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Sample gallery: Sony's 20.7-megapixel Xperia Z1

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The Xperia Z1 is Sony's new flagship smartphone with an unusually large 1/2.3" 20.7MP CMOS sensor.

We've already got our hands on Sony's new flagship smartphone announced at the IFA expo in Berlin last week. Now we've had the chance to use the Xperia Z1 for a few days and have shot a gallery to show you what the device's camera and 1/2.3 20.7MP CMOS sensor can do.

We've shot in a mixture of light situations and switched between the Z1's "manual" mode which lets you shoot at the 20.7MP maximum resolution setting with a 4:3 aspect ratio and the default "Superior Auto" mode which captures 8MP images with a 16:9 aspect ratio. While the latter mode does not allow for any adjustment of image parameters, in the manual mode you can change image resolution and aspect ratio, modify the white balance and apply exposure compensation.

We've also had a look at the performance of the Z1's digital zoom and shot a couple of videos. Read on and see for yourself how the new Sony did in our brief test. 

There are 33 images in our Sony Xperia Z1 samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.

Sony Xperia Z1 Sample Gallery
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Image 1
Image 1
Image 2
Image 3
Image 4
Image 5
Image 6

Digital zoom

Most smartphones offer a 3x digital zoom which usually delivers dreadful results and should only be used as a last resort. The Z1's high resolution sensor in combination with Sony's Clear Zoom system allows for a more efficient digital zoom than conventional smartphone cameras. The maximum zoom factor is 8 times, but as you can see in the samples below the use of this maximum zoom setting is still not recommended. More moderate zooming up to 4x yields more acceptable results and images that can at least be used for sharing on social networks or viewing on the device's screen. 

No zoom
100% crop
Approximately 4x zoom
100% crop
8x zoom
100% crop

Video Sample 1: Bright Light

Video Sample 2: Low Light


Comments

Total comments: 58
BUG322
By BUG322 (Sep 17, 2013)

Nokia switched to late for any other OS and stayed to long on Symbian with Android they would be beaten by Samsung anyway end endup like HTC wich has some financial problems to. No respective companylike Google or Apple would have bought Nokiaa nd they would be food for the dogs by now. luckily they choose WP as they sell the biggest part of them. And yes its growing. The Nokia team will still make phones under the same conditions in Finland thanks to Microsoft who once saved Apple too. Right now windows is still the OS that runs everything and W8 has definitly the most vision. Nothing as permanent as change and yes with technology things will chance...watch my words GDR3 is coming . The advances of android getting smaller over time until most of the best features of W8 will be implemented. Like directx for example ..thing defintly will change and thats good for our customers overall. Cameras getting seriously better thanks to this competition. And Nokia did a defintly good first step.

1 upvote
rhob
By rhob (Sep 13, 2013)

I don't know what mode they shot this in it doesn't represent the capability at all in my opinion.

Here's some unprocessed images through the various firmware updates the phone has had during development.

http://www.xperiablog.net/2013/09/05/sony-xperia-z1-photo-samples-through-different-firmware-revisions/

Mobile web browsers don't always render the images how they should be so saving the image is the truest way to view them at full res.

The Disney land images amazed me for a phone and the sign and flower images show great focus and resolution.

But each to their own :)

1 upvote
ET2
By ET2 (Sep 13, 2013)

For those interested, this is what I wanted to see:

Sony Xperia Z1 vs Nokia Lumia 1020

http://blog.gsmarena.com/sony-xperia-z1s-20-7mp-snapper-gets-compared-to-nokia-lumia-1020s-41mp-pureview-monster/

Xperia Z1 Nokia 808 PV and HTC One mini

http://blog.gsmarena.com/a-shootout-between-sony-xperia-z1-htc-one-mini-and-nokia-808-pureview-shows-great-promise-from-the-sony/

3 upvotes
Henrik Herranen
By Henrik Herranen (Sep 11, 2013)

I think there's a slight error.
Objects in the "Approximately 4x zoom" image DSC_0059.JPG are only two times as large as "No zoom" image DSC_0057.JPG. Then again, objects in "8x zoom" image DSC_0062.JPG are four times as large as in "Approximately 4x zoom".
So, it looks to me that "Approximately 4x zoom" should be called "2x zoom".

As for image quality, even the non-zoomed image looks pretty smeary to me when scaled to my screen size (1920x1200), which is not true for modern 1/2.3" P&S cameras.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (Sep 10, 2013)

All the negativity is just funny, "If Nokia had Android"
"If Sony made it a 5 megapixel" " No OIS" well people this is a phone and for a phone the pictures are not bad, not sure what you were expecting? even Nokia in some lighting conditions is not all that good.
I have news for you, if you think a phone will ever replace your DSLR keep on dreaming.
In my opinion the pictures taken with the Z1 is not that bad at all "for a phone".

