Sony Xperia Z1 review: A smartphone with a camera-sized sensor
DPReview smartphone reviews are written with the needs of photographers in mind. We focus on camera features, performance, and image quality.
The Sony Xperia Z1 was launched in September at the IFA consumers electronics trade show in Berlin and replaces the Xperia Z, which itself was only launched at CES in January as Sony's top-of-the-line smartphone. The new model comes with the same impressive build quality and waterproof body as its predecessor and with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 processor and a 5-inch 1080p screen, the Z1 offers top-end specs all around.
For photo-centric users the really big news is the Z1's camera. The 1/2.3-inch sensor in the Sony's camera module is the same size as you would find in most consumer level compact cameras and therefore larger than the 1/3-inch sensors common in the current crop of smartphones.
The comparatively large sensor is combined with a high pixel count of 20.7MP, a fast F2.0 lens and a physical shutter button, all of which demonstrate that Sony, like other high-end mobile device manufacturers, has identified camera performance as a key differentiator in the highly competitive smartphone market.
We've put the Sony Xperia Z1 through our rigorous testing regimen. Read on to find out if the impressive specs translate into top-level image quality.
Key Photographic / Video Specifications
- 20.7 MP 1/2.3 Exmor RS CMOS sensor
- F2.0 lens
- 1080p/30 fps video
- HDR video
- Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2GHz processor
- 5-inch 1080p Sony TRILUMINOS display (441ppi)
- Android 4.2
- 2GB of RAM
- Waterproof body (IP55/58)
- 16 GB internal memory
- microSD up to 64GB
- 3,000 mAh battery, non-removable
- Available in black, white and purple
Our 11-page review
We've considered every aspect of the Sony Xperia Z1 camera, with the photographer in mind. We examined the user interface of the native camera app and its special features. We experimented with the camera's performance when taking stills and video, and had a play with the device's many special feature modes. Click any of the links below for more information of specific functions and continue to our conclusion for a final summary of our findings.
- Page 2: Design and Hardware
- Page 3: Camera Operation
- Page 4: Camera Features
- Page 5: Camera Features cont.
- Page 6: Image Quality and Performance
- Page 7: Video Mode
- Page 8: DxO Mobile Report
- Page 9: Image Quality Comparison (Bright Light)
- Page 10: Image Quality Comparison (Low Light)
- Page 11: Conclusion and Gallery
|Skating by robbertleopold|
from ice skating
|Alcedo atthis by rrybicki|
from A big year - birds 2019
|Dundee, Scotland by Kivi|
from -2019: In The Modern City- (Street-photography in Full Colours Only)
Panasonic is well known for including impressive video features on its cameras. In this article, professional cinematographer Jack Lam explains one killer feature the company could add to its S series that would shake up the industry – and it all comes down to manual focus.
Lens manufacturer Irix has announced it's expanding its product lineup into the Japanese market.
Full-frame cameras get a lot of attention lately, but Technical Editor Richard Butler thinks that APS-C makes the most sense for a lot of people – and there's just one company consistently giving the format the support it deserves.
The 12th International Garden Photographer of the Year winners have been announced. We've gathered the top photos from each category and rounded them up into a slideshow.
Kosmo Foto has announced the release and opened pre-orders for its new Mono 120 black-and-white film.
Uber software engineer Phillip Wang has created a website that shows a portrait of a person that doesn't actually exist by using AI to merge multiple faces together.
The Atomos Shinobi is a compact, lightweight monitor that features the same display found inside the much more expensive Ninja 5 monitor/recorder.
Want to know more about the Canon EOS RP? Dying to ask a question that hasn't been addressed anywhere else online? Join the editors of DPReview for a live Q&A about this new camera next Tuesday, Feb. 19 on our YouTube channel. Click through for details.
Got a couple of minutes? Then you have all the time you need to learn about Canon's second full-frame mirrorless camera body – and why it's a compelling option for someone stepping into full-frame for the first time.
NASA's Curiosity rover captures a 360 panorama from its Vera Rubin Ridge 'Rock Hall' drill site before moving on to greener...er...redder pastures.
Xiaomi's new flagship Android smartphone is expected to be launched on February 24 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
A quick glance at the spec sheet doesn't make the Canon EOS RP look that exciting. But having shot with it, we've become oddly fond of this little full framer.
Pixelmator Pro has received an update with new and improved features, including support for Portrait Masks with images captured by the iPhone's Portrait Mode.
Alongside the EOS RP, Canon showed us mockups of the six lenses it says are in development for 2019. There's a distinct high-end flavor to the options in the works.
The new X-T30 may not be Fujifilm's flagship model, but it arrives with some very impressive features and specifications. Chris and Jordan have been shooting it for a few days and share their first impressions, along with a look at an iconic new building in their hometown of Calgary.
We don't often get excited about $900 cameras, but the Fujifilm X-T30 has really impressed us thus far. Find out what's new, what it's like to use and how it compares to its peers in our review in progress.
The Fujifilm X-T30 is equipped with the same 26.1MP X-Trans sensor and X-Processor 4 Quad Core CPU as the X-T3, along with some autofocus improvements. The new camera arrives in March for $900 body-only.
Fujifilm's new XF 16mm F2.8 R WR is a compact, weather-resistant lens that weighs just 155g/5.5oz. It'll be available starting in March for $399.
Fujifilm's XF 16mm F2.8 is one of the widest lenses in the company's lineup of compact primes for its X-series interchangeable lens cameras. We've been up and down the streets of snowy Seattle - a rare sight - to see just what our pre-production copy of this petite prime is capable of.
Firmware version 2.00 brings two new shooting modes and one new setting to its X-T100 and X-A5 camera systems.
Fujifilm has announced its upcoming rugged point-and-shoot, the FinePix XP140.
Get a closer look at Canon's second full-frame mirrorless body and its unique combination of features, capability and price point.
Canon has unveiled its second full-frame mirrorless camera: the entry-level EOS RP. Touting its compact size and approachability for beginners, the RP uses a 26.2MP sensor and will sell for $1300 body-only this March.
A pre-launch event gave us a chance to shoot a sample gallery to show what sort of image quality you can expect from the least-expensive digital full frame camera ever launched.
Nikon has taken the wraps off a new standard zoom lens for mirrorless, the Z 24-70mm F2.8 Z. The new 24-70mm has been on Nikon's Z-series roadmap since the mount was announced last August, and it will ship in spring for $2299.
Canon has announced the development of six RF lenses, including the incredibly compact RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM, two variations of an RF 85mm F1.2L USM, plus a 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM, 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM and 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM.
Nikon has announced more details of firmware in development for the Z6 and Z7. As previously reported, firmware is being planned that will add Eye-detection AF, CFexpress support and Raw video over HDMI.
Tripod manufacturer Three Legged Thing has developed a new L-bracket designed to fit a wider range of cameras and allow users to mount their camera in a variety of ways.
Some user information, including names, usernames and email addresses was compromised in the incident.
The FAA has announced drones will soon need aerial license plates of sorts to fly their UAVs in the United States.