Sony Xperia XZ2 – Camera
Camera tech is one area Sony has always failed to make a bang, despite being the company that makes most phones’ sensors. At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking this remains true on the XZ2, which features a basic 19-megapixel rear camera with as 1/2.3-inch Exmor RS sensor.
The lack of a dual-lens system is forgivable. Other companies, chief amongst which is Google with its Pixel 2 line, have shown that it is possible to create great single-sensor smartphone cameras – and, in theory, Sony has loaded the XZ2 with cool extra features.
The most interesting of these are its improved 960fps slow-mo mode and the ability to capture video with 10-bit depth and BT.2020 colour. But, sadly, real-world testing shows that while definitely a step forward and more than good enough for most people, the camera is still a step behind other 2018 flagship cameras such as the Galaxy S9.
The single 19-megapixel sensor takes good enough photos for sharing on social media in regular light. Viewed on the small screen the shots offer decent contrast and aren’t overprocessed. The addition of a dedicated physical capture button on the phone’s side is also a nice touch that makes it easy to shoot photos, even when it’s raining.
But low-light performance isn’t anywhere near as good as the Pixel 2 or Galaxy S9. Photos taken in such condition are usable and look okay on the phone, but the moment you blow them up or view them on a laptop screen you can see artefacts and some areas where the camera’s autofocus has gone a little haywire. I can’t help but wish Sony had added OIS or used a lens with a better aperture. If implemented correctly, both factors could have seriously boosted camera performance.
The single sensor also affects the camera’s ability to create the fake bokeh effect. There’s a dedicated app that digitally tries to recreate the effect – where the foreground subject is in focus while the background is blurred out – but the results are ‘mixed’ at best. Enlarged images can look blurred and the general quality isn’t as good as that achieved with competing flagships.
You can see a selection of photos taken on the XZ2 below.
Video capturing is good and the addition of a 4K HDR recording option is great, although I had some issues with the XZ2’s super-slow-motion mode. The system works the same way it did on past Xperia flagships, letting you capture video at a staggering 960fps. But unlike past Xperia handsets, you can now shoot at that speed in 1080p, which is a big step up on the previous 720p cap.
The issue is that you can capture only three seconds of super-slow-mo at any one time. This coupled with a slightly slow to react shutter button makes capturing the right bit in slo-mo fairly tricky. Footage captured is also prone to shaking, if you don’t use a tripod.
The 5-megapixel front camera is pretty bog-standard. It’s more than good enough for selfies and video calling in good light, but image quality deteriorates in low light.
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.