Analysis: Sony Xperia 1 Mark II, Xperia Pro Take Direct Aim at Serious Photographers
Sony’s smartphones haven’t exactly set the world on fire when it comes to their camera performance. For example, in DXOMARK’s testing, while the Xperia 1 and Xperia 5 get respectable scores, they are nowhere near the equivalent models from other makers. Enter the new Sony Xperia 1 Mark II and Xperia Pro. They are packed full of both impressive camera hardware and some unique features that will set them apart from the competition when it comes to serious photography and videography.
Sony Xperia 1 Mark II and Xperia Pro Camera Specs
The announced Xperia 1 Mark II and the teased Xperia Pro share the same impressive specs for camera and display. For starters, both models include the now increasingly popular triple-module main camera, with Zeiss-designed and Zeiss T-coated lenses in 16mm, 24mm, and 70mm effective focal lengths. That gives it a native ultra-wide, standard (main), and 3x telephoto capability. The main camera features a generously-sized 1/1.7-inch Exmor sensor, which should give it excellent low-light performance. The ultra-wide lens is f/2.2 and the telephoto is f/2.4 — both fairly typical specs. In an interesting twist, all three modules appear to be straight-up 12MP, with Sony hewing close to Apple’s approach rather than adopting a super-high-resolution sensor with binning. Along with the three traditional cameras, the devices pack a dedicated Time Of Flight (TOF) distance sensor that Sony says is effective up to 5 meters.
The main and ultra-wide modules have dual-pixel sensors for improved autofocus. The main camera module breaks new ground by supporting continuous shooting with autofocus up to 20fps — faster than any current smartphone and just about as fast as any standalone camera you can buy. It does this by borrowing from Sony’s high-speed AF found in its Alpha series of standalone cameras. Along with that comes support for focus tracking of moving subjects, as well as Eye AF for humans and some animals, a feature some high-end pro cameras still lack.
For videographers, there are also some impressive specs. 4K HDR recording is supported at frame rates up to 60fps. You also get touch-enable AF, and a variety of manual settings options that are more commonly found on dedicated cameras. There is also what Sony calls an “intelligent” wind filter to help reduce noise when recording outside.
You Can See and Hear What You’ve Shot
Sony has paired the impressive camera system with a 4K HDR OLED display, which it claims will be the best available for accurate color rendering, and therefore for previewing and reviewing your photography and video clips. On the audio side, Sony brings some of its vaunted sound technology to bear in the form of DSEE Ultimate, which uses AI to improve audio in real-time and theoretically pushing it towards high-resolution audio quality. Those wanting to use studio-grade headphones may also appreciate the re-introduction of a headphone jack. One intriguing feature that the Pro model will add is the ability to use the phone as an HDMI monitor for previewing video as you’re shooting it on a DSLR or mirrorless camera.
We’ll see how well the phones’ cameras perform in practice, but they are certainly shaping up to impress.