Why I think the camera app sucks on this phone

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Sep 19, 2022
Recently I got an Xperia 5 Mk. II because I wanted a cheap, well built cameraphone, and largely it delivered. The Photo Pro software is the best I've ever used on a phone, but the RAW output seems to be not really that raw. First off, I couldn't disable lens distortion correction on the wide angle lens, which should be disabled by default when shooting RAW. Moreover, JPEGs come out with the natural fisheye distortion, RAWs come out filtered.


On the other hand, while shooting RAW with the third party Firstlight camera app, DNGs come out exactly how they should be. But it's a buggy third party app and the autofocus is borderline unusable, especially compared to the native app.

Much the same way, another issue i came across, which also plagues the 5 III, 1 II and 1 III (although NOT the IV gen, as I've seen so far) is the telephoto RAWs. They seem to be infested with this 1px wide grid across the whole image, especially on the highlights. At first I thought it was the bad ISOCELL sensor, but again, tried with Firstlight and photos came out flawless.


(5 III and 1 III RAW samples taken from www.photographyblog.com; all images are contrast enhanced)

Worst thing about this grid problem is that it seems to translate to JPEGs as well, but in RAW it is absolutely intolerable.

And not only that, both these issues seem to persist across multiple versions of the app. I did try from 1.1 to 1.3, which is the latest one supported by my unit.

My theory about this is that these filters could be pulled out of the APK, for which i just don't have the brains to get around. I did decompile the app and found some tiny bits of glsl and some vague "pre-output correction" calls in the DNG builder that do confirm my suspicions, but i really have no clue how to navigate around this stuff any further and, well, make RAW raw again. For a phone series that prides itself on having an accurate and natural looking camera, this certainly takes a lot away from it.