The phone I have in my hands currently is the Xperia P, which I will be reviewing here shortly (update: it's up!). Sony has been coy about the exact nature of the camera used by the Xperia P. All we know is that the sensor used here is a Exmor-R CMOS back-illuminated variety, which helps with low light photography. But we know nothing of its equivalent focal length or lens speed. It supports autofocus, 1080p30 video recording, face and smile detection, macro (close-up) photography and sweep panorama.
In addition to sweep panorama, the camera is also capable of capturing images in 3D format, including panorama 3D. Unfortunately I do not own a 3D TV or display so I have no way of testing this feature. The two-step camera shutter button is a little small and fiddly, but it does fire up the camera app from sleep in a couple of seconds. There is really no discernible difference to the autofocus performance between using the hardware button to the on-screen on. Speaking of autofocus, I found it to be rather temperamental, often having issues focusing on close ups.
The camera performs particularly well in areas with plenty of natural light, though it does struggle with dynamic range and colour. Despite looking great on the Xperia P's display, images generally sport the typical Xperia-look, with dull colours and average contrast dominating giving images a 'wash-out' look. While the camera was able to capture a good amount of detail, noise are evident even in shots taken in daylight. The lack of built-in HDR mode is disappointing, as it would solve the issue concerning dynamic range and contrast. Overall I thought the images produced by the Xperia P was slightly worse than the Xperia Arc and HTC One X, but still good enough for an everyday camera.
On the plus side, unlike Sony's (and Sony Ericsson's) previous Xperia smartphones, the Xperia P's camera is positioned away from the edge, so there is less chance to ruin your shot by accidentally blocking the camera lens. In any case, enjoy these image samples, thankfully, with no fingers in the way.