Sony infographic highlights Xperia Z3 low-light imaging prowess

by XB on 20th November 2014

in Imaging, Xperia Z3 series

sony-xperia-z3-cameraThe Sony Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact launched with what looks a near-identical camera spec to its predecessors. However, a couple of differences included a wider-angle camera lens (25mm G Lens) and a maximum ISO of 12,800 for low-light photography. The latter is what Sony is highlighting in this latest infographic.

The infographic shares some fun facts around low-light photography and what makes the Xperia Z3 series so capable. This includes explaining what the ISO number actually means, some tips from professionals and social stats. Check it out below.


Via Sony Mobile Blog.

  • Sadab Khan

    Stop with this nonsense and put snapdragon 810 on the z4 and z4 compact

  • Ghengis

    You’re one to talk about nonsense.. I sincerely doubt the marketing folks that put this infographic together work in the hardware department.

  • Boonerski

    Ironic how Sony doesn’t know how to utilize its own sensors to the fullest. With the likes of the Note 4 that also utilizes Sony’s sensor and even adding optical image stabilization whereas Sony has yet to introduce into its own mobile optics while they go on and on about how great their low-light photography is… But Sony has water/dust proofing so I guess that’s a thing. Still, I do hope Sony would do better in improving the mobile photography experience into their own phones. It would be nice though if they would make a cameraphone like the Lumia 1020, and with Sony penchant for waterproofing their phones, it would be awesome even for a niche product.

  • roeshak

    Please Sony stop with the bull. ISO 1600 for cloudy days and indoor shots??? Well be my guest if you want your xperia to produce the noisiest and most alien looking images.
    You want my advice people, don’t go above ISO 400 in any case. ISO 800 only for the darkest situations.
    Crazy!!! They recommend such high values. For cloudy days, I still use 50, and 200 for indoor shots.
    It’s obvious now, Sony doesn’t care about pixel level detail. They wouldn’t make these sorts of crazy recommendations if they did.
    Word of advice to Sony, improve the focal mechanism in your smartphones and stop relying on the core android system to do that. Xperias need to improve their ability to focus at lower iso values.

  • Coolkid

    Reading everywhere that Xperia Z3’s camera s/w has been improved… But Sony can do much, much better.. Hope they’ll show their full potential in the upcoming Xperias by improving the algorithm.. Waiting desperately to see one Sony flagship that will kick other flagships back.. It won’t take Sony a moment to launch such a badass cameraphone.. After all, they own Amazing Alpha & cybershot series of cameras… :) :) :)

  • Andi Ko

    Sony already improved the camera in Z3 and Z3 compact,….but compare with other smartphone camera,…sony still behind them,…and sadly they use camera sensors from sony ( not all but a lot )

  • Jachym Kokesh Lukes

    I did 12800 last weekend. Full speed running dogs on a very very cloudy day. It was sharp. Probably first time ever on any camera (succeeded several times before on my Olympus E420 DSLR with fully manual settings), but the image was practically black & white, with not so many details when zoomed in. So yes, it is great to have the 1600+ possibility, but you must weigh the cost. I like to be able to do it, but mostly I keep my Z2 camera at 800 when needed, otherwise I try to take the pic as low as possible. Yes, I do not use Superior Auto, as photos are quite blurry and the detail isn’t simply there.

  • Filip

    Hm, after all updates on my Z1 compact, flash bleed still STANDS (in low light conditions). I we painted silver ring around camera with black waterproof marker and resault is better, but there is still white light in bottom of pictures. I have no plans to buy other rear cover.

  • Abdul Ghani

    lol sony never fixed the compression and claiming its the

  • Abdul Ghani

    sony is right their phone pictures are only good for instagram and facebook

  • hansip

    They said that the quality of photo depends more of the Person who shoots it rather than the camera itself. So i don’t know why people so bitching about that negligible differences in good light rather than praising the low light quality of Sony’s sensor. Heck even Note 4 uses Sony’s sensor again for such quality.

