Sony Xperia Z1: We tested thoroughly 20.7MP camera

Sony Xperia Z1: We tested thoroughly 20.7MP camera

Last week Sony introduced the Xperia Z1, the higher-end terminal of the Japanese firm that will take the positi...

Last week Sony introduced the Xperia Z1, the higher-end terminal of the Japanese firm that will take the position of standard bearer for the next season smartphones. The Sony Xperia Z1 introduces several new features over its predecessor the Xperia Z, but draws attention to all. This is the 20.7 megapixel camera, the sensor with higher resolution than has ever been seen on a smartphone, with permission of Nokia 8080 Pureview.

Sony Xperia Z1 camera

Before going to the pictures and Xperia Z1 tests we review developments and features of your camera. The first thing to clarify is that not all cameras increase resolution, indeed this may be counterproductive in some cases.

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sensors cameras have a certain size, and is limited by space where they need to go stuck, in this case a smartphone. Because these are smaller than a camera, so are the sensors, and that’s a problem. Why? Because we have to get the “same megapixel” in less space. Each pixel of resolution of a sensor is a sensor that detects light and converts it into electrons, which is what the electronic means to store in memory, and the photosensors need space to capture good light. If you accumulate too many in a short space photosensors have problems, especially in low light.

This is the main reason current relationship sensor size and resolution of this optimum is between 8 and 12 megapixels, because most problems begin. But it is a mistake to believe that this is a barrier that can not be overcome, as technology advances and new forms of increasing the resolution without affecting the quality of the image due to sensor size problem, and indeed we will see increasingly higher resolutions.

What makes the Sony Xperia Z1 is introduced for the first time the technology of a compact camera instead of the commonly used smartphones. We talked about the sensor, but also make the camera lens and a processor, which vary from a camera phone. The Z1 uses lenses, sensor and processor compact cameras of the company, and because of that can increase the resolution significantly. Specifically we find a 1/2.3 size sensor “to minimize the problem of photosensors, BIONZ processor to help it all work better and the same G lenses used by Sony for their compact cameras, but adapted to the size and requirements a smartphone.

With all this on paper now remains to be seen whether or not the camera Sony Xperia Z1 delivers what it promises, and we will test it.

Test photography

With all this on paper now remains to be seen whether or not the camera Sony Xperia Z1 delivers what it promises, and thus we test.

optimal light conditions

One of the biggest problems we found this camera when faced with good light conditions. If the lighting is perfect and we stand with his back to the spotlight (in our case the sun) got very good pictures as seen here:

But if the light comes from this side is more diffuse and begins to appear somewhat annoying slight blurring in the images, a problem common to many cameras, and it seems that the Xperia Z1 still unable to resolve:

Usually the results are very positive, but some problems appear with blurring and lack of clarity, a common problem discussed later because it seems the focus where are the problems of this camera.

Low Light

Here Z1 camera does a great job, working very well in low light conditions. We can see how well you make a picture gets totally dark pulse:

And here a pulse also illuminated object in the dark, keep in mind that the atmosphere is very dark and gives the feeling that there are still a few hours to nightfall:

And finally one of those conditions that disturb both cameras, a floodlit stage, which usually gives a lot of problems:

Similar results previous to this another picture where we have a very similar situation and really hard for the cameras:

It seems that the processor and camera lens Z1 do very good job with low light conditions. There are still excess noise, but overall very good.

contrast and dynamic range

When we take pictures with high contrast in an area that is well lit and very little other speak of the dynamic range of a photograph and the sensor’s ability to grasp. The more lights the dark and less burn lit better be running.

The Xperia Z1 get the results you could expect from a compact camera, something over which we have with a smartphone, and here we see a good example:

Another typical situation of this type of condition appears in sunsets, where the Z1 is defended very well:

Lack some strength in the dark parts, which are in some cases too dimly lit, but overall a great job.


This is one of the biggest problems Z1 camera, where it concentrates all. Later we enter a little more in detail about this, but first let’s see a comparison on how it worked here the Xperia Z and thus achieving a high-end compact with interchangeable lenses such as the Samsung NX300 (all are ISO 100).

Original photograph with Xperia Z1:

Original photograph with Xperia Z:

Original photograph with the NX300:

And we focus on a single part of the cropped photo to see the detail. First in the Z1:

This cut Xperia Z:

And finally trimming the NX300:

And for easier comparison unite the three into a single image to see them together:

In conclusion we can see that the sharpness and detail of the Xperia Z1 is not as good as we would like. Reference Taking a good result as that of the NX300, we note that the lines and shape changes the Z1 does not get such good results, although it improves the Z. In this same comparison you can see that working with the color and contrast of the Z1 is much better than its predecessor, the Xperia Z, and that is good news.


Resuming operation in low light, ISO is one of the most important points, and we have made a comparison between modes offering the Xperia Z1: 50, 100, 200, 400 and 800.

ISO 50:

ISO 100:

ISO 200:

ISO 400:

ISO 800:

As you can see the performance is very good, and returns to highlight the performance in low brightness Xperia Z1. If we turn to set the picture of the Brandenburg Gate (the second paragraph of “low light”) we see that the actual noise in low light conditions is remarkable. In this case we speak of an extreme situation where almost no light, and it is normal to appear as granules. However overall the run up in high ISO is very good.

Video Test


Z1 camera is capable of recording 1080p HD video up to 30fps. Sony has decided not to include 4K recording or exceed 30fps, but we may see something new about it in future updates.

You can watch a sample video recorded skating. The idea of ​​excessive movement in the video is to make the video recording to an extreme test, so tide. Although it may seem annoying, the camera movement is very high, and defended really well with a very acceptable stabilization in situations like recording from a moving car (much less movement than this test) works great:


The problem processing

Now, back on one of the biggest problems Sony Xperia Z1 camera. Overall it’s a great camera with great results well above most smartphone, particularly in extreme circumstances such as low lighting.

But there is a huge problem, and it is the part of the defendant. This part depends directly on Sony BIONZ and software that handles JPEG images to compress. Lack of work to do here, because although we have great results in general there is a huge lack of sharpness and detail in many of the images, which could be solved largely and improve a lot with different processing. Fortunately this part is easily solved by a software update, and frankly expect Sony to hurry and made public as soon as possible, and it’s a shame that something so lose the possibility of finding the best camera on a smartphone there on the market.


Sony Xperia Z1 camera is a great idea introduces significant improvements over its predecessors and competition, but still has work to do, especially that mentioned in the previous point processing.

The camera is very good, great in low light stands and mobile adds a dedicated camera button that we love, but it’s a shame to see it wasted by lack in processing that directly affects the sharpness and detail definition.

We give a very good note Z1 camera but left a note asking for an update in case that helps solve problems that is, we are sure that this will help greatly improve the quality of this camera

All photographs used in this article have been resized to fit the width of the website, without using any no extra retouching. You can see the original pictures without resizing here.

Article was published in The Free Android (The Android Blog reference. Applications, News, Games and Free Android smartphones)


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