the quality, both the 4K recording and 1080p one were good in quality, except for some shakes that were not well negotiated with, thus resulting in shaky video parts in between. Apart from that, for the normal movement of the camera, it took that very well and no such shakes were noticed here when trying to take a panoramic view of the scene in the video.
Overall, the Sony Xperia Z3 compact does a commendable job with the 20.7-megapixel camera of its. No where impressive with the front camera, especially when there are some superb selfie camera smartphones out there in the market, but Sony has made a mark with the rear shooter and the software side having an app that gives the users more than what they would actually use on regular basis.