Sony Xperia Z5 Compact – First lmpressions + Low Light Shots


I couldn’t resist getting the new Sony Xperia Z5 Compact, as I had spent an hour or so with the Z5 Compact at IFA and was left somewhat impressed. Clove Technology currently have the Z5 Compact on offer with a free pair of Sony headphones so it was a win win situation.
I have the Sony Z5 Compact in black and it looks and feels gorgeous. I already have published a post covering the Sony Z5 Camera with some sample shots – click here . This was with the help from reader Whitehartmart.

And back on the 3rd September I took some shots with the Z5, details here.


The Sony Z5 Compact improves upon previous versions with an upgraded camera sensor to 23mp. This currently holds the top spot by DxOmark over all smartphones. The power button has a fingerprint sensor too. The other key specs are –

– Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop) OS
– All new 23 MP Sony camera sensor
– Lossless 5x Clear Zoom and <0.1 second autofocus
– 4.6” HD resolution IPS LCD Screen
– 64 bit octa-core processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 & 2GB RAM
– 32 GB storage & micro SD support up to 200 GB

The key aspect is its size versus top end specs. This really is a proper one handed use phone and I intend to check out its performance, camera, audio and other aspects and give you some honest feedback.

My thanks again to Clove Technology for sending the phone. It was here in a flash, such good service!

Update – As the rain had stopped, I went out last night and pushed the Z5 Compact camera to the max in some very low light conditions. What I found was in extreme low light the ISO was so high, the shots became too noisy to zoom in on but were okay to view on the screen and web.


The above shot is in superior auto mode at 8mp. ISO is this shot was really low at ISO 80 and with a 1/2 second shutter speed. Not a bad shot really. The last shot was taken slightly later, and now it was really dark.


In this shot the ISO is 800 with a 1/16 shutter speed. Again superior auto. Manual mode was worse in low light conditions as was increasing the camera to picture size to the full 23mp.

I will cover off more on the camera in my full review. Any questions, please ask.

15 thoughts on “Sony Xperia Z5 Compact – First lmpressions + Low Light Shots

  1. Nice review Gavin! I may get the Z6 next year but good to keep hearing how great the Z5’s camera is, and that it’s #1! lol

    I only use Manual Mode b/c Superior Auto Mode (on my Z3) just can’t compete with it. You just have to know which adjustments to make (i.e. White Balance, EV, flash or no flash, etc), and the picture will always come out sharper.

    These are the Z3 camera settings I use. You can change the resolution from 15.5 MPs to whatever is the SECOND highest place resolution (21?) on the Z5.

    Sony Xperia Z3 (Manual Mode) Camera Settings

    Resolution: 15.5 MP (or 20.7 for 4:3)

    Focus mode: Face detection

    ISO: Auto

    Metering: Face

    Nighttime Flash: Red Eye (Tell people before you take the shot that it will flash twice. DON’T say anything else besides “TWO flashes” while showing your 2 front fingers as you say it. Or “It’ll flash twice.” Anything else will lose their attention. lol) Or, if Red Eye still produces pics with “red eye”, switch to Auto immediately. (IF flash just isn’t working, day or night, just turn it off.)

    Daytime Flash: Whether people are involved or not, enable “Fill Flash”. It’s a lighter version of Flash. (Why Fill Flash? Compare these 2 pics….. 1) Without Fill: 2) With Fill:

    EV (Exposure Value): -1 (you can adjust b/t 0 and -2 if you’d like) Higher makes the surrounding lighting brighter, lower makes the surrounding light darker.

    WB (White Balance): Auto (except under natural ((day)) light, then use sunny or cloudy option/icon depending on current conditions)

    Important Note: You can make Manual Mode (MM) your default setting by simply ALWAYS using the stock camera app to start the camera up, NOT the dedicated camera button on the side of phone. The dedicated camera button will always bring up Auto Mode, which you don’t want. Just make sure you use the camera app to first go into Manual Mode, apply my settings above (which will save them for next time), then exit out. The next time you tap on the camera app, it will take you to where you left off………… in Manual Mode.

    More non-people pics: For nighttime outdoor pics with little to no light: Switch to 8 MPs in MM, and select “High (ISO) Sensitivity” under Scenes, no flash. (Night Scene mode for light trails: Be warned it uses a very slow shutter so you’ll need to hold steady by resting your shoulders against your body or supporting the camera against something. It uses low ISO and slow shutter to produce very high quality photos with an artistic flair. Try it out on a busy street at night.)


      1. Ok? lol Lemme know. The camera has obviously improved so maybe some tweaks to what I suggested are in order?

        I don’t really mess with resolution……..before taking a pic I determine white balance…… is it sunny or cloudy? If neither or at night (artificial light), Auto works best. EV I keep at -1 but I vary that too sometimes, though usually -1 is just right. And flash……. fill flash is great for taking pics of people in daytime…… usually don’t need it (especially during daytime) if just taking pics of objects. At night auto or fill flash can vary a bit more, but many times don’t need flash if bright enough in the room or area.


      2. As far as I can see, the manual mode options have been clawed back. Scenes are only available at 8mp, its 23mp, 21mp 16:9 or 8mp file sizes and nothing in between. Like I said, I need more time with it. Just updated firmware which was a 225mb update.


  2. Off topic. Just ordered my Samsung Gear S2 Classic from Clove but could not find any special links from your site. Cancelled my order with


  3. if you can tell me should i but LGG4 or Sony Z5 .. from what i see in reviews G4 better than Z5 .. i like the manual mode in G4. what is the best smartphone can take great and best quality pic ?
    btw am an iphone 6+ user and this is my instagram: uae_sniper
    you can check my work


      1. thanks mate. i hope sony fix the resolution of the 23mb pic and add manual control like the one in G4 especially shutter speed. and thanks 🙂


      1. thanks mate. i also browsed your flickr before i talk to you and i really like your work and love the G4 camera. i think tomorrow will order my G4. 🙂


  4. Some reports about colour cast in the entire photo indoors with the z5 ?

    Never seenm this on any of the previous xperias.


Leave a Reply to Gavin Fabiani-Laymond Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.