Sony Xperia Z1 low-lighting shots look amazing

by: Bogdan PetrovanSeptember 13, 2013


Dual-toned flashes are nice, but in some situations you simply can’t use a flash for your photography. And then there are users who outright refuse to use the flash on their mobile devices, arguing that the harsh LED light does more harm than good to the scene.

That’s why it’s important to have a device that can take good shots even when the ambient light is less than ideal. The good news for Sony fans is that the camera of the new Xperia Z1 flagship (hands-on and first impressions here) seems one of the best performers in the market when it comes to low-lighting photography.

Here’s a gallery of photos taken with the Sony Xperia Z1 by the folks at UnleashThePhones. The shots were taken in Singapore at around 7:30pm to 9:30pm, using Sony’s well-known Superior Auto mode, with no manual settings. Due to the use of the automatic mode, the images’ size is 8MP in 16:9, though in manual mode you can set the resolution to 20.7MP in 4:3.

Click to enlarge to 8MP.

Xperia-Z1_Lowlight_5 Xperia-Z1_Lowlight_3 Xperia-Z1_Lowlight_10 Xperia-Z1_Lowlight_8 Xperia-Z1_Lowlight_2 Xperia-Z1_Lowlight_6

As you can see for yourself from these samples, Sony seems to have really nailed low-light photography with the Z1. Thanks to the large resolution, the firmware of the Xperia Z1 is able to combine information from several physical pixels into one pixel, thus offering images that are smaller, but also much better. Another trick in the Xperia Z1’s arsenal is the Clear Zoom system, which makes it possible to take some decent images with digital zoom, as opposed to the blurry, noisy shots you typically get when using the digital zoom on other phones.

More samples should be available at the source link as soon as the site comes online again (it’s currently down for some reason).

  • Amir

    R.I.P iphone5s and their larger pixel crap.

    • EnX$$

      agree with you this phone even killed nokia with the colors at night look natural not like Nokia green colors tan crap

    • mobilemann

      where’s the comparison shots? It might be good too. Why would you want it to be bad?

      kids are fucking stupid.

    • lil bit

      I believe iPhone 5s will impress us with its photo quality, iPhone 5 is already very good and 5S will be much better.

      I also hope to get some of the 5S cam features on Z1 in a future update, im sure Samsung and LG already working on it but will be halfbaked once again.

      Most promising cam feature of 5s is the auto analyze of burst shots, it will suggest to you the best ones and for example not suggest ones where one of the persons blinked. The new digital stabilizer that takes 4 shots and combines the best parts from each is surely something that will become standard on high end phones, but im not sure how wise it is to stich photos that way. Its true that iPhone 5 had the best panorama stitching (and further improved with 5S) but still, i dont think i like my photos to be manipulated too much, just offer me the best one and leave it at that.

      The True Tone LED flash may work well too and reduce the need for Xenon flash. All in all the 5S has a very interesting camera, unfortunately in a very boring small phone.

      • lil bit

        Truth hurts, thanx for the downvotes BH’s. Thats what i get for not being a fanboy, sure i hate apple but i am not denying their strong points, and they never released any half baked features. Well, i guess some here are in the closet, secretly admiring iPhones?

        • YoungHermit

          I completely agree with you. Apple’s cameras are #1. Sony, I believe comes second. Maybe with the Z1 things will change though.

          • lil bit

            Gotta hand it to apple, they make the most out of not so impressive hardware, things are very well implemented. Their digital stabilizer is still unmatched, and now they improved it further, before the competition managed to even come close (except OIS devices of course).

            Android manufactures should strive more for perfect implementations as well and i hope thats exactly what Sony has done with Z1, and will keep doing in the next few updates. I dont like that they wasted time with that AR mode, hopefully it hasnt hurt the more important camera software pieces too much.

          • YoungHermit

            IMO, the Z1’s pictures look better than the iPhone 5. If the Z1 will be able to take better pictures than the iPhone 5S, then Android is the camera champion.

          • Yeah Buddy

            You do realize Sony makes Apple’s iPhone camera lens’ right? The hardware for the iPhone is Sony’s through and through.

          • dfq

            sensor not lens

          • EnX$$

            apple, camera is garbage is all grainy and at night it sucks

          • hahmed330

            Sony designs some of the best professional cameras in the industry… When I was 8 the first camcorder we had was a Sony… Not only that Sony designs many CMOS sensors (for many market segments), Lens (G-lens), LCD displays (triluminous display). They are much more innovative then Apple or Samsung… As they actually have invented something truly original. (VHS, Walkman e.t.c.). Apple hasn’t really invented anything… They have just invented iShit

      • deepen03

        iPhone 5 is a good camera? LOL, I sold that crap and got my S4, and the camera on this phone is far better than the iPhone 5.

