All Sections

Sony Xperia XZ2 Camera Review: Superior Snapper

You can always count on Sony Mobile to slap a decent bit of camera tech on its smartphones. The spangly new Xperia XZ2 boasts an improved 19-megapixel snapper which offers some serious video chops. As well as recording 4K HDR home movies, you can capture Super Slow Motion footage in Full HD. Plus, it ain’t too shabby when it comes to taking pics.

Here’s our full Xperia XZ2 camera review following a week of testing. And check out our in-depth Xperia XZ2 review for all you need to know about this snazzy handset.

Sony Xperia XZ2 camera: Features

Sony hasn’t made any big changes when it comes to the look and feel of the XZ2’s camera app. As usual, you can quick load at any time with a double-tap of that power button. That’s found over on the right edge of the phone. You’ll then be booted straight into the Superior Auto mode, ready to take a snap.

We found that Superior Auto did the job in pretty much any conditions. However, you do have a manual mode if you want to fiddle with some settings.

Flick down the screen and you’re into the video mode. This now allows you to shoot in up to 4K resolution – there’s no need to switch to the special features. And as well as the ability to capture Super Slow Motion clips at a stunning 960 frames-per-second, you can now switch on Sony’s HDR mode before capturing a clip. This works with everything up to 4K resolution, as does the Steadyshot image stabilisation.

Another flick will conjure up a small selection of bonus features. However, one of Sony’s most interesting recent additions – the 3D Creator feature – has to be accessed via a separate app. This allows you to capture a 3D image of your beautiful bonce, which you can share directly onto your Facebook timeline. And on the XZ2, you can now craft a 3D representation of your face with the selfie cam. No need to draft in a mate to help.

Sony Xperia XZ2 camera: Photo quality

Like many big rivals such as the Huawei flagships and Samsung’s Galaxy S9, the XZ2 is super smart when it comes to scene detection.

Point the camera at any kind of subject in any kind of environmental conditions and chances are you’ll get a great looking photo. Whether you’re snapping your ham and cheese toastie or taking a glamour pic of Mr Fluffykins, Sony’s software can figure out what it’s seeing and adjust the settings to suit.

Dealing with fast-moving subjects such as hyperactive kids is the Xperia XZ2’s forte.The Predictive Capture feature automatically starts snapping pics when it detects motion, even before you’ve tapped that shutter button. The result is a small selection of photos which you can either save or ditch – which means you’re more likely to get a great pic, rather than a blurry mess.

Our test photos came out beautifully, at any time of day. Colours are naturally reproduced, so more vibrant hues really shine, without any kind of artificial finish. Detail levels are also strong, so your pics will look great when beamed to your massive 70-inch Ultra HD telly.

However, where the XZ2 really shines is its performance with tricky lighting conditions. When it came to snapping monuments, buildings and other touristy stuff against a bright background, Sony’s snapper is truly a king among smartphones. You can expect impressive clarity throughout, with very few instances of oversaturation.

This impressive ability carried on to evening shots as well. Our test photos pack supreme levels of detail even in very dark conditions, beating results from pretty much every rival. Even brightly lit subjects again came out well, with only occasional hints of overexposure.

As for that 5-megapixel front-facing camera, this again does the job just fine for those essential selfies. In lower light you will notice some grain creeping in, but thankfully there’s a screen flash mode to help illuminate your mug. Just don’t expect the same impressive results all-round, that you get with the rear cam.

Check out our test shots in the photo gallery below.

Sony Xperia XZ2 camera: Video quality

We also have no complaints when it comes to video. The Xperia XZ2 can record footage at up to 4K Ultra HD resolution, which means crisp and clear results. That focus doesn’t struggle to keep your subject sharp, locking onto whatever you’re looking at instantly. And if you’re moving and shooting at the same time, Sony’s Steadyshot image stabilisation removes all of that jankiness that would otherwise ruin your video. Even at the top 4K setting, this stabilisation is impressively effective.

Sony’s new HDR feature can be toggled before you begin capturing a video, using the on-screen switch. This helps out with scenes involving strong contrast – we found it’s most effective when shooting internally, wherever there’s a strong light source mucking with your exposure. Occasionally it can get a little flummoxed when the lighting conditions suddenly change. But once you get used to how it works, it’s a worthy bonus feature that can come in handy, under the right circumstances.

Check out our test footage below, shot at 4K resolution. You can see how the HDR changes the results in our comparison.

Super Slow Motion is of course as epic as ever. Rivals such as the Galaxy S9 now also offer this feature, although only in 720p HD – while Sony has boosted the resolution to Full HD. Sadly there’s no auto mode however, so you’re responsible for tapping that bonus button every time you want to capture a snippet at 960 frames-per-second. As long as your timing is spot on, the results are bloody marvellous.

Stay tuned for our full Xperia XZ2 review, and you can watch our in-depth Xperia XZ2 camera review in video form below.