Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc review: Camera
The Xperia Arc's 8.1megapixel Exmor R sensor captures still images at a maximum resolution of 3264 x 2448, with photos saved in JPEG format and emerging between 1MB and 1.5MB.
The camera software itself is simple and straightforward, missing many of the silly photo effect features found in some cameras. You get a very stylish sliding option menu on the left, plus a miniature gallery of recent photo thumbnails to the right.
Inside the Menu tab you find smile detection, a collection of eight scene modes for portraits, landscapes, night shots and so on, plus a red-eye reduction option.
OUTDOORS: Shots are good, with the system quick to focus and return you back to the viewscreen
WITH FLASH: The flash is excellent, doing a fine job of illuminating scenes
WITHOUT FLASH: Low light shots without flash are just about passable. The phone over-compensates for dingy conditions by boosting the colours, resulting in rather odd images filled with coloured mosaic tiles when viewed at full size. Still, it's decent low-light performance for a mobile phone
MACRO: There's a separate macro mode that lets you get to around four inches or so away from your subject, which results in some superb shots of small things
There's a bit of a physical problem when taking photos, though. The camera button is incredibly stiff, requiring a tough press to call into action. End result – blurry shots.
You can also touch the screen to take photos, but again, you end up shaking the camera a little when doing so. Or pressing the menu area by accident and getting very confused.
However, a digital image stabilisation option is on offer to help wobbles – and does the job without sacrificing any picture resolution.
Back on the options side you get a self-timer, although there's little in the way of silly little features to play with. No sepia, no black & white, no novelty colour modes at all. Which doesn't bother us one bit, because whoever actually uses the negative scene mode?
NIGHT MODE: The above photo is taken using the Night mode. It's a dark corner of a dark room. At night. It's come out pretty well without using the flash
DOCUMENT: There's a Document setting for taking pictures of text. We're happy to report that it does. It's basically the same as Macro mode as far as we can tell
PARTY: This is the Party mode. We didn't have a party to hand, so stood beside a unit in the kitchen holding a cup of tea and took this photo using the self timer. The flash went off so it looks a mess. Worst party ever
OUTDOORS: A landscape. The power of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc hardly makes any difference to what you see in reality. The Xperia Arc's display is sharp and bright, and the overall effect is stunning