    Plus a Beautiful picture is about the moment, not the quality of the picture alone. And what moment can be captured if the sensor is bad one on the low light condition?

    My point is, don’t judge only on one side of the equation, take it as a whole and then talk about it.

  • Lemme be clear on this.
    I’m not a photographer by profession, but in the last 10 months, I’ve taken over 1,500 pictures in both cloudless direct sunlight open doors scenes as well as in the dark, including improperly lighted museums indoors. See here for pictures:

    The truth of the matter is this: in real life, using 12k iso to take photo is BS. Big BS. Upon all the pictures I took, the highest iso I ever went was 800.

    With HDR and flash on, I could get the best of whatever the lighting conditions were with less than 1k iso. This 12k iso Sony is making noise about is total gimmick. It doesn’t count a bit.

    Its like making a car travel speed of light on earth, it just won’t work, as factors on earth won’t permit that to properly succeed. 12,800 is way way way too unnecessarily high for whatever the picture one wants to take. Pushing a phone’s lens to take 12k iso picture, how can it be of quality?

    It surprises me Sony puts unnecessary marketing effort in features of their phones that REALLY don’t count or the users don’t actually need.

    There are better features of their phones they could put so much emphasis on that would go a long way to turn heads such as their Quantum Dots display technology and their display efficiency.

    I did a post here about Sony being the only well known company producing quantum dots technology display in phones and many consumer devices today.

    1k iso is even useless for a mobile phone, how much more 12k. Stop talking nonsense, Sony!

  • Deki

    Xperia Z1 has a great camera performance. I had many great shots taken with the Z1, especially in low light conditions. You can check out them all at my Flickr:

    Also, I got macro, wide and fisheye lens that also took great shots. But, everything on MANUAL MODE, nothing on SUPERIOR AUTO… That’s my final!

  • I totally agree with you. My z2 takes pictures I don’t lack anything.

  • jonny


  • Abu Saleq Rocky

    Sony camera algorithm is piece of shit. Go and use iPhone algorithm. Now a days every one is like over saturated punchy photo. So go to them. And ur pictures are to much noisy. I hate that. I m Xperia z2 user

  • Pingback: ??? ??????? ??? ?????? ??????? Z3 ?? ?????? ?????????? ???? ?????? ??????? ???? ???? ??? ????? ?????? | ?????()

  • Yasir Fawad

    for best night shots on your Xperia, enable manual mode, enable 8 mp, and from photo scenes use high sensitivity, use a tripod. it will give you the best shot possible. JUST PERFECT for a mobile.

  • Faisal Armand

    Well, I never go beyond ISO 250, even in the shittiest of conditions.

  • Faisal Armand
  • Sadab Khan

    You should know that “market research” is also a function of marketing folks….they can convey this data to the hardware department :)

  • Faisal Armand


    ISO 50: obviously a daylight and indoor shots with bright lightning

    ISO 100-250: indoor shot with medium lightning to very poor low light conditions

    I never go beyond 250.

  • I’ve gone beyond even 500 but trust me, it gets to that point then get ready for some grainy things. People take pictures for quality, not ISO records.

  • Exactly Yasir.

  • I absolutely agree with you.

    Night shots at ISO-200 already seem too grainy for my taste.
    (own example shots: )

    There’s one shot that I deliberately took at ISO-800 ( ) but that’s because it was an extremely dark situation. If it weren’t a creative shot, it would’ve looked awful (note that I’m using the Xperia Z1, but the camera seems (about) the same).

  • roeshak

    I wish I could also stay below 300 but I have to use 400 sometimes to guarantee focus. What I do is compensate by dropping the exposure to mitigate noise.
    These sensors are too small to encourage high values for iso. The thing is Sony thinks all that’s needed is photos for Facebook and instagram lol.
    I like to explore my photos especially the scenic ones so detail preservation is important to me and I use the camera to get the best possible results in that regard.

