Sony Xperia 1 ii Camera Test & Review

(upbeat music) – What’s up guys Saf here on SuperSaf TV, and this is my SonyXperia 1 II camera review. Now it is going to bea little bit different, to the standard SuperSafStyle camera comparisons that you see here on the channel. Although there will belots of comparison shots that I am going to be showing, versus the iPhone 11 Pro Max. But it’s different because, this is a different smartphone. The whole camera sets up, the way everything works with the pro apps is quite different, so I thought this would bethe best way to cover it. Now, as part of this video, I’ve also invited the bestvoice in the YouTube text base. My good friend, MichaelFisher, the Mr. Mobile. So we’ll be hearing some of his thoughts and see if they match up with my thoughts, about the Sony Xperia1 II cameras as well, which will be a littlebit later in this video. So the Xperia 1 II hardware is excellent. I really like that, Sony have gone with three12 megapixel cameras, rather than going for 48,108 megapixel cameras. Like a lot of the competition and doing, even though on thosesmartphones 99% of the time, you’re still going to be shooting around, 12 megapixels anyway.

So I appreciate that Sonyhave gone with the setup. Sony actually make the sensors for, pretty much most smartphones out there. And I personally also usethe Sony A7 III as well as the Sony ZV1. So hardware is really, really good. And what I really likeabout these cameras is that, the colors are very consistentacross the three cameras. This is something that wesee on many of the cameras, as soon as you switchfrom one to the other. Colors can change quite a bit. This is not the casehere with the Xperia 1 II and the colors are also quite natural. You see a lot of manufacturers really – boosting up the vibrance and saturation. This is also not the casehere with the Xperia 1 II. And I think this issomething that a lot people, are going to appreciate. Now, one of the biggest improvements here, compared to the Xperia 1last year is dynamic range. I was very much not pleasedwith the dynamic range, that you got out of the shotswith the Xperia 1 last year, but this is being improvedquite a bit here – on the Xperia 1 ii, both in the standard auto mode as well as, in the photo pro mode. Now, thanks to a few ofyou who did point out that, if you do go into thesettings of the photo pro app, you can switch on Auto HDR,which definitely does help.

And in a lot of cases, I did prefer the dynamicrange on the Xperia 1, compared to something likethe iPhone 11 Pro Max, as you can see on a few examples here. Now, having said that, there was certain instances, where I’d get reallygood dynamic range from – the ultra wide camera. But when I went to the primary camera, things walk quite a blown out. So this is something that I did find, and hopefully can be improvedwith software over time. I’m touching on the photo pro app. I mean, having all of thosemanual controls is something, that’s really, really useful. And if you ask somebodythat’s kind of used to the Sony Alpha line, you’ll be very much at home with, all of the differentcontrols that you have and all of the different settings. Along with that physical shutter button, which I am sure a lot ofpeople will also appreciate. Now within the pro app. I think for me, the most important thing isthe auto focus that we have. The auto focus, which trackseyes, not only of people, but also of animals. And this is something thatwe don’t really see on, pretty much any of thesmart phone out there, as well as the ability to have, up to 20 frames a second best shot. So if you are trying to take pictures of- fast moving subjects, then you can be confident, that all of them are going to be in focus. And this is something that, I think is quite uniqueon the Xperia 1 ii. Now when we go on to video, things are a little bit different. So the cinema pro app, once again, lots of controls over white balance, ISO, shutter speed, focus. Now for me personally, I’m already used to alot of these features, with apps such as FiLMicpro on the iPhone. So they all features that I use a lot. And the other thing aboutthe cinema pro app is that, I found that it was very specific to specific situations, where you had control over lighting. And that is because onceyou lock in exposure and start recording, if you are maybe handheld outdoors, as soon as you go from adark area to a bright area, then things are notgoing to be looking good. So this is something thatI find is great to have, but it is very, very specific.

