For taking photos, you have a 5-megapixel 'fast capture' rear-facing camera and VGA-quality front camera at your disposal. The main camera has an LED flash, 4x digital zoom, autofocus and there's a dedicated camera button. It's not exactly camera specs to blow you away and as expected deliver a mix bag of results.
The camera UI is identical to the one used on the Xperia Z and Xperia Z1 albeit without the number of modes and settings to choose from. There's no Superior auto mode so you will have to make do with a Normal mode along with video camera, picture effect, sweep panorama and scene selection settings.
There’s some manual shooting options available letting you adjust exposure levels and you can shoot HDR photos to get sharper, more detailed images.
In bright, well-lit conditions, the Xperia M's shutter speed is quicker to jump into action than the Xperia L (around a second). It can hamper results when objects are moving, but it's very useful to have on board. Thanks to the LED flash, images are bright and offer good levels of detail. Colour accuracy can be a little off. Using HDR definitely helps to push the quality of images and can add more vivid colours.
Image taken in HDR mode with 5-megapixel resolution
5-megapixel resolution photo using HDR mode
Same 5-megapixel resolution image taken with HDR mode turned off
5-megpixel resolution photo taken in Normal mode (no flash)
5-megapixel resolution photo taken in Normal mode using 4x digital zoom (no flash)
In low light, without the flash, the picture below will tell you all you need to know. It really struggles to fully capture the entire scene and you can just about make some of the objects in shot. With the LED flash on, results are substantially better and while there is some noticeable noise, colours and detail are okay for a 5-megapixel camera.
5-megapixel resolution image taken with no flash in low light
5-megapixel resolution images taken with flash in low light
If you want to film, you can shoot 720p HD video at 30fps. The continuous focus really struggles and recording at a live football match content was blurry and massively out of focus. Sound recording is actually one of the better aspect of video recording picking clear, distinct audio.
The VGA front-facing camera can take photos and record video and unsurprisingly will not blow you away in terms of quality and performance. It should make do for video chats but we have definitely seen better front-facing cameras in action.