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
akira204
By akira204 (Sep 10, 2013)

It's cool and all how you can compare this to a Nokia 1020 (a dying windows ecosystem). I come from the android world and honestly, this phone is pretty impressive, combined with the Bravia engine 2, Snapdragon 800 processor and the well built in G lens to not make it look and feel over bulky, this phone seems balanced. What if Nokia switched to an Android ecosystem? well, that's a different story. No doubt I would jump on a pureview 808. I've previously had a Nokia 920...the WP8 ecosystem, the over lack of apps and the lag just by loading an app was just too much for me. I currently have a Note 2, was gonna get the Note 3 however the camera for that is exactly like an S4. To each their own. But I would never switch to an ecosystem that is dying slowly. Apps is where it's at for most handset users.

1 upvote
MistyFog
By MistyFog (Sep 10, 2013)

The fastest growing OS is dying? And how is that relevant to this photography forum?

3 upvotes
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (Sep 10, 2013)

With Microsoft proposal deal to buy Nokia for 7.6 Billion, I don't think Nokia will ever have Android.
I would not count Windows out.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 38 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
otoro
By otoro (Sep 16, 2013)

Sadly another blind/misguided Android fan-boy. I currently have 4 phones on rotation running iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Window Phone.

I put Android in the back of the pack (tie with Blackberry). Fact, Android is atrocious at optimizing its hardware.

My Nokia Lumia 800 running single core CPU is a lot more responsive than my duo-Core Galaxy S3.

In fact, I would give the S3 away for free if I don't need it for testing.

Before you go off, I was never a big MS fan. I got the very first Nexus running first version of Android.

In the end, it became apparent to me that Android is just an OS running on very inefficient kernal.

Window Phone and iOS show respective companies' experience in OS area as reflected by their ability to do more with less hardware (and not leave messy trace in memory that drags down the phone to the point you have to reboot the Android...reboot!...that's crazy)

3 upvotes
Infms
By Infms (Sep 20, 2013)

Die hard Android fans are very quick to point out the "inferior" specs of other platform's devices, forgetting that these platforms don't need quad-core CPUs coupled with 8GB RAM to run smoothly.

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
1 upvote
nikanth
By nikanth (Sep 10, 2013)

digital zoom is finally going to make sense

0 upvotes
kriztian
By kriztian (Sep 10, 2013)

I am not impressed at all. When I first saw the ruomors about "the incredible Honami" my expectations rose high. But now it´s like: ow! thats all? It looks more like an average 8 megapixel smartphone to me. Its definetly no threat to Nokia 1020.

3 upvotes
fotografer
By fotografer (Sep 10, 2013)

Well, the usual moaners and groaners are out in force again as per usual. Yes images are a little soft but I think these are very promising for a mobile phone. The only phone it seems that outperforms this is the new Nokia 1020.

1 upvote
Hobbit13
By Hobbit13 (Sep 10, 2013)

I would prefer the Samsung S4 photos as well. Those look less processed, more natural. Resolution might be a bit lower, but the difference is not that large.

0 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (Sep 10, 2013)

What? No OIS? Really??? What was Sony thinking?
HTC One
LG G2
Lumia 1020 (Xenon)
Lumia 928 (Xenon)
Lumia 925
Lumia 920
All of those have OIS
Video is wavy even with OIS but very shaky without.
Low light photos are much better with OIS
AND
please add always that Xenon flash
SONY! Can you hear that !!!
&%¤"!&%&/% they don't even read this >:-(

I think dpreview should compare P&S and these,
but include only modern OIS phone cameras.

1 upvote
ET2
By ET2 (Sep 10, 2013)

I would rather like to see studio shots compared to other phones. It's hard to make judgment without side by side comparison. When are studio shots coming?

6 upvotes
neo_nights
By neo_nights (Sep 10, 2013)

Wasn't this phone supposed to use a new technology (new JPEG engine, AFAIR) that'd improve IQ?

Well, I don't see any improvements. ISO400 is really bad, IMHO.

1 upvote
OvinceZ
By OvinceZ (Sep 10, 2013)

The market research must have told the phone makers that people didn't want thick phones. So gone was the 808 effort to install a decent camera in a phone. Sony offers more pixels but not stellar IQ. The images look ok in the middle but not on the sides or corners.
There is no way to get quality photos from such tiny cameras.
I guess enthusiasts will have to buy phones for qualities other than the cameras.

0 upvotes
vetsmelter
By vetsmelter (Sep 10, 2013)

Agree.
Besides, I 'd hardly call the 808 thick, rather ergonomic.
It fits in most of my trousers' coin pocket.