The other thing that I foundwas with stabilization, when you are in the cinema pro app, then stabilization is really not good, especially if you are at 4K 60fps and 4K 60fps is only limitedto the primary camera. You do not have 4K 60fps on the ultra-wide or the zoom camera, things that a lot of thecompetition do offer. Now, when you do switch tothe auto mode for video, then yes, you are going to be able toget the different exposures and things. But I did find, the shots did look quitedark in a lot of instances and the stabilization, although it was bettercompared to what we had in the pro app, it still wasn’t as good assomething like the iPhone. As you can see in this example here. Now I know a lot of people keepsaying to use the pro modes, but really sick speaking.

There are lots of situations, where you simply can’t use pro mode, and the pro mode is not available for, the front facing camera and the front facing camera, is something that I alsowant to touch on because, i’m going to be straight up on all these. And even though I’m goingto get a lot of hate for it, the Sony Xperia 1 ii, does not have a good front facing camera. It’s eight megapixels. It can only film up to 1080P. Dynamic range is really, really bad. And when you do try to use, portrait mode from thefront facing camera, then dynamic range just goescompletely out of the window. There’s been lots ofinstances where I’ve had, a very blurry image – trying to use the portrait mode, from the front facing camera, which was very, very disappointing for me, for a smartphone that’sretained for around $1,200. The iPhone SE for example, is a third of the price. And I can tell you hands down, has a much better front facing camera. This was also the casein video dynamic range, for video from the front facingcamera was really not good. And I know a lot of peopleare going to be saying, Oh, this is for pros,pros don’t take selfies or vlog and things like that. But I know a lot ofprofessional photographers and videographers at everysingle one of them at least, uses the front facing camera for, Instagram stories and the likes because we are in 2020 and having such a bad front facing camera, on a smartphone that’sretaining for around $1,200 or 1100 pounds is reallyno excuse in my opinion. Now, another thing around the pro apps, is that they’re all well and good, but what about, when you want to reallytake advantage of – competition photography. So to give you a couple of examples, night mode, there is no dedicated nightmode on the Xperia 1 ii. So here you can see anexample versus the iPhone and the iPhone is clearlydoing a much, much better job. Now yes, I could Mount this on a tripod, but I don’t always have a tripod with me, (indistinct) the object. If I’m carrying around a tripod with me, then I might as wellcarry around my Sony A73, instead of trying to shoot on this. The other area is portrait mode. So you do have a defocus mode on here.

And once again, portrait shots on the Xperia1 ii are really, really bad. I’ve seen lots of budgets,smartphones do a better job. It kind of just does ablur around you and again, dynamic range. This goes completely out the window. As soon as you try to do aportrait shot portrait mode or the defocus mode, is only available on the primary camera, not on the telephoto camera. Telephoto camera is generally, what you’d use for portrait shots, but again, this is not available. So although, there are lots of positiveswith the Xperia 1 ii cameras, there are a lot of negatives. And I was talking to Michael Fisher, about some of these things and i found that he alsoexperienced some similar results. So I thought, let me bringhim onto the channel. And then we can have a discussion and kind of share ouropinions on these cameras. Fisher, so good to haveyou on the channel. – Saf it is great to be here and I really apologize forshowing up out of uniform. Let me just get theseaccessories on there. That’s better, there we go, now I’m ready. Now I’m ready for it. I’m super set style. – Brilliant. (Fisher laughs) I kind of feel like, cause I’ve actually gotmy normal glasses on, so maybe, maybe I need toput the sunglasses on too! (Fisher – I wish you would) or maybe it should just (Fisherlaughs) be (indistinct). All right, they wereon let’s let’s do this. Fisher, it’s great to, well, firstly chat as well butalso have you on the channel! (Fisher – great to be here) – We’ve both been using the Xperia 1 ii. I’d say I’ve been, I’ve had it for about just over a week. I believe you’ve had it for! (Fisher – abouteight days) the same time. There’s a few things, there’sa few opinions I have. And you know, we’ve had a brief conversationabout this before as well. – That’s right. – But what I thought would begood is for us to you know, just have this chat on video so we could, you know, share our views andopinions with the audience. – I love that idea man,thank you for inviting me on.

