Sony Xperia Z3 camera review: killing the digicam in cold blood

“The Sony Xperia Z3’s primary snapper is a delight in more ways than one”

Going by the much-hyped megapixel wars, Sony upped the ante with the 20-meg shooter in its Xperia Z1 a while ago. Two flagships later, it’s still the king in this aspect, but we all know that megapixels aren’t the true indication of quality. With its latest Xperia Z3 (review), Sony is offering the same 20.7-megapixel resolution, but the stakes are much higher now. Sony’s also done well to keep the shooter’s usability and features pretty high, so you can expect stuff like underwater shooting (thanks to the device’s waterproof capabilities and dedicated hardware shutter key), 4K video recording, and tons of options and modes to tweak things as per your liking.



We were quite keen to take the shooter on a test drive to gauge its true capabilities and here’s how it fared in the real world. Do note that most of these shots (barring the HDR mode and front camera shot) have been captured in the manual mode, with the resolution set to the highest possible, i.e. 20.7MP in the 4:3 aspect ratio. All other settings were left at default.

Long shot



The level of detail the Xperia Z3’s primary shooter is able to capture is very good. Notwithstanding the rather dull scene and drab sky, it has managed to capture a sharply-focussed image, and we can even read most of the signs in the distance if we zoom in.

Close up



Accurate colours blended with depth of field make this Xperia Z3 camera sample look quite natural.

Close up (zoomed in)



Zooming in closer on the same image, notice how detailed the veins look on those leaves. 

Front camera



The 2.2-megapixel front shooter may not put any of those selfie-centric smartphones to shame, but it does the job.

HDR off



This auto shot captured as part of the Sony Xperia Z3 camera test doesn’t have a lot of colour… except green. But it’s still sharp in focus and looks very detailed.

HDR on



Switching on the HDR mode, the darker areas of the image look much better, and we can make out more details in the distance. The HDR mode has definitely added more life into the image.

Night shot



One of our favourite night scenes, this image is usually very grainy when shot with other devices, but the Xperia Z3’s camera does a fairly good job. The noise has been controlled quite well, and the details are visible clearly.

Low light



Many a times, this indoor low-light shot appears as patches of darkness when we’ve shot it in the past, while other smartphone cameras churn out very noisy results. But the Xperia Z3 handles it with elan, and generates an image relatively free of noise, with the colours coming out reasonably well.

Low light (with flash)



With the flash on, the same scene is bathed in light, and the subjects appear natural, without being overexposed.

Judging by the above images (and lots more that we shot while trying out the Sony Xperia Z3’s camera prowess), we can easily say it’s a very capable and versatile shooter that should give you some lovely shots in a variety of different situations. While most will end up using the default Superior Auto mode, there are tons of options available in case you wish to be creative and explore the numerous features packed in there. 

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