JAPANESE HARDWARE MAKER Sony entered a very crowded smartphone market when it launched its latest flagship handset, the Xperia Z1 at IFA last month.
In an attempt to stand out among a crowd of high-end devices from rivals like Samsung and HTC, Sony has upgraded the camera found on the original Xperia Z, equipping the Xperia Z1 with a a sensor capable of taking shots up to 20.7MP. But with the mantra of "size isn't everything", Sony has also paid close attention to the features available on the Xperia Z1 camera user interface (UI), enabling users to chop and change between various settings from standard exposure levels to more adventurous augmented reality effects.
We really enjoyed using the Sony Xperia Z1 during our review, hence its decent score. However, some features that we didn't get the chance to show properly were the smartphone's cool new camera tools. We didn't want to let our readers down, so here's a photographic rundown of our favourite camera features of the Xperia Z1.
Upon firing up the Sony Xperia Z1's camera app, you'll be greeted with the viewfinder display as standard and a scene selection menu so you can choose the shot type optimised for the picture you're taking. These range from Landscape and Night Scene modes to Soft Skin, for better looking portraits, and "Gourmet", designed specifically for taking photos of food.
Alternatively, you can select auto mode, which automatically adjusts the settings for what the Xperia Z1 thinks are the best mode for the photo you are taking. You'll see a small icon on the bottom right shift between these different scenes as and when they are detected.
The general camera settings are built-in as standard, too, such as the ability to change resolution of the shots taken, timer settings and a facial recognition toggle, as you'll see below. There's also a good set of adjustable camera options in Manual mode, something some other popular smartphones in the market lack (cough iPhone, cough).
As of yet, we haven't seen anything special on the Xperia Z1's camera apart from the standard settings - but here's where it gets interesting. With the Xperia Z1, Sony has delivered a range of unique photo shooting tools, such as an augmented reality mode and a picture effect mode. These bring entirely another level of fun to the device, with some guaranteed to make you laugh.
Our favourite is the augmented reality feature, which comes with seven kooky visualisations right out of the box.
While some are themed along the lines of virtual words such as "fairytale", "dive" and "dinosaur", with the location of the different assetts on screen being moveable with touch...
Other themes offer augmented reality attire like masks, hats and glasses that are automatically overlayed onto portraits of friends, or strangers passing by if you're daring enough. They are also great for silly selfies.
Our particular favourite was one taken in a shiny helmet.