Sony Xperia Z: Camera features

I think it’s fair to say that a lot of us are eagerly anticipating the release of the Sony Xperia Z. Sony have really gone all out with their upcoming flagship device, we were lucky enough to get our hands on one here at Clove HQ and we were very impressed. We took some sample images last month and lets just say that the camera quality did not disappoint. Sony have stated that the Xperia Z uses the same expertise and components as leading Sony cameras, so let’s take a look at the technical side of things to see what the Xperia Z will be offering in terms of camera functionality.

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The world’s first Exmor RS™ for mobile with
HDR video

HDR for photos and videos captures natural colours in any light. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, it is an imaging technology that is used to capture clear photos against strong backlight. How? well, the camera will capture the same image at different exposure levels and layers them to create one optimized photo. HDR on video is a great feature as it allows you to film in high contrast situations, like in front of a window or with the sun behind your subject without any glare or disruption.

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Sony have confirmed that the Xperia Z camera is built with the same modules as leading Sony cameras. Exmor RS for mobile is an evolution of Sony’s image sensor technology, with a next generation BSI light sensor. By Adopting the technology of luminance and colour noise reduction, Sony have created a camera that snaps highly detailed shots with low noise – even in challenging lighting conditions. The sample images below give a good indicator of how affective Exmor RS actually is.

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Shoot into the light: We all know how frustrating it is when you’re trying to catch that all important photo or video and the glare of the sun literally blinds you and the lens for that matter. Exmor RS for mobile makes it much easier to shoot good photos and videos when your subject is backlit. Image 1 above shows a photo taken without Exmor RS compared to that of image 2 that was taken with Exmor RS.

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Great shots even in low light: The Exmor RS mobile image sensor lets you take photos and record video even in low light. Photo 1 was taken without Exmor RS for mobile, photo 2 with Exmore RS for mobile. Again the difference is fairly significant.

The front facing camera on the Sony Xperia Z features Exmor R, this allows you to take high quality self portraits or even use Skype etc. in lowlight conditions as well. Both front and rear cameras support HDR photos making this the world’s only dual Exmor R for Smartphone cameras.

A great feature that I have found extremely convenient is the introduction of Superior Auto, this function does all the hard work for you. Superior Mode combines the  scene recognition with high quality and high performance image processing technology (HDR and noise reduction) to automatically shoot with the optimal settings. Superior Auto mode can optimise up to 36 different scenes ensuring that you always get the best shot possible.

With the Xperia Z being water and dust resistant you can enjoy the freedom of taking a pictures in almost any conditions. You can also catch great moments in picture while you are recording a video with loads of extra effects to give it that extra touch. See a track of your photos that you have taken in various locations with the intuitive Globe view.

Burst mode is another great tool for those thrill seekers, Burst mode allows users to capture high intensity action. You can shoot an unlimited number of images at 10 frames per second and 9 MP resolution.

These camera features are certainly impressive, with a number of flagship devices set to be announced this year and technology on Smartphones always improving it will be interesting to see where the Sony Xperia Z ranks in terms of image/video quality in the coming months. We are almost certain that Sony’s Xperia Z will not disappoint and will live up to Xperia’s already glowing reputation.

HTC One SV Sample Images

A selection of images captured at the full resolution of 5 megapixels on the HTC One SV camera.

Click to enlarge each image.

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I speak to my phone to take pictures

Telling my Samsung Galaxy S3 to take pictures isn’t as daft as it sounds.

Quite a few weeks ago now, I received an update to Android 4.1.1 on my Samsung Galaxy S3 and one of the features I noticed (it may have been there earlier but I missed it) is the ability to take photos with voice commands.

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My initial reaction was ‘err ok, don’t think I will be using that’.  However a few weeks on I have to admit I am using it quite a bit.

Due to the lack of dedicated camera button you have to touch the screen on the S3 and it can be a bit cumbersome depending on what and how you are trying to take the picture as well as wanting to keep the phone still to ensure the best image capture.

Thus, being able to hold the device with two hands to ensure a steady hold or motion if the subject is advantageous and then just telling the camera to take a picture is actually really handy as you can keep that firm grip on it.

imagePersonally the best example of this working for me is taking pictures of my puppy, constantly bounding about 2 hands on the camera is a must for me. Or if one hand is holding the lead and maybe a ball thrower then one handed use of the phone and speaking to the camera to take the shot.

I also see another benefit, (all be it a less frequent requirement) for taking group photos. Prop the phone up or put it in a tripod, pose for the shot and tell it to take the picture.

One downside, and I am sure it is only a matter of time before this is improved, is you have to have quite a firm authoritative voice and a possible ‘American’ tone to the voice appears to help, well my girlfriend finds the American tone most helpful when she uses it.

Some may think you are daft or resent the idea, why not just press the button, but there are benefits and it is one of those enhancements that are often under rated.  I hope to see it on more devices soon.

Samsung Galaxy Camera v Nikon Coolpix S800c

How do two Android cameras compare?

At the time of writing the Samsung Galaxy Camera is just hours away from arriving into stock (you can order HERE).

Whilst it looks to compete with other compact cameras, even digital SLR cameras and those cameras found on smartphones, it does have one one direct competitor, the Nikon Coolpix S800c.

We recently had hands on, and reviewed the Nikon Coolpix and we were fairly impressed but by no means blown away.  It came across limited in some places and lacking for the price point, although the image results were pleasing.

Whilst we will make a fuller comparison soon between the two, how technically do they compare?

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