Camera Operation

In Superior Auto mode you have shutter, video and mode buttons on the right and a very limited number of controls on the left.

Using the camera on the Xperia Z2 is a very similar experience to its predecessor, the Z1. There is a camera shortcut on the lock screen but a long-press of the dedicated shutter button is arguably the quickest and easiest way of opening the camera app. 

Of course the shutter button is also great when taking pictures. With its two-way action that allows for locking the focus with a half-press, it feels like using a conventional dedicated digital camera. In addition this control allows for more stable shooting  than tapping on a virtual button on the screen. The Z2 is a large device but its angular shape make it easy and comfortable to hold for camera use, even without a case.

In M mode you can access the Z2's 20MP mode which has a 4:3 aspect ratio.
A pop-out slider combines exposure compensation and control over white balance.

By default the camera app starts in Superior Auto Mode which is pretty much a full-auto mode and allows for hardly any control over shooting, apart from turning the flash on and off. It analyzes the scene and then automatically picks the most suitable shooting mode for you. All you need to do is hit the shutter or video button. Image size is locked to 8MP but you can choose between a 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratio. In Superior Auto you focus by tapping on the screen but exposure is not locked to the focus point which means you essentially have no control over exposure at all in this mode.

On the mode screen you can choose from a range of special modes and functions. 
M mode allows for manual selection of scene modes.

Things become more interesting when you hit the mode button on the bottom right of the screen and switch to the manual M mode. Here you get a wide range of parameters at your disposal including exposure compensation, ISO and manual selection of scene modes. In M mode you can also switch to the Xperia Z2's 20MP image size. However, there is still no control over shutter speeds. So, if you need a faster shutter speed you best bet is to pick a higher ISO and hope the shutter will be fast enough for your needs.

In M-mode you can also choose from a range of focus modes, including Single, Multi, Face Detection, Object Tracking and Touch focus, but again exposure cannot be linked to the focus point. On the shooting mode screen, where you can select M mode, you also have access to range of other modes such as Background Defocus, Timeshift Video and 4K video capture. We'll have a closer look at all of those in the features and video sections of this review. 

The camera app can feel a little cluttered, without an obvious structure to it but overall it works reasonably well. There is one fairly important flaw though: it doesn't remember the last mode you were in. This means every time you go away from the camera app, even just the home screen, the camera will be back in Superior Auto mode, no matter what mode you were in before. Obviously this can get fairly annoying if you are planning to shoot an extended period in a mode other than Superior Auto.