Can't understand this tendency to flatness keeps continuing ... it seems that people are not productive enough to know how to benefit from a keyboard and true multitasking to honour that quad core and 2GB RAM.

0 upvotes
jmeyersnv
By jmeyersnv (Sep 10, 2013)

I am looking forward to a comparison of the same images taken by this new Z1 as well as the Nokia 1020 and the HTC1.

0 upvotes
Robert Morris
By Robert Morris (Sep 9, 2013)

Not bad for a phone. If it's all I got with me than that's my fault.

1 upvote
Clyde Thomas
By Clyde Thomas (Sep 9, 2013)

What justifies calling this lens a "G" other than marketing?

So blurry on the corners. Only the center/midfields sharp.

The Mind of Minolta would be embarrassed at this, Sony trampling their good reputation at every opportunity.

0 upvotes
LokTo
By LokTo (Sep 10, 2013)

Will there be G* lens to further damage the brand?

0 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Sep 9, 2013)

To me, it looks alright for a phone, as though we only achieved higher MP while maintaining the current pixel level quality. Image sharpening is hideous though.

0 upvotes
utomo99
By utomo99 (Sep 9, 2013)

In my opinion the image quality need to be improved a lot, especially on low light/ indoor.
too many noise.
I believe sony can give much better than this.

2 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (Sep 9, 2013)

I've lost faith Sony actually can give us any better than this in a phone. To me it's still rubbish and the noise is evident even in this easy low ISO lighting and the over processing woeful. It only looks decent when down sampled to around 2MP and even then I can noise an artefacts in the sky.

Sony uses a lot of fancy acronyms like EXMOR and G series but it's all hype. This sensor would have been excellent with 6-8MP and much more natural jpg engine.

1 upvote
siberstorm27
By siberstorm27 (Sep 9, 2013)

I've already seen dozens of other Z1 pics from various sources. These just corroborate how awful the images are. Some of the grainiest haziest images around. Even bright daylight shots are very grainy, like taking a pic of a textured photograph. The contrast is too high in some scenes and way too low and muddy in others. The images always look dingy. Not a single clean image available. Blurry and hazy. Man is the grain GIGANTIC in those night shots. This would be competitive on phones 3 years ago. The waterproofing likely screwed up the lens quality like on the Xperia Z, and for sure screwed up the microphone quality. 20MP on a 1/2.3" is just awful as well.

1 upvote
Tony Bologna
By Tony Bologna (Sep 9, 2013)

I had high hopes for this phone but it appears what the RX100 did for compacts the Z1 will NOT do for cell phones. My Galaxy S III is giving me fits and i was hoping this could be a contender. Won't go iPhone 5S because of the smaller screen. Maybe HTC One? Kuddos for DPReview for getting these up so quickly!

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Sep 9, 2013)

Digital zoom doesn't exist, it's digital crop.

0 upvotes
MDGColorado
By MDGColorado (Sep 9, 2013)

At this point, arguing against this phrase is a losing battle. Think of it as another term for in-camera cropping. And yes, it is misleading.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (Sep 9, 2013)

to be fair, while it's a crop on most phones the Sony system is a little more advanced and uses a sophisticated algorithm that creates usable results up to certain zoom levels.

3 upvotes
Lan
By Lan (Sep 9, 2013)

Those samples look really odd at 100%. Is there something wrong with the demosaicing?

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (Sep 10, 2013)

Yup, it indeed seems to be rather bad. See for example http://connect.dpreview.com/sample-galleries/5820745257/sony-xperia-z1-sample-gallery/2436893269/fullscreen?back=http%3A%2F%2Fconnect.dpreview.com%2Fpost%2F7903063822%2Fsony-xperia-z1-sample-gallery%23embeddedSampleGallery5820745257

I've created a crop of it at http://www.flickr.com/photos/33448355@N07/9714629514/ - the jaggies are REALLY bad.

0 upvotes
Markol
By Markol (Sep 9, 2013)

Far less impressive than I would have thought. Even for a 1/2.3" sensor these are quite crappy.
I suppose if you downsample them to 5MP they are ok, but is that the point?

1 upvote
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (Sep 9, 2013)

To a degree I would argue that is the point, A well-exposed 5MP with decent dynamic range is all I would need from a mobile device but then In only post my pictures online.

3 upvotes
Markol
By Markol (Sep 9, 2013)

Sure, that's the declared idea of Nokia's oversampling and I practically only use the 5MP mode on my 808, but is it what Sony has in mind?

1 upvote
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (Sep 9, 2013)

Sony don't declare it that way but the fact that the default mode is 8MP sort of indicates that the 20MP mode is not what they'd expect you to use for normal shooting.

