The Sony Xperia Z5 series actually has a 25MP multi-aspect primary camera sensor

Yesterday, Sony unveiled the Xperia Z5 series at IFA 2015 in Berlin. Consisting out of three new high-end Android smartphones called the Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact, and Xperia Z5 Premium, Sony's new lineup is built on a common platform, with most of the internal hardware remaining consistent between the three models. One of the main highlights of the Xperia Z5 series is a new primary camera sensor, a custom 1/2.3 Exmor RS sensor that Sony markets as having a resolution of 23MP.

According to some new evidence, it looks like the new sensor on the Sony Xperia Z5 series actually has a resolution of 25MP, although the photos you can extract from it are limited to 23MP due to the difference between the two standard aspect ratios. When shooting in portrait mode - a 4:3 aspect ratio - the sensor is capable of taking photos at 5,520 x 4,140 pixels (23MP). In landscape - 16:9 aspect ratio - mode, the camera takes photos at 5,984 x 3,366 pixels (20MP).

Landscape crops from portrait sensors

Most smartphones, especially Android-based ones, come with camera sensors that natively snap photos at a 4:3 aspect ratio, and this despite the fact that 16:9 has evolved into the modern-day de facto standard.

What this means is that the advertised resolution of the primary camera on most smartphones is accurate only with the camera set up in 4:3 mode. When taking photos in 16:9, like most users tend to, most smartphones actually take a portion - commonly called a crop - of that native 4:3 photo and turn it into a 16:9 one. Here's how this plays out visually:

Multi-aspect sensor on the Xperia Z5 series

According to preliminary evidence uncovered by GSM Arena, the Sony Xperia Z5 series actually comes with a 25MP with a native aspect ratio that's taller than 16:9 and wider than 4:3. In technical terms, the phones use a multi-aspect sensor.

When the smartphones shoot in 4:3 mode, the camera crops the native resolution picture at maximum height. When the camera sensor on the Xperia Z5 series is set to 16:9 mode, the camera serves a crop at maximum width. This way, the camera is capable of taking 16:9 photos at a resolution of 5,984 x 3,366 pixels, or about 20MP. If this really were a 23MP sensor as Sony advertises it, the resolution of the 16:9 photo would be 5,520 x 3,105 pixels, or 17.14MP. 

Note that multi-aspect sensors are not unheard of in the digital photography industry, nor is it the first time that smartphones are equipped with one. On the other hand, the technology basically allows you to capture a bit more detail when shooting in landscape.

source: GSM Arena



1. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

If they sort out their camera algorithms, I'm all in for Compact. Sony is repetitive but Compact nailed it once again

30. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Camera algorithms solution = Camera FV-5 app My Z1 take better picture than a samsung S6 now. Sure its slower to focus but otherwise i have better result all around.

2. George_Ultron

Posts: 9; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

It was the time to put a new sensor in them smartphone.

3. TyrionLannister unregistered

I'm not sure if that's good news. More megspixels on the same sensor size mean smaller pixels.

5. Phonedingo

Posts: 399; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

That's what I was thinking.

18. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Doesn't matter at all, in a worst case they can use a pixel binning algorithm to combine pixels but visa versa is not possible.

20. rsiders

Posts: 1988; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

It's all in the image processing. If they get that right they will be fine.

21. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

Don't worry with 1.12 micron the IMX300 sensor inside the Z5 Series has similar pixel size with most other phones. It is smaller than the previous generation (Xperia Z1 has 1.2 micron) but thanks to Sony advancement on image sensor i'm sure the sensor in Z5 series will perform better.

29. TyrionLannister unregistered

Are you sure it's 1.12 micron. By my calculations, I see it close to 1 micron, and definitely less than 1.06 microns.

4. dimas

Posts: 3394; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Does this mean that we're getting a camera quality close to point and shoot's sharpness when we buy the z5?

6. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

check out the gsmarena camera samples for the z5. they have improved significantly. you can say the samples look at par with what the galaxy flagships and LG G4 are able to produce, although they seem overprocessed or oversharpened as others would put it.

31. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

just use Camera FV-5 app its will make this beast destroy all others. My Z1 take better pic than the S6 using thats app.

7. mixedfish

Posts: 1563; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

When you can put in a Zeiss Sonnar into a phone, then maybe.

8. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Say that to Microsoft..

10. mixedfish

Posts: 1563; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

And the Lumia with a Zeiss Sonnar is....nowhere

22. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

Yeah i never seen any phones with top of the line Zeiss lens. But if he only looking for sharpness i think Sony still able to do that without Zeiss lens. Because according to DoxMark Sony FE 90 mm G Lens is the sharpest lens they ever tested.

9. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Cool, but the real competition will start with the Lumia 950/950XL

11. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015


12. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Looks promising but all it depends on price and availability.

13. mdsheik

Posts: 52; Member since: Sep 03, 2015

just waiting for full review and price.

14. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

Wanna bet they will screw the camera again as usual? I cant imagine them beating galaxy S6 camera with all their mega pixels and mambo jumbo gimmicks. Sony has no idea how to implement a great camera in a mobile phone. But they have the best mirrorless camera on the planet. Just shows how little f**ks they give about their mobile division.

15. Marduch

Posts: 81; Member since: Feb 04, 2015

How this best mirrorless camera is called? Thanks to let me know, I ´m gonna buy some top quality compact camera.

19. Lyngdoh

Posts: 319; Member since: Sep 06, 2012


24. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

It has overheating issues, RX 100 MKIV also has overheating issues when shooting in 4K. I really like the camera tho

26. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

The reason a7RII & RX100IV has overheating issues is because both cameras has tiny body. The a7RII with Full Frame sensor & 5 axis IBIS is still smaller than GH4 or NX1, but i don't think it's a deal breaker because the overheating only happened if you record 20+ minutes 4K video on Hot Environments. On the other hands thanks to bigger body (even bigger than a7RII) you can record 4K video up to 29.59 minutes without any problems.

23. dimas

Posts: 3394; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

You know that Galaxy s6 and s6 edge use sony sensors right? Backtrack on PA articles.

37. Niva.

Posts: 440; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

Are all s6 and s6+ variants using Sony sensors? I recall reading somewhere recently that Samsung has started putting their own sensors into their devices since they're now on par.

32. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

You know android as an ability called installing app. Just intall a different camera app like Camera FV-5 by example and this is solved. Most important part are the hardware thats i cannot download it.

16. fancollo unregistered

i still don't understand! sony delivers their own sensors to other manufacturers and they're able to get the most out of these sensors. Sony was never able to do that. So now they introduce a new sensor, while obviously the sensor wasn't the main problem but the photo-processing. So either they used a really bad sensor which they weren't able to sort out with software, or they just introduc a new one to create a hype and hope people will buy the phones. If by any chance this camera setup in the Z5 line will be messed-up again, i would say that Sony at least has ended playing games in this smartphone business!

17. An.Awesome.Guy

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 12, 2015

Sony claimed that this time they put a new sensor that is only will be available for the Sony Xperia smartphones and they claimed that the software processor is better this time. I will wait for the reviews of course.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.