More details on Xperia 1 II’s ‘Photography Pro’ features arrive + sample photos

by XB on 29th April 2020

in Imaging, Videos, Xperia 1 series

Sony will debut a new ‘Photo Pro’ app for the upcoming Xperia 1 II (Mark 2) flagship, which is due to launch at the end of May 2020. The new Photo Pro (Photography Pro) app will sit alongside the Cinema Pro (Cinematography Pro) app that was introduced with last year’s Xperia 1.

Sony is leveraging expertise from its Alpha camera range to give Xperia 1 II owners greater manual control over their photography. The Photo Pro app has a user interface familiar to owners of Alpha cameras, allowing control over, amongst other things, ISO, shutter speed, burst mode, autofocus area, exposure control and white balance. For the first time, Sony will also allow output to RAW (.DNG).

The Japanese media were given a briefing recently on the ‘Photography Pro’ features of the Xperia 1 II, bringing further detail of what we can expect to see. In Japan, Photo Pro will not launch with the phone, and instead will arrive in a future software update. It is unclear right now if this will be the case in other markets too.

The Xperia 1 II is being introduced as part of the Sony camera product family, as seen below, showing professional use at the top of the pyramid, with more widespread use in its Xperia smartphone products.

The Xperia 1 II has a triple 12MP camera setup with a main 12MP 24mm 1/1.7-inch Exmor RS F1.7 lens + telephoto 12MP 70mm 1/3.4-inch F2.4 lens + super wide-angle 12MP 16mm 1/2.55-inch Exmor RS F2.2 lens. Sony is also using a 3D iToF (time-of-flight) sensor for fast accurate autofocus, and helping to provide better bokeh effects.

The main (24mm) and super wide-angle (16mm) cameras come with Dual PD (Photo Diode) autofocus, while the telephoto (70mm) camera has PD autofocus. Optical image stabilisation (OIS) is supported in the main and telephoto cameras.

The three different focal lengths cover the zoom ranges (in traditional 35mm format) of 16-24mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm. The app will require you to tap and choose between each lens when zooming, much like if you were physically changing the lens in the real world. An example of this can be seen in the video below.

The Xperia 1 II will use ZEISS lenses for all three cameras, the first in the line-up to do so, moving away from ‘G Lens’. The lenses will include a T* (T-Star) coating which help to prevent reflections, which can sometimes cause ghosting and flare. This should provide an improvement when shooting images in strong sunlight.

The sensor of the main camera is a 1/1.7-inch 12MP sensor with 1.8μm pixel pitch, which compares to the 1/2.6-inch 12MP sensor of the Xperia 1 with 1.4μm pixel pitch. This gives the Xperia 1 II much greater shooting sensitivity versus the Xperia 1, allowing greater light into the sensor. You can see an example of this in the sample photos provided by Sony Mobile below, comparing the Xperia 1 (top) and Xperia 1 II (bottom), which shows a better low-light performance for Sony’s newer flagship.

SAMPLE PHOTO: Xperia 1 (top) vs Xperia 1 ii (bottom) – click to enlarge

SAMPLE PHOTO (cropped): Xperia 1 (top) vs Xperia 1 ii (bottom) – click to enlarge

A new feature is the inclusion of 20 fps (frames per second) continuous burst shooting complete with autofocus (AF) and auto exposure (AE). The reason this is important is that normally it is faster to shoot pictures continuously by fixing the exposure and focus position. However, if the subject is moving, this fixed position on exposure/focus won’t work. Sony’s new feature continuously adjusts AF/AE utilising high-speed processing from the Exmor RS sensor and BIONZ X mobile engine.

The Xperia 1 II continuously calculates autofocus and exposure up to 60 times per second. To reduce battery consumption, this AF/AE calculation is suppressed to 30 fps while waiting for preview, and increases to 60 fps once the hardware camera key is depressed half-way.

All three rear cameras support real-time Eye AF, which tracks the eyes on people when autofocusing. A new introduction for the Xperia 1 II is that Eye AF also tracks animals too, as can be seen in the video below.

The autofocus system on the Xperia 1 II features a total of 247 phase-detection AF points (4x higher than the Xperia 1) covering nearly 70% of the sensor area achieving AF acquisition in just 0.03 seconds. The result is better focus on fast-moving subjects.

The 3D iToF sensor also helps to increase AF accuracy by measuring the distance to the subject. Sony previously used a laser AF sensor, but this measured just one point in the centre. The Xperia 1 II is capable of positioning 43,200 points, significantly improving the 3D depth map and hence autofocus performance. It also uses algorithms using AI to recognise the subject in focus.

Xperia 1 II sample photos

You can see some of the first sample pictures from the Xperia 1 II that were taken by photographers Ira Block and Nick Didlick. Unfortunately, we do not have the full-sized images, but they give you an idea of the phone’s capability nonetheless.

Via Mynavi and Watch Impress.

Thanks Santos!

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