Sony Xperia 1 II review: Yep, that’s a real telephoto lens

Sony Xperia 1 II review: Yep, that’s a real telephoto lens

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The mighty slim squared-off exterior of the Sony Xperia 1 II hides a slew of filmmaking and photography aspects for creatives.


Patrick Holland/CNET

When I instructed any individual in regards to the Sony Xperia 1 II, their first response turn into, “Sony level-headed makes phones?!” Granted, this telephone is now not the least bit times geared in direction of the hundreds indulge in an iPhone 11 Professional or a Samsung Galaxy S20. Sony is after inventive styles who need extra have an eye on over their images and movies. That’s why the company packed the $1,200 (£1,099) Xperia with controls and tools from its in style Alpha line of beefy-frame mirrorless cameras, and that’s the reason what I will doubtless be taking a discover about at completely in this share.

On paper, the Xperia 1 II appears indulge in most assorted Android flagship phones powered by a Snapdragon 865 processor. It has a 6.5-jog 4K OLED show camouflage, 5G (outside of the US) and on the lend a hand is a huge-perspective indispensable digicam, an ultrawide-perspective digicam and a telephoto digicam — all of which dangle a 12-megapixel sensor. 

But there are things that field this telephone apart. As an instance, the telephoto lens has the beefy-frame equivalency of a 70mm lens — that ability or now not it is the truth is a telephoto lens! (On the final, when companies snort their phones dangle telephoto lenses, they are indubitably someplace between 52 and 56mm.) There is a physical shutter button on the phone, which is extraordinarily helpful. There are also three preloaded apps that purchase beefy just appropriate thing in regards to the digicam. One is the basic Xperia Android digicam app. The varied two are Photo Professional and Cinema Professional, which present you with detailed controls over every element of your telephone’s photo and video have.

To my delight these apps allow the Xperia 1 II to feature extra indulge in a digicam than a telephone. This made me shock how correct these cameras the truth is had been, particularly at video have. To discover, I made a transient film with the phone and I turn into very impressed.

I made a film with the Cinema Professional app

The suitable manner to focus on about and test the Xperia 1 II’s video quality and the Cinema Professional app turn into to plow thru the formulation of constructing a film. So I wrote, shot and starred in a 4-minute film known as I, Robber, which you might want to well perchance well also locate below. Every shot turn into captured the utilization of the Xperia’s Cinema Professional app and I had a blast the utilization of it.

Whereas taking pictures my film, the physical shutter button on the Xperia 1 II made it easy to fable myself even as soon as I could perchance well now not peruse the show camouflage. The Xperia 1 also shall be tiny when when in contrast with mirrorless cameras, and it enables me to place aside it in assorted areas for unprecedented images and perspectives. As an illustration, for one scene I taped the phone to the inner of a cabinet door.

The left aspect of the phone has no buttons and is somewhat flat that ability that the phone can stand on its private… largely.

Unlike assorted apps that provide video-centric controls, Cinema Professional has a detailed but approachable format. Its minimal menus are very easy and all main settings are accessible at a discover about. Issues indulge in shutter perspective, ISO and e book focusing are easy to adjust, and you will also automate a spotlight pull between two issues — which is this kind of enjoyment to locate.

Movies are recorded in an H.265 codec with 10-bit shade. 4K video out of the Cinema Professional app is fascinating, particularly off the indispensable 24mm digicam. Resolution and frame charges high out at 4K at 60 frames per 2d or HD at 120 fps. I could perchance well level-headed show that since Cinema Professional movies dangle a 2.39:1 element ratio, it would now not the truth is fable at beefy 4K. As a substitute, or now not it is some distance important to use the native Xperia digicam app to have correct 4K in a 16:9 element ratio.

But Sony can add improvements to the Xperia 1 II that could perchance well construct it extra beneficial. For one thing, I need there turn into extra “pro” within the Cinema Professional app. It will most likely perchance well be enormous to zoom in on the viewfinder to e book level of curiosity or dangle level of curiosity peaking. A correct flat video profile would be nice, too.

If you occur to’re filming exterior, you wish a neutral density filter in remark to have from getting overexposed movies. For the reason that aperture is mounted, the single manner to adjust exposure is by altering the ISO and shutter perspective. On a terribly colorful day, I customarily bottomed out each the ISO and shutter perspective and level-headed had an overexposed describe. One hack I learned turn into to shoot at 4K 60 fps (or HD 120 fps), which exposes every frame shorter than filming at 24 fps. It’s now not excellent, but in most cases it could well most likely perchance perchance advise the exposure to a manageable draw.

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The physical shutter button made filming myself for a transient film easy. After urgent the button I turn into confident my efficiency turn into being recorded.


Patrick Holland/CNET

There are cases I went to reshoot a scene and needed to guess what my settings had been for the conventional purchase. Access to ISO and shutter-slip metadata for clips I already shot, even though or now not it is only accessible within the challenge file, would be any other enormous instrument. Adding a histogram to the Cinema Professional app (as a substitute of appropriate the Photo Professional app), and extra tools indulge in a waveform and zebras would all be beneficial, too. 

