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Taking pictures is fun on the Sony Z1S smartphone

If you’ve been staring at a ten-year old TV and then upgrade to a Sony Trinitron flatscreen, that’s about the difference you’ll notice switching from your present smartphone to the brilliant screen of the Sony Z1S. The 5” HD Triluminos display is powered by X-Reality; but cut through the cutesy tradenames and what it means to you is drop-dead gorgeous color and clarity.

Front and back views.
Front and back views.
by Sony

I’ve been using the Sony Z1S for the past month now and have definitely enjoyed the experience. Being a photographer, the camera is what interested me most about this phone and that’s what I’ll be concentrating on in this article.

Most photographers are used to peering into a small viewfinder or staring at a two or three inch LCD monitor. When you hold up this bright five inch screen, you can really make out all the detail that is going to be in your picture. Picture holding up a 4 x 6 print and the screen is almost that big.

As great as the picture quality is, would you believe this thing is waterproof as well? You can actually take it into the pool and take pictures for up to 30 minutes in three-foot deep water (freshwater only.) Imaging capturing junior’s first swim – in video – from under the water!

The phone comes with up to 32GB of memory but you can add an additional 64GB of microSD memory for almost unlimited shooting. You’ll be shooting 20.7MP images with the rear facing camera and 2MP images with the front facing camera.

The lens is a fast f2.0 with a wide focal angle of 27mm. It shoots up to ISO6400 for low light applications, with a 3x zoom and Steady-Shot vibration reduction.

All this power is harnessed with an Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) operating system and processed by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2.2 GHz Quad Core CPU and 2GB of RAM. That’s more computing power than a good percentage of people have on their laptops. A 3,000 mAh battery keeps the party going for longer than most.

The camera comes loaded with a number of photo aps – some really useful – some just for fun.

The Info-eye function lets you take a picture of a location or an object and the software will attempt to tell you about it. Shoot a landmark and it will pull up Wikipedia information about the landmark. I shot a picture sitting at JFK and it proceeded to tell me the weather outside, restaurants that were nearby, and the fact that Aqueduct Race Track was only 2.72 miles away.

The Timeshift Burst shoots 61 frames in just two seconds – 30 frames before you press the shutter and 30 frames after you press the shutter. You can then pick which frame you want. Perfect for capturing the height of the action at a sports event. See below for some examples.

All this technology with a tough Gorilla Glass face makes this unit a real winner. Check it out before you make another phone purchase. You’ll be happy you looked.