Camera

The new iSight camera is the fastest performer we've tested, and performs admirably in all light situations, while the Z3 counters with the ability to shoot 4K video footage.

Sony's flagship sports a 20.7 MP 1/2.3” Exmor RS sensor with 1.12 micron pixels, like the Z2, but Sony touts that the new 25mm G Lens optics (f2.0), and other improvements under the hood, such as boasting up to 12800 ISO sensitivity. Apple also improved on the 8 MP 1/3” iSight camera with 1.5 micron pixels and f/2.2 aperture in the iPhone 6, introducing a new focusing system, and new shooting modes. When it comes to shooting speeds, the iPhone 6 camera records a shot, and is ready for another one almost instantaneously, for a fraction of a second – in fact, it is the fastest phone in that respect in our benchmarks. The Xperia Z3 is also rather quick to take a picture, though, and, since there is a two-stage shutter key on the right, you can also set it to fire up the camera app and take a picture from a locked screen, which takes just about a second or two.



Besides a built-in Time-lapse regime, the Z3 sports most shooting modes and manual adjustments that the iPhone has, such as Panorama, real-time HDR for pics and video, and then some. Some other cool regimes include Background Defocus, which aims to achieve the trendy shallow depth of field effect.

The iPhone 6 shoots great photos with slightly warm but mostly accurate, pleasant colors, and a fine amount of detail in all circumstances. The Z3 shoots 8 MP snaps in the default Superior Auto mode, and the level of detail is comparable. It manages to produce a tad more bland-looking colors than the iPhone 6. The Z3 has some flare issues when shooting against a bright light source, like a window or the sun.

When it comes to indoor shots, color presentation stays mostly natural with the Z3, while the iPhone 6 tends to go on the warm side. The images from the Xperia phone, however, look a bit too post-processed, and a tad softer than they should be, while the iPhone manages to keep detail both distinctive, and noise in check. Both LED flash modules are able to illuminate a small scene in an even manner, though the two-tone flash of the iPhone 6 appears to be slightly stronger, casting more light on the scene.


Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 1.9
2
619
432
Sony Xperia Z3 3.2
No data
452
395


The Xperia Z3 has an upper hand when shooting video, as it is capable to produce 4K footage with some serious levels of detail. It would heat up the phone, and eat up your storage pretty fast, though, and 1080p is more than enough for most purposes. The iPhone 6 is capable of shooting 1080p, and with 60fps at that, but also offers you the ability to do a time-lapse video out of the box, as well as slow-mo with 240fps, which looks fantastic. The footage produced from both phones is fluid, without annoying artifacts, and with good color presentation. The handsets also record great sound towards said video – clean, strong, and absent of background noises if you start to comment on the footage from behind the lens.


Multimedia


The larger screen of the Z3 is more conducive for general media consumption like watching movies or browsing photos, though the difference is no longer as stark as with previous iPhone editions, as the iPhone 6 now has a 4.7” panel. Both galleries offer grid thumbnail views, and allow for rich picture editing from within the apps, as well as sport plenty of sharing options. The iPhone's video playback is quite a bit more limited than the video player on the Z3, as it doesn't support DivX/Xvid/MKV files out of the box, while the Z3 plays almost every format in up to 1080p resolution, and offers extras like subtitles support, for instance.

When it comes to the music players, we'd have to give one up for the Xperia phone again, as it has a sleeker interface with plenty of equalizer and visualization options built in. The Xperia Z3 also flaunts Sony's Digital sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE), which brags to upconvert crappy tracks to a higher-resolution format - we can attest that there is a slight difference, though not as stark as if the tunes were high quality in the first place. Sony offers two waterproof stereo speakers at the front, which sound clean, but are somewhat muffled, while the iPhone 6 makes you wonder how did Apple fit such a strong, clean and high-quality speaker in such a thin phone.



Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 74.5
Sony Xperia Z3 74


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