One of the notable flagship Android devices launched this season is the Sony Xperia Z2. In our review, we found the Xperia Z2 to be a not-so-revolutionary change from the earlier model, considering Sony’s six-month update cycle for its flagship devices. However, with a bigger screen, updated software and improved camera, it’s definitely an improvement, a real, if not major upgrade to the Z1.
In our shootout video, we took the Xperia Z2 out for a spin, with particular focus on its rear camera, which is a 20.7 megapixel Exmos RS sensor coupled with a G Lens, with a considerably large f/2.0 aperture (at least for a smartphone). It’s a bit disappointing how the Xperia Z2 only supports most of its camera enhancements at 8 megapixels. This means the 20.7 megapixel setting only produces basic images — Sony is clearly using the high megapixel count as a marketing point rather than a practical feature.
Our shootout was mostly taken at 8 megapixel resolution, taking advantage of the Xperia Z2 camera’s Full Auto setting. As you can see from the resulting photos, color sampling is great and details are clear, especially with shots taken in daylight. Even zooming in to 100 percent crop, the details are sharp.
At 20.7 megapixel, you do get huge photo sizes, which may be appropriate for cropping or printing. However, you do get less detail, and most of the features like HDR and Macro will be unavailable at this resolution.
The Superior Auto setting does a great job at determining the best settings in any given scenario. As you can see in these macro shot samples, the Xperia Z2 was able to capture the subject’s fine details, and we have great color rendering. Do note that the camera’s auto modes output at 8 megapixel, but, again, with digital cameras, megapixel count is not everything.
The Sony Xperia Z2 has a few features that can make your smartphone photography more interesting:
- AR Effect. This essentially adds pre-set animations onto you photos and videos in an augmented reality fashion.
- Timeshift Video. This captures the video with slow motion effects.
- Timeshift Burst. This lets you choose from among the best photos regardless of when you press the shutter button.
- Selective Focus. This feature is similar to the selective focus feature highlighted by the Galaxy S5 camera, as well as the Lens Blur feature on the new stock Google Camera for KitKat.
Notably, the Selective Focus feature is plagued with the same issues that other camera apps suffer from, which include difficulty in blurring the line between subject and background, so to speak. This results in some parts of the subject being set out of focus.
Still, the Xperia Z2’s Selective Focus feature offers additional functionality apart from the usual “bokeh” shot, in which the subject stands out in sharp focus while the background is blurred. You can also choose horizontal or vertical blur, which can simulate an action shot done either with the subject moving upwards, downwards or along a horizontal plane.
A clear advantage is Sony’s use of a dedicated camera shutter button, which we found to be easily accessible. The shutter button lets you launch the camera app and start shooting photos right away.
Overall, we’re pleased with the Sony Xperia z2’s camera, which is certainly one of the top smartphone cameras around today. It rivals the Samsung Galaxy S5’s ISOCELL camera in terms of image quality and features. Especially with the use of Full Auto, you can expect consistently great quality photos and videos on the Xperia Z2.
Among the current flagship devices out in the market today, the Sony Xperia Z2 is one of the most fun to use, particularly thanks to its camera.