Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs iPhone 6 Camera Comparison: Apples and Androids

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs iPhone 6 Camera Comparison: Apples and Androids

By Rich W Woods

I have been spending a lot of time with the Sony Xperia Z3 and the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact as of late. They are both a pleasure to use. In fact, I’ve developed a bit of a preference for the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. While I intend to compare the Sony Xperia Z3, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to all of the competing phones that I have in stock right now, for some reason it seemed proper to start the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact with a comparison with the iPhone 6.

The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact blows away the specs of the iPhone 6 in every way. That being said, the cameras are comparable. You have to understand that megapixels don’t matter. After all, a 4K display is 8.3 MP, so the iPhone 6’s 8 MP camera won’t make a difference with a 20.7 MP photo taken with the Xperia Z3 Compact. In fact, I have used 8 MP photos taken with the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact for the purpose of this comparison.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs iPhone 6: Specs

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact iPhone 6
Processor 2.5 GHz Quad Core Snapdragon 801 1.4 GHz Dual Core A8
Display 4.6″, 720p, 319 ppi, LCD 4.7″, 750p, 326 ppi, LCD
Body 127×64.9×8.6 mm, 129 g 138.1x67x6.9 mm, 129 g
Camera 20.7 MP, 5248×3996, 2.2 MP Front 8 MP, 3264×2448, 1.2 MP Front
Video 4K at 30 fps, 1080p at 60 fps, 720p at 120 fps 1080p at 60 fps, 1080p at 30 fps
Aperture F/2 F/2.2
Camera Sensor 1/2.3″ 1/3″
Storage 16 GB 16/64/128 GB
RAM 2 GB 1 GB
Price ~$525 $649/$749/$849

 

Ok, this really isn’t a fair comparison of specs. After all, Apple is not a spec company. Both phones run different operating systems and a 1.4 GHz dual core A8 runs just as well with iOS as the 2.5 GHz quad core Snapdragon 801 running Android. This is the benefits that Apple has in designing both the hardware and the software.

The scope of this review is not to say whether the iPhone is better than an Android phone. That has been done to death in other places and to be honest, For the Love of Tech is not the place for it. The scope of this review is to compare the cameras of the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact and the iPhone 6.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs iPhone 6: Rear Camera

The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has a 20.7 MP rear camera and the iPhone 6 has an 8 MP rear camera. As I said above, the only reason the difference in megapixels would be important would be to zoom in on the photo after it’s been taken.

The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has a physical camera button, a feature that I love in a smart phone camera. This is actually really interesting. I have used plenty of phones that have physical camera buttons. There is something special about the camera button on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. It is something about the size of the phone and the shape and positioning of the button that really makes it feel like a digital camera. Let’s look at some samples.

I don’t believe I have ever compared two cameras that appear to be more equal, at least in regular lighting situations. I would say the iPhone beats the Sony Xperia Z3 in regular lighting situations by a very narrow margin. The colors are a bit more vibrant but without losing the naturalness.

The being said, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is much better in low light. Although the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is better in low light, it doesn’t do great with the flash on. To me, this is ok because it does so great without the flash. The low light photos were taken at night with no other lighting around, so clearly it does pretty well.

Another thing that should be said is that the iPhone 6 is a very automated camera. There is camera, video, slo-mo, time-lapse, panorama, and square, but there is no special features. The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has a manual mode, sound photo which allows the user to record a background sound to the photo, Info-eye which allows which allows the user to take a picture while the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact searches Google for more information about the photo, Live on YouTube which allows the user to create a live YouTube stream, and more.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact vs iPhone 6: Front Camera

The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact uses a 2.2 MP front facing camera and the iPhone 6 uses a 1.2 MP camera. Because of this, the Xperia Z3 Compact can take 1080p video at 30 fps from the front camera while the iPhone 6 can take 720p video at 30 fps.

Megapixels don’t matter on a rear camera because the resolution of the photo is higher than the resolution of the display the user is viewing it on. It is different with a front facing camera. A 720p display is 1 MP and a 1080p display is 2.1 MP, so the difference between 1.2 MP and a 2.2 MP front facing camera is considerable.

Obviously, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact shoots the front facing camera in 16:9 by default. The iPhone 6 doesn’t even allow users to choose an aspect ratio.

