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Sony says the Xperia Z5 is the best cameraphone on the market, here's why


Different manufacturers choose different tools when trying to drum up interest in their products, though most stick to the well-beaten path of traditional advertising. For the most part, Sony is no different, but it's been known to adopt bombastic titles for its own products, and with their smartphones those usually read "the best camera on a smartphone" or a variation of. And what do you know, the Xperia Z5 is no exception.

In one of its ads for its new flagship, available on YouTube, Sony claims that the Xperia Z5 has "the best camera in a leading smartphone*", and so our curiosity could not be helped: What makes it the best camera? Like always, Sony's dedicated Claims & Test Results page has the details, and we spared no time going through them. Turns out, (like always) the company hired Strategy Analytics to test and evaluate the performance of the 1/2.3" Exmor RS sensor with 23 megapixels in a number of areas, including light sensitivity, focus times, overall image quality, and video stabilization among others. The asterisks are worth clarifying, however.

For starters, Sony says that the Z5's maximum achievable ISO of 12,800 is the highest among "leading smartphones" — the 100 top selling smartphones of 2015 based on shelf share — but there are nevertheless a few devices native to Japan that match or exceed that figure. They are not considered because they're only available in their home country.

Sony also says that with the Xperia Z5 you're getting the "Best Camera Experience", a claim based on the results of a poll comparing five images captured by a number of competing devices and presented to 200 UK consumers for evaluation. 33% of them preferred the images captured by the Xperia Z5, with Apple's iPhone 6 Plus coming in second, closely followed by the Samsung Galaxy S6: 

A researcher from Strategy Analytics was also tasked with the creation of video footage on the 6 leading, competing devices, whilst riding a bike on smooth road in day light, with the aim of comparing the quality of video stabilization. All phones had their default settings on, and the resulting clips were compared on a 40-inch HD monitor. Unsurprisingly, Sony's Xperia Z5 came out swinging in this particular test:

Finally, the researchers wanted to make sure that Sony's claim of fastest autofocus tech in the game wasn't unfounded, so they tested for that using an HD camcorder shooting at 240 frames per second, noting down the time it took each device to launch the camera and for the closest object to come into sharp focus. The cameras of all devices were placed 60cm away from the subject, and the environment was lit up with the help of strong studio lights. The Sony Xperia Z5 averaged 0.2 seconds on average, vastly surpassing competitors. Of course, 0.2 seconds is far from the 0.03 seconds Sony boasted about, which is supposedly in compliance with CIPA guidelines.

Are these findings relevant? For the most part, everything about the test parameters sounds legit and practically sound. For example, the image quality test reportedly included 5 different scenarios, including extremely low light shots, performance under normal light, quick shutter, and portrait. More importantly, however, the results were displayed on three distinct media, including glossy A6 photo paper, on the devices themselves, and on the aforementioned 40-inch monitor. This ought to be sufficient to at least partially offset bias towards great, but lower resolution images. Regardless, we'd still like to check out the Xperia Z5 for us before going as far as crowning it the best cameraphone, though we're obviously anxious to see if the company has managed to fix some recurring issues with its software algorithms.

source: Sony
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