And you know what, it’s reallycool because I feel like, I talked about it on theAndroid central podcast, a couple like a week ago and I was pretty harsh on it, cause it was really early in my testing. And then once the review video came out, I was much more fairbecause I knew it better. But now in it like anhour after publishing, I was like did I go too easy on it? So I think this is perfect. We’re going to strike a perfectmiddle ground right here. (Saf laughs) – Perfect, that’s excellent. So let’s initially startwith the positives, because you know, there are a lot of positivesbecause there are positives. – Indeed, i really like it when, we had only talked forlike an hour with Sony and 12 megapixels on all three sensors. They’re not going for the megapixel race. They’re not doing 108 megapixel shooters. And they went into detail on why, you know, we want to be able to scan thatwhole sensor really rapidly, so that we can reduce, what is it, the rollingshutter distortion. (Saf mumbles) We want to beable to take these burst shots and do these crazy two 20 FPS burst shots, with three times pershot, focus calculation. I mean, that’s a prettyexceptional technical, technological achievement, right? – Yeah. And I mean like things like auto focus, it’s pretty much not on anyof the smart phone camera, right now. – Right, i do love doing that. I mean, you got the physical button and you do the half press to focus and you get the block. And then the, one of the tiny littleblocks jumps up to the eye and it’s like, Oh, thiseven works on cats. – Yeah. The fact that it also workson animals on a smartphone, is definitely very impressive.

And in terms of like general so like, going out there andtaking lots of pictures and things, what, in terms ofthe results from the pictures, what have you most liked? – You know i feel likeXperia phones have gotten, you know we used toreally get down on them, back in the days, of 2014, 2015, 2016, you had all this over sharpening this, very large amounts ofdigital noise and stuff. And I feel like, they’ve calmed down on thatover the past few years, to the point where evenlast year Xperia 1, i was pretty satisfiedwith the image quality and the color science on. This one yields very closely to that. – Okay – In fact, I was really havinga great time with it man, until I went side by side with the pixel. And I’m just personallyspeaking the way I shoot, the way I like my images to come out. Yes, the pixel really does overprocessing a lot of the time, but i tend to prefer its results probably! (Saf – okay)fourtimes out of five. I don’t know if you hada similar experience. – Yeah. So I totally agree with you that, my personal point, from that is that, you know when I did put them, put the images, whichI’ve shown in the video, side-by-side against theiPhone, more often than not, I did personally preferimages from the iPhone, but my argument has always been that, having a pro app is amazing. It’s great to have that. Personally speaking on my iPhone, i do have filmic pro, which I use very regularly and that kind of has a lot of those – settings that you candial in when you need it. But I would like tohave both those options. So the thing for me withthe Xperia 1 was that, I really enjoyed the pro experience, but as soon as it came backto the regular experience, then I found myself justmore often than not, preferring images from thelikes of a pixel or an iPhone. – Definitely. And you know people, i was posting some teaserimages on Instagram and people really jumpall over here for even, deigning to use the auto mode on a Sony. And that’s not the point. That’s not what’s for sure, but even the best prophotographer, you know, sees a once in a lifetime shot passed by and just needs to get it. You just need to double click and shoot. You don’t always havetime to, for a pro app. And you know, I was having a great time withthe cinema pro app as well. You mentioned video mode. I was using shooting at – my host segments for my review video. And it was great to be able to say, “hey, stand-in David andMel have Android authority, who lives with me? Come sit in this chair. (indistinct), I’m going to get focused, I’m going to expose for you white balance and shoot in 21 by nine.