        • EnX$$

          i agree with you i had iphone 5 i should it iphone 5 camera is garbage is all grainy and at night it sucks. now im waiting for a good andriod phone to come out to buy

      • LANCE

        stupid shit,

        “I also hope to get some of the 5S cam features on Z1 in a future update”


        5s don’t have anything!! not even EV controls. And you want z1 to be like it? get some brain.

  • dodz

    dat lamborghini murcielago lp640

  • Random dood

    OMG, it’s Singapore

    • True_Neutral

      Yeah when I saw the first pic I thought it looked familiar heh. Now to actually find the damn phone here. Only the Z Ultra is being sold, for now.

    • Dude

      I know rite! The source is one of my acquaintance’s techblog!

      • Random dood


        • Guest

          I would rather steal the Lambo. Looks seriously out of place.

  • Enrico Conca

    1/13th of a second f2.0 at 800 ISO means that it was pretty darn dark. That’s a great camera for a phone.

  • satsmine2k4

    Beats the crap out of LUMIA 1020 is the best part…

    • EnX$$

      yes nokia is garbage colors at night all tan green. i have not seen nothing natural so far like Sony Xperia Z1

  • Carmichael Sherman

    That’s impressive low light shots! Better than my GS4

  • lil bit

    This is what im talking about, this is good. Most phones have good enough performance in perfect conditions, but its the tough shots that matters.

  • YoungHermit

    Does it have a technology similar to the LG G2’s OIS that can take blur-free images when the phone shakes?

    • lil bit

      Kind of, its in the postprocessing, but no real stabilizer.

  • RanRu

    Five years of development for Nokia’s PureView camera, and Sony beats them at their own game. I really wanted to love the Lumia 1020 for its tech (if not its OS), but these results are undeniable.

    Someone should do a camera comparison anyway, for laughs.

  • TheFamilyMan

    I love the fact that one needs a user name and password to view this blog. I know that’s what you meant when you started,”as usual the site is down”. They just lost a reader!

    I’m hoping the iBlzr and Muzu Shuttr combo (kickstart of course) will aid with my just pre-ordered XUZ C6833 LTE! For those that don’t know what KickStarter is Google it, and for those who don’t know what an iBlzr and Muku Shuttr are – get ya go.

    The iBlzr is an external flash that plus into the 3.5mm port which can be used a one he’ll of a BRIGHT FLASHLIGHT too! The Muku Labs Shuttr is pretty self explanatory, it’s a remote shutter so you can be included in all those pix you take with your phone instead of your P$S. Yes the “$” was intended cuz they cost more cash…

    I’m banning on getting amazing just like these with the XUZ C6833, just hope I get something half as decent bring an 8MP shooter which is what the Z1 is using in auto mode. Who knows?

    • TheFamilyMan

      I hate auto-coorrectt so I’m sorry about the typos!!!

    • lil bit

      A detachable flash is still a second device, and ZU still has an inferior and low res sensor. That flash would be more useful on a Z1.

      You are wrong about the Z1 being 8mp in superior auto mode. Yes the resulting photos are around 8.3mp, but it uses a larger part of the sensor to do just that, combining pixels. Its basically a downscaled high res image from a large and new sensor from the top shelf, making it much better than ZU can ever be. Half as decent is still possible though, but in low light without that external flash, like in long range, i doubt you get even 1/10th as decent.

  • aet


  • Cao Meo

    Wow, no noise at all and very sharp too. Can we see comparison with G2?

    Sony is getting better. Sony and LG will soon take lots of marketshare off Samsung.

  • chocobo

    41-mp bumpy lens? 4mp-ultra pix?retina lens? U kidding me? Results are clear. Z1 amazingly wipes the table of opposition. Keep it up Sony.

    • Rogue

      Sorry it’s not up to par with the 41 mp pure view cam that’s a fact i’ll share a link from a sight who pitted the two together with a pro behind handsets and this was the outcome. I only buy sony devices so i’m not bias in any way but i can accept defeat and until oems take their cams seriously like nokia does we in the android community will forever suffer cause it’s our money making these companies who they are so we need to vote with our wallets just saying.

  • deepen03

    that Lambo in Photo 6.. Gorgeous!

  • Brian Shieh

    I wonder how those that were singing praises to the 5s’s “massive” improvements will feel once they see this epic camera.

  • Cady Wongso

    dude, not fair, singapore at night time is already that bright…pick another place for a review

  • Ashoaib

    Wow.. for the first time I am seeing such a great result from mobile phone camera… something close to my nikkon

  • Sorry for the downtime guys, our host is moody and didnt like the spike in traffic yesterday heh. – Cj from UnleashThePhones

  • Richdog1980

    Why oh why did they not give this phone a Xenon flash… it would have been unstoppable.

  • Sudarshan Rai

    RIP compact cameras

  • Amadeus Klein

    Too bad I have Sprint, I would love to have that camera….