Xperia smartphones are renowned for their incredible cameras. The recently announced Xperia 1 comes complete with the world’s first Eye AF (auto focus) in a smartphone*, and its triple camera means you can take pro-level photos on-the-go.
But the Xperia 1 isn’t the only Xperia smartphone with great camera capabilities. The XZ2 Premium has garnered praise for its ability to capture amazing detail in low-light situations, while the newly launched Xperia 10 Plus boasts 2x optical zoom, with a host of premium Sony innovations to make your pictures pop!
Xperia fans across the world love sharing the imagery they’ve captured, and recently, one such fan even won the prestigious grand prize at the Mobile Photography Awards.
Dominika Koszowska, from Poland, captures incredible landscape shots on a variety of Xperia models, using the seasons, cityscapes and clever compositions to elevate her pictures and give them emotional depth.
We caught up with Dominika to talk about her work.
Congratulations on your award! How did you feel when you heard you’d won?
I felt very happy as I did not expect this at all! Mobile photography has been my passion for several years and I am a huge enthusiast, so it’s amazing to be the best in a global competition.
Which Xperia device did you use to capture your winning photos?
All photos were taken with an Xperia smartphone in 2018. The photo of winter trees (above) and the one with a view from the Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest (below) were captured using the Xperia XZ1, and I took all other photos with the Xperia XZ2.
Do you have any favourite features on the Xperia to help take your pictures?
My favourite feature is manual mode, which allows me to have control over the settings. I became interested in photography during my childhood and I learned to photograph with analogue cameras, which meant I had to alter the settings myself, and that process has stayed with me through to today.
I like to have everything under control as I can decide on the final result of the photo myself.
Do you find that Xperia smartphones are a helping hand when it comes to low-light photography?
I think the Xperia is great for low-light pictures. I usually use a tripod to steady the shot, the lowest possible ISO and a longer exposure time to create my preferred effect.
How do you capture and set up your shots?
First of all, I look for good light, so I usually take photos at dawn or before sunset. I try not to use artificial light for portraits, and usually a simple reflector panel is good enough for me, although sometimes it is necessary to use a light.
I look for good composition, frames, perspective, symmetry and colour contrasts. Above all, emotions play the most important part in photography. They do not necessarily involve the presence of a person. Clouds can provide emotions, or a flash of light, or even a movement. Many photos are created intuitively, you just need to know when to pull out the smartphone.
What do you think are the advantages to using an Xperia phone over a camera to capture photos?
In 2015, I took an Xperia Z2 on holiday for the first time instead of a camera. Me and my husband love to travel around Europe by motorbike. To travel on such a trip, you have to restrict your luggage. There is only one small trunk available and you have to put all the necessary things you need for two weeks in it, so every square inch is precious and a camera and its lenses take up a lot of space.
I decided then that the only device I would bring to take pictures would be an Xperia smartphone. After returning, when I made a few prints, I was surprised by the quality of photos.
Since then, an Xperia has always accompanied me on my travels. I love travelling with it, because I noticed that the phone has many advantages. It is light, it does not take-up much space, and it is always to hand. I can easily blend in with the crowd while taking photos, and people do not pay attention to me in the way they would if I was taking photographs with a large camera.
What’s more, I can edit the photos on the go and share them with my family and friends. The Xperia smartphones I use are water and dustproof** so I do not have to worry during the trip that the device will stop working because of the rain. I tested this in Iceland, where the rain was falling constantly for several days. The Xperia coped with the difficulties and did not let me down. My Xperia XZ2 did a great job and I did not have any problems with it.
Do you have any top tips?
For me, taking photographs is like painting with light. During sunrise and sunset, the light is most effective – the so-called golden hour, when the sun emits a wonderful light with a golden shade. The world looks amazing then.
I also like taking pictures during the so-called blue hour (that is, a few minutes before sunrise and after sunset) when the clouds turn purple and then red, and finally yellow.
Also, like most photographers, I love fog – the world becomes unreal and fairy-like, as though hidden from our eyes, and the pictures taken in the fog become a mystery.
I usually use a 16:9 ratio for landscape photography and for other images I usually use a 3:4 aspect ratio. I always use manual functions unless I suddenly see an interesting situation and need to react immediately (and the Xperia gives me this opportunity).
When photographing movement (such as a bird mid-flight), I use a shorter shutter speed of 1/1000 second or 1/2000 second, and sometimes even shorter if it is quite bright.
When photographing people against the light, to create a silhouette outline, I set all the parameters so that the exposure time is, 1/12 000 second.
However, when there is not enough light, I shoot on a tripod with a longer exposure time (such as 1 second). You must remember to use a self-timer with a time delay, because when accidentally pressing the trigger or moving the phone the photo may be distorted and disturbed.
Photography is my passion. I think that you can take good photos everywhere, but I also have my favourite places. I love mountains and the sea, and also waterfalls after the trip to Iceland.
The new Xperia 10, Xperia 10 Plus and Xperia 1 can shoot imagery in 21:9. Is this something you’d like to try?
Yes, definitely! I think it will become my new favourite aspect ratio for landscape photography!
Have you captured incredible imagery on your Xperia, just like Dominika? Make sure you show them to us by uploading to social media and tagging #Xperia.