(Pocket-lint) - There's a new Sony camera in town and that means one thing: there's a load of new camera tech on-board too.
Having looked to change things up a gear with the Sony Xperia Z5, Sony has announced its 2016 flagship, the Xperia XZ. This phone might look familiar as it is essentially an update of the Z5 with the latest hardware and a slightly tweaked design, but there are some important updates to the camera too.
It features the same 23-megapixel sensor as the Xperia Z5 - and a host of other Sony phones - but here's how the changes break down.
Faster autofocusing, with prediction
Sony made bold claims about the performance of the phase detection autofocus system on the Xperia Z5, but there's a new tech to make sure you get the shot you're looking for in the shape of subject tracking.
The subject tracking system looks at the movement of the subject and predicts the movement, meaning that the lens is in the right place to take the photo when you press the button. The aim is to ensure that you don't take photos that are blurry, because the subject has moved closer to the camera between focusing and taking the photo.
Phase detection and contrast detection work together, now with predictive motion tracking too.
Laser autofocus joins the party
In addition to those autofocus technologies, Sony has also added laser autofocusing into the mix. Following the lead of companies like LG, there's a new laser AF sensor on the back, which works to enhance the focusing speed in low light conditions.
Many cameras have to rely on contrast detection in low light. Often this leads to seeking, where the lens moves back and forth trying to catch the point of focus. Using the laser system the Xperia XZ and X Compact are better able to focus quickly in low light.
Colour sensor for better white balance
One of the common problems with all types of photography is white balance. If the camera doesn't know what white is supposed to look like in a particular environment, that can make all the colours wrong. Professional photographers often carry a light meter or white card to set the white balance for the room they are in.
Smartphones rely on an auto white balance system that is often wrong. It can make shady scenes on a summer's day too cool, so they take on a blue tinge. It can also make darker scenes too warm, so that evening out ends up looking a little orange.
So solve these white balance issues, Sony has added a colour sensing through an RGB-IR sensor. This assists the auto white balance system by feeding in more information about the light conditions, so that the colours settle down and look as the scene appears to your eyes.
Sony's Handycams offer a range of stabilisation for video and Sony Mobile has been borrowing the skills from its camcorder line for a couple of years to improve the stability of video on its phones.
We've seen it in action before and it's very effective; on the XZ you now have 5-axis of stabilisation, covering pitch and yaw, roll and now x and y shift. The aim is to smooth out your video, taking into account a full range of movements.
If it's anything like Sony's previous stabilisation, it will be really effective, but as an added bonus, it works on the front camera too, meaning super-smooth selfie videos.
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