We compare the camera tech on Sony’s Xperia X and Xperia Z5 mobiles, and see how they stand up to the excellent camera on the Samsung Galaxy S7. Here’s our full Xperia X vs Z5 vs S7 camera review and supertest.
Sony’s latest smartphone, the Xperia X, trims some of Sony’s usual features such as water resistance to make it a more affordable handset than last year’s Xperia Z5. However, Sony knows only too well how most people now use their mobile as a full-time camera, so the Xperia X still packs in a class-leading 23-megapixel rear camera and all-new 13-megapixel selfie camera to compete with the very best out there.
So how does the Xperia X’s camera compare with the Xperia Z5’s, and are they tough competition for our favourite smartphone snapper of 2016 so far, the Galaxy S7’s 12-megapixel camera? Here’s our full Xperia X camera review supertest.
Xperia X vs Xperia Z5 vs Galaxy S7 camera review: Rear camera tests
For this camera comparison, we set all three phone cameras to maximum resolution and kept them on auto mode, the mode that most users will stick with for everyday shots.
The Galaxy S7’s 12-megapixel rear camera is one of the best we’ve ever wielded thanks to its ease of use; you get gorgeous results almost every time, with no effort whatsoever. Still, the Xperia Z5 was already strong competition and now the Xperia X is muscling into the fray with its own excellent 23-megapixel rear camera.
First off, the Xperia Z5 and Xperia X produce almost identical photos in almost every circumstances. Photos boast natural colours and are packed with detail, while both Xperias handle moving subjects well. The Xperia X has a ‘predictive focus’ object tracking feature that is supposed to cut down the time needed to snap a pet, child or anything else that refuses to stand still. In practice this is a little hit-and-miss, but the Z5 was already pretty good at fast focus so usually the difference is negligible.
The S7’s lens is also pleasingly fast at snapping onto your subject and taking rapid-fire shots, although you do occasionally get motion blur, especially in softer light. Besides this minor quibble, it’s hard to find a complaint with the S7’s photos. Detail levels are a match for the Xperia shots and colours are more vibrant, which makes for a more stand-out (if less realistic) picture.
Xperia X photo samples:
Xperia Z5 photo samples:
Galaxy S7 photo samples:
When it comes to low light, the Galaxy S7 is still just about the champion. With no flash, the Galaxy S7 captures impressively sharp photos that aren’t marred by grain. The Xperia Z5 and Xperia X produce solid results too, but there’s definitely more grain and a little less detail compared with the S7 snaps.
As for flash photography, we prefer the Galaxy S7’s results once again. The flash does a great job of lighting up your subject while keeping skin tones natural, but the Xperia phones tend to make things a little too bright, with slightly over-exposed photos.
Xperia X vs Xperia Z5 vs Galaxy S7 camera review: Video tests
All three phones here can shoot Full HD video at up to 60 frames-per-second. However, while the Xperia X maxes out there, the Galaxy S7 can also shoot in Quad HD and 4K, while the Xperia Z5 also boasts a 4K mode.
Resolution aside, the Xperias and the Galaxy S7 all shoot crisp, attractive footage, helped along by the excellent built-in image stabilisation and fast-snap focus. Changes in lighting are handled well and the phones’ mics do an admirable job of picking up audio in all three cases.
Here’s our Full HD test footage with the Xperia X, Xperia Z5 and Galaxy S7, so you can compare directly. Check out the Recombu YouTube account for more sample videos.
Full HD Xperia X video sample:
Full HD Xperia Z5 video sample:
Full HD Galaxy S7 video sample:
Xperia X vs Xperia Z5 vs Galaxy S7 camera review: Selfie camera tests
When it comes to the selfie cameras, the differences between the two Sony phones are much more obvious.
The Xperia Z5’s 5.1-megapixel camera is still a decent snapper, capturing detailed photos of your mug on demand. Sony’s lens copes well with low light photography too, great news if you’re a fanatical FB poster when you hit the club.
However, the Xperia X boosts that camera to a 13-megapixel shooter, with a wider-angle lens to get more heads into each pic. The Xperia X’s low light performance is even more impressive, capturing smooth, grain-free images and more natural skin tones thanks to its unique habit of taking lots of snaps and stitching them together.
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 boasts a dependable 5-megapixel selfie camera which also captures plenty of detail in almost any conditions. In our tests, we found that skin tones were less rich in the S7 photos compared with the Xperia X shots. In low light the S7 pics were also a little more grainy, but Samsung has a special power to help out: the S7’s flash screen mode. If you’re in a dingy environment, the screen can light up as you take a shot, which results in a bright and colourful selfie.
Xperia X selfies:
Xperia Z5 selfies:
Galaxy S7 selfies: