Sony launches Xperia PRO-I and accessories for content creators (and gunning for Google and Apple in the process)

Sony is continuing to push for market dominance for next-generation content creators, with the brand new Sony Xperia PRO-I coming in time for Christmas.

The new smartphone, which can of course be used by ordinary consumers as well, is aimed at a very specific market that may well find this an essential part of their kit for outdoor photography and video recording.

With its amazing camera setup, optional productive accessories, and Sony’s advanced image processing – as well as 4K 120fps video recording – this announcement is sure to throw the cat amongst the pigeons just as Google and Apple were stepping up with their new high-end offerings going after a similar market.

Key Features
  • World’s First Smartphone to include a 1.0-type Exmor RS image sensor with phase detection AF (autofocus) for outstanding low light performance, high dynamic range, and beautiful bokeh. The 1.0-type Exmor RS sensor is the same one used in the award-winning RX100 VII camera and optimised for smartphone
  • BIONZ X for mobile imaging processor and a front-end LSI for clear and noise-free images even when shooting in the dark
  • 315 phase-detection AF points that cover 90% of the frame, allowing users to continue to capture subjects at high speed with high accuracy – even in scenes where focusing is difficult
  • Advanced AF capabilities to support “Real-time Eye AF” and “Real-time tracking” that keeps track of moving objects with high accuracy, using AI
  • ZEISS Tessar Optics with T* anti-reflective coating and dual aperture F2.0/F4.0 for outstanding low light performance, high dynamic range, and beautiful bokeh
  • World’s first 4K video recording at 120fps High frame rate in a smartphone and includes a built-in strap-hole and a dedicated shutter button for easy, quick control
  • New Videography Pro feature combining creative flexibility with ease of use 
  • First Xperia to support Eye AF and Object Tracking during video shooting
  • High-quality video performance and crystal-clear audio recording
  • 4K HDR OLED 120Hz refresh rate display
  • High quality audio features, including Dolby Atmos, 3.5mm audio jack, Full-stage Stereo Speakers, 360 Reality Audio
  • Corning Gorilla Glass Victus.
  • Introduction of a new Vlog monitor accessory for selfie-style shooting
  • No Plastic in the individual packaging to support a more sustainable footprint

Sample photos taken with the Sony Xperia PRO-I

These images have been reduced in size but can be viewed at full resolution on Sony’s website. However, they still give a good guide of focus and exposure.

Press Release

26th October 2021, Weybridge, United Kingdom: Sony today announced a new Xperia smartphone developed specifically for today’s content creators, the Xperia PRO-I. Combining a 1.0-type sensor, a 24mm ZEISS Tessar Optics, advanced image processing and AF (autofocus), 4K 120p video recording and much more, the Xperia PRO-I delivers professional imaging quality from an ultra-slim 8.9mm form factor. 

“We remain committed to building tools that empower creators to capture, create, and share like they’ve never been able to before,” said Nobuki Asahina, Head of Mobile, Sony Europe. “The capabilities of the Xperia PRO-I are unlike that of any smartphone that has ever been brought to market. This phone combines the power of the 1.0-type image sensor found in our RX100 VII compact camera, the speed of our fast Alpha interchangeable lens cameras that is further enhanced by Xperia’s high-speed processing, and a similar video shooting experience as our Professional Video Line.  All in a device that slides easily into your pocket.”  He continued: “We carefully chose this name to include the ‘I’, which stands for ‘imaging’ and accurately represents Sony’s efforts to completely redefine the standards of imaging performance across our entire product line-up.”

Professional Level Photography

Xperia PRO-I is developed with the same advanced imaging technology from Sony’s award-winning mirrorless Alpha brand cameras and is the world’s first smartphone to include a 1.0-type sensor with phase detection AFi. The newest smartphone includes a 1.0-type Exmor RS® sensor with a 2.4µm pixel pitch for stunning low light performance, RAW 12-bit shooting for incredible dynamic range, and dual aperture (F2.0/F4.0)vii to easily change the depth of field in line with the photographer’s intention. In addition to a 1.0-type sensor, the Xperia PRO-I features a BIONZ X for mobile image processor and a front-end LSI. This advanced processor allows the device to deliver unprecedented speed and improved image quality in a wide range of scenes, a highly-regarded feature of Sony’s Alpha cameras.

The Xperia PRO-I includes three lenses, all enhanced with ZEISS T* anti-reflective coating and a 3D iToF sensor for total creative freedom. The newly developed 24mm lens adopts ZEISS® Tessar Optics and delivers high-resolution images with less peripheral image distortion and more intense contrast and sharpness. The Xperia PRO-I’s 24mm lens is complemented by two further lens options, 16mm and 50mm, enabling the user to get creative with composition. The device’s 3D iToF sensor instantly calculates the distance between the camera and the subject, ensuring fast, accurate autofocus in any scene.

