Sony Xperia Z5 camera review: 23-megapixels of impressiveness

“After using the 20.7MP sensor for past few iterations of the Xperia series, Sony has implemented a new 23MP sensor in the new Xperia Z5. Here’s how it fares”

Japanese brand Sony’s imaging sensor business is booming for sure. Sensors manufactured by the company aren’t only used in its own mobile devices, but in rival products as well, including flagships from Apple and Samsung. So, it’s only fair that we have high expectations from the camera available on Sony’s latest offering in the high-end segment, the Xperia Z5 (first impressions).

Sony Xperia Z5 review 24

Before we take a look at the images shot from the snappers, let’s check out their specs. While the brand was employing the same 20.7-megapixel sensor on the past couple of generations of Xperia phones, the Z5 brings forth a 23MP Exmor RS sensor at the back along with Sony’s G lens featuring an aperture of f/2.0. The imaging experience is further helped by company’s BIONZ image-processing engine. For capturing low-light images, the primary camera is accompanied by an LED flash. At the front, the handset flaunts a 5MP shooter.

Sony Xperia Z5 screenshot (41) Sony Xperia Z5 screenshot (42)

In terms of the camera interface, the Sony devices offer a gamut of features in a simplistic format. You can choose between various modes like auto and manual, as well as creative effects such as AR effect, Style portrait, etc. We’ll talk more about the UI in our full review of the Sony Xperia Z5, but it’s worth highlighting that the phone has a dedicated shutter key to capture images. Without further ado, here are the images taken by Xperia Z5’s cameras in auto mode (unless otherwise specified), with the aspect ratio set at 4:3.

Long shot

Sony Xperia Z5 camera performance - long shot

Taken in the picturesque Summer Palace in Beijing, the shot above looks lovely with all the details being reproduced well along with the true-to-life colours. Zoom in though, and it’s a different story altogether, as at full resolution, the sharpness isn’t what you’d expect from a 23MP sensor.

Close up

Sony Xperia Z5 camera test - close up

The earthy rock captured from close quarters by the Sony Xperia Z5 looks really nice. The camera has done complete justice as the different textures as well as colours of the rock are depicted well. The shot also has a depth-of-field effect, with the trees in the background nicely faded.

Close up (zoomed in)

Sony Xperia Z5 camera test - close up (zoomed in)

Magnifying on the same image shows the power of high resolution, as the sharpness is maintained and you can easily see various attributes of the rock.

HDR off

Sony Xperia Z5 camera samples - HDR off

Even under sunlight, the image embedded above looks quite dull, although various subjects in view look good. Let’s see if HDR mode on the Xperia Z5 can do its magic on this shot.

HDR on

Sony Xperia Z5 camera samples - HDR on

With the dynamic range turned on, the same shot looks much better and the colours offer improved contrast. However, it’s worth pointing out that for using the HDR mode, you need to turn on the manual mode, which also downsizes the resolution of the image.

Front shot

Sony Xperia Z5 camera review - front shot

The 5MP shooter at the front of the Xperia Z5 is good for capturing selfies, as long as there’s adequate lighting. The image offers decent amount of details and vivid colours, though it’s quite blurry when zoomed in at its original resolution.

Low-light shot

Sony Xperia Z5 camera quality - low-light shot

In poorly-lit conditions, the Xperia Z5 barely manages to capture the subject, as you can see in this case, where just the traces can be made out. It’s also difficult to view different colours of the Minion.

Low-light shot with flash

Sony Xperia Z5 camera quality - low-light shot with flash

Thankfully, the flash module on the smartphone is powerful as the Egyptian Hula Minion can be viewed in all its glory. Although, the light seems to be too powerful, as there isn’t much glare.

Night shot

Sony Xperia Z5 camera review - night shot

We are slightly disappointed with the Xperia Z5’s camera performance during low-light conditions. In this case, the camera has only reproduced those subjects which were around the light, and other objects are hardly visible. There’s noticeable amount of noise in the image too.

The Sony Xperia Z5 is a competent shooter and works well across all situations. However, it fails to live up the legacy of its predecessors, and more importantly, isn’t really the best. Images aren’t as sharp as 23-megapixel resolution should be, and low-light performance is just about average.

If you’re wondering how the Xperia Z5 fares as a whole in real-life usage, then just wait a tad more for our detailed review, coming soon.

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One of the earliest members of the 91mobiles' editorial team, Nitansh is a walking encyclopaedia of product specs. Name a phone and he’ll tell you the specifics on screen resolution, processor and camera without blinking an eyelid. Ask him if he remembers the launch date of a noteworthy phone, and he'll tell you the dates when the device first leaked, its global unveil, its Indian launch, and when it got a significant update. He’s a lover of all things Android, and loves writing reviews and scouting for new apps. A Wordpress whiz, he’s always ready to help out a fellow writer. While he juggles between many things at 91mobiles, he always manages to find time to write. In his non-tech avatar, Nitansh is a philatelist, which is a fancy word for stamp-collector.