Sony has been relatively quiet about phones since the Xperia 1 II roll out. However, rumors have been heating up on the Xperia 5 II, which is a lower-cost alternative to the flagship phone but very nearly as capable without the best screen or construction but not skimming on features. The latest rumor mentions a spec sheet that makes it a 4k 120fps recording phone which may show that handsets still are seen as innovators when it comes to cameras since very few consumer devices in the camera world can record at that frame rate.
We were not very happy that Sony basically killed the super slow motion mode on the Xperia 1 II phone which kind of showed that Sony was putting stills and regular video at the forefront without making compromises in sensors that needed to shoot at higher frame rates. Sony chose to do cleaner regular frame rate video and stills that were better than any Sony phone before at the cost of not having a do it all sensor. Slow motion from Sony was all but killed but the Xperia 5 II now makes us second guess that fate…
With all the COVID 19/Coronavirus news it seems out of place to fret over smartphone maker decisions. However, we have to mention the latest Sony smartphones which prioritize photo and video quality with one gigantic omission. All of the new lineup from Sony the Xperia 1 II, Xperia 10 II, and Xperia PRO 5G lack super slow motion features. Yes, the 960fps 1080p mode is gone and the only spec remaining is a paltry 120fps 1080p Full HD pseudo-slow-mo frame rate.
If you recall in years past, the Sony brand was incorporating their Motion eye™ technology which pairs a sensor with ultra-fast memory on the same package to allow for large datarates and super slow motion capture. In the lab, the phones were able to shoot up to 1000fps at full 1080p HD with excellent quality. What came out in the Xperia phones was a somewhat odd translation of 0.1 seconds recording time at 1080p 960fps/1000fps which came out to be extremely short and a kind of useless feature. Now that has been abandoned.
So now that the Xperia 1 phone has started shipping to some parts of Asia and Oceania it is time to see what the initial slow motion 960fps samples look like. It seems that the length of the playback video is unchanged at 6.4 seconds for 720p and 3.2 seconds for 1080p. So 96frames are recorded at 1080p 960fps and 192frames at 720p. This is the same restrictive spec for three years in a row by Sony.
You would think by now the phone could have increased the slow motion buffer to something useful like at least half a second instead of 0.2sec for 720p and 0.1sec for 1080p. Think again, it seems we will not get anywhere near usable times in 2019 from the Xperia Line again. Your best bet for recording on Sony will be to get a camera like the excellent RX Series that allow much longer recording times and greater resolution.
This week Sony Announced Xperia 1, the successor to their previous flagship the Xperia XZ3 with a few new features and a very ultra-wide 21:9 CinemaWide™ 4K HDR OLED display which creates cinematic like aspect ratio UHD video with what they claim Cinealta HDR color science. The footage does look impressive at first glance but we have to remember the small sensor on phones simply cannot compete with an APS-C or Full Frame Cinealta camera sensor.
The good news is that the phone continues to offer the 960fps Full HD 1080p spec as in previous phones the XZ series. Sony chose to not allow initial samples of footage shot in various modes including the high speed because the phone is not finalized. From anecdotal evidence, it seems to compare favorably with their Xperia XZ3 but with some better color characteristics due to the Cinealta heritage color LUTs.
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