I imprint my wishlist the truth is sounds indulge in the feature checklist of the third-event video app Filmic Professional. Whereas added tools to Cinema Professional would be enormous, I discontinue realize that Cinema Professional and Filmic Professional are two fundamentally assorted apps and phase of what I indulge in in regards to the veteran is that or now not it is reasonably easy. If I frail Filmic Professional as soon as I turn into a younger scrappy filmmaker I could perchance well successfully be overwhelmed. Whereas Cinema Professional offers a actual draw to fetch my feet wet and fetch what’s in my head captured as video.

Photo Professional app and Watch AF remodel the Xperia 1 II right into a mirrorless digicam 

After we judge phones that purchase enormous images, equivalent to the iPhone 11 Professional or Google Pixel 4, they stand out attributable to they’ll have a moment, project it and optimize it to construct a single describe that appears to be like as successfully-incessantly known as doubtless. After you tap the shutter button, the phone’s computational photography does the leisure. For many americans, that is all they ever need out of a telephone digicam.

But for folks indulge in me who need extra inventive have an eye on, the Xperia 1 II is a valid rattling treat. I fetch fetch right of entry to to superior controls and can work alongside with them indulge in a in style digicam.

If you occur to’re already into the Sony Alpha digicam ecosystem, the Photo Professional app will straight peep acquainted, attributable to it if fact be told mimics a Sony Alpha digicam. There are controls for metering, level of curiosity, exposure compensation and extra. I will dial in shutter slip and ISO and there could be even an onscreen histogram and horizon stage.

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The Photo Professional app copies the onscreen controls and dials chanced on on Sony’s Alpha line of mirrorless cameras.


James Phelan/CNET

The suitable feature is Watch AF which is an autofocus instrument borrowed from the $3,500 Sony A9 digicam. Watch AF can name a face on your frame and then lock in for your discipline’s look. It’s some distance jaw-shedding how successfully this works on the Xperia. 

This selection also shall be presupposed to work on animals, which sounds enjoyable and it turn into something I turn into taking a discover about forward to. Sadly, despite loads of tries, I never bought the look level of curiosity field to pop up for my roommate’s cat Cheddar. My video producer tried it on his dog Max and the inexperienced field didn’t pop up on his eyes both. I’m working with Sony to resolve out exactly what is going on on.

Xperia 1 II images are enormous

Whether I turn into the utilization of the default Xperia digicam app or Photo Professional, I turn into in a draw to have constantly correct images with the Sony Xperia 1 II. Photos had many of detail, luminous colors and appropriate level of curiosity.

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This photo of Sutro Tower has loads of detail and does successfully balancing highlights within the clouds and shadows.


James Phelan/CNET

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The Xperia 1 II turn into in a draw to have this provocative photo with fog in it. I indubitably indulge in the colours.


James Phelan/CNET

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The ultrawide-perspective digicam is a blast to use. There’s even a surroundings to have or purchase distortion.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Even indoors and in medium and low-gentle eventualities, the Xperia 1 II produces images with low describe noise that peep natural. Acquire a discover about below on the photo of Cheddar. The kitchen has a combine of warm and funky lighting, as successfully as colorful areas and carefully shadowed ones. Cheddar’s fur has luminous detail and his white fur highlights don’t appear to be blown out.

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This indoor mixed lighting photo of Cheddar presentations off how successfully the Xperia 1 II can deal with medium-gentle environments.


Patrick Holland/CNET

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This tree indubitably pushes the Sony Xperia 1 II’s dynamic vary to its limits.


Patrick Holland/CNET

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There is now not a dedicated night time mode. Quite, the phone can purchase low-gentle images indulge in this with the indispensable digicam app.


Patrick Holland/CNET

The finest draw I’m disappointed is with the selfie digicam, which takes only average-quality images. Image quality is a mountainous step down when in contrast with the rear digicam and there could be a beauty mode that smooths the pores and skin and enlarges eyes to a pair extent that is too extreme. Some americans could perchance well have this, but I’m now not one.

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Class mode made me peep and indubitably feel indulge in any other particular person.


Patrick Holland/CNET

The Xperia 1 II costs $1,200

Sooner or later the Xperia 1 II’s triple-rear digicam and preloaded digicam apps are tools that made my pursuit of filmmaking and photography indubitably feel extra decent on a telephone than the LG V60 and even the iPhone 11 Professional.

However the phone’s $1,200 keep is unquestionably now not for all and sundry. If you occur to’re deep within the Sony Alpha digicam ecosystem then the Xperia 1 II is unquestionably rate enthusiastic on, particularly must you dangle the funds. Sony has a preorder deal where must you purchase the phone it comes bundled with a pair of Sony WF-1000XM3 wireless headphones that label customarily $230. If you occur to’re attracted to the Xperia, I could perchance well unquestionably purchase just appropriate thing about that.

As a journalist and scrappy rapid filmmaker, the phone costs too grand for me and I imagine for loads of assorted americans too. Still, the utilization of this telephone turn into a large skills and maybe Sony can port over these enormous digicam tricks into more inexpensive telephone units within the shut to future.

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