Additionally, the Xperia PRO-I features 315 phase-detection AF points that cover 90% of the frame, as well as industry-leading AF technology including Real-time Eye-AF in humans and animals, Real-time tracking, 20fps AF/AE burst shooting, and anti-distortion shutter for a cleaner capture of fast-moving objects.

With Photography Pro on the Xperia PRO-I, users can customise manual settings or easily access automatic settings and shoot in RAW format. When shooting in RAW, the Xperia PRO-I supports 12-bit which creates smooth and rich tonal gradation of the colour without banding. Photography Pro also offers Basic mode for fast access to a range of easy-to-use photography features including a touch shutter button. Like previous Xperia devices, the Xperia PRO-I supports Imaging Edge Mobile.

The Xperia PRO-I features a dedicated shutter button that boasts the same shutter switch module as Sony’s RX100 series cameras and requires similar button strokes to operate AF and shutter release. The user can also long-press the shutter button to quickly launch Photography Pro and start shooting immediately, even when the display is off. In this new model, there is also a strap hole to help secure the device, even in challenging environments.

Advanced Capabilities for Video Shooting

The new Xperia PRO-I delivers high-quality video performance and easy to use post-production features for a stress-free workflow. For greater creative flexibility, the Xperia PRO-I is the world’s first smartphone  to enable the user to shoot high quality video in 4K 120fps, which allows users to capture and playback fast-moving scenes and slow-motion video at up to 5x. Capturing smooth, shake-free video is easier than ever thanks to the latest Optical SteadyShot with FlawlessEye. Xperia PRO-I is the first in the Xperia line-up to introduce outstanding Eye AF technology and object tracking in videomaking, allowing the user to keep sharp focus on the subject and spend more time composing their shot.

In addition to stereo microphones, the Xperia PRO-I features a built-in monaural microphone next to the main camera, enabling the user to focus on recording speech clearly while other sounds remain in the background. In addition, The Xperia PRO-I includes Sony’s industry-leading audio separation technology to effectively filter wind noise, both for stereo and monaural microphones.

Xperia PRO-I also includes two new video features for video and filmmaking. For quick, high quality videos and vlogging, the new Videography Pro feature, inspired by Sony’s long history of imaging technology that supports video production and direct feedback from videographers, includes creative settings in a single location. Users can intuitively and accurately adjust settings such as focus, exposure and white balance even while shooting a movie, to fit to the shooting environment. In addition, Xperia PRO-I adopts a high-precision Level meter that has been calibrated one-by-one at the factory. By assigning the “Videography Pro” application to the “shortcut key” on the side of the 217 body, you can start shooting video immediately like a dedicated camera. You can also assign other applications or features to the shortcut key. For filmmaking, the Cinematography Pro feature pulls from Sony’s professional video camera technology to easily create a cinematic look with eight different colour settings inspired by the Sony’s VENICE digital cinema camera, a 21:9 recording ratio and more.

The Xperia PRO-I lets the user edit and share video content directly from the device. With its wide 6.5” 4K HDR OLED display and accurate, professional-level colour reproduction with creator mode, editing from a mobile device is now easier than ever. In addition, excellent white uniformity and stability are achieved by correcting the colour shift of the display. As an added benefit, the colour setting of the display can be adjusted according to the user’s monitor or printed photos. Sharing video files are also a breeze using a 5G network or by connecting the Xperia PRO-I to a computer by USB 3.2 Gen 2 to transfer data twice as fast from the Xperia PRO-I to a PC.

Vlog Monitor to Level-up Mobile Vlogging

Users can improve their mobile vlogging kit with the new Vlog Monitor, a new accessory to pair with the Xperia PRO-I, with an aspect ratio of 16:9 on a 3.5-inch LCD (1280×720) screen and a metal holder. This new accessory also features a magnetic detachable design, making it easy to attach and detach to the holder.

By attaching the Vlog Monitor, the Xperia PRO-I’s 1.0-type sensor lets the user film themselves with outstanding imaging quality for vlogging, sharing videos with friends, family and more.  The user can see exactly what they’re recording to create truly memorable content.

When shooting with the Xperia PRO-I and the Vlog Monitor, the user can easily connect a Bluetooth shooting grip, such as the GP-VPT2BTxiii to easily start/stop recording without touching any buttons on the Xperia PRO-I itself.