And it’s so fun. – Yeah totally. – But it for that kind of set up, it’s useful for the kindof thing we’re like, okay, well now I’m goingto pan from the walk sign, down the road of no, there’s no auto settings for any of that. (Saf laughs) – Yeah. – It just won’t adapt! – Exactly, exactly. So I mean you mentioned a reallyimportant thing there that, you know, when you weretrying to stand in, get David to stand in for you. So that kind of brings me overonto the front facing camera. Because you know, smart phone cameras. Now there are an all round package, right? We’ve got the ultra wide, we’ve got primary telephoto, but the front facing camera isalso quite an important part. And I know not everybody takes selfies, but you know, thereare lots of times when, you will be using the front facing camera, whether that’s for images and video. Now, I’m very interested to hear, your opinion on the front facingcamera of the Xperia 1 ii. – They brought over thesame component as last year. I mean, I think front to back, the entire package is thesame from the Xperia 1. Which is fine. I’ve had good luck with it in daylight. I would always (indistinct), have you tried a videocall with the phone yet? – I haven’t tried a video call, but I’ve recorded lots ofshort videos with the phone. – Now i wonder if youhad the same experience, because on the video calls, the skin smoothening was just outrageous. – Okay! – I had, i was lucky enoughto have a Twitter user or a comment, or let me know, hey, you got to test this. And I did. And i was like, Oh wow, this, this camera makes me looklike I’m 17 years old. Okay. That’s interesting. (Saf laughs) – Okay.

That’s something that, I have not tested, but having a test of, you know, taking lots of pictures fromthe front facing camera, as well as video, you know, in comparison to pretty much all of the flagship smartphones out there, I found it to be really behind personally. I mean, you know, highlights, overexposes most of the timedynamic range isn’t great. As soon as you use portraitmode, then you can, you can say goodbye to highlights and dynamic range justgoes out the window. As soon as you, switch on portrait mode fromthe front facing camera. And that’s something thatI found very disappointing, because regardless ofwhether you take selfies or not for an 1100 pound a smartphone, which is going up against, you know, pretty much everyof the flagships out there, that’s something that Ithink that they really did, they just seem to concentrateall on the pro modes and the rear facing cameras and completely messed upthe front facing camera, in my opinion. – And that’s exactly right. Yeah. And I think that, translates across thewhole camera experience and the whole package. It’s like, yes, thank you for doing whatwe’ve been asking for so long, which is I’m recordingthis my half of the video, on a Sony camera. I’ve been shooting on Sonygear for seven or eight years. And we’ve said for most ofthose seven or eight years, “hey, Sony lean into this. You guys make the camerasfor most smartphones. You have a loyal followingof camera photographer and videographer people. Why not build more ofthat into your phones? And they’re doing that. The problem is I feellike for whatever reason, they are just unable to matchthe auto mode performance, that will appeal to normal folks as well. So it almost feels likea crutch where they say, well, yeah, it’s $1,200, but if you’re a photographer,you have a budget for that. You know, you can go buy this phone.

