The 19 MP (F 2.0 aperture) rear camera is the same motion eye camera which was seen on the Sony Xperia XZ1 but the new chipset allows faster and smoother image processing. The larger RAM buffer found on the Sony Xperia XZ2 enables the camera to decrease shutter lag. The camera features EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) which enables users to reduce shakiness while capturing videos and the laser autofocus helps focusing the subject in the photo much quicker.
When tested in good lighting conditions, the shots were sharper and had plenty of details even after zooming, thanks to the 19 MP lens which captures a lot of detail as compared to the 12 MP shutter on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Apple iPhone X. The dynamic ranged has been improved and with the new processing chip, low light shots look much better than that from the last year's Sony Xperia XZ1. There's still no OIS though so if you want an extremely stable shot, you might want to invest in a tripod as EIS doesn't perform as good as OIS. However, the phone overcomes this by using a feature called 'Predictive Capture'. When there's a fast-moving object in sight, the camera takes a series of photos before the shutter is pressed so that it's easier to catch the perfect moment.
Following the trend, there's a portrait mode in the Sony Xperia XZ2's camera app where you can take photos with Bokeh effect and control how much of the background you want blurred out. The blurring is done using software only as this is a single lens camera. The results aren't great though, with the subject in the photo having blurred edges and I think that overall the Google Pixel 2 does a much better job at single lens portrait mode using only software. Using the Auto mode, the phone will use similar AI techniques found on Huawei's new phones and chances are that you'll take a great photo. The camera will detect the subject in the view, whether it is food, animals or people and it will adjust the settings accordingly giving you the best picture you can capture.
The 5 MP front camera looks like a downgrade on paper from last year's 13 MP camera on the Sony Xperia XZ1 but when I tested it, the selfies came out to be quite good with sharp colors and really good dynamic range. The only thing lacking was the auto-focus and stability options. Using the same front camera, you can use Sony's 3D creator which takes multiple pictures of your face and creates a 3D image. The results are quite impressive and it's much easier to use and fairly accurate with a slight downside which you can read in the software review.
The Sony Xperia XZ2 shoots video up to 4K HDR which is quite nice. The videos in 4K came out to be stunning, with great contrast, dynamic range and accurate colors. For the first time on a smartphone, Sony has introduced 4K HDR, giving true to life colors, better contrast and more details in the video. The only slight downside to this mode is that in order to view the difference between 4K and 4K HDR, you need to watch it on a 4K HDR compatible screen. Another great video mode is the Super Slow Mo which shoots videos at 960 fps, now at 1080p Full HD. This is a major upgrade from last year's super slow-motion mode which only shot at 720p HD and it's a win against the rival the Samsung Galaxy S9's super slow motion which only captures at 720p HD. Initially it was somewhat difficult to time the shutter with the moment as the time frame between shutter speed is cut in half in Super Slow Mo but once you get the right moment captured, the results are quite pleasing.
The camera app is pretty much the same as on the last year's Sony Xperia XZ1 and overall the camera experience is one which you'd expect from a top contender for the best phone of the year spot.