  • roeshak

    It’s essentially the same camera. The fact that pictures are sharper on 4.4.4 is down to Google and not Sony really.
    That for me is their challenge going forward, getting their small sensors to consistently focus at lower iso.
    I also agree that the xperia cameras need OIS to help with this problem. All talk around the imx 230 is centrefolds on focusing so let’s hope it does better but for me software is what’s lacking. Software to automate the camera properly. Superior auto is a joke!
    And also software improving the focal mechanism to deal with high res images at lower iso values.
    They achieve this and it’ll be an end to complaints about xperia cameras.
    Forget Abdul Ghani and his image processing algorithms bull. He’s looking in the wrong place.

  • Faisal Armand

    Actually, only 5% of smartphone users pixel-peep, the 95% doesn’t give a crap. That’s why sony gives this infographic.

    The reasons why I never use ISO above 250: well, manual night scene is my favourite SCN mode. It only allows max ISO of 250 but it has a compensation of long exposure/shutter speed to let more light into the sensor which means, less noise, more details, proper exposure.

    Like this indoor shot:

  • Faisal Armand

    I keep the ISO low for quality also, but I always have long exposure to keep quality in check

  • Faisal Armand

    Dude herman, try long shutter at ISO 200. Use manual night scene mode, it will use long shutter to elimimate noise and add more details

    This shot for example:

  • Fempter

    Is there any possible to get ISO12800 on my Xperia Z2?

  • Kaostheory

    Use Google camera then. What’s so hard?

  • Faisal Armand

    Lol, give him a break dude..

  • Alex from the other side

    Why do you say “I’m using manual mod night scene”? That’s not manual mode. In manual mod you set the aperture, the exposure time and ISO. Night scene and other scenes are automatic mods. But phones have fixed aperture, and you can’t set the shutter speed. So, where’s the manual mod?

  • Hey, thanks. I never used scene modes as I’d have to re-set all of the previous settings like focus mode and ISO (damn Sony, when will you finally fix this shit). But I really should give it another try. I always shoot in 20 megapixels just to get the full potential out of the camera, but I might have to reconsider using only 8 megapixels (after all this is indeed still plenty for a detailed image).

  • IIAlparslan

    Your Paints Seems Great :)

  • Faisal Armand

    Well, I know only some of them but not all.

    – Landscape: gives sharper pictures than manual mode & a bit more dynamic range. Plus more saturation in blue & green channel

    – Soft skin: eliminates skin freckles & blemishes and making soft facial tone, girls may like this mode, lol.

    – Sports & anti motion blur: fast shutter speeds for capturing actions. NB: don’t use this in medium to low light or you’ll end up with sh*t looking pictures

    – Night scene: simply my favourite SCN mode. Enables low ISO + long exposure, can make night shots quality identical to those of daylight shots, works miracles for indoor shots too. The best is to put the phone in a tripod

  • Kaostheory

    Wish you could use the camera button to automatically launch into a preset mode.

  • Tadija Djurovic

    Hello everyone, I know it’s the wrong topic but just to tell you:
    Im today instaled NEW firmware version on Xperia Z3 23.0.1.A.5.73

    here is some my screenshot:

  • The only downside is that it won’t let us focus really close (nor is a different focus mode possible other than centre) for some odd reason.

    I really don’t get it, why the camera doesn’t allow full manual control though. Why not still allow users to select ISO in Night Mode, where setting it to Auto implies 50-250? Why not focus up close? And why do those settings that you cannot change reset to “auto settings” whenever I set it back to using no scene mode? The camera is very capable, but Sony just won’t let us use it well. We can’t even set Manual Mode to start with a press of the camera button, instead it has to open “Superior Auto” mode…

  • Tadija Djurovic

    I have today installed the NEW version of the firmware: 23.0.1.A.5.73

    Xperia Z3 D6603 :)

  • Guest

    XPERIA Z3 D6603
    I have today installed the NEW version of the firmware: 23.0.1.A.5.73

  • Faisal Armand

    Yep, that is one of the most annoying things in using xperia cameras.. After I used SCN mode, I have to re set the focus, ISO, and sh*t.

