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Inhabitant
Richdog
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎2014-02-03

Sony Z1 Compact... why is the camera so poor? Comparison shots within.

[ Edited ]

The Good...

 

I picked up a Sony Z1 Compact the other day, and am so far absolutely in love woth it. The speed and responsiveness are fantastic, the build quality rivals that of the iPhone, and the size is just perfection.

 

The Bad...

 

But... I am VERY dissappointed with the camera and its poor performance. 80% of the photos I take with my phone are while on a night out with friends, usually in bars or other more dimly lit places than broad daylight. In Auto mode, photos taken in the average pub lightning are unuseable,m and look so artifical as to completely destroy any detail in the faces of the people I snap. I have also experimented with manual settings, but still the quakity is just plain poor. In fact, mny Samsung Galaxy S III blows it out of the water in this regard, images in similar conditions are much superior.

 

The Ugly...

 

So why is this camera, a camera that uses what is theoretically a high-quality imaging unit used by point and shoot cameras, so bad in everything except broad daylight?

 

The answer according to not only my observations, but the observations of many professional websites who reviewed the Z1 series, is seems to be that Sony are purposefully and inexplicably messing with the final images by forcing huge amounts of processing on them. This takes a natural image, messes with the colours and tone, and then proceeds to crush any detail.

 

Here are some samples of what I mean, taken with Superior Auto:

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Sample 1: Z1 Compact

 

A close-up portrait shot...

 

Test indoors

 

 

Look at how artificial that image looks... it's like someone applied a strange kind of gaussian blur tool in photoshop.

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Sample 2 - Z1 Compact

 

A group photo...


Indoors in pub

 

 

Here again, in what was one of the better photos that I took, we see the find detail is very poor.. at full size it looks horrible pixellated, and the colours severely washed out. The blacks are also severely crushed.

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Sample 3 - Z1 Compact

 

Here is a shot that should in theory be detailed and natural looking. A guy near a wall in better light, with the camera held perfectly still.

 

Sony Z1 Compact

 

Again, a horrible image... bad detail, visible artifacting, washed out colours.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Sample 4 - Z1 Compact

 

In addition, using the flash causes severe light pollution on the final image, so much so that the bottom half of the photo I take has a very noticeable purpley bluish haze on it.

 

Indoor flash

 

 

Look at the level of bleed entering the scene from the flash below the lens. And look at the dreadful overall image quality... the detail is simply shockingly bad. Like a camera phone from years ago.

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S III Comparisons...

 

And here we have some comparison photos with a Samsung SIII, also taken in a dimply lit pub:

 

Sample 1 - Samsung Galaxy S III

 

Galaxy SIII

 

 

Look at the difference... detail is preserved, the image appears natural, and colour tones are reasonably natural. It's a great shot.

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Sample 2 - Samsung Galaxy S III

 

Galaxy S III

 

 

Again, here we see that the photo is much cleaner... flash lights up the subjkects as well as can be expected considering the size and power, and the colours and detail are preserved, including in the surrounding environment where the coloured lights at the top are also visible.

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Sample 3 . Samsung Galaxy S III

 

And finally, a close-up portrai-style shot...

 

Galaxy S III

 

 

Again, not the easiest of conditions for a phont, but overall detail is good, the face is clearly visible, and the photo looks clean and detailed as you could hope for in the circumstances.

 

 

 

WINNER: SAMSUNG GALAXY S III

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Conclusion...

 

Sorry Sony, but this level of imaging is just not acceptable on a premium device with such a high spec sensor in it. I have had better results fron devices that are 2-3 years old. Oh yes, and that's including the video camera mode which has no 24p or 60p options... come on Sony, there is a Snapdragon 800 SOC in this phone, use it.

 

 I really hope you are going to take a serious look at this and fix it.

Inhabitant
Richdog
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎2014-02-03

Re: Sony Z1 Compact... why is the camera so poor? Comparison shots within.

After doing more testing the main problem definitely lies with the ISO settings within the "Superior Auto" (such an ironic name) setting. It ramps the ISO up to silly levels and this is what is mostly causing the issues... in addition to the post-processing. The photo application "Perfectly Clear" produced much better photos than the default camera app, so I know this is resolveable by a software update and some careful attention from your engineers.

 

Changing Superior Auto to allow one or two manual settings such as ISO, even if it is just setting a maximum allowable ISO so tha camera doesn't push it too high, would go some way to resolving "some" of the issues.

