Sony Announces the Xperia 1 V Smartphone

Sony has introduced its latest flagship smartphone, the Xperia 1 V, which targets both photographers and video fans while upgrading some of the hardware and optimizing the software.
Given how similar this phone seems to its predecessors, the modifications are most likely superficial. It has a 6.5-inch OLED display with a 21:9 aspect ratio and a refresh rate of 120Hz. Only one configuration is available, with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, which can be expanded to 1TB via the microSD card slot. It is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 CPU, which puts it in line with numerous other Android phones due out in 2023.

Sony’s triple rear camera array starts with a 52-megapixel wide camera (24mm equivalent) with a 1/1.35-inch image sensor, though Sony has yet to disclose which IMX sensor it is. There’s an f/1.9 aperture, electronic and optical image stabilization (OIS), and pixel binning, which can make pixels larger for improved light gathering. The new Exmor T, a tri-layer transistor pixel that is still a backside lit sensor, but with two-layer transistor pixel technology, is the more important component of the puzzle. The idea is that by separating the photodiode and transistor, it is possible to theoretically double the amount of light reaching the sensor.

This is intended to operate in tandem with better computational imaging, moving Sony away from a “purist experience,” especially in Basic mode, when photographs will be treated to “Android-style” computational imaging. That will be represented in a new Night mode, albeit with some user control in the form of a toggle to enable or disable the feature. The software is also programmed to decide how many photos (between two and sixteen) should be bracketed together to provide the greatest potential result. Sony also joked that it would not “use AI to fake an image — we will not add moons or clips or anything else into our images, but use it to enhance the performance of the device,” a clear reference to Samsung’s use of AI for moon photos.

This will also be true for the 12-megapixel telephoto lens (85-125mm equivalent) with a Type 1/3.5 sensor, f/2.3-2.8 aperture, and optical image stabilization. The Type 1/2.5 sensor with an f/2.2 aperture will be used in the 12-megapixel ultra-wide (16mm equivalent). The phone’s front camera uses a 12-megapixel Type 1/2.9 sensor. It’s also unclear which Sony IMX sensors these three cameras are using.

S-Cinetone video recording contributes to Sony’s strategy of bringing capabilities from their camera series to phones like the Xperia 1 V. Six color LUTs from some of those cameras will be available for use here, particularly for video work. This clearly draws inspiration from Sony’s ZV series, which the corporation offers to vloggers and video creators. Sony claims that videos would have exquisite skin tones without the need for color grading, thanks to the new sensor’s tripled saturation.

The ability to use the phone as a monitor but also manage settings and record information to the phone directly when used with an Alpha camera is arguably the most significant innovation. This was sadly lacking in the Xperia Pro, although it’s possible that it’s still in the works. External recording will not be as good as on an Atomos, but it will provide a 4:2:2 8-bit image. To get closer to what a professional monitor can achieve, there are several display options, such as waveform and gridlines, or zebra lines with peaking. An upgrade allows the chat option to interact with YouTube during live streaming. VLOGCAM mode also caters to content creators by shifting focus on the product being demoed and subsequently refocusing on the presenter using facial detection.

When you rotate the phone to portrait mode, the interface changes to a vertical layout that now applies to all modes, not just the Basic one. You will also be able to use the onboard microphones, either recording both in front and around to capture the larger surroundings, or only in front to isolate a voice. The headphone connection is also useful when using the phone as a monitor to listen to audio while recording.

The Xperia 1 V will come in black and khaki green, the latter of which will be a Sony retail exclusive. Sony will make it available on July 28 for $1,400.

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