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Sony Xperia 1 Review - Performance

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Sony Xperia 1 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.


Sony Xperia 1 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Colour is very good in good lighting conditions, and exposure is reliable, with bright saturated images. Auto HDR helps keep more dynamic range in the photo, and photos will look great when share on the web.

Shooting self-portraits with the selfie front facing camera, you get a range of options to change your appearance. However, the 8mp camera is a fixed focus camera, so for best results you need to be at a set distance, which means results aren't as good as some other smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S10, with a higher resolution and Auto Focus.

When taking portraits with the rear cameras, you can either use the "blur" button, and the camera will switch to the telephoto (2x) camera and then let you adjust the level of background blur, or alternatively the camera will also detect the subject and automatically switch on "soft snap" which blurs the background. The blur control does quite a good job producing an image with artificial "Bokeh" (background blur).


Sony Xperia 1 Lens test images

Lens Performance - The ultra-wide-angle lens gives images with high levels of distortion, as is the case with the majority of ultra-wide-angle cameras on smartphones, and this is particularly noticeable when there's objects in the frame that are meant to be straight. There are times when purple fringing is visible, when using the ultra-wide-angle camera. Thankfully, this is rarely ever seen when using the other cameras. 

The standard lens performs well, giving a 26mm equivalent in 35mm terms, and the f/1.6 aperture is relatively bright for smartphones. The telephoto lens performs well, giving 2x telephoto reach, 52mm equivalent (in 35mm terms). Built in optical image stabilisation (OIS) helps keep images sharp and free from blur.  

Focus is generally reliable from all lenses. Difficult to see any signs of vignetting, although images were softer in the far corners of the photo, when viewed at 100%. The cameras were also quite resistant to flare.

There is noise in images (in shadows and clouds), as well as where detail is, and this is mostly noticeable when viewing images at 100%. If you're simply sharing to social media sites, such as Facebook or Instagram, then this shouldn't matter too much as the images are resized to a lower resolution.

Low-light performance is acceptable, but nothing special, particularly when compared to the impressive night modes of other smartphones with dedicated (long-exposure) night modes. 

The photos are stored in DCIM/Camera or alternatively DCIM/XPERIA (self-portraits), and you'll also get some in "Predictive Capture".


Sony Xperia 1 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at lower ISO speeds, up to and including ISO400. It's at ISO800 that noise starts to become noticeable, however, colour saturation remains quite good at this ISO speed. Colour saturation drops slightly at ISO1600. Noise is strongest at ISO3200, so this speed is best avoided, as image quality suffers. 


Sony Xperia 1 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) gives a warm result under tungsten / incandescent lighting, with the Tungsten preset giving a more neutral result. It's nice to see that there are auto white balance presets available, however this seems to come at the expense of manual white balance, as this is not available. AWB gives good results under mixed light, and under fluorescent lighting. The fluorescent preset gives a noticeable colour cast. 


Sony Xperia 1 Digital filters

Digital Filters - All of the creative effects are taken at a low resolution of less than 2mp (with 16:9 aspect ratio), so it's likely you'll want to use an alternative for creative effects, such as VSCO, or Snapseed. Panorama mode - The camera features an automatic panoramic mode, where you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other. Results are good with a high resolution (35mp+) image produced.


Video - The Xperia 1 offers 4K HDR video recording at 24fps. You can use the standard (1x) and (2x) cameras when recording 4K video, although if you switch between them during recording, the video can look quite "jerky" or glitchy, as you switch, so it's best to set this before you start recording. 4K video is recorded at 55mbps, and there are built-in editing tools on the smartphone to help you edit your video. 4K video is available with the rear camera(s), but only FullHD with the front-facing selfie camera. The camera can also record slow-motion video at frame rates up to 960fps. 

To access more advanced video recording modes you can use the Cinema Pro app, and this gives you more control, as well as letting you record 21:9 aspect ratio video at 24 and 30fps. 

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