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Sony Xperia L2 Camera Review: Simple smartphone snapper

Sony Mobile is well known for slapping seriously smart cameras onto its handsets. So does the wallet-friendly Sony Xperia L2 impress with its snapping skills, despite lacking many of those premium camera features we know and love? Our Xperia L2 camera review reveals all.

These days a lot of smartphones pack really strong imaging tech, to capture great looking photos of our everyday lives. You can even shoot up to 4K resolution video using many modern mobiles, for super-crisp home movie footage.

Sony’s Xperia handsets are among the best when it comes to photography chops. Even the quite affordable Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra boast some impressive cameras, with the likes of 120 frames-per-second slow motion and Ultra HD recording packed inside.

However, the freshly launched Xperia L2 is one of Sony’s most budget-level blowers. As a result, the 13-megapixel rear camera lacks many of the great features which set Sony snappers apart from rivals.

So is the Sony Xperia L2 any good at shooting photos and video footage? We’ve been testing the phone for a few days and here’s our full camera review, complete with photo and video samples.

Sony Xperia L2 camera review: App and features

Dive into that camera app and you’ll be in familiar territory, if you’ve used a Sony phone before. The Xperia L2’s camera experience is quite stripped back compared with more premium devices however.

For one, there’s no Superior Auto Mode. Instead you get a basic Auto mode when you boot the camera app. This still operates as expected, although isn’t quite as smart at determining the best settings to match the environmental conditions.

Oh yeah, and you’ll have to make full use of that on-screen shutter button too. There’s no physical shutter button housed on the edge of the Xperia L2, something you often get with the more premium devices. Alternatively, the phone also serves up a smile shutter feature, which works just as expected.

If you happen to be a photography enthusiast, then good news. This budget blower still offers up a range of manual controls. You can fiddle about with the likes of white balance and ISO levels to get just the shot you want.

Flick to the video mode and you can shoot up to Full HD video at 30 frames-per-second. There’s no option for 60 frames-per-second recording, nor is there a 4K video option. That’s not really a shock of course, given the Xperia L2’s super-affordable asking price. Sadly there’s no slow motion feature here either; you’ll need to upgrade to the Xperia XA2 for that.

Sony Xperia L2 camera review: Photo quality

Shoot away in decent daylight conditions and you can expect some reasonably detailed results. Colours are well captured and naturally reproduced. So if you’re shooting a vibrant subject, the end results will often be quite attractive.

However, we did have some trouble capturing moving subjects at times. With typical artificial lighting and in dim conditions, our photos of pets and offspring almost always came out a little blurred. You’ll need to time your shots really well to get a crisp finish.

Likewise, the Xperia L2 often struggles with imperfect lighting. A wide dynamic range usually results in murky or oversaturated photos, so you’ll want to avoid shooting against bright backgrounds. And in low light, you can expect hazy colours and plenty of grain unless you use that flash.

Around the front of the Xperia L2 you get an 8-megapixel selfie shooter, to capture your best hench face at any time. This boasts a wide-angle feature which can be manually activated, to capture loads of the background at the same time. Or alternatively, a big group of mates.

This suffers from the same shortcomings as the main camera, however. Once again, tricky lighting conditions will throw it off every time. And if you’re in a dimly lit bar or some other low light environment, you might as well forget it. With no kind of screen flash feature on board, the L2 always returns murky snaps.

Check out our photo gallery below to see a selection of test shots taken on the Xperia L2.

Sony Xperia L2 camera review: Video quality

The video recording experience on the Xperia L2 is about as stripped-back as it comes. There are practically no features to speak of; not even Sony’s trademark SteadyShot image stabilisation. It’s simply a case of point and shoot, and see what you end up with.

Video quality is pretty much standard for an affordable Android. Detail levels are fine when viewing back on a smaller display, although the picture can get quite blocky when you beam to a TV. The lens also needs a bit of time to adjust when focal distance changes, even with object tracking enabled.

Likewise, you won’t want to move around too much when filming. While we’ve seen far shakier results from budget blowers, the Xperia L2 doesn’t offer much in the way of image stabilisation.

Here’s a Full HD video sample we shot with the Xperia L2, so you can see the results for yourself.