Can a smartphone do cinema? | Sony Xperia 1 review

Published on January 10, 2020
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To say that Saudis had a tough time in the smartphone market would be a bit of an understatement when a company left the Southeast Asian market I never thought I’d see them again but it looks like the company’s not done yet because they’re back and their latest flagship smartphone is going all-in on being a mobile cinematic device but the question is can a smartphone really do cinema well we had to find out which is why we’re here at the KL forest eco park which is like one of the few places in KL that you get to hear the beautiful sounds of nature right next to the beautiful sounds of a bustling city like the construction over there anyway we’re gonna walk this trail and then we’re gonna see if we can get some nice footage I’ve actually never been here before but I hope it looks good and we can get some good sort of cinematic footage and really test out the Xperia ones cinematic camera [Music] [Music] in case you’re unfamiliar let me give you a quick refresher when Sony launched the Xperia one they included it with something called the cinema Pro app which is an app that’s designed to bring the cinematic look and control of their actual cinema cameras to the body of the Xperia 1 so that means you get like a whole bunch of settings you have like you have to choose your lenses before because the three of them can choose which one you want to use and set your ISO and set your shutter speed but the shutter speed set based on the angle so it’s like 180 degrees during a 60 degrees you know those kind of things your white balance you can even pull manual focus with the settings in the app which I think it’s pretty cool but problem is that it’s a very different shooting experience then like most people will be used to on a smartphone where it’s just point and shoot and then you can adjust on the fly you can’t do that here so once you start recording those are the settings you’re stuck with the only thing you can tweak is focusing so like let’s say if I were pointed at something that’s a bit overexposed from like shadows I need to stop the recording and then start it again with the new settings after exposing for that I can’t like on the fly adjust or the phone doesn’t automatically adjust for me so it’s it’s a very manual experience it’s kind of tedious especially when you’re moving in these kinds of situations where you see a lot of shadows and then a lot of like highlights but you know it is what it is so right now we’re gonna go up on that thing which is like the canopy walk going into this test I really didn’t know what to expect from the experior one partly because I haven’t seen a lot of coverage around this aspect of the smartphone yet but partly it was also really hard for me to believe that you could do cinema in a smartphone however when I arrived at the top of the stairs I had another more immediate problem wow this looks awesome I’m a bit afraid of heights a lot afraid of heights but uh yeah I think we can do it you are that’s a really nice shot of Catherine right now that I’m gonna try and get but it’s so shaky the bridge I mean not a camera cameras very City so the Xperia one has a triple camera set up at the back there is like a 12 megapixel wide-angle talked megapixel telephoto and a 12 megapixel ultra wide I think it’s f 1.6 aperture lens so I mean it’s a pretty good setup but I have to say that the quality from the triple cameras vary greatly from each other you’ll need to tweak the settings for each independently and even then it’s very unlikely that you’ll get the footage to look identical it’s not quite the same as swapping high quality lenses on a proper camera body that’s for sure right now I need to steel myself because if I thought this was scary there’s another higher wonder [Music] [Music] or even higher right now why do you choose this way sir some of the planes are loose oh they were a lot higher oh it goes for them so the scary thing is that I dunno how much I so it can handle I don’t dare to push it too high I’m like 200 250 max maybe sometimes 400 but I really don’t want to do too much because they taste all the tournaments like super noisy it’s a tiny actor and that was the right call because you really can’t push the eyes so much on the sensor I was only comfortable going up to about 400 ISO because anything higher would make the footage really noisy [Music] [Music] so I think we’re like halfway through the entire thing right now and well I mean it’s like a time to see whether this thing can block Darla so I have it on the smooth cue and on the widest lens because otherwise it’s like too close to my face kazuto-sama when I copy and this is audio straight from the built-in microphone in the exterior I don’t know how good it is I had to mount it the valid because otherwise the lens into white but yeah so the thing about this place is that it’s not that scary after all I mean some of the planks are like a bit terrifying because like the dress suits you quite sturdy but a bit terrifying ah but as I try to like remove them because they have no plane it doesn’t really add no school it doesn’t really give whele but yeah oh no we’re at the end Reedy still what a cool place though I think if you have time and you want like a bit of jungle it’s not quite Central Park jungle but it’s it’s not bad actually it’s really not bad especially when the weather is this good it’s like overcast but not dark and not raining yet but as impressive as the kale forest eco park was I think the thing that surprised me the most was the Sony Xperia one’s ability to do cinema we shot everything in the default Venice colour profile and the footage turned out way better than I expected the blue orange color tones