Sony Xperia 5 front camera review

Reading Time: 5 min read
79
selfie

Announced in September 2019, the Sony Xperia 5 is the Japanese manufacturer’s latest compact flagship, intended as a more pocket-friendly (in both size and price) alternative to the Xperia 1. The Xperia 5 features a 6.1-inch OLED display, a high-end Snapdragon 855 chipset, 128Gb of internal storage with 6Gb RAM, and IP65/68 dust/water resistance. The main camera offers a triple camera setup that includes wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto lens options. The subject of this review is the device’s front camera, however, which utilizes a 8Mp 1/4-inch sensor; a 24mm-equivalent, f/2.0-aperture lens; and 1080p/30fps video with 5-axis, gyroscope-enabled electronic image stabilization (EIS). Let’s see how the Sony Xperia 5 scores and ranks in our mini-review about its selfie shooting capabilities.

Key front camera specifications:

  • 8Mp 1/4-inch sensor with 1.12µm pixels
  • 24mm-equivalent, f/2.0-aperture lens
  • 1080p/30fps video with 5-axis gyro EIS

About DXOMARK Selfie tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone front camera reviews, DXOMARK engineers capture and evaluate over 1500 test images and more than 2 hours of video both in controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes, using the camera’s default settings. This article is designed to highlight the most important results of our testing. For more information about the DXOMARK Selfie test protocol, click here. 

Test summary

79
selfie
81
photo
76
video

An overall DXOMARK Selfie score of 79 places the Sony Xperia 5 well down the rankings in our database, dropping in just ahead of its stablemate, the Xperia 1 at 78, and behind the Samsung Galaxy S9+ at 81. With Photo and Video sub-scores of 81 and 76, respectively, still photo quality overall is broadly the same between the Xperia 5 and Xperia 1, but the newer Sony device offers a modest improvement in the quality of front camera videos. Key strengths and weakness are the same on both devices, with excellent autofocus a nice benefit, but color management slightly disappointing.

The Sony Xperia 5 front camera delivers accurate exposure on faces and acceptable dynamic range outdoors. A wide depth of field ensures that both faces and backgrounds are sharp.

Outdoor exposure is a key strength for the Xperia 5, thanks to nice exposures on faces and a fairly extended dynamic range that ensures highlights are well controlled. Overall, indoor and low light exposures aren’t quite as good, with limited dynamic range evident, particularly in backlit shots. The main weakness is color rendering, however, with noticeable magenta casts in outdoor images and strong orange color casts on faces both indoors and in low light. Texture is something of a strength, with good detail on faces, but noise on faces and in backgrounds is present in most images, as well as noticeable artifacts such as color fringing.

Sony Xperia 5, pink white balance in outdoor shots
Sony Xperia 5, crop, strong color fringing along contrast edges
Sony Xperia 5, orange color cast on faces indoors
Sony Xperia 5, crop, low dynamic range and highlight clipping

The Xperia 5 hits a new top score for front camera focus, thanks to a wide depth of field that ensures sharp faces at all distances and good detail in the background. Bokeh shots aren’t quite as successful, unfortunately: although dynamic range remains good, depth estimation is poor, with edge and background errors evident at close inspection. Using flash, exposure on faces is good and white balance is neutral without additional light sources. Detail is low, however, with noise visible on faces and in backgrounds when using flash, together with an orange color cast under tungsten light.

Sony Xperia 5, focus and depth of field
Sony Xperia 5, crop, all faces and the background are sharp
Sony Xperia 5, bokeh in Portrait mode
Sony Xperia 5, poor depth estimation with abrupt masking errors

For video, small improvements for color and texture improved the Xperia 5’s score compared to the Xperia 1. Its main strengths are accurate exposures on faces under outdoor and indoor lighting conditions, with good focus and fairly effective stabilization for ensuring that faces are generally sharp and videos smooth. Problems with white balance persist, however, with magenta and orange casts both evident; moreover, its unstable performance with frequent color shifts can be quite distracting. Strong noise is present in most videos, too, and artifacts such as color fringing, hue shifts on faces, and moving texture all affect the overall quality of the Xperia 5’s front camera videos.

Conclusion

Excellent focus and accurate exposure ensure that selfies from the Xperia 5 are sharp, with good brightness. Many problems with color, noise and artifacts, together with acceptable but average results for texture, flash, and bokeh have affected the overall score, however. Front camera image quality remains on par with the more expensive Xperia 1, but both rank towards the bottom of our database.

Photo

Pros

  • Wide depth-of-field focus
  • Accurate exposure indoors and outdoors
  • Wide dynamic range outdoors, including bokeh shots
  • Accurate exposures using flash

Cons

  • White balance errors indoors and outdoors
  • Strong noise in all conditions
  • Limited dynamic range indoors
  • Strong color fringing and hue shift artifacts
  • Depth estimation failures in bokeh shots

Video

Pros

  • Accurate exposure indoors and outdoors
  • Wide depth-of-field focus
  • Good stabilization
  • High detail both indoors and outdoors

Cons

  • Strong pink and orange color casts
  • Unstable white balance
  • Strong noise in all conditions
  • Strong color fringing and hue shift artifacts
  • Moving texture is visible

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