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Sony Xperia Z5 Camera Test: Fast But Not Furious

The overall experience is not ground breaking though. Yes, there is visible improvement as certain things feel really fast

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Sony’s smartphone business has been in turmoil for some time now and the division has been facing loses due to low sales. Known for making one of the best camera smartphones, the company is now heavily relying on the production of camera sensors that it provides for a large number of smartphone makers. But the recent launch of its new flagship smartphones under the Xperia Z5 series, it sent out a message that the company is not going to go down that easily.

The new Xperia Z5 uses a lot of older hardware from the Xperia Z3+ but finally brings in a new and updated camera, a change which was long due ever since the Xperia Z1 came out. Sony now uses a new 23MP camera sensor paired with an f/2.0 lens with a focal length of 24mm. The sensor is actually larger with an actual resolution of 25MP, but the cropping of 4:3 and 16:9 ratio of images use different parts of the sensor. Sony also boasts about how the company is super-fast focusing system which can focus under just 0.2 of a second. Sony has not used laser autofocus, which is becoming the most common and one of the fastest focusing systems in smartphones, but uses a hybrid focus system. Sony has also omitted the idea of using OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) which might again disappoint some smartphone camera lovers, but Sony assures that the since the auto-focus is fast, there is no such need.

The overall experience is not ground breaking though. Yes, there is visible improvement as certain things feel really fast. The camera app, which was updated recently, fires up fast even when you open it from the hardware shutter key. The focusing speed is definitely fast, as fast as most of the other flagships smartphones, with and without laser auto-focus systems. Processing of pictures usually takes an instant but with HDR mode on, takes its own sweet time.

Image quality feels good and justified for a flagship smartphone. Colours are mostly accurate, but looks highly saturated when viewed on the phone's display. The Superior Auto mode has seen an improvement and adapts according to the shooting conditions quite well and finally can shoot at the highest resolution instead of 8MP which was on older Xperia smartphones. Sony has also fine tweaked its HDR system for the Z5 as the tones feels much better. It all isn’t perfect though as there are certain issues, like some pictures have a magenta ting when shooting something dark. Pictures shot in low light lack details and have a lot of noise when compared to other smartphones.

Check some of the sample pictures:

For full size picture click here.

In the video department, the camera can shoot great looking 4K videos but as mentioned above there is no OIS but digital image stabilization helps massively. Videos are sharp and colour production is also good. But just like the stills, it struggles in low light and starts to lose details.

Sony makes camera sensors for major smartphone makers and is quite efficient at it, so shouldn’t it have the best quality, far superior than most smartphone cameras? Sony has struggled to be the leader even after updating its flagship product over so many years. No doubt there has been an improvement, but the cameras on all the Xperia flagships have always lacked that punch of quality. The Z5 is good comeback for Sony, but not good enough for the company to bounce back in the game.

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