Sony’s new XZ might be the way for mobile photography

by Goh De No
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There has been a lot of competitors in the smartphone camera front in the past year, such as Huawei’s P9 collaboration with Leica, and LG’s G5 with full manual and RAW.

Motorola just announced its Hasselblad modular add on, of course there’s Samsung’s Galaxy S 7/Edge/Note which is also a top shelf performer, and the HTC 10 with its ultra pixels that have shown great results as well.

Pending Galaxy Note 7’s recall for a battery blowing up, which Samsung has really owned up to, all of the above are amazing smartphones with great cameras to boot.

During the recent IFA in Berlin that just ended — without a lot of smartphone announcements I must say — Sony took the limelight with its Xperia XZ, which the Japanese manufacturer is placing above the Z and X as its ultimate flagship.

There’s also the Xperia X compact, where both devices are very similar to one another in terms of looks.

As per the Xperia X that was launched a few months ago, the look is very Nokia Lumia-esque, which is a solid candy bar with an “ALKALEIDO” back panel — I am still trying to figure out what this means. Sony’s press release states that it is a “metal with high brightness and high purity providing shine and a feeling of depth”. So it’s a metal back; we got it Sony!

The Sony Xperia XZ. Image courtesy of Sony.

Anyway, the flagship Xperia XZ is extremely solid, rather than the past Xperia Z’s where the entire glass phones feel like it would just shatter under any weight or pressure.

So we’ve talked about the camera, which has been impressive where there’s a 13-megapixel Exmor RS for mobile image sensor. The 13-megapixel has a 22mm wide lens, and an aperture of f/2.0 and an ISO of 6400 that extremely helps its low light capabilities. Bear in mind, this is the front-facing camera of the phone.

Sony is boasting a 23-megapixel Triple Image Sensing technology on the rear, where there’s a build in predictive hybrid autofocus (AF) combined with a fast AF speed, which tracks subject for blur-free results. It uses a laser autofocus with distance sensing technology to get those speedy lock-ins on your photographs. It’s a 24mm wide Sony G Lens, equipped with a colour-sensing RBGC IR sensor, which senses what the colour temperature is for accurate white balancing.

Furthermore, Sony has included its Steady- Shot technology, which is a 5-axis stabilisation.

In short, the previous two paragraphs mean that the Xperia XZ’s camera is loaded with technology. It’s really nice to see the emphasis on cameras on smartphones, because the best camera is the one you have on you, which is most likely your smartphone 99 per cent of the time. This camera also launches to shoot in just 0.6 seconds, to ensure that you get the camera up and running when you need it. The dedicated camera button makes the whole package even better.

The Xperia X Compact has the same rear camera as the Xperia XZ, but lacks the 4K video recording, and the front-facing camera is downgraded to a 5-megapixel unit.

The Xperia XZ has a 5.2-inch screen and is only at 1080p resolution — it’s a bit disappointing that this wasn’t bumped up to 2K — whilst on the Xperia X Compact, the screen is just 4.6 inches and a 720p screen.

Again, it is nice to see a smaller sized flagship for those who aren’t crazy for the 5.5- inch devices.

Sony offers three flavours for its new Xperia XZ line-up. Image courtesy of Sony.

Going with the Xperia XZ, you’ll get an IP68 water- and dust-resistant enclosure, which is lacking in the Xperia X Compact.

Both have a 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, whilst the flagship has an option for a 64GB model. Sony has wisely included a microSD card slot for the Xperia XZ, so you can do some 4K video shooting and store high-quality images.

Whilst the Xperia X Compact has a Qual-comm 650, the Xperia XZ has the faster Qual-comm 820.Both feature USB-C connections.

Sony’s latest flagship is expected to be available by early October, and if none of the smartphones tickle your interest for a flagship with an amazing camera, the Sony Xperia XZ should help with that.

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