 

I am still getting terrible flash light pollution in the lower half of any picture I take when in a simply lit room... is anyone else getting this?

Adviser
Olav
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎2014-02-04

Re: Sony Z1 Compact... why is the camera so poor? Comparison shots within.


Richdog wrote:I am still getting terrible flash light pollution in the lower half of any picture I take when in a simply lit room... is anyone else getting this?

Oh YES indeed. I found a large thread with plenty of pictures in a German forum.

 

The black handsets are (naturally) less affected than the colored ones.

I am far from being a smartphone designer/constructor, but this looks like a serious failure by design to me.

 

And I must admit that this flash flaw could well become the reason to return this otherwise great handset and stick to my LT26 for some more time...

Zaj
One time poster
Zaj
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎2014-01-28

Re: Sony Z1 Compact... why is the camera so poor? Comparison shots within.


Richdog wrote:
[...]

I am still getting terrible flash light pollution in the lower half of any picture I take when in a simply lit room... is anyone else getting this?


 

There is a huge thread on a german forum going on about this. Apparently the coloured devices suffer even more from this. On example pictures, taken with a lime device, you can clearly see a lime, yellowish blur on the buttom.

 

It looks like the flashlight is guided through the glass between flash and lens, thus bleeding in the picture. Some guys have tested this by covering the flash with cardboard (or similar). Instead of avoiding the light pollution it got worse.

 

Unfortunately, this probably will not be fixable with a software update.

 

Inhabitant
Richdog
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎2014-02-03

Re: Sony Z1 Compact... why is the camera so poor? Comparison shots within.

[ Edited ]

Wow thanks guys... it seems a LOT of people have noticed this issue. I also saw one guy with exactly the same problem as me with the flash http://www.android-hilfe.de/7156334-post40.html

 

The question is: how on earth did none of the Sony designers see this issue? It seems to me that someone must have seen it, but too late in the design process, so they just kept it like this and are going to pretend ignorance.

 

I just did the same test as inside-handy.de where I cover the flash completely and then take a picture, and the light bleeds very badly into the lens, so I guess my phone is badly affected.

 

I do not expect such a badly designed camera and flash system on such a premium device, and we cannot be expected to live with such a fatal flaw in a phone which is marketed as a pure camera phone. :smileyshocked:

 

EDIT - It seems the press are now aware and will be following this up... hopefully Sony will make a response soon when they see the overwhelming evidence http://www.inside-handy.de/news/30330-led-erzeugt-farbiges-leuchten-auf-bildern-sony-xperia-z1-compa...

Apprentice
Nitro87
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎2014-02-04

Re: Sony Z1 Compact... why is the camera so poor? Comparison shots within.

[ Edited ]

Maybe you should change the title of this thread

 

If I make pictures in completly darkness i always get a fancy blue light effect. I think this is an hardware failure, so that the flash reflects in the phone back case

 

I did this picture with my white SONY Z1c

 

DSC_0002.JPG

 


If the objects are near enough the blue light effect doesn't excist.

 

Sony Xperia Support
Rickard
Posts: 4,223
Registered: ‎2012-01-12

Re: Sony Z1 Compact... why is the camera so poor? Comparison shots within.

I've tested this but for me this only happens if i place my finger on the back below the flash. The flash is then reflected of my finger and up into the camera.
Does this happen even if you only hold the phone on the edges?

If you have a cover on the phone this may also reflect the flash and some display protectors can act as a light guide causing this.

Adviser
Olav
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎2014-02-04

Re: Sony Z1 Compact... why is the camera so poor? Comparison shots within.

[ Edited ]

I can only speak for myself: The phone was "stock naked" (i.e. only transport protection removed) and I held it only at the edges, so I can exclude any external reflections - yet the bleeding was still visible.

If you want to try it yourself, use this test scenario: go out at night and take a shot of the dark sky with flash enabled. Sure, this is somewhat extreme, but it shows the bleeding very clear.

 

Or have a look at this picture where the flash LED is covered with opaque tape.

Regular
Tobi_s
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎2014-02-04

Re: Sony Z1 Compact... why is the camera so poor? Comparison shots within.

[ Edited ]

Hi, I got the same issues with the camera. I don't use any covers nor did I place my fingers on the back of the phone.

 

image

 

Visitor
DaveX
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎2014-02-04

Re: Sony Z1 Compact... why is the camera so poor? Comparison shots within.

[ Edited ]

I have the same problem here and i held it only at the edges (white modell absolutly naked without any protection):

DSC_0015.JPG

 

z1c.JPG