Although the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has a higher resolution front camera, it really doesn’t measure up to not only the iPhone 6, but other phones that I’ve compared the Sony Xperia Z3 to such as the OnePlus One and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Conclusion

I think that in most situations, the iPhone 6 does a little bit better than the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact; however, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has some really cool features. The ability to easily set up a live stream can be very useful. I just imagine that an immigrant would be able to live stream her wedding to her parents in El Salvador. Someone else might be able to live stream their child’s first birthday party to their cousin in the hospital.

Both of these cameras are blazingly fast. In fact, it’s fairly surprising with the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. The Nokia Lumia 930, Icon, and 1520 all have 20 MP cameras and they are much slower (which will be fixed with Lumia Denim).

This is something where you really can’t go wrong with either one. If you plan to zoom in on the photo after you take it, you’re going to want those extra megapixels.

In the end, the iPhone 6 takes slightly better photos in regular lighting, but the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact takes higher resolution photos, it’s much better in low light, and it has more features.

But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Vote at the poll or leave a comment if you have more to say. Whatever you do, stay tuned, there are tons of camera comparisons and reviews coming form the Sony Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact, and the Note 4, so follow me on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

Related

Sony Xperia Z3 vs OnePlus One

All iPhone 6 Camera Comparisons

iPhone 6 Review

About the author
Rich Woods

Being a computer programmer wasn't enough to fulfill his love of technology. In 2013, Rich founded For the Love of Tech and has been writing about his love of tech ever since.

  • .

    Very good comparison

  • random

    come on guys, no need to be a fanboy here, i own an xperia z2, but iphone camera is much better. sony needs to re-calibrate its software. pretty much all my photos looks bland and flat, and i have to fix them in post, which sucks because it defeats the purpose of good camera on the go.

    • I find your comment very interesting. This is becoming more and more common. One person thinks that one product is better than another and suddenly he is a “fanboy”. In fact, I don’t even have to think a product is better. When Android fans are making ignorant comments about Apple products and I defend Apple, suddenly I become an Apple fanboy.

      The photos speak for themselves. The Sony blows away the iPhone 6 in low light comparisons. They both take fantastic photos overall.

      Perhaps you would do well to read the About page on this web site. It is called For the Love of Tech for a reason. It’s because we love all things tech, and because of that we are unbiased. Either way, you should probably think twice before you call someone a fanboy. It’s become a cliche and at this point, it’s the person saying it that sounds foolish.

      • random

        i was referring to poll results, since it’s 62 percent in xperia’s favor, and i know it’s like that because of the link referral from reddit.com/r/android and the circklejerk pretty much worships z3. so i was talking to android fans voting blindly without checking out the photos (because you know, android master race and all), hence “guys”, not guy or author. i agree at low light performance, both z2 and z3 produces brilliant shots, but daytime shots are lacking horribly. i exaggerate because almost every company that uses sony’s sensors produces much better results (color reproduction and saturation primarily) at daytime shots than sony, and this is saddening. oh well..

        • Well in that case, I apologize. There are a lot of people that get really mad when your opinion differs from theirs and they assume that the reason that your opinion differs from theirs is out of ignorance. It happens too much and you end up getting oversensitive to it so again, I apologize.

          You’re right though. The iPhone 6 has a fantastic camera and it kills Sony in daylight. I had no idea that there was a link referral in /r/android. In that case, you’re absolutely right.

          • random

            no worries mate, i should have been clearer from the beginning. all in all, nice photos!

          • Thanks a lot! I do a lot of camera comparisons like this. Check it out. Go to the menu and go to Reviews -> Camera Comparisons and look up any of the dozens of phones we’ve compared.

    • Tony

      Use the manual mode and adjust settings especially white balance for daylight shots. Auto mode on xperias isn’t very good. Well not as good as on the iPhone.
      Z2s camera spanks the iPhone 6. You’re just a lazy user blaming the camera like a workman who blames his tools for the bad job he’s done lol!

      • rwoods716

        Well, no. You’re just a troll that read a review for the sole purpose of bitching about the results. Seriously, if you know for a fact that the Xperia is better than the iPhone, why would you go looking for a review? Get over yourself.

    • I agree with you. I own Xperia Z3 and the photos it takes are often blurr. Also the video loses focus often and picture video sizes are too much big to properly store.

  • James

    Dude. Nice property you got there.

