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The Sony Xperia 5 III Smartphone Review


7th May 2022

In my old age, I have finally joined the 21st Century. I have upgraded to a Sony Xperia 5 III Smartphone and some health exercise accessories. It is quite a step up from my 'bog standard' Samsung mobile which I have used for making/receiving calls and texts during the last 9 years.

The Sony Xperia 5 III camera has a 12Mpixel sensor; it's Zeiss lenses have a field of view of 16mm-105mm, it shoots DNG files as well as Jpegs and the DNGs can be edited using Lightroom software.


Some of my sample images - Sony Xperia 5 III Web

Street Photography with a Smartphone

The Sony Xperia 5 III Smartphone produces reasonable images. I have it set-up to shoot camera jpegs in HDR mode and it makes a good job of blending dark foregrounds with bright skies. The wider 16mm and 24mm lens images usually have slanted edge verticals so I tweak them in Lightroom to straighten them for a more pleasing image.









Sony Official Video -

Phone Protection & Wrist Strap
As I planned to use the Sony Smartphone for Street Photography when having lunch in town, I decided to purchase the following protection and a wrist strap from Amazon -

Apps on the Phone
When I received the
Sony Xperia 1 III Smartphone, I made the following App changes, to bring the phone into line with my Microsoft Windows 10 Laptop -

Sony Xperia 5 III Smartphone - Ease of Use
I am not a fan of using a screen to compose my photography images, I prefer a viewfinder but now that I have a smartphone, I must start wearing my reading glasses, especially, when using the Photography Pro App and viewing the image screen. I read the Sony Online Manual which is reasonable and enough to get a 'newbie' to smart phones started.

As a photographer requiring a camera to always be in my pocket, I was drawn to the Sony Photography Pro Application which compliments the Xperia camera with a graphical interface for Auto and Manual photography. See introduction video below -

Photography Pro

The camera Photography Pro App is a breeze to configure for your own use as a photographer. It has a permanent on screen menu for manual control and a separate MENU button to access and setup the main parameters. I use the PRO camera mode rather than the BASIC mode. I have my phone set to automatically rotate the screen depending on whether it is in portrait or landscape mode BUT in any case, apart from the image capture screen, the Photography Pro App always remains in landscape mode, no matter the position of the phone. I like the ability to set the App to return to your 'last use setup' when you return to use it. Photography Pro offers a (always on) touch screen menu similar to a professional Sony camera. With the Xperia, you can shoot RAWS or Jpegs or RAWS + Jpegs as well as selecting different sensor perspectives - I remained with 14:3 which offers the highest number of sensor pixels.

Photography Pro in P Mode


Manual ISO: 50 - 1600 Auto Shutter: 30secs - 1/8000secs
Lens 16mm Fixed Aperture: f2.2
Lens 24mm Fixed Aperture: f1.7
Lens 70mm - 105mm Fixed Apertures: f2.3 - f2.8



The camera has three forward facing lenses, with the following fields of view - 16mm, 24mm and a 70mm/105mm which are all optical. The 70mm/105mm optical lens can be zoomed to 300mm with 135mm, 200mm and 300mm markers. However, whilst in the zoom range 106mm-300mm the camera can shoot DNG RAWS and Jpegs together, but the DNG RAWS field of view in the final image file remains at 105mm. The jpeg image file is properly cropped to display the correct zoomed field of view.

The 70/105mm optical lens can digitally zoom to 300mm but I found that a camera jpeg beyond 200mm began to lose its image quality.

Image Quality

The Sony Xperia 5 III Smartphone produces excellent images in the 16mm to 105mm optical focal range and even when digitally zoomed up to 200mm. However, the small sensor in the camera has its limitations in resolving distant detail in relation to the final print size. The closer the subject material the greater the image quality, especially using the digital zoom up to 200mm. I am fairly confident that the camera sensor using ISO:50 is capable of producing prints up to A4 in size for distant well lit scenes, especially using the 16mm lens and for closer well lit scenes, even up to A3 print size. Higher ISO settings and for scenes in low light, like a night street scene under street lights (without flash) will reduce the print size if you wish to retain excellent resolution.

