In an era where smartphones are getting thinner, the engineers at Sony have managed the impossible … a Smartphone with a real optical zoom. The Xperia 1 IV is the first mobile device to rely on optics to zoom in an image without relying on multiple cameras or blowing up to digital zoom. And that means depth of field!
Although the newcomer does have three cameras, the first two of which are 16mm ultra-wide f2.2 and a 24mm wide f1.7, the real innovation here is the 85-125mm f/2.3-f/2.8 optical zoom. Each camera has a dedicated 12 mp image sensor with sizes of 1/1.7, 1/1.7, and 1/3.5 respectively.
Sony reveals the lens is a periscope design but isn’t such much of anything else about how the mechanism works. But what they point out is that the optical zoom works just like its full frame mirrorless cousins with Zeus’s optics and even lens coatings to reduce light flares and chromatic aberration.
The result is an actual depth of field that isn’t computational and even some bokeh. The zoom Also takes advantage of Sony’s Optical SteadyShot for image stabilization.
All three rear-facing cameras are capable of capturing 4k video at 120fps with Real-time Eye Autofocus (AF) and Real-time tracking. The Xperia 1IV also uses artificial intelligence through a 3D iToF sensor for precision subject identification and focusing in low light conditions.
Meanwhile, the front-facing camera is equally as powerful as the two wider lenses, with a dedicated 1/2.9 inch 12mp image sensor that can even capture 4k HDR color. Granted, these sensors are barely the size of a fingernail, but there is four total.
In addition to enjoying one of the potentially best optical images of a smartphone class camera, the Xperia 1 IV sports a 120Hz 4k widescreen OLED display which is 50% brighter than the previous generation. The display can show 21:9 widescreen content in HDR and smooth graphics performance.
Toss in a pair of stereo speakers that have been optimized for Sony Music, and 360° degree special audio. Audio recording also uses the cloud to sweeten its signal and remove unwanted noise through Sony’s sound source separation technology Sony claims the result is similar to using Sony condenser microphones in a professional studio. That’s a tall order, but Sony’s attention to improving audio quality isn’t to be underestimated.
With all this media-driven power, the Xperia 1 IV has at its heart the Snapdragon 8 processor, 12GB of RAM and The phone features 12GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and a microSD card slot. And in bucking the trend, the X1IV also includes a 3.5mm headphone jack for diehard can fans. Battery life isn’t known, but the 5,000 mAh battery has a quick charging capability to get 50% full charge in a half hour.
The price of the Xperia 1 IV is $1,600, meaning that a sub $1,000 smartphone is largely a thing of the past. But with the optical zoom camera and 4K HDR video at up to 120fps, it may be largely worth it for mobile filmmakers. Shipping is scheduled for September of 2022, but preorders have already begun.
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