I had earlier mentioned that the Sony Xperia Z3 packed in a very good camera – one of the best I have seen certainly on a phone in recent times. But if you want to move beyond the basic point and shoot mode (and I certainly do), the good folks at Sony have packed in enough apps and modes to really pull out even more from that camera. There are more than 17 modes in the camera app itself (you just need to tap the camera icon in the circle near the shutter button to access them), and all of them add a lot to your camera experience. But my own favourite five are:
A killer mode for travellers, I think. It uses both the cameras on the Z3. You should a picture of something (a monument, a person, whatever) and then take a picture of yourself using the front facing camera. The two are then put together and you have yourself and the picture you took. Rather neat, we think. You even have control of the size of the selfie you snap and can move its location to anywhere you like in the frame. A simple and effective way to put yourself in the picture literally. Just don’t go too crazy using that front facing camera – it is a 2.2-megapixel camera.
Imagine taking a picture of a temple, with the sound of bells in the background. Or that of a bird, with the sound of its chirping. That’s what Sound Photo does. The result is a photograph complete with sound. I thought it felt gimmicky. Until I saw a photograph of the ocean. With the sounds of the waves in the backdrop. Yes, it does make the file size a bit larger, but it is one of my favourite modes already.
Yes, I know that the iPhone 5s made slow-motion video cool, but the Xperia Z3 takes it to quite another level with this handly little mode. Of course, the Xperia Z3 comes with enough hardware muscle to shoot 4K video, but if it is moving pictures in slow motion that you seek, then this is the app to try. It shoots a video, and then lets you choose which part of it you want to see in slow motion. Fantastic implementation and great for those times when you want a closer look at something that moves fast, be it a bird, an animal or just a juggler at a fair.
Live on YouTube
Got the bandwidth to send a video live to your friends and loving (or hating) audience? This mode is just for that. A single window that lets you broadcast your video on YouTube. Pretty awesome for those moments you want to share live, and well, if you simply do not want to get into the “shoot-save-edit-upload” process that could take hours off your trip!
All right, I just HAD to put this in at the end, given the fact that I do use a DSLR so extensively. But don’t go thinking that the manual mode on the Z3 leaves you with a lot of dial wriggling and selecting strange numbers. No, the manual mode in the Xperia Z3 is one of the simplest I have seen. There are no numbers to select but you simply opt for the best scene option – night scene, pet, beach, snow, gourmet, soft snap, and oh yes, there’s even one for the photography geeks called ‘high sensitivity’ with the ISO logo in front of it. “Manual” here does not mean “go ahead and adjust the camera yourself” but actually allows you to pick a scene mode that works best for you. Some hardcore photographers might whine and moan about the absence of numbers to play around with, but hey, you want to do that – you get a DSLR. Personally speaking, I love the way Sony has handled this, although yes, I will admit that a small part of me wishes I could tweak specific settings more.
Incidentally, a number of these modes are also available as apps on the Android Play Store, and you can download other apps for the Xperia Z3 also from the Play Store if you wish.