    Also, one of the things that annoy me is there are so many gimmick camera mode such as AR Fun, etc and sony teams are more focused on them rather than let’s say… Give us a good auto mode or full manual controls with settings of shutter speed, and manual focus

  • The King Nokia Rises

    Sorry but the king is back, Next year we’ll see the best cameraphone powered by android from Nokia.

  • But hey, 97% of people who buy this phone, if not more, probably don’t care about changing ISO settings, and rather want simple and straight forward controls. Manual for them is “selecting scene modes themselves” and AR Fun is indeed a lot of fun for them (and actually, I enjoyed this mode once or twice as well). Sony put basic “manual control” in there for us 3% of people. But why go 100% out for only 3% of people? Only Nokia so far seems to do that – then again, Lumia 1020 buyers buy the phone for the camera. I can’t believe anyone would buy that phone and see the camera as “a good secondary feature”.

  • fluxx

    I would complain a far more less about the Sony camera if they would finally fix or improve basics like white balance and exposure. Sharpness and ISO on my Z2 are fine, but in contrast to my old Lumia 925 which get the colors right most of the time the Z2 (which shares most of its features with the Z3 after the last 4.4.4 udpate) fails most of the time. Colors are way off.

  • Faisal Armand


  • s-emo

    Probably you mean from Microsoft, as far as I know they decided to drop the name Nokia from the Lumia range already.

  • shanefalco

    sony make ridicolous article and camera software.

  • apolloa

    I am going to be looking forward to the Xperia Z4 compact, if I can manage to hold out from the Z3 compact for that long haha. But some of the photos you guy’s have taken are fantastic I must say!

  • The King Nokia Rises

    Have you heard the news about the Nokia N1 tablet?

  • SonyXperiaBug

    Ok, never go beyond ISO250 manual mode or night scene.. How about metering settings? What is the best metering setting for low light conditions or indoor shots?

  • Coolkid

    Sony owns amazing Alpha & Cybershot series and they provide sensor for most of the mobile manufacturers(Heard Lumia 920 too uses Sony sensor :) ).. If Sony decides to use RX100 sensor with proper algorithm on any of its flagship, Nokia can never be the King.. But Sony’s never gonna do it.. It’s jus a matter of time Sony dethrones Nokia…!!! :)

  • Battal Aljadei

    We wanna see Graphic results not info-graphic seminar !
    We care our opinions on the camera results not your opinion on your camera info-graphic Sony !?

  • Sachin Gautam

    Hahhahah exactly

  • Steven Khoo Skkl

    Hey Faisal, just wanna ask a question.. It’s about Rayleigh diffraction limit.. I don’t know that but I saw a few comments on GSMarena that said that Sony is way above that..Could you shed some light?

  • Faisal Armand

    I’ve been studying that for some time, also.

    Rayleigh diffraction limit is basically what happens if there are too much megapixels in one sensor, all cameraphones breaks it except HTC One M8 and iphone 6.

    If you put too much MP in one sensor, yes the pixel count will be plenty but each pixels are very small in size. This won’t be too much of a problem in daylight conditions, but in low light this could potentially be problematic as small size pixels has less ability to absorb light which will lead into noises, loss of details, etc.

    My analysis is this: all cameraphones with small size pixels has average low light performance, if there is a particular cameraphone that has good low light performance even with small pixels, it must have OIS or else it will struggle heavily. And what OIS does is stabilizing the frame so the camera can shoot with low ISO & slow shutter speed. Low ISO + slow shutter = more light into the sensor, hence more details and less noise

    And quite remarkably, sony xperia z series with 1/2.3″ 20.7MP 1.12um sensor deal well with RDL in low light conditions even without OIS. But the daylight shots are somewhat too processed.

