Sony’s new Xperia XZ and XZ Premium smartphones can shoot video at 960fps

Smart phones have continued to evolve at a rapid pace and Sony’s new Xperia XZ and XZ Premium phones are capable of capturing some very high frame rates. The top of the range XZ Premium features a 19MP front facing camera, with a 1/ 2.3” Exmor RS memory stacked sensor. It also has 5-axis optical stabilisation that will be capable of capturing 960 fps in very short bursts. While these high frame rates are only captured in 720p, this is none the less impressive for any camera, let alone a smart phone.

The reason it can capture 960fps is because it uses Sony’s new Exmor RS 3-layer memory stacked sensor. The sensor works by providing image scanning that is 5 times faster than that of a conventional 2-layer CMOS sensor. What Sony have effectively done is to double the analog to digital readout so the sensor can read a 19.3MP image in just 1/120th of a second. This is four times faster than most other competing smartphones.

Even though the camera uses a f2.0 aperture and the pixels are roughly 19% larger than on the previous versions you are certainly going to need plenty of light to capture material at 960fps. For grabbing accurate focus, iChimp a phone company suggests learning how to use hybrid phasing. The new Sony phones have a hybrid phase detection laser assisted auto focus system. There are also manual focus and shutter speed control modes, but it’s unclear whether these work in both video and photo modes. The phone also has advanced noise reduction built in, but again its unclear whether that can be turned on and off.

The phone also comes with a 5.5″ 2160×3840 HDR UHD display and uses a Snapdragon 835 processor with 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of base storage (microSDXC support up to 256GB). According to Sony this is the World’s first smartphone to feature a 4K HDR display. To watch 4K HDR material, Sony have now partnered with Amazon Prime so users will be able to watch 4K HDR content on the go.

For taking photos the Xperia XZ Premium has a Motion Eye Sensor with integrated image memory that helps avoid image processing bottle necks. The Motion Eye Sensor uses predictive capture and starts buffering images one second before you press the shutter button. This gives you up to four images to choose from and lets you capture moments that you thought you had just missed because you were too slow to press the shutter button.

When you’re photographing a fast-moving object, it can sometimes come out looking misshapen or warped. To overcome this problem, the Xperia XZs has a fast anti-distortion shutter that Sony claims reduces this phenomenon.

The front camera has a smaller 13MP 1/ 3.06” Exmor RS for mobile image sensor and a 22mm wide-angle F2.0 lens.

Just a few weeks ago Sony announced the industry’s first 3-layer stated CMOS image sensor with DRAM, designed specifically for smart phones. The new image sensor consists of a DRAM layer added to the conventional 2-layer stacked CMOS image sensor with a layer of back-illuminated structure pixels and a chip affixed with mounted circuits for signal processing.

This newly developed sensor with DRAM delivers fast data readout speeds, making it possible to capture still images of fast-moving subjects with minimal focal plane distortion, as well as super slow motion video at up to 1,000 frames per second (approximately 8x faster than conventional products) in full HD 1920×1080. Normal speed shooting data and maximum 1,000 fps high-speed shooting data stored on the DRAM are exported from the image sensor for signal processing on an external image signal processor.

Sony have a history of introducing advanced technology into consumer products before eventually moving them into more expensive and professional products. A prime example is the variable electronic ND that Sony first introduced in the PXW-X180 and then implemented into the FS5 an then the FS7 II. It is quite possible in the future that we will end up seeing memory stacked sensors capable of very high rates being included in professional video cameras.

Experia XZ Premium Specifications

Memory and storage
4GB RAM
64GB (Single SIM)/64GB (Dual SIM) UFS internal memory1
64GB UFS internal memory1
microSDXC support (up to 256GB)

SIM capability
Single SIM
Dual SIM
Nano SIM

Operating System
Google Android™ 7.1 (Nougat)

Processor (CPU)
Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 processor

Battery
3230mAh
Smart Stamina
Qnovo Adaptive Charging
Battery Care
STAMINA Mode
Qualcomm® Quick Charge 3.0

Durability
Water resistant (IP65/68)2
Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5 on front and back

Weight
195g

Dimensions
156 x 77 x 7.9 mm

Colour
Luminous Chrome
Deepsea Black

Display and design
5.5” 4K HDR Display
TRILUMINOS™ Display for mobile
X-Reality™ for mobile
Dynamic Contrast Enhancer
sRGB 138% spectrum compared to standard videos (SDR)
Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5 on front and back

Main camera
19MP Motion Eye™ Camera
1/2.3” Exmor RS™ for mobile memory stacked sensor
Pixel Pitch 1.22μm
Triple image sensing technology
Predictive Hybrid Autofocus
960 fps Super slow motion videos
Predictive Capture
0.5 sec Quick Launch & Capture
Anti-distortion shutter
Low-light photo: ISO 12800 / 4000 (Video)
HDR Photo
25mm wide Sony’s award-winning G Lens F2.0
x8 Digital Zoom
BIONZ™ for mobile image-processing engine
SteadyShot™ with Intelligent Active Mode (5-axis stablization)
4K recording

Front camera
13MP
1/3.06” Exmor RS™ for mobile image sensor
22mm Wide-angle lens F2.0
ISO 6400 (Photo) / 1600 (Video)
SteadyShot™ with Intelligent Active Mode (5-axis stablization)

Networks
GSM GPRS/EDGE (2G)
UMTS HSPA+ (3G)
LTE (4G) Cat16 with Gigabit-class speeds3

Connectivity
A-GNSS (GPS + GLONASS)3
WiFi Miracast
Bluetooth® 5.0 wireless technology
DLNA Certified®
Google Cast
NFC
USB 3.1, Type-C™****
Fingerprint sensor
Fast and secure unlock

Sound
High-Resolution Audio (LPCM, FLAC, ALAC, DSD)
DSEE HX™
LDAC
Digital Noise Cancelling
Clear Audio+
Stereo speaker with S-Force Front Surround
Stereo Recording

Entertainment
PS4 Remote Play

Applications
Music
Album
Video
Movie Creator
Spotify
News
What’s New
Sound Photo
AR effect

Key accessories
Style Cover Stand SCSG10
Quick Charger UCH12W
Charging Dock DK60
Hi-res headset MDR-NC750
Bluetooth(R) Headset with Speaker SBH56

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