The dynamic range of the small sensor is poor when shooting 16mm/24mm scenes in Jpeg mode that contain a dark foreground and a bright skyline. Using the exposure compensation dial graph in Photography Pro - if you very lightly raise the light in the foreground, the skyline will blow out. Even a DNG RAW version will blow out the resolution of the skyline and especially any resolution in tree branches will be unrecoverable in post processing. If you make no exposure adjustments when shooting a DNG RAW file, you have a greater opportunity of raising the dark foreground in post processing BUT this is likely to reduce the size of the print size if you wish to retain decent foreground resolution.

Using the Photography Pro App, you can set the exposure for HDR BUT only in Jpeg mode - its cannot be set when shooting DNG RAW mode or in DNG RAW + Jpeg mode. The HDR does an excellent job of opening up the dynamic range and producing excellent images, however using the 16mm lens and even with the camera distortion correction mode set, the edge lines of the image (like trees/buildings) will bend inwards. Of course you can always post process/clean up the distortion of a camera jpeg (within reason) in Adobe Lightroom or another suitable computer software package. Sometimes the distortion is so bad that the line edges can only be slightly re-aligned before the centre of the scene starts to completely distort.

Photography Pro in BASIC Mode (Stills - Video - Selfies)

I appreciate that many folks will just want to shoot family images, videos and selfies, especially in holiday locations and for standard print sizes. For that purpose the Sony Xperia 5 III Smartphone produces excellent jpeg images in its Basic Camera Mode. Start the Photography Pro App - set the screen left digital graph to BASIC. HDR mode is automatically set for you. There is a small camera icon on the screen (top/right) which when tapped toggles between the front lens and the back (selfie) lens. There is a camera/video icon to the right centre of the screen and when tapped toggles between the camera stills photography and video. The white button on the right/centre of the screen is white for still photography and red for video.

You can, on the screen, select your zoom range and an image style, including a Portrait Selfie Mode as well as a slow motion video mode. The stills shutter can be fired from a white button on the right of the screen or by using the top shutter button on the phone and likewise the red button when set for video.

Photography Pro in P Mode

I will use the P mode - each lens aperture is fixed and by manually adjusting the ISO number the shutter speed adjusts to match the aperture and the ISO settings. There is also an exposure compensation bar at the top of the camera screen to allow finite adjustments in the exposure.

Ideally for all stills photography in Photography Pro P Mode, you should endeavour to set ISO to the lowest ISO:50 setting provided the shutter speed is fast enough to capture the image (if moving) and fast enough to prevent camera shake (blurring) in the final image. As the ISO is set higher, there is more digital noise, breakup of resolution and the final print size is reduced if you want a clear print. I do not use ISO set to AUTO.

Down at South Queensferry in Scotland, it was a dull and very misty day over on the estuary and the conditions were excellent for testing the camera sensor in adverse weather light conditions. This is a 70mm lens camera jpeg image, straight out of the camera which was shot at ISO:64, aperture f2.3 and shutter speed 1/160sec. The image quality is good for a print around 16" in width. Click on the image to open up to full size -



Zeiss 16mm Lens - Camera Jpegs Distortion Test
e Zeiss 16mm lens in the photography Pro App menu can be set to correct distortion or for maximum image quality when shooting camera jpegs. Having completed some tests, I found it impossible to conclude which of the two mode delivered the best IQ. Please click on the camera jpeg images below to compare -


Distortion Correction Mode

Optimum Image Quality Mode

Lens 16mm




Zeiss 16mm Lens - Camera Jpegs + DNG RAW Chromatic Test
e Zeiss 16mm Lens when shooting camera jpeg files displays a considerable amount of chromatic aberrations as can be seen in the camera jpeg image below. Using its partner DNG RAW file in Lightroom, I can remove a fair amount of the chromatic aberrations but some remain. The original camera jpeg was shot with distortion correction set to on but I also applied distortion correction to the DNG to jpeg conversion, whereby a constrained crop occurs, as can be seen when comparing the two images. The distortion correction in the DNG to jpeg can be seen on the left side of the stable. Of course the bare trees example in winter is extreme and areas where chromatic aberrations are going to cling, will not be the case in many other landscape images during the summer months. Please click on the two images below to compare -


