I just want to share with you my opinion about the Sony Xperia XA1 rear camera image quality. The Xperia XA1 launched for Rs. 19,990, which is around $310 USD as of the time of writing. For that price I was expecting a good camera. GSMArena have posted their Sony Xperia XA1 review, so I got a chance to examine some camera samples and see how good the image quality really is.
First of all regarding the image sharpness. The image sharpness can be misleading at times, because some phone manufacturers add extra sharpening in post-processing, making the image look very sharp. This can lead to some image artifacts that impair image quality. This is why I always view sample images at 100% scale and observe them on a large high-quality screen. There is also a different between how the camera performs on the center compared to the corners of the frame.
In case of the Sony Xperia XA1, I observed softness in the corners of the frame, but it wasn't unexpected, and most phone cameras at this price perform more or less like that, so nothing to get worried about. There are significant lens distortions, which I didn't like, but again, nothing that I wasn't expecting to see.
The center of the frame however is very sharp. I haven't noticed any image artifacts, which means that there isn't any aggressive image sharpening. If there is some degree of sharpening, it's really subtle. Just look at this image. Enlarge it and focus on the window area of the building and look at the small holes there, look how sharp and well defined that texture area is, just tack sharp! There aren't any jaggies, just a really sharp details. So super sharp results in the center of the frame, which is great. The 23MP Sony Exmor RS image sensor really does an excellent job in preserving the fine details of the photographed scene.
Now regarding color reproduction and dynamic range. The Sony Xperia XA1 images These are exactly the color rendering I love to see in photos: bright, vivid yet not too saturated which make colors look synthetic and unnatural. The post processing does enhance the image colors, you can clearly see that, but I like it that way, because sky appear more blue, green is popping out and the image just get a more interesting look and more enjoyable to look at. Of course this is just my own opinions, some people might prefer a more subtle and natural look. I think that the color balance here is just right and Sony did an excellent job here with how the sensor renders the green and red colors, I'm really impressed with it. The dynamic range is also good. I was expecting a 23MP sensor to have less dynamic range, but due to the large Sony IMX300 1/2.3" sensor, the pixel size remains not too small (1.08-microns) and the negative impact on the dynamic range is not too high and the camera can still maintain good details in shadow and very bright areas (e.g. bright clouds in the sky). Images just look overall very balanced with great clarity and contrast.
Even the noise levels are low when shooting in daylight. I will keep the low-light performance to another post, but when it comes to shooting on a bright daylight, noise level are good as well.
It's really great to have such a high-resolution camera to work with. I really love editing my photos on my laptop computer and having 23MP resolution just gives me so much room to "play" with the image in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC, my favorite photo editing software.
So with remarkable sharpness, great color rendering and low noise level in daylight conditions, the Sony Xperia XA1 rear camera really shown some superb performance. Sony mentioned "Impressive photo quality" on the Xperia XA1 official product page on sonymobile.com and indeed, it is capable of capturing really high-quality image. The XA1 features a f/2.0 lens and Sony's Exmor RS sensor technology that help promote this satisfying image quality when shooting in ideal lighting conditions. Photos taken with the Sony Xperia XA1 will look sharp, vivid and with stunning clarity, exactly the way you want them to be. You will just enjoy watching your photos at home or on the phone's display. It Xperia XA1 main camera just yields very detailed and vivid photos with striking clarity and low noise levels in daylight conditions - Great work there Sony, keep it up!