The Sony Xperia 1 IV will be available on September 1, 2022, for approximately $1,600.00 USD, the price you must pay to have the smartphone with the world’s first true optical zoom lens.
Other companies may have promised it, but what Sony delivers here is the world’s first true optical zoom lens in a smartphone. It’s a first, although many do not seem to understand it… or even care to mention it. As a photographer coming from analog photography through digital and now smartphones, I am excited, I must say.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra I’ve now has a lens coverage that goes from 16 to 230mm optical, but there are many focal length gaps in between those values. The Sony Xperia 1 IV does not offer the same focal length range, but a zoom, a REAL optical zoom, is a welcome addition to smartphones. Now I just hope Sony sends me a unit to test, because this is, at least on paper, a promising new path forward. Before we continue, let me share some notes to explain why this is important for photographers and videographers.
Although everybody mentions the telephoto lenses in smartphones as zooms, when mentioning the effective focal length of the lens compared to the base wide-angle lens – so the 10x telephoto on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a 230mm when related to the 23mm – the truth is that smartphones do not have optical zooms but prime lenses.
A new unique true optical telephoto zoom
No matter how much the industry has promised to include optical zooms in smartphones, there was none until today: now, though, Sony has a new unique true optical telephoto zoom 85-125mm lens in its new smartphone, the Xperia 1 IV. It’s the world’s first true optical zoom lens in a smartphone, and while it’s a humble beginning, as it offers a limited range, imagine the joy of being able to go from 85mm to 125mm with real glass and not the digital trickery from “digital zooms”, even with the help of AI.
The optical zoom is paired with a 12MP “Exmor RS for mobile” image sensor with a readout speed of up to 120fps. In fact, Sony uses the same sensor for the three cameras, so the 16mm ultra-wide lens and 24mm wide lens offer the same capabilities, meaning you can record at 4K 120fps for up to 5x slow-motion video recording, Real-time Eye AF and Real-time tracking with every lens.
The Xperia 1 IV also combines depth information, using the 3D iToF sensor, and AI (artificial intelligence) based subject detection for precise and accurate AF and tracking in low light. Additionally, ZEISS optics have been calibrated specifically for the Xperia smartphone. The ZEISS T* coating contributes to accurate rendering and contrast by reducing reflections for all rear camera lenses.
Powered by CineAlta
The Sony Xperia line is a solution designed with creators in mind, more than other smartphones, so it uses technology from Alpha cameras and its Cinematography Pro mode is powered by CineAlta. The Xperia 1 IV is no exception, so it offers Real-Time Eye AF and 20fps burst with AE (auto exposure)/AF in HDR on all three rear lenses to capture portraits for both people and animals, even when photographing fast-moving subject and in challenging shooting conditions. In addition, the Xperia 1 IV uses AI white balance to capture and correct colors under challenging lighting conditions, delivering true to life results.
Besides emulating some aspects from the Alpha family of cameras for photography, the Xperia 1 IV allows the user to create cinematic-looking content with ease. Sony says that using the Cinematography Pro “Powered by CineAlta” feature, creators can record movies with similar parameters and color settings that professionals use. All rear camera lenses enable 4K 120fps high frame rate and up to 5x slow-motion shooting. In addition, with new multi-frame shooting now available even for cinema recording allows videos to be recorded with wider dynamic range without losing resolution.
Sony claims the Xperia 1 IV provides unparalleled video capabilities. Based on direct feedback from video creators, Sony developed its “Videography Pro” feature, which centralizes settings for video. This allows users to easily adjust settings such as focus, exposure, and white balance – even while recording.
Users can capture and playback fast-moving scenes and slow-motion video at up to 5x due to the device’s ability to record in 4K 120fps video on all its lenses. Capturing smooth, shake-free video is easier than ever thanks to the latest Optical SteadyShot with FlawlessEye. The Xperia 1 IV also supports Eye AF technology and object tracking for video, allowing the user to keep sharp focus on the subject and spend more time composing their shot.
Sony’s newest smartphone also features 4K HDR multi-frame shooting for video recording, which allows videos to be recorded with wider dynamic range without losing resolution. In addition, the Xperia 1 IV allows for seamless zoom from its ultra-wide-angle to telephoto perspectives for even more creative freedom.
Livestream and Music Pro
The Xperia 1 IV improves the quality of live streaming, while simplifying the process. The device enables “Eye AF” and “Object Tracking” when using Videography Pro while livestreaming to YouTube™ and other social media platforms. Alternatively, users can stream high-quality video from a compatible Alpha™ camera while using Xperia 1 IV as an external monitor. When paired with Sony’s Vlog Monitor, users can livestream content by using the rear cameras.
A new music recording function “Music Pro” enables professional-level recording with just the Xperia 1 IV, using unique cloud processing. Music Pro up-converts vocal sounds recorded with Xperia 1 IV as if it was recorded in a professional studio, allowing the user to record full-scale songs at home or on-the-go. 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-performance condenser microphones while producing reverberation similar to that of a professional studio. When singing and playing an acoustic guitar simultaneously, Music Pro can separate the vocal and guitar sounds and mix them at any balance. Sound recording and editing is free of charge, while cloud processing for high-quality sound is subject to a monthly fee.
Price and availability
The Xperia 1 IV smartphone features the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile platform, which works on 5G sub6/mmWave and Wi-Fi 6E, with 12 GB of RAM, 512 GB of ROM and a microSD card slot. The Xperia 1 IV includes a 5,000 mAh battery with up to a 3-year long life and quick charge that gets to 50% battery in 30 minutes and has wireless charging capabilities. The Xperia 1 IV has IP65/68 water and dust resistance and uses Corning Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and back.
The Xperia 1 IV will be available on September 1, 2022, for approximately $1,600.00 USD. It will be sold unlocked in black at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout the United States.