Zoë Noble is an internationally published photographer who’s work ranges over fashion and still life to an ongoing series depicting Berliners and their pooches. She moved to Berlin from London in 2010 and has since set up her both her studio, and a creative co-working space in the buzzing Kreuzberg district of the city, an area known for its creative residents, and its never-ending night life. Where better to put Xperia Z5’s all new camera unit to a serious low-light test?
New York calls itself “the city that never sleeps”, but Berlin has it beat for sheer sleeplessness. To test the Xperia Z5’s low-light capabilities, I took it out on a cycle ride on a midweek midnight. At this typically dead time for other cities, my district of Kreuzberg was still buzzing, with gangs of youths, groups of drinkers, curious tourists and the siren blare of speeding ambulances.
Starting at Kottbusser Tor, near where I now live, I traced the tracks of the U1 train line up to Schlesisches Tor, where I stayed when I landed in Berlin five years ago. I ended my little trip back in time at Oberbaumbrücke, the bridge over to neighbouring Friedrichshain, where I let off fireworks with thousands of other revellers that first New Year’s Eve.
The Z5’s Fireworks setting allowed me to capture the glowing corporate logos of the Media Spree, the blurred lights of the last U-Bahn and the neon hand signs playing their perpetual game of “rock, paper, scissors”. But let’s take it back to the beginning, to Berlin’s “Little Istanbul” at Kottbusser Tor…
I heard some police sirens in the distance and quickly setup my tripod to see the chasing cars fly past me. Impressed by how quickly the Z5 reacted, I was left with four great action-packed shots to choose from.
Underneath Görlitzer Park station, I shot some super-dark conditions that my huge SLR would have struggled with. The Z5 managed to pick out the little available light without blowing the shadows that lend a real drama to this image.
I love how the Xperia’s camera brought out all the details of this scene – the passing U-bahn, the turning car, and the person waiting for the little red man to change. I didn’t have to use any noise reduction software on any of these photos, despite shooting in darkness the whole time.
On my way back across Oberbaumbrücke, I spotted this lifebuoy. When I screeched to a halt to peer through it, I spotted this spectacular scene with the iconic TV Tower poking up between two tower blocks. This is one of my favourite views of the city, framed on the outside by the word “Berliner”. Perfect.