The Sony Xperia XA is Sony’s cheapest Xperia X-range mobile, but it still packs a 13-megapixel camera with image tracking and Sony’s SteadyShot tech, as well as an 8-megapixel selfie camera. Here’s our full Xperia XA camera review, with photo and video samples.
We’re big fans of the Xperia X’s 23-megapixel camera, but if you can’t afford the £450 asking price, you might want to consider Sony’s cheaper X-series handset, the Xperia XA, instead. You still get a capable 13-megapixel camera featuring Sony’s object tracking tech, as well as an 8-megapixel selfie camera for snapping your mug.
So, are those snappers any good? Here’s our full Xperia XA camera review, with photo and video samples. And check out our full Sony Xperia XA review too.
Sony Xperia XA camera review: Ease of use
Sony fans will instantly recognise the Xperia XA’s camera app, which was also used on the Xperia X and recently rolled out to other Sony phones like the Xperia Z5. It’s a reasonably user-friendly camera interface, if not quite the most streamlined, with plenty of features hidden away for more advanced users.
Just long-press the physical shutter button on the right edge of the Xperia XA and the app boots up, even when the phone is hibernating. Often this takes just a second or so, although occasionally there was a pause of three or more seconds before the camera finally loaded. This meant we missed some spontaneous shots, which was rather frustrating.
Most people will be happy with Sony’s Superior Auto mode, which is already active when you open the app. In this mode, all you need to do is point and tap and the camera does the rest, compensating for tricky shooting conditions. Of course, you can also dive into the Xperia XA’s manual mode by swiping up with your finger, or video mode with a swipe down. And there are plenty of bonus camera modes such as ‘face in picture’ which most people almost certainly won’t bother with.
Sony Xperia XA camera review: Quality and performance
Even though the Xperia XA’s camera maxes out at 13-megapixels (compared with the Xperia X’s 23-megapixels), each shot is still packed with detail. Whether you’re shooting up-close subjects or capturing an attractive landscape, photos look crisp and clear when blown up onto a big display.
Sony’s auto-focus helps to keep your subject sharp and the tracking feature works well too, slapping a yellow box around a moving or stationary object and keeping them in focus as long as they or the phone don’t jerk around too much.
Colours are realistically reproduced and contrast is handled rather well too, as you’ll see in our test shots below. However, the Xperia XA doesn’t perform any better than the likes of the Moto G4, which costs just £169, while the delay in opening the camera is worse here.
Here are some of those Xperia XA camera samples at full resolution. Click each photo to see a full-sized image.
Sony Xperia XA camera review: Video recording
The Xperia XA can shoot up to Full HD video at 30 frames-per-second. There’s built-in image stabilisation (known as Sony SteadyShot) which is very effective at cutting out judder when you’re moving around and shooting at the same time. You also have image tracking, to keep an object in focus.
While the lens doesn’t cope well with sudden jumps between near and far focal points (you’ll need to tap the screen to manually focus most times), you’re generally fine if you’re not shooting anything too up-close. Video quality isn’t great when viewed back on a big screen and images are a little lifeless and often murky; rivals like the Moto G4 do a better job in this department.
Check out our Xperia XA Full HD video sample below.
Sony Xperia XA camera review: Selfie camera
That 8-megapixel front-facing camera is a solid, dependable snapper in most cases. In natural light you get sharp, detail-packed shots, although in artificial light our snaps did occasionally look a little soft and photos are far too grainy and dark when the lights go right down.
Still, the wide-angle lens can pick up plenty of heads crammed together, while you can once again shoot high-def video. Check out our selfie snaps below.
For more Xperia XA features, including our full Xperia XA review, check out the Xperia X Series hub.