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Sony Xperia Z5 Premium camera review

We review the Xperia Z5 Premium’s 23-megapixel camera, testing Sony’s new camera interface and analysing our photo and video sample galleries.

The Xperia Z5 Premium may be best known as the first phone packing a 4K screen, but the excellent 23-megapixel camera of Sony’s own construction is also a highlight. Here’s our in-depth review of the Xperia Z5 Premium’s camera.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium camera interface

Sony has just seriously updated its Xperia camera interface for the first time in years, with a fresh new look and feel. However, the actual functionality of Sony’s new camera app hasn’t really changed, as you’ll soon discover when you have a play with the Xperia Z5 Premium.

Gone is the modes button (used to switch to different camera features such as 4K video recording, split-view, AR mode and so on). Instead, you have a slider on the left edge of the camera interface for swapping between auto, manual and video recording modes, or accessing the full list of features.

You flip from one to the other by swiping up and down the Xperia Z5 Premium’s screen, similar to skipping through modes on the iPhone’s camera. It’s a quick way to flip between auto and manual photo capture, although it now takes longer to start shooting a video, as there’s no on-screen button for it. The upshot is that the interface isn’t as cluttered, while still giving you fast access to the likes of flash toggling.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium camera samples

On Superior Auto mode, the Xperia Z5 Premium is as strong as ever at picking the best settings to capture a bright, detailed shot given the environmental conditions. High contrast situations usually come out well, so you can shoot a street scene against a super-bright sky and still expect plenty of detail. Macro shots also come out well, with the Premium’s focus coping even when you get extremely close to your subject.

If the lights go down, the Xperia Z5 Premium doesn’t quite perform as strongly as the likes of the LG G4, with a fair bit of grain creeping into your shots. However, stick the flash on and your subject will be cleanly lit without overexposing them.

Here’s our Xperia Z5 Premium photo gallery, with some example photos we took around London.

Sony has packed in loads of bonus camera features as usual, including some crazy AR modes and the ability to digitally zoom with image processing to reduce graininess. We’ve already covered these features in our Xperia Z5 camera review, so check that out for more info.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium video samples

You can once again shoot HD and 4K video on the Xperia Z5 Premium, with solid results every time. The lens copes well with changes in exposure levels and also snaps to focus on whatever is central in your view, keeping your subject sharp even if they move around a lot.

Sony’s built-in Steady Shot stabilisation helps to cut down on judder when shooting HD footage, although there’s still a slight shimmer when you’re walking around. Image stabilisation is next to non-existent when recording in 4K however, so you’ll want to stand as still as possible to avoid vomit-inducing shakiness.

You don’t have to worry about overheating, either. The Xperia Z5 Premium shot a very impressive 37 minutes of 4K footage before finally shutting down the camera app.

Here’s a sample of the Xperia Z5 Premium’s HD video footage:

 
And here’s the Xperia Z5 Premium’s 4K video footage:
 

Verdict

With the Xperia Z5 Premium, Sony has once again produced a highly capable industry-leading camera. The new interface might not be much different, but the ever-dependable Superior Auto mode means you can shoot crisp, clean photos and videos with very little effort.

Check out our Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review.

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