Sony Xperia M Review: Morning Show: Still And Video Camera, Image Quality Comparison

By 07:18 Fri, 13 Aug 2021 Comments

5MP capturing camera does not impress

The Sony Xperia M is equipped with a 5 megapixel capturing camera that can produce still shots with a maximum resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels.

The capturing camera interface consists of two panes and is unified with the camcorder one - you can start snapping away or shoot a video without the need to change modes. The correct one holds four virtual buttons - a shortslit to the gallery, video and still shot shutter keys, and a primary/secondary capturing camera toggle.

On the left you acquire the shooting mode selection key in the top corner, followed by three customizable shortcuts. The final shortslit here opens the drawer with all available settings for the given shooting mode.

Sony Xperia M capturing camera interface

Naturally, the Sony Xperia M capturing camera offers all kinds of features, including HDR mode, Sweep panorama face detection, geo-tagging and touch capture. Scenes and picture effects are available too. The effects split the classy screen into nine segments and show a live preview of each of the nine effects, but it's a small laggy.

Viewing all nine effects • just one

There's also the home-baked quick launch mode, which lets you select what the capturing camera shortslit on the lockclassy screen does. You can go for simply launching the capturing camera in either still or movie mode, or you can set it to immediately snap a photo/start capturing video.

This might come in handy for those occasions when you are worried that you might miss a shot, but it is also useful for when you don't want to waste your battery keeping the capturing camera interface constantly going (it's a real battery hog).

The capturing camera has an auto upload option, but that only works with Sony's own PlayMemories Online service. You can set it to upload only over Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) and only while charging.

The image quality of the Sony Xperia M photos is not that good. The dynamic range is low and the photos often have their highlights blown out even when the image appears underexposed. Colors are not remarkable either with white balance visibly off most of the time - and it's not consistent, we saw blue tint, yellow tint even green tint. There is a lens issue with our unit too, with visible corner softness on the left. All that said, the amount of fine detail looks okay for a 5MP camera, but the overall results are not great.

Sony Xperia M capturing camera samples

HDR mode is available too, helping you bring extra dynamic range to both the shadows and highlight areas of your shot. It messes up the colors further and reduces the contrast noticeably.

HDR off • HDR on • HDR off • HDR on

Photo quality comparison

The Sony Xperia M goes into our photo compare tool in the lightweight category of 5MP. You can check out how it's bigger sibling, the Xperia L, did along with other phones in the same market segment.

Sony Xperia M in our Photo quality comparison tool

720p video is high on bitrate, low on quality

The Sony Xperia M is capable of capturing 720p video footage at 30fps, same as the 8MP capturing camera of the Xperia L. However, there's no HDR mode for the video.

What came as a disappointment for us is the fact that even though the Xperia M is able to capture still shots while recording video, it only produces images at Video Graphics Array (VGA) resolution - which is a third of the resolution of the video, making it quite pointless.

Camcorder interface

More crucially though, Sony Xperia M just doesn't record fine video (the L didn't either). The clips shot with it see like upsized Video Graphics Array (VGA) footage as they lack detail and see all pixelated with heavy oversharpening halos. Colors are okay and framerate is steady at 30fps, but the lack of detail really ruins the whole experience. The continuous autofocus feature triggered too often too.

Strangely enough videos have more than enough bitrate at about 17Mbps imprint (the L did 12Mbps!), so you can't really blame it on compression. The whole thing is a waste of storage though, 17Mbps could fit 1080p video, let alone that the quality recommdiscontinue something closer to 5Mbps.

Other than that the video sound is recorded in stereo at a 96Kbps bitrate, which is just enough.

And here's a 720p@30fps sample for direct download.

Video quality comparison

Good or not, the Sony Xperia M enters our video comparison tool database. See how it does against entry-level Androids and Windows Phone handsets (which typically beat their Android rivals in terms of chipset and camera).

Sony Xperia M in our Video quality comparison tool



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