  • Ash

    I don’t understand what Sony are doing. They have some of the best camera hardware on the market but the firmware just isn’t good. Same in the Z, Z1, Z2. Other companies, (e.g. OnePlus One, S4) use Sony’s older sensors and produce far better pictures, not to mention RAW capture (OPO). This is the only thing holding me back from the Z3. It’s beautiful in every other way.

  • Pro-photographer

    It seems to me that the z3 is like Nikon and i6 is like Canon, z3 takes natural tone colour photo while the i6 takes slightly warmer hue photo. So I guess Sony is staying true to a photographer (set up-shoot-recalibrate-shoot-post editing-frame on wall/gallery) phone as Apple is for a point-shoot-share phone. A well trained eyes can easily tell that both phones have its up’s and down’s in both daylight and low-light conditions. For example the
    1st photo z3 won because the i6 warmer hue over saturated the photo causing the leaves to loose it’s magenta colour.
    2nd photo i6 won due to it’s warmer hue and z3 overexposure (which could be fixed by changing its settings),
    3rd photo both are losers because z3 overexposed the photo and i6 underexposed the photo.
    4th&5th photo z3 won because i6 over saturated the photo
    6th photo can’t be compared due to lighting conditions
    7th photo i6 won due to it’s warmer hue which makes the outlines much clearer
    8th photo cant’s be compared due to different lighting conditions
    9th photo appears to be similar but i6 won by a slight margin due to it’s warmer hue which makes the outlines of the leaves much clearer
    10th photo z3 won because i6’s warmer hue caused the orchid to lose it’s natural colour
    11th can’t be compared due to difference in lighting & angle
    12th,13th,14th z3 won due to i6’s hue causes it to loose it’s natural colour
    low-light conditions seems to favour z3 except for the 2nd last photo where i6 manage to capture a more natural shot, the kind where you feel as if you are there.
    selfie shot however is obviously for point-shoot-share and i6 does a great job until it’s contrast causes the OP to look like he was photoshopped into the photo, z3 is more natural, but both photo can’t be compared for obvious reasons (z3 sensor didn’t pick up the flowers and can’t compute a better white-balance)
    I guess at the end it’s a matter of preferences, are you the kind who wants a phone that doubles as your makeshift SLR (z3) or are you the kind that just want to share photo’s with friends on social media(i6)? Are you the kind who would spend hours on a single spot calibrating the settings or waiting for the perfect timing to take a shot(z3) or you just want to shoot and post on snapchat/instagram in less than a minute? Are you the kind who must photoshop your photo before showing someone else(z3) or you have better things to do with your life (i6)?

    Sorry for such a long post but as a pro-photographer, I’ll take z3 over i6 because I can’t be carrying my photog-gears every I go.

    • wordyspread

      I really enjoyed reading your comment. Considering myself techsavvy and very open to both side as a skeptic person.. I’ll admit the over saturation of iphone photos made me think they were ‘better’ when in reality they weren’t. Do you know app or tutorial for basic photo editing to make the Z3 photo more quality, professional type? The thing I really like about I6 photos were the existence of shadows in the pictures which the z3 completely ‘washed?” them.

  • Very good comparison. Great job, great cameras. I own a Z2 and I like the camera. I think Iphone is an excellent phone but is not my trending. Anyway, for me iphone camera beats in definition and lighting although the colours tend to be pretty warm. I like warm.

    Cheers and good work.

  • Andrei

    Obviously you were not fare in the front facing camera test.
    In wide screen mode Z3 most likely doesn’t shoot at 2.1mp but more likely at 1.2mp. If iphone’s photo was in 4:3 mode so should the Z3.
    The problem with the Z3 Compact photo is the it’s overexposed but all the shots come out like that? I doubt it. The imagine made with the iphone clearly has lower detail only it has better contrast.

    • rwoods716

      The Z3 Compact front facing camera shoots at its full resolution at 16:9. It offers 1.9 MP at 4:3. The iPhone 6 only shoots at 4:3. I suggest you look into these things before firing off accusations.

      All shots do come out like that. Go to Camera Comparisons -> Sony -> Xperia Z3 Compact or Xperia Z3 and you will see over a dozen comparisons where every single example shows the same behavior of the Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact. Of course, there are manual settings that can be used but I use default settings for comparisons.

  • doubledd

    Try using the xperia in MANUAL mode instead and the iphone doesn’t stand a chance. But it takes a bit of experimening until you can fully optimize the Xperia cameras.