Camera Jpeg

Lightroom (DNG to Jpeg) Conversions

Lens 16mm



Sample Images
These are full size jpeg images directly out of the camera and their equivalent Lightroom DNG (RAW) jpeg full size file conversions. I used Lightroom to make the DNG to jpeg conversions and was able to produce reasonable images with the usual exposure, contrast, saturation adjustments, and any overblown highlights reduced and dark shadows lifted, but I was unable to achieve the same sharpness vs image quality as the camera jpegs without artifacts appearing at larger print sizes in the darker areas of a DNG to jpeg converted image.


Where you benefit with Lightroom, either editing the DNG or the camera jpeg files, is in the ability to re-align vertical right/left edge distortions of the image when using the camera in 16mm lens mode. Photo Pro can be set to offset vertical distortion in the 16mm images and makes a fair job of it, but its not perfect.

There is no doubt that the camera jpegs are excellent provided the exposure is correct. As I said above, I am not a fan of using a screen to compose my images, I prefer a viewfinder. Now that I have a smartphone, I must start wearing my reading glasses when using Photography Pro and viewing the image screen. In the images below, the camera jpeg image of the lamp is slightly underexposed because the door frame on the right is not visible - it is in the DNG to jpeg conversion image. The 'The Ferry Tap' image is very slightly overexposed and if you compare the camera jpeg to it's partner, the tweaked DNG to jpeg conversion, you can see that the high wall at the left drainpipe and the building next door to the left in the camera jpeg, are slightly blown whereby the image quality, the contrast and the definition of the wall is weaker.  (You can open up the images, side by side)

Camera Jpegs

Lightroom (DNG to Jpeg) Conversions

Lens 16mm



Lens 24mm


Lens 105mm - DNG RAW Conversion to Jpeg

The original DNG RAW file was in colour and converted to monochrome using Adobe Lightroom.

Adobe Lightroom RAW to Jpeg Web (Conversions)
I have edited the DNG (RAW) files in Adobe Lightroom and in it's RAW form, a DNG file is the unedited version of a camera processed jpeg. The 16mm/24mm images have had their (skewed inward) edges re-aligned vertical, as much as possible. The light in the dark foregrounds have been lifted and other very slight modifications made to reduce any harsher highlights and to increase the contrast, clarity settings. In virtually all cases, the saturation was more than adequate.

When using the 16mm/24mm lenses and you later intend to post process a DNG file (or a camera jpeg) to re-align the edges to vertical - remember to shoot even wider when possible (step back) as any editing will crop the final image. In the image below, I have lost the foot of the bus shelter at the front/right which was in the original image.

Please click on the 16mm image below to open up the Sony Xperia 5 III Web.

Fitness Watch
I chose the
Amazfit GTR 3 Pro Watch to accompany my new phone and I downloaded the Zepp Fitness App for my phone to record my health progress. It was a very simple installation, I set up an account with Zepp and paired the watch to the App. I intend to use the GTR 3 Pro for walking, running, cycling and when out and about on my motorbike. It provides good health monitoring, especially for my heart.

Watch the review video below from Gadget Match -

Jupgod Indoor Exercise Bike + Cycling Video
Thanks to the advice of a good friend for an indoor exercise bike and videos to watch whilst exercising, I splashed out on a Jupgod Exercise Bike and it has a LCD screen for tracking my vitals. It also has a holder for my phone which I will use for virtual cycle trips and music as in the video below. Although it will probably take a month to cycle the distance in the video -





If this article has assisted you in any way - please donate to my Charity of Choice   -   The Sick Kids


Richard Lawrence
United Kingdom


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