The Xperia 5 III’s optics are basically identical to what you get with Sony’s flagship, except the Time of Flight lens has been culled – so there’s no real time object tracking. Sony’s brilliant eye autofocus feature is back in action, however, keeping living subjects sharply in focus. Even sugar-filled kids and hyperactive pets. Combined with Sony’s 20fps burst shooting mode, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get some good-looking shots.
The 12MP primary sensor captures accurate colours and respectable detail in decent lighting conditions on the ‘basic’ auto mode. Seasoned photographers will still want to swap to the programme modes when conditions are more testing, which is where the Xperia phones set themselves apart from the competition. This serves up DSLR-style manual controls, to counter low light or strong contrast when needed.
If you need to fit more in frame, the Xperia 5 III also offers a 12MP ultra-wide sensor that does the job nicely. There’s a 12MP telephoto lens, too, which can swap between 70mm and 105mm focal lengths for a sharp close-up view. It’s no Samsung Space Zoom, but it works a treat for nature shots and the like.
The Xperia 5 III can grab 4K resolution video, again with those natural hues. Sony’s usual dependable image stabilisation means you can move and shoot without vomit-inducing results – although you can’t switch between the three different lenses as you go. Instead, you need to hit stop and then choose another lens if you want a different view of the action.
Audio is captured cleanly, only distorting when there’s a lot of ambient noise. And Sony’s strangely addictive Cinema Pro mode allows you to shoot 21:9 footage with a variety of filters and full manual control, ideal for wannabe indie directors.
Last up, the Xperia 5 III’s 8MP selfie camera is decidedly basic for such a premium handset. It struggles in both stronger and dimmer light, while detail levels are weak compared with what you get from Samsung’s Galaxy S21, Apple’s iPhone 12 and most other rivals.