The Vlog Monitor also features a 3.5mm 3-pole microphone jack enabling the user to connect their own external microphone by simply mounting a microphone on the accessory shoe mount on the top of the holder.

The user can also display the screen when using “Photography Pro” or “Videography Pro” by connecting the Vlog Monitor to a smartphone with the supplied connection cable. In addition, since it is equipped with a USB Type-C port for supplying power from an external power source, users can shoot while supplying power to both the smartphone and accessories.

No Compromise for Movies, Music and Games

Users can enjoy watching their favourite content on the new Xperia PRO-I thanks to its 4K HDR 10-bit equivalent OLED display with 120Hz Refresh rate and X1™ for mobile for more contrast, colour, and clarity. The Xperia PRO-I also includes Dolby Atmos for an immersive audio experience. A 3.5mm audio jack to deliver a high-quality listening experience. When not using headphones, the device’s Full-stage stereo speakers deliver a powerful and balanced true stereo sound. The Xperia PRO-I is compatible with 360 Reality Audio and 360 spatial sound with three free months of TIDAL and it supports High-Resolution Audio and High-Resolution Audio Wireless via LDAC. The new device also features DSEE Ultimate, taking each track close to High-Resolution Audio quality.

Xperia PRO-I gives mobile gamers an edge on their competition with 120Hz Refresh rate display[xv] with 240Hz motion blur reduction so that fast-moving objects are rendered clearly for seriously smooth gameplay. The device also offers Game Enhancer to improve gameplay with superior touch response and assist function for winning. Using Heat Suppression power control, the Xperia PRO-I powers the phone systems directly rather than charging the battery to reduce thermal stress and keep the battery healthy. The Xperia PRO-I is also optimised with the Qualcomm® Snapdragon Elite Gaming™ processor for superior gaming performance.

Performance and Design

While the Xperia PRO-I includes the same large 1.0-inch image sensor used in Sony’s premium RX100 VII compact camera that has been optimised for a smartphone, it maintains a slim form factor with a length of approximately 6.5 in (166 mm), a width of approximately 2.8 in (72 mm), and a thickness of approximately 8.9 mm. The new Xperia PRO-I is durable and reliable to meet the demanding needs of today’s content creators with its frosted glass back panel and matt finish for an authentic camera feel and a blast-treated metal frame for strength and style. It is water and dust resistant with an IP65/68 rating and features Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, the toughest Gorilla Glass yet – with improvement in both drop and scratch resistance.

With a 4,500mAh battery, the Xperia PRO-I offers plenty of power to keep going through the day. The user can fast charge the device up to 50% in just 30 minutes with the included 30W charger XZQ-UC1. Xperia’s charging technologies also keep the battery healthy for longer even after three years of use by preventing the device from overcharging.

The Xperia PRO-I is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G Mobile Platform deliver a premium experience. The Xperia PRO-I also has a large internal memory, with 12GB RAM to handle intensive computing tasks and 512GB ROM offering ample storage for photos, videos, and other files to support micro SDXC media up to 1TB.

The new device offers optimised connectivity with the latest 5G or Wi-Fi 6, all the while utilising smart connectivity to continually analyse and assess the Wi-Fi signal quality to prioritise Wi-Fi or mobile data based on the best connection.

To easily multi-task, users can take advantage of the multi-window features for a wide range of handy views that are tailor-made for multi-tasking.

An additional accessory is the new leather back cover that captures the popularity of the material in today’s camera industry. The genuine leather design is unique, fits the smartphone body snugly, and the texture of the surface has a grip and finish suited for the shooting experience. The cover has been certified at the “Gold” level by the Leather Working Group, an international organisation which aims to protect the global environment, while safely and securely supplying leather to consumers. In addition, an antibacterial coating is applied to the cover’s surface to suppress the growth of specific bacteria such as staphylococci by up to 99.9%.

Road to Zero

The Sony Group has set an environmental plan “Road to Zero” aiming for zero environmental load by 2050. As part of this, Sony has set a medium-term target from 2021 to 2025 as “Green Management 2025” (GM2025). In GM2025, one goal is to “totally eliminate plastic packaging materials” in our portable products, and Xperia has so far reduced the use of plastic in packaging, eliminating plastic components or replacing them with paper materials. Examples include replacing plastic film lamination with abrasion-resistant varnish.

As a culmination of this, Xperia PRO-I is the first Xperia to use no plastic in the individual packaging by using paper as the packaging material that directly wraps the product itself. Sony will continue to work toward zero environmental impact.

Pricing and Availability

The Xperia Sony PRO-I will retail for £1,599 with the optional Vlog Monitor and back cover available for £169 and £69.99 respectively. All will go on sale in early December via Sony authorised dealers.

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