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Tips & Tricks

If you want to get the max out of your Xperia phone then check out Xperia tips page.

Is the camera on the Xperia Z3 Compact awful?

Message 1 of 8
Message 1 of 8

Is the camera on the Xperia Z3 Compact awful?

I am not sure if it's the phone or the way I use it but I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the quality of the photos I am getting from my phone.


The best phone I ever had for photos was the iPhone 4S. I then had a Nexus 5 which was pretty decent but I wanted a phone that was smaller and more solid (like the 4S) and could take SD cards. The Xperia Z3 Compact seemed ideal but the photos are awful.


Is it the camera itself or the software? I am not sucked in by the 20.7MP claims but I was hoping the shots wouldn't be so noisy and over-processed. Am I missing something in the settings?


I really don't want to go back to Apple but the camera is really important to me on a phone and this just doesn't cut it.

Message 2 of 8
Message 2 of 8

Re: Is the camera on the Xperia Z3 Compact awful?



You might want to use Manual mode and change the white balance settings rather than superior auto, keep in mind that on superior auto the phone use something called pixel binning. 

"I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not." Kurt Cobain (1967-1994)

Message 3 of 8
Message 3 of 8

Re: Is the camera on the Xperia Z3 Compact awful?


I agree with Uli here... In my opinion you are better off taking pictures directly on Manual mode and setting white balance accordingly... Sometimes in sunny days I set it as "Cloudy" to get a warmer tone.

In my experience with Xperia devices, the Auto mode is only good for ideal conditions, and for "Quick Launch" so that you don't miss the moment...

My advice is to take the time and play with the camera in manual mode and use every Scene in low light situations so that you know what to expect...

As a Pro Tip, you can create a Shortcut in your home screen for Manual mode by holding an empty space, tapping "apps" then "Shortcuts" then "Camera" and select Manual, this way you can directly launch it like this (you can also set other shortcuts or use the camera widget)

Additional Manual Scene Tips:

For Night Scene mode, you need to be incredibly steady, in fact if you can place the phone on a tripod would be better.

For High Sensitivity ISO, the use is extremely low light scenes where flash can't reach (far places) the results will not be worthy of printing, but if you compare it to other devices you will be amazed

HDR is not recommended because Sony implementation is very poor. The color will looked washed out and the dynamic range will drop.


Here are some other tips I made a while ago

Message 4 of 8
Message 4 of 8

Re: Is the camera on the Xperia Z3 Compact awful?

I only ever use Manual mode.


I am never going to use a tripod with a mobile phone! If I am going to bother with that I may as well take my dSLR out with me and do it properly.


The reason I bought the Xperia was partly because I thought I could then do without carrying a compact camera with me all the time. That's obviously not the case with this phone. I will grudgingly move back to Apple as soon as my contract is up.


Thanks for the replies.

Message 5 of 8
Message 5 of 8

Re: Is the camera on the Xperia Z3 Compact awful?

Is the camera awful?

Short answer: Yes.

Manual mode makes it slightly better but I find that whatever improvement is achieved by the higher resolution is then negated by the more aggressive jpeg compression.

At least Sony should have introduced settings to reduce the damage made by the jpeg compression algorythm allowing to select different levels of compression.


Message 6 of 8
Message 6 of 8

Re: Is the camera on the Xperia Z3 Compact awful?

Images are noisy. But if you don't watch them at 100% it is quite easy to live with that. Of course as long as you don't look at them on a 4K monitor.


On the other hand low light picture quality is not that bad. Very far from DSLR but you can't skip physics law. Below is a picture, where the only light source are 40 micro leds, taking 20 mA, powered from 4 AA baterries. Superior Auto. No post processing, except Fb compression.


Best regards,
Sergio PL

Xperia Z3 Compact / Nexus 7 (2012)
Message 7 of 8
Message 7 of 8

Re: Is the camera on the Xperia Z3 Compact awful?

Yes, its frustratingly bad. Ive just been cleaning the lens and trying open cam, but its still blurry and my white paper is "glowing" people used to comment how good my photos were on Motorola Razr I. and Ive compared 2 shots with iphone 4s, they are better in the same environment.

Message 8 of 8
Message 8 of 8

Re: Is the camera on the Xperia Z3 Compact awful?

Well in my personal experience my Xperia Z3c is capable of better pictures than most phones I've tested, incluing the iPhone 5s, 6, 6+, Galaxy S5...


The problem is how you compare them...


For better color reproduction under indoor light conditions, the iPhones tend to be better

For natural colors in sunny days Xperia is better

For low light pictures it really depends on what scene is detecting (if in Auto) or what you select... But Xperia has a lot more potential


When I told you to place the phone or use a tripod I was only referring to Night Scene Mode to get the best night shot for landscapes...


If you don't want to bother with that then use Hand Held Twilight which will crank up the ISO but the picture will still be fairly good...


I have plenty of comparison shots specially for extreme low light, where the Xperia shines using High Sensitivity ISO, but either way those pictures are not too useful in any phone.


Here is a Z3C vs iPhone 5s shot in daylight (100% crop). The iPhone came out very washed out, and with less detail.




Z3c v iP5s (day).JPG




Here is a Z3C vs iPhone 6 at night (100% crop), with artificial light plus flash. (the iPhone's flash is more powerful but the picture is not better. A lot nosier, the wall "greenish color" looks gray, and overall looks worse). 




Z3c v iP6 (flash).JPG




Next is a night scene without flash using Superior Auto, vs Galaxy S5 Auto. I show the full picture.


Even with 16MP from the Galaxy, here the best details, colors, and image sensitivity goes to the Z3c... hands down. 




Z3c vs S5.JPG




And here I used another Galaxy S5 for taking a close up, indoor picture of a safety paper (in spanish) where you can see that the Galaxy S5 has better color reproduction (Red is Red, not pink, and Yellow is truer) BUT the Z3C has better details inspite of being an 8MP picture vs a 16MP (both on Auto mode). This is a 100% crop for Sony's 8MP pic while Samsung's is slightly smaller but at the closest zoom level. 


WINNER: DEPENDS IF YOU NEED COLOR PRIORITY OR DETAILS. For this type of pictures (documents) sharpness is more important (readability) so I would give it to SONY.


Z3c vs S5 (indoor close up).JPG


I have many comparisons in my computer and the first phone that truly bested the Xperia Z3/Z3c in my opinion was the Galaxy S6 (and maybe the Note 4 but I haven't tested yet)




Here is an indoor shot in a store against a Galaxy S6. Truly impressive. However I didn't test manual, not 20MP on sony... so is basically Superior Auto at 8MP vs Samsung's Auto at 16MP (100% crop for 16MP)


As you can see, here the Z3C picture was a mess, it is blurry, with less details, skin color is colder.... 




Z3c vs S6.JPG