you can achieve with just a little color grading really helps sell the cinematic vibe that being said I was disappointed to find out that there was no one to any FPS slow-mo in the cinematic app which I feel is crucial for you know cinematic footage and I have to admit that the footage looks a little soft when compared to the Sony a7 3s crisp 4k but I think in this case it actually helps the xperia one make its case and while I’m someone who generally prefers my smartphone shooting experiences to be straightforward I have to admit that I enjoyed shooting with the Xperia one I liked the process of tweaking all those manual settings and setting the shot up right before hitting record it really felt like I was making my own mini movie and that only made me want to shoot more but does this make this like a film makers camera or like a filmmakers dream camera I don’t know because you know if you’re a filmmaker or someone who shoots like me who makes like Internet videos me we’re exact right you probably already have a camera and when you have that what you want from a smartphone is generally to have like a really simple point-and-shoot experience so like me you don’t have time just want to whip it out hit record and be good to go and when it comes to debt I still think that the iPhone has a much better experience because footage throughout the camera for that guy is a lot better and I would say the performance is much better so I don’t know I don’t think that this is the kind of camera smartphone for me in fact I don’t actually know if this will be the camera smartphone for a vast majority of people in general because unless you have a genuine interest in videography all this fiddling around would just feel like a hassle to you but honestly if you’re asking me I think that this cinema Pro app or this whole cinematic experience is the least of the experience problem because it’s not just a cinema camera that fits in your pocket it has to be a smartphone and when it comes to that there are a lot of things that I wish Sony would have done different oh man where do I begin okay don’t get me wrong because it’s not like the Xperia one didn’t have any redeeming features the stock Android software it comes with for example is a big selling point for me it does come with a couple of preloaded apps but the experience itself is generally unchanged which is good it’s also a proper flagship so you get a staple flagship features like water resistance stereo speakers and a nice dedicated camera button I was even surprised with the battery because although the battery itself was tiny it’s still just about lasted me an entire day though I do wish that the Xperia one came with a bigger cell and have I talked about the screen because that 4k all that panel looks really good and despite its tall aspect ratio it actually wasn’t very hard to handle because the phone itself is really slim it is tall so it does stick out quite a bit if you put it in your pocket though however that’s where the good news ends the rest of the phone just isn’t up to par with what a 20-19 flagship should be surprisingly despite featuring a Snapdragon 855 processor 6 gigs of RAM and 128 gigs of storage performance was a bit of an issue for me the camera app is incredibly sluggish so I was always worried about missing a shot and I found that a lot of Sony’s native apps that come pre-installed had a tendency to freeze and often crash on top of that the fingerprint scanner is very unreliable because it’s really easy to get smudged and the position is far from my favorite on a handset what’s more even some of the stuff I like about the phone comes with its own flaws the screen for example doesn’t get nearly bright enough for easy visibility outdoors and the stereo speakers are surprisingly soft for how full they sounded then you’ve got the gimmicky speaker bass vibration thing that just stuff it just feels awful what surprised me most of all however was the camera like the regular camera outside of the cinema Pro app for starters image quality left a lot to be desired and the rate in which you switch between the different lenses is frankly just a joke plus well the Xperia ones I autofocus works very well with human subjects the smartphone struggles a lot with pulling focus on objects or things that aren’t human I don’t get it so many amazing smartphone cameras use Sony sensors but why are Sony’s own smartphone cameras so underwhelming and if you add all of that together you start to realize that the true crime here is the sony xperia ones absurd price tag of four thousand two hundred and ninety-nine ringgit how can you justify that price tag at that price point you can buy basically any flagship smartphone from any major manufacturer and I’d argue that every one of them are a better phone than the Xperia one and if you want to bring up the cinema Pro app I just I just don’t think that that’s enough to win anyone over something like an iPhone or like a note 10 so know despite all the fun that I had shooting with the Xperia One and you know how surprisingly good it was at doing cinema I simply can’t recommend that you buy this smartphone but those are my thoughts let me know what you think of the experiment in the comments below and that’s where I’m gonna end this video if you liked it be sure to give it a thumbs up don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and you know click on a notification that icon so you don’t miss any of our future uploads you can also follow and like us on Facebook but our home will always be at search in Chow calm in the meantime you can watch any one of these two videos that I have next to me but that’s about it I will be signing off thank you so much for watching I’ll see you in the next video bye.
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