Sony has just announced the launch of the Sony Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III smartphones with impressive photo/video capabilities. These smartphones have two fixed cameras (16mm and 24mm) and a variable 70-105mm telephoto lens paired with a Dual PD sensor. Also, the Photography Pro and Cinematography Pro features have been updated with the ability to capture 5x slow-motion in 4K HDR footage at 120fps. Let’s take a closer look at it!
The Sony Xperia 1/5 line of smartphones was launched in 2019, and my colleague Johnnie even reviewed it. It was the first time that the Sony Mobile team worked together with the Sony Alpha and Bravia teams to create a smartphone for content creators with an emphasis on photo/video capabilities.
Last year, Sony launched the Xperia 1 II and the Xperia Pro with a few improvements and 5G connectivity. The Xperia 1 II already had a 21:9 CinemaWide 6.5″ 4K HDR OLED display and three 12MP rear-facing cameras (16mm, 24mm, and 70mm). With the new Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III, Sony pushed things a little bit further for photographers and filmmakers looking for one of the best photo/video-oriented smartphone on the market.
Sony Xperia 1 III & Xperia 5 III- Common Features
The flagship Sony Xperia 1 III has a lot in common with its little brother, the Xperia 5 III, a more compact and affordable model. Here is a quick list of everything similar between the two smartphones:
- Same processor: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G powers both devices. Smartphones such as the Samsung S21 and OnePlus 9 already use this chip.
- A 4500mAh battery that can be charged up to 50 percent in 30 minutes with the included charger.
- An IP65/68 rating for dust/water resistance.
- Both models feature a new speaker virtualizer that enables, according to Sony, the “Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III to be the world’s first smartphones to reproduce 360 Reality Audio in the speakers.”
On the photo/video side, both the Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III also have a lot in common, but we’ll see that later in this article.
What’s different between both models?
The Sony Xperia 1 III features a 21:9 CinemaWide 6.5″ 4K HDR OLED display, which is the same size/resolution as the previous Xperia 1 II. However, this new version has a 120Hz refresh rate display crafted from Gorilla Glass Victus for extra protection. The rear of the smartphone has a Corning Gorilla Glass 6.
The Xperia 5 III is smaller with a 21:9 CinemaWide 6.1″ Full HD+ display, but still gains the 120Hz refresh rate. However, it won’t be as robust with a Corning Gorilla Glass 6 on both the front and back of the smartphone.
The Sony Xperia 1 III weighs 186g with dimensions of 165 x 71 x 82 mm, while the Xperia 5 III is 168g for a size of 157 x 68 x 8.2mm. Also, the Xperia 1 III comes with 12Gb of RAM and 256Gb of internal storage (that you can expand with a microSD card), whereas the Xperia 5 III only has 8Gb of RAM and 128Gb of internal storage.
Sony Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III photo and video features
Now, let’s take a closer look at the photo/video features of both smartphones. At the back of each smartphone, there are three 12MP cameras. Two of them have a fixed focal length: 16mm and 24mm. The third one is a 70mm lens that you can extend up to 105mm to get close-up shots.
Also, on both models, you’ll find ZEISST optics, calibrated specifically for the Xperia smartphone with ZEISST T* coating to reduce reflections.
According to Sony:
Pairing this unique lens setup with a dual PD sensor and a dual PDAF capabilities ensures that all of the beauty and detail in each image is captured in full, across the entire focal range. These new models represent the first time ever that a variable telephoto lens has been paired with a Dual PD sensor in any smartphoneSony
In terms of autofocus, you’ll find real-time Eye AF for humans and animals, as well as a new real-time tracking on the Xperia 1 III (not available on the Xperia 5 III) for fast, accurate continuous AF across all lenses.
On the photography side, you have a 20fps burst mode, but still no “night mode.” Indeed, Sony continues to play differently with low light noise reduction powered by a BIONZ X image processor.
The “Photography Pro” feature has been improved with a new “Basic mode” for when you want to take simple pictures without manually adjusting all your parameters. However, you can still manually adjust your ISO/Shutter speed/Aperture, shoot in RAW via the dedicated shutter button, and so on.
For filmmakers, the Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III feature Optical SteadyShot (24/70/105mm focal lengths only) with FlawlessEye (24mm only). In short, the smartphone couples the image sensor’s increased reading speed with an original Sony algorithm for optical image stabilization.
The “Cinematography Pro” app also had major improvements, including the ability to record in a 21:9 aspect ratio at 24/25/30/60fps. If you want to capture footage in slow-motion, both Xperia smartphones can shoot in 4K HDR at 120fps with the 24mm lens only and when set at 24fps.
Inside the Cinematography Pro app you’ll have access to eight different Looks to color-grade your footage. Also, the new UI will show you how much free memory is remaining and how much recording time is still available. Within the app, you can check each clip’s parameters including resolution, FPS, look, lens, stabilizer, WB, ISO, shutter angle/ speed, focus and audio level.
Last but not least, there’s a new “Intelligent wind filter technology” that should help you get clearer audio recordings with the built-in microphone, and even using an external microphone should give you much better results.
Price and availability
At the moment, there’s no information about the pricing of both smartphones, but they should start shipping to U.S. customers this summer.
The Xperia 1 III will be available in Frosted Black and Frosted Purple and shipped with Android 11. The Xperia 5 III will be available in Black and Green and shipped with Android 11, as well.
What do you think about the Sony Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III? What is your favorite smartphone when it comes to capturing photos/videos? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!