Sony Xperia Z Ultra - Camera Quality

Michael Sawh

By Michael Sawh



Our Score:


Sony Xperia Z Ultra - Camera Quality

While it doesn’t match the Xperia Z1 in the photo-taking department or let you put a T-Rex on your mate's head like that phone, you do get a decent 8-megapixel main camera. in the Xperia Z Ultra. It uses Sony’s Exmor RS image sensor and has a 16x digital zoom.

Additionally, there’s a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and both cameras are capable of taking full HD video. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 in comparison hosts a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera and an 8-megapixel main sensor with a f/2.6 aperture lens.

Xperia Z Ultra screenshots 1

The Xperia Z Ultra camera app in action

Like the Z1 and Z, the Ultra uses the same camera UI with settings displayed above the screen. While it lacks Social Live and the augmented reality based Info Eye, there’s still plenty of shooting modes to stir your creativity including Burst mode, sweep panorama, HDR and even something specifically to take pictures of food.

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Photo taken in Superior mode with 8-megapixel resolution

Sony Xperia Z Ultra product 25

Photo taken in Superior mode with 8-megapixel resolution

Sony Xperia Z Ultra product 22

Photo taken in HDR mode with 8-megapixel resolution

You really shouldn’t expect Z1 or Nokia Lumia 1020-like images here. The decent colour reproduction makes the biggest impression here and you can capture good, but not fantastic photos in the right light.

Upload the images to a computer for a closer look and you'll begin to notice some of the slightly grainy, overprocessed nature of images. Even in bright daylight, things can look a little gloomy. HDR does help to enhance photos but on the whole images will not blow you away When you need to get up close though, the macro mode impresses and offers good levels of detail.

The lack of a flash makes it even more of a tough task to take photos in low-lit environments. Again, colour accuracy is good, but images can look blurry and out of focus and zooming in shows the distinct lack of quality.

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Photo taken in low-light mode with 8-megapixel resolution

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Photo taken in low light mode with 16x digital zoom and 8-megapixel resolution

The front-facing camera has similar issues down to lighting where can become an issue, but in general is good enough for video calling and selfies. You can shoot Full HD video of yourself which is a nice addition.

In terms of shooting film, the main camera can record video up to Full HD 1080p in 16:9 ratio but doesn’t support HDR. Despite its exclusion you can choose from a series of different modes to adjust settings slightly whether you are filming at a sport event or at the beach. It's on par with the Xperia Z and Z1 producing good quality, high resolution video.

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October 8, 2013, 9:16 pm

I've been using this phone for just over a month (bought in HK for close to 200 less SIM free than in the UK) ... Following on from 18 months with a Note 1 it is a revelation. Reliable (barely a reboot in a month), fast, amazing screen and my go to device for work, browsing and actually making calls. The slimness makes it glide in and out of your pocket, and whilst big phones are normal in HK (using a 'normal phone' after my Note died (reason I choose a waterproof phone) made me realise bigger is actually better) I will get stick when back in the UK. The camera is pretty terrible, but size, function and battery life, and I am sure positive user reaction will ensure a Ultra 2 will happen. At 6"4 tall it is proof your phone should match your height (having said that there are plenty of tiny Chinese girls with these phones stuck to their ears). 9 out of 10 for me.

Matthew Bunton

October 17, 2013, 10:56 pm

I was seriously considering this phone until I read about all the screen scratching issues. Sony have used a shatter proof cover over the screen which unfortunately scratches really easily.

Matthew Bunton

October 17, 2013, 10:58 pm

At 6.4 it probably seems just right for you then. It is a lovely looking phone and for me is ideal as it also replaces the need for a tablet.


October 31, 2013, 7:51 pm

the reboots become more regular if my experience is to go by, start at one or two per month, normally when you are most in need of the phone and slowly increasing as it seems to burn itself out. Camera oddly was the thing I found strongest. Just posted a updated review above, I would recommend insurance.

Best John


October 31, 2013, 8:00 pm

Do not put this phone on your Christmas wish list! I commented
on this website regarding my Sony Experia Z a few weeks after I got it back in
April. Free as part of my 24 month
Vodafone contract upgrade, I agree it has a sleek look and fantastic camera but
do not be fooled, this is a terrible terrible phone. I create live outdoor events; it was the claim of waterproof that attracted me not how it looked. I have not tested the waterproof but the trim is made of poor quality plastic that damages easy.

Sony know they have a pony here and are praying their updates will solve many of the issues, but they have not and mine has finally died today. Constant crashing, to find a mobile signal never mind internet, very slow in most functions, big updates via the awful ‘Bridge for Mac’ solves some issues, overheating and going into on/off loops for example, only to create new issues. It is too big as a phone and burns your ear often, long calls are near impossible without putting on load speaker.

Sony is a Japanese company so will not make any admission, but this post and my previous post, as well as other user feedback elsewhere will expose a poor product. Vodafone wanted £10 per month insurance, way above it appears other insurances for similar phones, Vodafone was probably aware it is going to fail once people
began using it, thus discouraging insurance take up. Having been with Vodafone for years you become savvy to their many practices.

£600? Wow, you will need to be pretty flush to burn that sum on what will prove to be a false dawn for Sony in the phone market.

Do not be seduced by the camera or look.


January 9, 2014, 7:38 am

It is the best phone in the world. I am 250% happy with this great beauty


January 30, 2014, 11:53 am

Is there a problem with the flaps on the sides ? Do they come off ?


September 29, 2015, 1:28 pm

This phone has been amazing for me. Admittedly I got it used for just $50CDN. It already had Android 5.0.2 on it. Recently updated to 5.1.1 and running smooth as silk. I also got a great deal on the official Sony case/battery CP12 for it. Using the CP12 doubles the size and effective runtime of the phone. Display is bright and clear. I end up using this phone more often than my Samsung Note 4. Especially because the Sony skin is far less obtrusive than Samsung's awful Touchwiz.

Aggrey Ingutia

December 8, 2015, 2:42 pm

I can't find words to describe how this phone makes everything easier at my fingertips.No phone in modern times can match the Sony Xperia Z Ultra.I love it,I like it.

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