Sony Xperia Z1 Compact: Are You Brave Enough to Use Manual Mode?

Z1 Camera Main

Sony may have built some brilliant, automated features into its Z1 Compact’s camera, but when you’ve got a 20.7 megapixel sensor at your disposal you may well want to take full control of what it can do.

For those brave enough to step out into the abyss and select the manual mode, we’ve put together a few tips on what some of the more technical settings do.


The Z1 Compact lets you change the resolution of your images, from the full 20.7 megapixels right down to 2 megapixels. Our advice here is simple: use the highest resolution available to get the clearest, most details photos you can. at 20.7 megapixels you’ll be able to zoom in on images and even enlarge them if you print them out.

Z1 Camera Resolution

However, if you are planning on sending images via a text message then you may want to reduce their size a little, as this will cut down on the amount of data used. It’s worth bearing in mind.

White balance

White balance adjusts the colouring of your photos so that they suit the kind of light conditions you’re in. The Z1 Compact has different settings for indoor, electric lighting and outdoor, natural light.

Each of these has a sliding scale so that they can be adjusted slightly. The best advice here is to take a few shots and play around with the settings, seeing what works.


ISO means how sensitive the camera will be to light, with the number needing to increase as light decreases.

Have you ever taken a photo in dark conditions to find it comes out all pixelated? That’s because your camera has had to ramp up up the ISO, making the image noiser. This is necessary to get enough light into the camera to make a good photo, but its a trade off between the two factors.

Z1 Camera ISO

When you can, try to stick to the lowest ISO number available, known as the base ISO in photography circles. As it gets darker, nudge it up bit by bit and see how you get on.

Focus Mode

There are several focus modes on the Z1 Compact, with novelty ones like Face Detection and Object Tracking sitting alongside more regular types.

You can use one of the auto modes, with Single Auto Focus being good for shots of one person or object and Multi Auto Focus being good for group photos. However, our advice is to stick to Touch Focus where you can. This is standard amongst many smartphones, allowing you to simply tap in whichever part of the image you want to focus on.

Make sure you focus on the most important part of the photo, like someone’s face in a portrait shot. You can also create some great effects by getting close up to objects and focussing on them, with the background then blurring itself out.

Z1 Camera App


Metering affects the exposure of the photo, making the whole thing brighter or darker. There are three options available on the Z1 Compact, with Average probably being the most versatile. This mode analyses the whole image, adjusting the exposure to suit the shot.

The others include Centre, which takes a reading from the middle part of the photo, and Spot, which reads from a tiny portion in the very centre of the image. If you have your metering set incorrectly, then some parts of the photo can appear almost completely white with little detail, or far too dark.

Done taking your fantastic photo and want to show it off, maybe adding an extra touch along the way? Then take a look at our breakdown of the most popular Instagram filters and how to get the best results from them.

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