Sony Xperia C5 Ultra, Xperia M5 Bank On Camera Performance - InformationWeek

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8/17/2015
08:05 AM
Pablo Valerio
Pablo Valerio
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Sony Xperia C5 Ultra, Xperia M5 Bank On Camera Performance

While many smartphones are measured by battery life and processor speed, Sony is taking a different approach with the Xperia C5 Ultra and Xperia M5 by focusing on the camera and amateur photographers.

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If we look at the last flagship phones from Apple and Samsung -- the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S6, respectively -- there is a strong trend to improve the image quality of their cameras. People carrying a large smartphone want to use it for everything, and that includes taking high-quality pictures.

Current high-end smartphone users expect the image quality of their devices to match the results of a medium-range prosumer digital camera, especially if they pay $700 to $800 for the phone.

Sony is the undisputed leader is proving sensors for high-end smartphones in the market. Both Apple and Samsung are loyal customers of the company's Exmor RS processors, featured in all Apple smartphones since the iPhone 5, as well as in Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and S6 series.

Now Sony is introducing two new mid-range smartphones targeting the imaging market -- the Xperia C5 Ultra and the Xperia M5. The phones are equipped with the latest generation of Exmor sensors, octa-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 processors, and 16GB of storage with microSD expansion support (up to 200 GB).

The two are running the latest Android OS 5.0, souped-up with Xperia applications.

The Xperia C5 (Image: Sony)

The Xperia C5 (Image: Sony)

"We are pleased to present two new products that highlight Sony's advances in camera technology," Tony McNulty, vice president of Sony's Value Category Business Management, wrote in an Aug. 3 press release. "We understand that camera capabilities are important to smartphone users, so we ensured that Sony's existing camera brilliance was once again surpassed in the new Xperia C5 Ultra and Xperia M5 without compromising on other features across design and performance."

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The main differences between the two are the screen size, battery, and rear-camera resolution. The 5-inch M5 features a 21.5-megapixels rear camera capable of recording 3840x2160 (4K) video with an F2.2 camera lens, Hybrid AF, 5X Clear Image Zoom. It is also waterproof and dust-tight, but lags in battery life against the larger 6.0-inch C5 Ultra. The M5 also has a more powerful processor, the MediaTek Helio X10 with 3GB RAM.

Sony is clearly trying to lure the mid-range smartphone customer that wants superb images, but is not willing to part with half his or her paycheck for a flagship device. The new Xperia M5 offers the same or better camera performance than the iPhone 6 for half the price.

Both models are banking on the popularity of taking "selfies," as they feature a front camera with 13-megapixel sensors and wide-angle lenses, to capture much more than other models.

What's the catch?

In my view, it would be that you won't be pulling out the newest iPhones or Galaxy devices in front of your friends and colleagues. If you are in the market for a smartphone and an Apple fan, too, you'll probably foot the bill for the new iPhone 6s when it comes out, possibility with the same sensor as the newest Sony phones.

The Xperia C5 Ultra and Xperia M5 will ship this month. Pricing has not been officially announced, but it is rumored to be $489 and $549 for the C5 Ultra and M5, respectively.

Pablo Valerio has been in the IT industry for 25+ years, mostly working for American companies in Europe. Over the years he has developed channels, established operations, and served as European general manager for several companies. While primarily based in Spain, he has ... View Full Bio
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tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/18/2015 | 9:45:14 AM
Re: It's The Sensor Size That Counts
Sony does a great job with their sensors. In fact their sensors are in Nikon DSLR's. I've owned a few Sony digital cameras including the RX100 which was really a great camera to use. Now if only they would put an APS-C in one! I cannot justify buying the RX1 full frame because the cost is too high, but i think an APS-C would really make this camera astonishing.

You are right about the sensors on the smartphones getting better. I have an iPhone 6+ and the camera is really good. Very useful when i don't have my X100S with me-but certainly not a substitute.
Pablo Valerio
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Pablo Valerio,
User Rank: Ninja
8/18/2015 | 9:11:08 AM
Re: It's The Sensor Size That Counts
"The quality always is related to the size of the sensor, not the amount of pixels."

Agreed! I have been a SLR user for many years and nothing compares to the quality of a dedicated camera with good sensor and optics.

But smartphone sensors have recently evolved significantly, providing a decent image capture. The Exmor RS series are really impressive, and Sony makes more money selling sensors than smartphones.

 
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/17/2015 | 7:59:58 PM
It's The Sensor Size That Counts
Smartphone cameras have pretty much destroyed the low end digicam market because of their much improved picture quality. But to truly get top quality pictures, you will need to get a camera with a large sensor, something that is not avaialble in a smartphone. The large sensors are the 1" and APS-C sensors which are in the high end digital cameras. The top camera companies recognize this and are offering fairly compact cameras with these large sensors. They make a huge difference in detail, low light photography and getting the truly memorable pictures. The quality always is related to the size of the sensor, not the amount of pixels.
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