Even though the competition is always further ahead, Sony does not give up its smartphone segment yet. The Japanese now have their latest project up their sleeve with the Xperia PRO-I. At first glance, this is not just a conventional smartphone. Rather, a smartphone seems to merge with a professional camera. Can Sony win the hearts of passionate and professional photographers and videographers and regain a foothold in the market?
Sony has found its target group
Let’s not kid ourselves. The smartphone market is arguably one of the most competitive in the entire tech industry. To compete against Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, Apple and Co. is almost impossible. This is especially true once you have lost the connection. Sony seems to have met this fate for quite some time. However, the Japanese still do not want to give up their smartphone segment and launch new devices on the market at regular intervals. Unlike many other companies from the Far East, the company does not focus on a price war with cheaper and cheaper devices. Instead, they obviously want to secure a very specific target group – photographers and videographers.
This is made clear by the presentation of the Xperia PRO-I. This somewhat different smartphone is scheduled to go on sale this December and should more than please at least friends of pretty photos. Sony once again collaborates with the experts from the traditional company Zeiss for its hybrid of smartphone and camera. Together with the German lens developers, Sony has developed a triple camera for the Xperia PRO-I that should be quite something. In addition to a main camera, the triple lens also houses an ultra-wide-angle camera and a dual telephoto lens.
Focus is on image quality
Even though the pure resolution of the three cameras with “only” 12 megapixels does not really read well from a layman’s point of view, it is worth taking a look at the fine print here. After all, Sony relies on a Tessar-T lens from Zeiss for the main camera, which is supposed to be particularly expansive. In combination with the one-inch chip, whose sensor is roughly the same as Sony’s compact camera RX100 VII, pixels with a size of 2.4 micrometers should be possible. The Japanese hope to be able to collect enough light for beautiful final results even in low light conditions with this camera technology. Meanwhile, the aperture of the triple camera is variable and should be able to offer a switching function between the focal lengths f/2.0 and f/4.0. Photo professionals will be pleased to know that the Xperia PRO-I can not only shoot JPEGs, but also 12-bit RAW photos.
Sony also emphasizes its great autofocus. This is not only supposed to be particularly fast, but also able to work accurately. It has a total of up to 315 measuring points. Once again, Sony has relied on technology from its own products. The autofocus software is already known from Sony’s high-priced Alpha series. The 3D time-of-flight camera of the autofocus is supposed to make it possible to orientate to the eyes of people and animals, which should ensure sharp snapshots even with movements.
The shutter button also makes it clear that this should be the dream of many photographers here. Finally, the Xperia PRO-I offers a two-stage shutter release button. In contrast to the classic touch control, which can also be used to take a picture alternatively, this should feel much better. However, not only the hardware reminds more and more of a mixture of smartphone and camera. After all, Sony relies on a mixture of the software variants of the in-house smartphones, compact cameras and full-frame cameras here. Of course, a selfie camera should not be missing. With 8 MP resolution, it should definitely meet the conventional requirements of chic selfies.
A lot of space for large photos
Anyone who has ever worked with RAW files knows that they can sometimes be huge. Accordingly, Sony equips its smartphone-camera hybrid with decent storage space. The 512 GB of storage should be enough for most users to start with. The rest of the specs also read very well. Besides the powerful Snapdragon 888 from Qualcomm, the smartphone can also shine with a chic 6.5-inch OLED screen that resolves in 4K. A refresh rate of 120 Hz ensures that moving images run extremely smoothly and scrolling should be a lot of fun. The hardware package is rounded off with 12 GB of RAM and a 4,500 mAh battery.
In terms of software, Sony does not dare to go it alone. The device is supposed to ship with Android 12, which Sony will again adapt a bit visually. We like the IP68 protection. Thus, outdoor photographers do not have to fear dust and water too much. However, anything else would cause sleepless nights in view of the steep price. Sony wants to charge an MSRP of 1,799 Euros for its Xperia PRO-I. The Japanese also want to introduce an additional display especially for content creators. The 3.5-inch display is supposed to be easily connected to the smartphone via cable and facilitate video recordings as well as photo sessions. If that is worth 199 Euros, you can buy it in December.