Video Mode

You can pause and capture stills during video recording.

Due to the slight redesign of the camera app, video mode user interface is a little different to previous generation Xperia Z devices. Instead of having two different video modes in Superior Auto and Manual modes there is now only one separate video mode that is accessed via the main mode dial.

The new mode looks a little bit like a mixture of the two previous modes. As before it only records 1080p footage and for 4K video you have to switch into a dedicated 4K video mode through the special modes page which, from a user interface point of view, doesn't make much sense at all. You can take still photos while filming without interrupting the video and pause recording. Like previously in Manual mode, in the new video mode you can select scene modes, choose from several resolutions, or apply exposure compensation and manual white balance settings. You can also deactivate digital image stabilization which - as usual - slightly crops the image. However, on the Sony it works well enough that we would definitely recommend keeping it on.

A range of options, including exposure compensation and color sliders, are available in the settings.
4K video mode offers fewer options than manual mode but exposure compensation and manual white balance are still available.

The 4K video mode works in the same way as before. There are fewer options than in standard video mode, but you can apply exposure compensation, change white balance and activate digital image stabilization. You also have the choice between H.264 and H.265 video codecs.

Video sample 1: 1080p video in bright light

This video was taken handheld on a bright day. Exposure is good and colors in line with the camera's still image processing, creating a slightly saturated but pleasantly natural look. In the 1080p setting the camera captures decent detail and sound quality is good. The AF is stable, stabilization very efficient and as a consequence very smooth panning is possible. Overall, the Sony is doing a very god job in these conditions. 

Video sample 2: 1080p video in low light

This video was taken handheld in an artificially lit, fairly dim interior. Sound is again clear and the digital stabilization doing an excellent good. Some luminance noise is creeping in and a loss of detail is just about noticeable when looking closely, but again the Z5's video mode is performing very well. 

Video sample 3: 1080p video in very low light

This video was taken handheld at night. The effects of noise and noise reduction are now more intrusive but for a night video detail is still very good. Due to the street lighting the footage has a slightly warm color cast but overall the white balance system is dealing well with the difficult mixed-light situation. Again AF is steady and stabilization performing well.

Video sample 4: 4K video in bright light

The Z5's 4K video mode is in terms of detail a clear improvement over the standard Full-HD mode. Of course it makes most sense watching the footage on an appropriate display, but the difference is already noticeable on a 1080p screen. Some smearing of fine low-contrast detail is noticeable at a 100% view but overall the Sony's 4K footage is very good, also making it suitable for grabbing 8MP stills.

Video sample 5: Timeshift video

Timeshift video allows you to slow down a portion of a video after shooting it.

Timeshift video works in the same way as on previous Xperia Z generations. It is accessible through the mode button and shoots 720p video. Afterwards, you can mark a portion of the video on a slider to slow it down to approximately 4x slow motion. This works particularly well with action scenes but, as you can hear in the video below, the soundtrack gets the slow treatment, too. So some sound editing might be needed if you want to use the slow motion footage for more serious projects.