ICELAND: #LIFEMOMENTS ON OUR WAY TO VíK

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Iceland has been atop of the list of places I’ve wanted to travel to and explore for a number of years, so I was stoked when we booked our tickets and ventured off last week. During my travels, I love pushing myself out of my comfort zone and chasing some thrill — especially in new places. Having only scratched the surface when it comes to road-tripping through Iceland, I was at absolute awe of how unworldly it felt. The landscapes are absolutely stunning and every photographer’s dream. It almost felt like every 5-10 km we’d drive along Ring Road (Route 1 — the largest road that wraps around the island) offered us a new chapter. From the capital city, to the volcanos, to the canyons and valleys, every turn felt like a postcard and picture-worthy. As we readied to head out for our road-trip to Vík from Reykjavík, I was excited to capture our trip through the lenses of Sony’s new Xperia X Performance phone. I was thoroughly impressed with the camera quality and features and today, I’m sharing my experience and review of the phone…

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On our way out of Reykjavík in the morning, the sun was beginning to rise and I was eager to capture how moody the city looked. Of the many attractions within the Capital of Iceland, the Hallgrímskirkja Church is a must see. It was built with unbelievable attention to detail and with the intent to resemble the features of a volcano. After a rainy early morning, the glare from the lights of moving vehicles looked sweet, and with a quick click of a button, I was able to catch one of my favourite outlooks on Reykjavík.

The following is a raw image taken on the Xperia X Performance, shot in Manual with ‘Landscape’ Scene Selection, followed by an edit:

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The following is a raw image taken on the Sony Xperia X Performance, shot in Manual with ‘Landscape’ Scene Selection, followed by an edit cropped for Instagram Full-Photo:

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The camera is impressive in shooting wide angle and capturing structural detail, which I love for street-style photography. As we continued to walk to our car before heading towards Vík, I kept snapping the beautiful shops and hotels along the street.

See more full-size and Instagram full-photo edited images shot with the Xperia X Performance, below:

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Our drive towards Vík was incredibly scenic and we decided to pull over to take it in with these beautiful Icelandic horses. They were so friendly and managed to pose perfectly for a quick shot.

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Passing by a farm, we pulled over a second time, but these guys weren’t having it. As the closest sheep to me decided to run away, I quickly launched the camera app (a matter of 0.6 seconds) and the Predictive Hybrid Autofocus on the Xperia X Performance managed to lock in the movement and capture the sheep without any motion-lag. Super impressive!

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Arriving in Vík, we headed towards the Black Sand Beach. Steph was enthralled by the waves and beautiful sunset, while I hung back and snapped this shot of one of the caves.

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We caught a sweet sunset while watching the tides roll in from a seat in the caves. There is no landmass between here and Antarctica, so the Atlantic rollers can attack with full force. In the near distance out into the water, the Reynisdfrager boulders add to an epic view.

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Hiking and walking amongst the volcanic rock, we put the predictive hybrid auto focus to the test, and it seamlessly captured my movement. As I made my way down, we hopped into our car and headed back to Reykjavík before it got too dark. This day was as addition to what felt like an adventure of a lifetime, and I was so happy to capture it beautifully on the Xperia X Performance. I was pleasantly surprised by the available features on the camera app and very impressed with the images and video. I can’t wait to share more of our trip in a series of travel diary posts! I hope you enjoyed these photos and for more information on the Xperia as well as my review of the phone’s camera, read more below…

Unboxing the XPERIA X Performance + Review

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This Graphite-Black colour Android phone comes with a quick-start guide, notification sheet, a power adapter and USB cable.

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Power it up and you are greeted with a beautiful dashboard of options, featuring a sharp, vivid 5” Full HD (1920×1080 pixels) TRILUMINOSTM screen for mobile display.

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Starting from the top, we have our headphone jack. A sleek aluminum finish along the top, bottom, sides and back of the phone that looks really nice, and mitigates picking up stray fingerprints. Its rounded glass edges, seamless brushed metal back and form-fitting 5” display, feels pretty nice in your hand.

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Turning it a full 180 to the bottom and you’ll find the micro-USB plug-in.

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On one side of the phone you’ll notice three buttons. The first, is the recessed power button (in silver) that also acts as a finger-print scanner for authentication purposes. A really neat feature! Sliding down, you’ll notice the volume rocker. Lastly, and my favourite, a hardware button for the camera — making landscape shots quick to capture as you would with any SLR or digital camera, with a click of a button. A press of this dedicated camera shutter button when pointed in the direction of the area or object you would like to shoot, and the camera app will launch whether the phone is awake or asleep in 0.6 seconds. Another neat option to launch the camera app is by simultaneously pressing the power button twice.

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Turn it to the other side, and you’ll notice the expansion slot for the combined SIM and microSD tray. It slides out quite easily with your finger nail — no SIM tool required. The phone provides 3GB in RAM, however for extra memory and storage, the expansion slot offers a microSD card up to 200GB. (SDXC supported)

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You’ll also notice the dual facing front speakers and an NFC transmitter on the front top corner of the phone. The camera app is quick to launch and you’ll notice a lot of options on your screen to toggle through and browse, including the option to switch between the front and rear-facing camera, controlling the LED flash options, the different camera modes (Superior Auto, Manual, Video, Features), camera settings, the shutter button, and access to your camera roll. When shooting in Manual mode, you’ll notice another option on screen which allows you to tap into a variety of “Scene Selections”. In the photo above, you’ll notice that I have selected ‘Landscape’. In doing so, the camera understands and accordingly adjusts to the environment that I will be shooting. I used this feature for the majority of the landscape photos showcased in this post and it was impressive. For the user that needs a smartphone camera that keeps up with the action, Xperia X Performance’s 23MP main camera comes with Predictive Hybrid Autofocus that tracks your subject and anticipates its next move. This allows you to capture the moment with the sharpest quality. This feature was super useful when shooting the sheep and when hiking up the volcanic rocks. The 13MP front facing camera with Exmor RSTM for mobile image sensor and ISO 6400 allows for more natural looking pictures in low-light conditions. It provides users the same technology found in most main cameras. When shooting video, the SteadyShot video stabilization ensures shooting smooth videos without any “shaky cam” effects. Needless to say, the camera is definitely one of the stronger features on this phone!

If you’re in the market ahead of this Christmas for a smartphone that has an intelligent camera, I hope this review helps you. The Xperia X Performance is currently available at Bell and Rogers for $0 on a 2-year term.

If you have any questions or comments on our travel or the phone, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I’d be glad to answer!

*Thank you to Sony Mobile for partnering on this post. All opinions are my own*

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