4 upvotes
absentaneous
By absentaneous (Sep 9, 2013)

I got a cheap chinese phone recently. well, the cheapest I could find running android 4.1 and I took some pictures and I thought well it's kind of crap quality (compared to what I am used to get from "real" cameras) but then I thought what did I expect for that money (and tiny sensor and lens) anyway. but after looking at the image of this phone/camera which costs about 5 times more than what I paid for my phone I really think my phone's camera to be actually amazing. it's only 5Mpix but not at all worse than this. chinese are the new japanese!!!

Comment edited 43 seconds after posting
1 upvote
japjit100
By japjit100 (Sep 9, 2013)

I m very impressed with 20.7 mp camera qaulity

2 upvotes
JKP
By JKP (Sep 9, 2013)

Had to create a new account today just to say that?

Anyways, to me the quality seems okay. Nothing special really. The pics are not very sharp for some reason.

2 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (Sep 10, 2013)

"Anyways, to me the quality seems okay. Nothing special really. The pics are not very sharp for some reason."

The HX series effect. They produce exactly the same, not very good quality images - and considerably worse ones than those of, say, the Panasonic ZS30 or any comparable shooter.

0 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen
By Tonkotsu Ramen (Sep 9, 2013)

mr rehm, where would you "rank" the image quality of this phone if you compare it to the iphone 5, galaxy note 2, htc one?

So far, the results don't look too different from what i can acheive from my note 2, which is a bit underwhelming.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (Sep 9, 2013)

I a actually quite pleased with the X1's camera. And that's not because of the pixel-level quality, that's horrible like on all phones. But if you look at the pictures at screen size they look quite nice and sharp with decent dynamic range for a phone. Also, the OIS works really well and it goes up to ISO 3200 (apparently even 6400 in some special mode, that I have not yet tested), so you can actually still take pictures in dark scenes. The Note II would just produce a very underexposed image in those situations. The HTC One is quite similar to the Z1 in so far that is creates good overall exposures even in low light. But I'd prefer 20 crappy MP over 5 crappy MP. At least you can scale down and have got some more data to play with. iPhone 5 is a generation behind, too. Let's see what Apple comes up with at their announcement tomorrow.

4 upvotes
0lf
By 0lf (Sep 9, 2013)

@Lars Rehm : OIS ?

2 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen
By Tonkotsu Ramen (Sep 9, 2013)

thank you

i too hope to see apple push the bar for for mobile photography, but I much prefer android.

Would you say the Z1 is the current "top" android?

I'm looking for something to replace my note 2 and (in some situations) my dedicated Canon S90 P&S. I was hoping this Z1 would be able to produce comparable results.

0 upvotes
tompabes2
By tompabes2 (Sep 9, 2013)

I don't know... they look soft even when they are downsized... really, there's someting strange here. The detail just isn't there when you look at 100% crops, and you can't invent what is not in the original image. Maybe the noise was really too much and the NR is really too aggressive. The output is not so bad at full size with other phones, and when you downsize the images they look sharp, but with the Z1 they simply remain soft... but let's wait for studio comparisons.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (Sep 9, 2013)

@ 0lf apologies, confused that with the LG G2 that landed on my desk today, the X1 does not have an OIS.

2 upvotes
The Scurvy Dog of PR
By The Scurvy Dog of PR (Sep 9, 2013)

Didn't I read that Sony was getting out of the Cell Phone biz?

0 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (Sep 9, 2013)

Really hard to tell if you have read it or not.

3 upvotes
headfirst
By headfirst (Sep 9, 2013)

you probably read that Panasonic are getting out, Sony's mobile phone business is growing.

1 upvote
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (Sep 9, 2013)

seems like they are doing all the opposite. The way they were showing off the Z1 at IFA would indicate that they're really planning to attack.

0 upvotes
The Scurvy Dog of PR
By The Scurvy Dog of PR (Sep 10, 2013)

Yea. It was Panasonic, not Sony.

0 upvotes
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (Sep 10, 2013)

Did not know Panasonic was ever in...LOL

0 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (Sep 10, 2013)

Panasonic is still in. The world is a bit bigger than you might realize.

0 upvotes
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (11 months ago)

So Panasonic makes Cell phones that is news to me

0 upvotes
ybizzle
By ybizzle (Sep 9, 2013)

Good for a phone but miles behind the Nokia 1020 and 808.

3 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (Sep 9, 2013)

I think that's a fair statement.

9 upvotes
Chev Chelios
By Chev Chelios (Sep 9, 2013)

Is it just me or do those images look like 20.7 MP of oversharpened mush? Not bad for a phone though (I suppose).

2 upvotes
Total comments: 58
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