I’m like, sure, but I already have an A9, to take all those bursts out shots with. Why do I need my phone to do it? It’s very confusing,confusing positioning. – No it’s really good tohear your feedback as well, because then, you know, I kind of know that it’s justnot me, that’s thinking this. And I’ve also beenspeaking to other friends and a bond from board outwork, Tom, the tech chap, and they’ve all beenhaving similar experiences. And, you know, like there’sother things you know, smartphone photography, as I said, has come such a long way and there’s so much more to it than, it’s very different in my opinion, to taking your pro mirror lesscamera whatever it is out, for some shots, smartphone photography, you know we’ve got some amazingsoftware for night mode, for example, portrait mode, another thing. So, again, something thatI personally found on, I’d love to hear what yourexperience was, was this as well. I was trying to take somelow light shots and the Sony, unless I had a tripod with me, I would not be able to get any sort of, decent low light photography, whereas on the pixel with the iPhone, I just put on night mode, boom. And I’ve got a really, reallygreat looking night image, that’s captured on the smartphone. – That’s exactly theexperience I had, man. You are word for wordrecounting my experience, on the East river, looking atManhattan last Monday night, beautiful night shotlike nine or 10 at night. I had to set up the Xperiaon a portable tripod. I sit along exposure, set allthe values and I eventually, after some trial and error got a shot thatI didn’t completely hate. It was actually quite good, but it took a lot of time toget an approximation of that same shot with the pixel, which wasn’t quite as good, but I’d say about 95%, took me one shot and itwas handheld, you know, it took me five secondsto do with the pixel, most of what I was ableto do with the Xperia. So I do feel like Sony, is sort of chasing thewrong ball in that, respect. – Totally. – It’s like, it’s a coolpride point to be able to say, “hey, we get it right in the camera. We’re focusing on optics and we’re giving you allthe tools you’re used to, from your pro camera. But if the results aren’tthere for most people, it’s just doomed to be aniche product forever. Right? – I think I’m glad you saidniche rather than niche. (laughs) Just let me just mention that. Cause Whenever I’m speaking to Marquez, it’s like niche and then I’ll just kind of likeexpect, sorry. Niche, niche. Yeah, no, I think youhit the nail on the head. It seems to me that this is, a smartphone camera fora very niche audience. Now what I would have loved, I would have loved to havehad a great auto mode, which does take advantageof all the things that, we’re used to now onsmartphone photography, such as, you know,portrait mode, night mode, all of these things that makesmartphone photography great. As well as a pro level camera. So I would have loved to havehad both of those things, which I think is completelypossible in today’s day and age. Fisher thank you so much for, coming on. I think, you know, you shared some great insightfrom your side as well. And I think the audienceis going to really, really appreciate that as well. So thank you so much for coming on. – Can I, stick a quick word in for, for sure you can. – Of course. – Now that we are talking about Sony. I have to say it cause Ihave to fess up a little bit, when I first took delivery on the 1 ii. – Yeah. – I forgot that Sony had alsoannounced the Xperia Pro – alongside it and that’s what I reallywanted and hoped this was. So I feel like the Xperia Pro, is going to be the firstthing they release, that is actually able todo what they want to do, which is serve the needs and solve some real problems for again, a niche avenue of people, videographers in this case. But, I’m very excited to try that out. So if we, if either one of us gets it, let’s have another talk and let’s bring thisconversation back, man. Cause I want to hear yourthoughts on it too when it hits. – For sure. I mean, that would be awesome, but yeah, Fisher, thank you so muchfor being on the channel. I really appreciate youtaking the time out to, share your thoughts as well. And definitely let’sdo this again sometime. – I look forward to that and you stay well man. I look forward to seeing your face again, sometime say in the indefinable future. – Yeah man, same. I’m missing, all of you guys, quite a bit. So I hope we get to hang out again soon. – Likewise. – Take care. Big thanks to the Mr Mobile, Michael Fisher forjoining us on this video and sharing his opinions. He’s actually done a greatreview as all of his reviews, on his channel.

I’ll be linking thatreview of the Xperia 1 ii, in the description belowas well as in the cards. And in terms of my conclusion, my opinions on the Xperia 1 ii, you’ve heard the word niche, spoken about a lot in this video. That’s what this is, in my opinion, the Xperia 1 ii is verymuch a niche device and the camera’s also targetedat a very small niche, but nevertheless, in my opinion, that gives no excusefor having a really bad, front facing camera and not includingfeatures like night mode, a good portrait mode, which we have on many ofthe other competition. Why can’t we also have thoseas well as those pro features. That’s what I think. What do you guys think? Definitely. Let me knowwhat the comments below. I’m sure, I’m still going to get a lotof heat from experienced fans, but Hey, that’s fine. I’m giving you my honest opinions. If this is the smartphone for you, then that’s all well and good. I’d love to hear why thatis in the comments below. (upbeat music) You want to see more content like this, then be sure to subscribe and hit on. So you don’t miss any events. I hope you enjoyed thisvideo and found it useful. If you did, then you hitthat thumbs up for me. Thanks for watching thisis Saf on super SAF TV. I’ll see you next time.

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