    • rwoods716

      This is true. I use all default/auto settings for comparisons and the reason is what you just said. It takes a bit of experimenting, so someone might read my review, buy the phone, and be unable to recreate those settings.

  • S

    Has anyone noticed that the Z3 takes better macro shots? (See orchid photo) But I prefer the colors on the iPhone 6. Argh. So difficult to choose one!

  • Tony

    Sorry the iPhone doesn’t beat the z3 compact in normal lighting.
    The z3 compact has more than just an auto mode. The more vibrant colours of the iPhone pictures stem from an auto mode that’s better.
    You can manually adjust the white balance on the Sony to produce the same level if not better colours than the iPhone.
    I’m getting rather sick of these auto mode comparisons that people use to classify the cameras. Auto mode isn’t the camera, it’s just one shooting mode on the Sony.
    You’re comparing them on the iPhones turf which doesn’t have manual control!

    • rwoods716

      You’re correct. I compare photos using Auto mode. There’s not really another way to do it. As you said, the iPhone 6 has a better Auto mode and that’s really what’s most important because that’s how 99% of people use their smart phone cameras.

  • IROCU

    The Sony was clearly better. Many of the iPhone shots were dull, losing a lot of detail. Really surprised at how much better the Sony was. Amazed the reviewer couldn’t appreciate this in his own photos. Excellent comparison.

    • rwoods716

      Thanks for the feedback! And I really mean that. You have no idea, when you do this, how valuable actual constructive criticism is. Most people aren’t that nice about criticism.

  • tannhauser

    Well, I just do not agree on using automode for z3
    For the love of tech should use best of tech capabilities when comparing, shoul it not?
    It is unlogical to use ones techs downgraded capabilities for the sake of comparisson to others tech max capabilites…
    Z3 should always be compared by its max manual 20.7 mpx capabilities with adjustments to maxout the quality of results, as its tech is objectivly on that level…
    And then compare it to max quality of other camera, ie iphone6

    Am I wrong to think that it is the only real objective comparisson out of the love for tech?

    • rwoods716

      I have to say, you really do make a compelling argument, like really, you do. I’ve thought about it as well. The one thing I just haven’t been able to figure out is how to implement it. The fact is that 99% of people so use their smart phone cameras with default automatic settings, so that portion of the comparison does need to be present.

      Also, I’ve thought about using the 20 MP images instead of the 8 MP images, but there’s no point. It’s literally impossible to tell the difference between 8 MP and 20 MP. Even a 6 MP image would have to be scaled down to fit a 4K display, assuming it’s a 4:3 aspect ratio. 8.3 MP if it’s a 16:9 photo.

      Thanks for the feedback, and if you have a good idea of how to implement this, I’ll do it going forward.

  • TannHuaser

    by my findings of my Z1C witk kitkat upgrade, I find best 20.7 mpx shots that are indeed 4:3 aspect ratio, are done on this manual adjustments: EV 0 to -1 (for daylight) and +1 for lowlight), WB auto, ISO auto, multifocus, HDR off, stabilisation off, light measurement central…
    Use camera widget to have manual custom at one click
    there are many software solutions to downgrade a 20mpx to 8 mpx, or just crop shots to about same measurments as iphones…
    …that would be the REAL representation of Z3/Z3C camera and sensor capability, if tech is in question here

    Do visit, for refference, phonearenas comparisson tool which has mpx equalisation implemented and compare quality of Z3 or z3c vs iphone6 vs s6 etc….

  • Tom

    I have an xperia z3 compact, and find that all modes are pretty poor and its maybe 10% that come out OK, they all seem to be super fuzzy in any sort of light. My old iPhone 4s produced much better shots.

  • Dennis

    Try taking a picture of your tv in the dark.
    I have used both the Z3comp and Iphone 6 and its a no brainer here at least. Auto Settings is used.

    z3 – http://imgur.com/Dj8lJaU
    ip6 – http://imgur.com/bZX2jK4

    These 2 pics are taken with the phones next to each other like this II

  • MichaelDB

    I use the Z3 Compact for photography. (It’s convenient to carry)
    I find the colour balance ‘off’. And the adjustment offered – 3 (Red blue green) sliders, doesn’t help. Also the normal setting focus, leaves a bit to be desired. But overall a good camera phone.