    – Samsung Galaxy S5: 1/2.6″ 16MP 1.12um, no OIS = poor low light performance

    – Samsung Galaxy S4: 1/3″ 13MP 1.12um, no OIS = poor low light performance

    – LG G3 & LG G2: 1/3″ 13MP 1.12um, OIS = good low light performance. But actually there is too much noise reduction in their higher ISO, they both use OIS to compensate it

    – Nokia 930 & 1520: 1/2.5″ 19MP 1.12um, OIS: very good low light performance

    Sony Xperia Z2 & Z3: 1/2.3″ 20.7MP, 1.12um, no OIS: still good low light performance

    That’s all I can say

  • Steven Khoo Skkl

    Thanks mate for clearing that up. I was worried that it might actually be a marketing scheme by Sony.. Guess it isn’t especially when you take great pics in your Z2.. The guys at GSMarena said that Sony was a fool for putting high pixel count in such a small sensor and they should only put 16mp max with f1.9.. Guess there’s more to physics than we all would know.. Just hoping Sony gets their camera right for Z4.. I’m getting that for sure.. 2 years is a long time using an old processor.. Just hope the camera isn’t the deal breaker as with what I heard of Z3 glass shattering

  • Faisal Armand

    IMO, Sony only need to fix the auto mode in Xperia cameras as it is too aggresive in choosing ISO & shutter speed, but actually the per ISO performance is very good and better than.. Let’s say.. Samsung Galaxy S5,iphone 6+, LG G3, and Note 4

  • No there is no Problem.

    Islam | Muslim |Smartphones |News Gone

  • Steven Khoo Skkl

    Hehe..Then I can’t wait for it…

  • Ghengis

    Your opinion in the matter wont make a difference, the Z4 is most likely already far in to development.

  • manutd

    word,and words and words….and the pictures with z3 are so bad.can’t even look at a indoor picture,even on my phone.I really pass when I have to take a picture indoors,because I know the result is just awful!how can a 600 e phone,take such bad pictures?how can a SONY phone be so bad when it came to the camera.I really hope one day I’ll just be happy with the camera,but when will that day come???until then,I’ll just buy sony phones for the should have the best camera in the world sony,but it’s just noise and a big mess,that’s how you’re pictures look like,even on the 5.2 screen.wake up,and put a decent camera on the premium phones!!!

  • User2080

    seriously? google tweaked sony’s camera software? you don’t know what you’re talking about sony hater. sony prepares their own version of android and does their own tweaks based on the latest OS released by google.

  • f

    The Z4 has a Snapdragon 810…

  • f

    The Z4 has a Snapdragon 810….

  • Sean O’Connor

    Thanks for the tip. I’ve just taken my favourite low-light shot after trying out night scene for the first time.

  • InspectorGadget80

    Wish i could trade my Z1 for the Z3. but think i’ll wait for the Z4 Z ULTRA2 OR Z5 later on

  • Faisal Armand

    Great shot, there!

  • mike8237

    the Z4 is too early for the 810, it will get the 805..

  • s-emo

    yes, but this is not the real Nokia that we all know from the past, the N1 is just using Nokia’s name and in reality it is just an average Chinese product so don’t expect anything from the Nokia Pureview technologies in it.

  • shubham

    note 4 doesn’t use sony’s sensor.. it uses samsung’s very own ISOCELL sensor..

  • shubham

    foxxconn or whatever it is called made the n1 tablet! its the same company that manufactures ipad for apple you idiot!

  • Boonerski

    No. The Note 4 uses Sony’s sensor, specifically the IMX240. Read here for more info

  • Fempter

    You mean “There is no problem” or “There is no possible”?

  • idontknowyou

    Hey Faisal!

    I tried your night scene suggestion on my Z3 compact but the camera disables the ISO setting if I select Night Scene! Used 8mp resolution! See attached image for reference! thanks man.. :)

  • Faisal Armand

    If you used any of the SCN modes, the software automatically disables all settings (ISO, WB, EV, Metering, etc) as the purpose of SCN modes is to shoot pictures using preset settings that’s determined by the software.

    See my tutorial on how to shoot better night shots here

  • idontknowyou

    thanks… good tutorials.. :)

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