After last week’s full review of the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra, I did promise I would expand upon the camera portion of the review as I didn’t really go too in-depth into it. As a recap, I am wowed by the fact that it has a 23MP rear camera which is the highest I’ve ever used on a smartphone. There is however no second camera so there’s no optical zoom or wide angle lens. This might turn off a few potential buyers, but since this is a mid-range device, it doesn’t bother me as much. On the plus side, Sony does seem to be promoting the dual selfie cameras more in which there is a 16MP unit and a 8MP super wide unit.
Rear Cam Photos
The rear cam is what I honestly use the most. I rarely take selfies of myself so most of this review will deal with the rear camera. All I can really say about it is that it seems to focus really quickly, also shoots really quickly, and the use of the physical camera button is a dream. It makes snapping photos so much easier and more natural because it just feels like a real camera.
In broad daylight with good lighting, the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra takes fantastic photos. The photos are bright, super clear, and full of detail. HDR also seems to help and for the most part, I pretty much keep that option on the whole time on most of my smartphones.
What amazes me is how well the camera can just freeze the action. In the photo above, there is hardly any motion blur at all and this is from a ride at the fair that spins around really quickly.
Colors seem to really pop with the Xperia XA2 Ultra although it’s not without its flaws. You can see that at the bottom right, skin tone seems to be a bit off in the shadow area, but that might be due to the HDR mode in order to compensate for the bright sunlight and shadows. Other than that, not a bad photo at all with still plenty of detail.
Now this is where the camera sort of loses its luster. When you start getting to low light photography, things kinda take a turn. While details in the middle area seem fine, you can see that towards the edges, details sorta get blurred and colors are a bit muddy. This is without the flash of course. There’s also quite a bit of noise everywhere when you look at the photos up close.
Here’s one that is outdoor at night. There’s minimal lighting. mainly from the street lamps and looking at the photo above, it doesn’t look too bad. However, zoom and view the hi-res image and you’ll notice how details kind of all blend together as well as the colors. Much of it looks blobby up close and I believe the software brightened it up a bit more than it should of. This is how it is with most night time photos. Then again, I think a lot of smartphones have trouble taking photos in low light.
Front Cam Photos
Again, not really going to talk much about the front cams but selfie addicts will be happy to note that there are two of them and an LED flash. One is a 16MP unit that provides about 80-degrees of view and the other is a 8MP unit that provides a 120-degree field of view. Both offer pretty good selfie photos and there are certainly some neat things you can do with them if you use the AR function which I’ll talk a bit about in the next section.
The Sony camera app on the Xperia XA2 Ultra does have a few really nice features compared to other camera software that come with other phones. For starters, there’s a full manual mode for those who want complete control over their photos. That includes manual focusing. Next, the Superior Auto mode does a pretty decent job of detecting what the scene is you’re trying to shoot.
Lastly, the Sony Camera is one of the few camera apps that allows for add-ons. These are fun little plug-ins you can install that give the camera app more functionality. You can add things like AR stickers, creative effects, motion shots, etc. These can be found in the Google Play Store.
For the most part, the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra takes very good photos under the right conditions. Enabling camera mode is quick and from sleep, all you have to really do is hold down the camera button to activate. No need to turn on your device and look for the camera app. This is probably one of my most favorite features and again, I wish more phones came with that dedicated camera button.
In terms of photo quality, it’s pretty good for the most part except when the lighting is really bad. This actually goes for most smartphone cameras so it’s really nothing new or surprising. The front cams also work very well for selfies and many will be happy that there is an actual flash up there to brighten up their photos. The wide-angle lens is also a welcome feature as it allows either more people to be in your selfies or you can get more of the background.
Overall, I think most people will be happy with the results and I would say that under normal circumstances, the Xperia XA2 Ultra makes a fine substitute for a point-and-shoot camera.
To check out more samples, check out the Flickr album here.