Sony has admittedly been struggling to make a significant impact in the high-end Android smartphone market, failing to live up to the competition in key areas. However, one of the stronger points of Sony flagships has been the camera experience, and as you may have seen in our full review, that remains true with the latest offering, the Sony Xperia X Performance.
This device as a lot to offer in terms of features and image quality, which is what we will be taking a closer look at, in this Sony Xperia X Performance camera feature focus!
As a reminder, the Xperia X Performance comes with a 23 MP rear camera and a 13 MP front-facing unit, both with a f/2.0 aperture. Unfortunately, optical image stabilization is available with either camera, but the rear shooter does come with a phase detection auto focus, and a single LED flash.
One of the first things I like about this camera is the fact that a camera shortcut on the home screen isn’t necessary, given that the Xperia X Performance comes with a dedicated camera shutter button. This has been a staple with previous Sony flagships as well, and it’s great to see Sony retain this feature. Just holding down this button will directly launch the camera application, regardless of whether the display is on or the phone is in sleep mode, and the app opens pretty quickly. Similar functionality is available with a long press of the power button as well, but of course, it doesn’t function as a shutter button after that.
The camera application is pretty straightforward, and easy to use for the most part. The standard toggle is available to flip between the front and rear cameras, which is found at the upper left corner, along with another that lets you control the flash, which is placed at the bottom right. Swiping up or down on the viewfinder will let you cycle through the various camera modes, including Superior Auto, Manual mode, and Video recording, along with a slew of Sony add-ons.
An on-screen camera shutter button is obviously available as well, below which is the button to access the camera settings. The settings are contextual for the most part, depending on which shooting mode you are using, but some of the options include setting a self timer, changing the resolution, or toggling HDR mode.
As mentioned during the comprehensive review, one thing odd about HDR mode is that it is available only when using the camera in the Manual mode. Considering that most people use their cameras in the Auto mode, this seems counter-intuitive, and would have been better suited within the Superior Auto mode. Having it buried in the settings makes it difficult to get to as well, and a toggle on the viewfinder, as found with other camera apps, would have definitely been the better way to go.
As far as the Superior Auto mode is concerned, it can basically detect a variety of subjects and scenes, such as macro shots, night time shots, documents, food, and more. It then automatically adjusts the camera settings to give you the best looking shot possible, or at least, what it thinks is the best one.
However, if you are looking for a little more control over your pictures, you will have to switch to the Manual mode. That said, the Manual mode available here isn’t nearly as robust as what is found with some other high-end smartphones out there. You can control aspects like white balance, exposure, and ISO, along with choosing a specific shooting scenery, but all the options are available only with the resolution is limited to 8 MP. At anything higher, only white balance and exposure settings are available, and even these controls are quite basic. For example, white balance settings include only cloudy, tungsten, and daylight options, instead of granular controls with actual Kelvin numbers.
Since this is a Sony smartphone, it’s no surprise that the Xperia X Performance comes packed with additional camera features, most of which will be familiar to you if you’ve used a Sony smartphone before. There are a lot of them here, including AR Effect, Sound Photo, Style Portrait, Creative Effect, Sticker Creator, Face in Picture, Sweep Panorama, and Timeshift Video.
Further, these are the features that are pre-installed, with a slew of extras that can be downloaded as well. One point to consider when using these features though is that they do result in the device overheating, and you will end up with a message that tells you that the camera app will be closing.
All these features are a lot of fun to play around and experiment with, but one of my personal favorites has to be AR Effects. Granted, it doesn’t have any real utility, but you can do a lot of fun stuff with it, such as making dinosaurs crawl all over the place, shooting lasers from your eyes, wearing masks, and a bunch of other effects, that allow for some creating looking photos and videos.
When it comes to the actual image quality, we start with the 13 MP front-facing camera. With this high megapixel count, you have a lot of room to zoom and crop, which isn’t something you can usually say with a front-facing shooter. The image quality has been surprisingly good, and users will certainly be very pleased when using this camera for selfies. Images are well detailed, colorful, and vibrant, and you can trust that the camera will take a great photo, even if you can’t see the viewfinder, which can happen when looking at the display in broad daylight.
If you are a vlogger, you can record some good looking video as well, but despite being a 13 MP shooter, you don’t get any recording capabilities beyond 1080p at 60 fps. As is also the case when using some of the other features of the camera, recording video can cause the device to overheat in a few minutes and close the camera app, so it’s not exactly an ideal device for vlogging just yet, especially if you are looking to shoot some decently long video.
The story remains the same with the rear camera as well, as far as is video recording is concerned. Even though it is a 23 MP shooter, video recording is possible only up to 1080p at 60 fps, even if it is pretty good looking Full HD video. The camera focuses quickly, handles exposure, and even though it lacks OIS, the footage comes out relatively stable, and looks even smoother if you are able to physically stabilize the phone using something like a car mount.
The image quality has also been impressive with the rear camera. Pictures are full of detail, especially in well-lit areas or daytime shots, and there is just the right amount of color and saturation to make the photos look pleasing to the eye. If you are also looking to zoom into and crop shots, that is easily possible here, with such high resolution photos.
In low-light conditions, the pictures are perfectly usable, but you do see some noise and softness around the edges. The camera also has trouble focusing in poorly-lit situations, and without optical image stabilization, you will also need to keep the camera perfectly steady, since even the slightest movement can result in blurry photos.
So, there you have it for closer at the cameras of the Sony Xperia X Performance! As mentioned, the camera experience is certainly one of the strongest aspects of this smartphone. Despite its issues with overheating when using its many features, or when recording video, it is still a fun camera to use, allows for an enjoyable time, and will prove to be reliable in most situations.
What do you think of the Xperia X Performance camera and do you plan to buy one? Let us know your views in the comments below!