Sony’s Xperia 1 IV is the world’s first smartphone with true optical zoom

Sony Xperia 1 IV

Sony has announced the Xperia 1 Mark IV, a feature-packed smartphone that puts the needs of video shooters first but doesn’t hold back much from everyone else. It is also the first smartphone with a true optical zoom that can shoot between 85mm and 125mm.

The Xperia 1 IV is built specifically for content creators. Speak with PetaPixelSony explains that most smartphones are designed to do everything right, but few are made to do a subset of specific tasks extremely well. That latter smartphone is what Sony is trying to make, and the Xperia 1 IV is designed to fit perfectly into a niche of photo and video content creators thanks to its impressive array of cameras, high-end camera features and live streaming capabilities.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

Three cameras, three sensors, true optical zoom

Sony’s new smartphone has three cameras on the back, all of which are 12 megapixels. The first is a 16mm ultra-wide angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture and is in front of a 1/2.5-inch sensor. The second is a 24mm wide camera with an f/1.7 aperture and a 1/1.7-inch sensor that also features image stabilization in the form of Sony’s Optical SteadyShot. Under that camera is a 3D iToF (time of flight) sensor. The last camera is a periscope-style camera with an 85-125mm f/2.3-f/2.8 lens in front of a 1/3.5-inch sensor that also features Optical SteadyShot.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

Sony Xperia 1 IV

That zoom allows for any focal length between 85mm and 125mm and works just like a full size zoom. Sony says it’s the first of its kind, and while it shows how the optics are arranged, the company keeps the mechanism that moves the optics a secret, somewhat underscoring its technological achievement.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

Sony Xperia 1 IV

In addition to all three cameras having the same 12-megapixel resolution, they all share the same 120 frames per second (FPS) high-speed readout, meaning all rear cameras can record 4K at up to 120 FPS.

The three cameras also feature Sony’s Real-time Eye Autofocus (AF) and Real-time tracking capabilities, technologies seen in recent Xperia smartphones originally developed for the company’s Alpha line of cameras. Sony says it uses the 3D iToF sensor and artificial intelligence-based subject detection to enable accurate and precise AF and tracking in low-light conditions. Finally, Sony says that the Zeiss optics have been calibrated specifically for the Xperia 1 IV and that the T* coating contributes to accurate rendering and contrast by reducing reflections for all rear camera lenses.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

In addition to the rear cameras, the front camera has also been improved. It also has a resolution of 12 megapixels for a larger 1/2.9-inch sensor that has increased in size without obstructing the OLED display. This sensor allows the Xperia 1 IV to capture 4K HDR video and 12 megapixel photos from the front-facing camera.

For photography

Sony says the Xperia 1 IV combines that powerful optical telephoto zoom with both bokeh and advanced autofocus technology to deliver high-quality photos. IT can shoot up to 20 FPS while Real-Time Eye AF is active on one of the three rear cameras, a feature that works for both humans and animals and even when they’re moving quickly through the frame.

The 12-megapixel resolution is low compared to many other smartphones on the market, but Sony says the content created with this smartphone tends to stay on screens. The company says the need for more than 12 megapixels isn’t often needed outside of printing, which isn’t expected for subjects shot with this device. By keeping the resolution lower, the company was able to equip all of the smartphone’s cameras with improved speed and accuracy.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

Xperia 1 IV enables real-time eye AF and 20 fps burst with AE (auto exposure)/AF in HDR on all three rear lenses to capture portraits of both people and animals. Sony promises it can continue to perform even when shooting fast-moving subjects and in challenging shooting conditions. In addition, the Xperia 1 IV uses AI white balance to capture and correct colors in challenging lighting conditions, which it claims will deliver true-to-life results.

For video:

Sony has put significant resources into focusing the video content maker on the Xperia 1 IV. The company claims that the smartphone improves the quality of live streaming while simplifying the process. The device enables Eye AF and Object Tracking when using Videography Pro during live streaming to YouTube and other social media platforms.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

It also works with Sony’s bluetooth grip and Vlog monitor. For those who prefer a full size camera, it can work along with that use case as well. Users can stream high-quality video from a compatible Alpha camera while using Xperia 1 IV as an external monitor.

Improved OLED screen, better sound, big battery

That aforementioned OLED display is about 50% brighter than the previous generation Xperia 1 phone and is a true 4K display that can be refreshed to 120Hz and can display HDR 21:9 widescreen content. Sony says the 120Hz display delivers exceptionally smooth graphics performance and the phone’s 240Hz high-speed touch scanning speed meets the needs of a growing mobile gaming market.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

That screen is backed by a set of redesigned full-stage stereo speakers that Sony says were tuned in conjunction with Sony Music Entertainment. The speakers have a new driver and housing design that delivers more power and improves bass. The company says the speakers can also reproduce 360 ​​Reality Autio sound and hardware decoding that optimizes quality when streaming music through services like Tidal.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

The speakers have been improved, but it’s not the only aspect of sound that’s been amplified. Sony has also improved the device’s recording capabilities, claiming that the Music Pro up-converts vocals in a way that mimics a recording in a professional studio:

“The cloud processing removes unwanted noise from the recorded sound using sound source separation technology. It then reproduces the frequency response of Sony’s high-quality condenser microphones, while producing reverberation comparable to that of a professional studio.”

Sony Xperia 1 IV

If a recording is made that combines an acoustic guitar and vocals, the phone is smart enough to separate those sounds and mix them in any balance. Sound recording and editing is free, while cloud processing for high-quality sound is subject to a monthly fee that Sony has not disclosed at the time of publication.

The phone has 12 GB RAM, 512 GB ROM, it is powered by the Snapdragon 8 processor and also comes with a microSD card slot to easily expand the storage. It also features a 3.5mm headphone jack. Since it is as much a camera as a phone, it also has a dedicated shutter button.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

The battery is a robust 5,000 mAh, but Sony won’t say how many hours users can expect from a full charge. That said, the battery has a promised lifespan of three years and a quick charge function that can be charged to 50% in 30 minutes. The phone also supports wireless charging.

Prices and availability

The Sony Xperia 1 IV will be available in the United States from September 1, 2022 for about $1,600† It will be sold unlocked nationwide, but the purple colorway is only available directly from Sony. Pre-orders start today.

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