The Sony Xperia 1 V has a triple camera setup on the back that is similar to the one on the Xperia 1 IV - a wide-angle primary, an ultrawide-angle secondary, and an advanced telephoto camera with continuous optical zoom. The new selfie camera from the Xperia 1 IV also made it to the new model.
There is one big improvement on the Xperia 1 V - it's using the world's first stacked CMOS sensor with 2-layer transistor pixel technology.
The primary camera on the Sony Xperia 1 V introduces the Sony ExmorT IMX 888 sensor - it's a multi-aspect 1/1.35" imager with 52MP resolution (48MP effective), 1.12µm pixels, and it sits behind stabilized (OIS) 24mm f/1.9 lens.
The new sensor is 1.7x larger than the one on the Xperia 1 IV, but that's not what makes it special. It is an upgrade over the stacked structure of the ExmorRS generation (shipping in most of the current smartphones). The new ExmorT has the photodiodes and their corresponding transistors on two separate layers instead of sitting one next to the other in a conventional manner. While requiring micron-level alignment accuracy, it has also meant the photodiodes are now larger, collecting light twice as well and also up to three times higher saturation levels. The transistors sitting on a separate layer have also been given optimized, which has resulted in a cleaner signal with less noise.
The 4.3:3 multi-aspect sensor has a larger area than the mainstream 4:3 sensor, and this can be used to improve video stabilization.
The ultrawide camera is the same as on the Xperia 1 IV - it uses a 12MP Sony IMX 563 1/2.55" sensor with 1.4µm pixels sitting behind a 16mm f/2.2 lens. This camera also supports Dual Pixel AF.
The zoom camera is also identical to the one on the Xperia 1 IV. It relies on a 12MP Sony IMX650 1/3.5" sensor with 1.0µm pixels and PDAF. It has an innovative stabilized lens (OIS) that offers continuous optical zoom between 85mm f/2.3 (3.5x) and 125mm f/2.8 (5.2x) over the main camera. You can seamlessly zoom between these two levels.
There is no ToF camera on the Xperia 1 V, Sony says there is no need for such. The maker relies on AI-created depth information instead.
Finally, the selfie camera packs a 12MP Sony IMX 663 1/2.9" sensor with 1.µm pixels behind a 20mm f/2.0 lens and a fixed focus at infinity.
The Photo Pro and Video Pro apps now support vertical UI, which is a welcome addition!
There are a couple of new features on the Xperia 1 V. There is a new S-Cinetone picture profile for the Video Pro app, which has a moody look with enhanced skin tones and cinematic color. For someone who's not familiar with S-Log or color grading, it provides a nice default output.
And secondly, there is a new Product Showcase mode, borrowed from the Alpha cameras, which is aimed at product vloggers, and allows the camera to auto-focus on the product you are holding instead of your face.
The default camera app on the Xperia 1 V is Sony's Photo Pro. Its Basic mode is where you'll spend most of your point-and-shooting time when you don't care much about creative control. There is one new feature here - Night View. It's either Auto or OFF, and it's basically the Night Mode we have been waiting for. According to Sony it's more conservative and triggers in darker environments than the competition. The only indication you will get for if the Night View is about to trigger is the color change of its shortcut (from white to orange).
The sliders for (implied) white balance and exposure compensation, bokeh mode, drive mode, flash and aspect ratio are placed immediately next to the shutter release. The zoom selector is nearby, too, so pretty much everything can be operated with a single thumb without having to use your other hand. And you can use either the hardware or the virtual shutter keys.
By the way, the Burst shooting has been increased from 24 to 30fps now.
At the opposite end of the viewfinder, and for these, you'll need your other hand, you'll find a More button, a shortcut to Google Lens, a Menu button to access the (rather lengthy) Settings menu, and the button that lets you switch between this Basic mode/app and its Pro alter ego.
When in the Pro section of Photography Pro, you get an Auto mode, as well as the classic Program, Shutter priority and Manual modes, plus a Memory Recall option where you can store a pre-set state of settings to be able to come back to quickly.
The Photo Pro interface is reminiscent of a dedicated Sony Alpha camera, only adapted for smartphone use. On the right, you get to change photographic settings like focus mode and area, white balance and ISO, exposure compensation. There is no virtual shutter here; you'd need to use the mechanical one.
The Video Pro app is also available on the Xperia 1 V. This app offers granular exposure controls and extra frame rates on top of the basic app but saves you the hassle of color-grading the footage afterwards (we have Cinema Pro for that). That makes it suitable for direct out-of-camera (phone) uploads to your favorite video-sharing platforms.
Live streaming on YouTube is available via this app, too. You log in with your account, set the name, quality, and just hit Rec, and you are live. You don't even need to meet the YouTube requirements for the minimum subscriber count; Sony has made a deal with YouTube eliminating those.
Other than that, the interface of Video Pro features a similar split with a large viewfinder on the left and controls on the right. Always available are two sliders, one for focus and another one for zoom. There's an Auto switch up top, which frees the phone to take care of everything for you, and a lock button to disable all controls so you don't accidentally press something.
The exposure controls and other shooting parameters are accessed from the Menu button. Mind you, it's a separate button from the hamburger [menu] button - a bit of a confusing UI choice, which took us a while to figure out.
The first tab of the Menu is where you pick the lens (camera), resolution, frame rate, SDR/HDR, Stabilization, flash. You can record up to 4K120 here, and it's the regular 16:9 4K, too, so 3840x2160px as opposed to the 3840x1644px in Cinema Pro. A small caveat is that it would only play back in slow-mo on the phone. Anywhere else, you have to slow it down with a video editor. There's a 'slow motion' setting too, but that's only up to 60fps, and those clips playback at 30fps, so half-speed.
The second tab has the white balance, shutter speed and ISO settings.
The hamburger menu, on the other hand, holds less immediately used settings like ISO limits, codecs, mic mode and controls.
Cinema Pro is the most advanced app that Sony has and offers nuanced control over all aspects of the shooting process. It unlocks frame rates and resolutions not available in the basic app, including 4K up to 120fps, albeit in a 21:9 aspect ratio - that's really the only ratio in this app. You get the final say on the shutter speed (which you pick by shutter angle), ISO and f-stop (where applicable), as well as white balance and 'look' - sort of like a color profile of which there are a bunch (Venice CS, Opaque/BU60YE60, Bright/BU20YE60, and so on). A -2 to +2EV indicator scale in the bottom left of the viewfinder will tell you how far off you are from the metered exposure level.
One of Cinema Pro's most useful features is the ability to rack focus between pre-set focus distances (A-B) with control over the duration of the transition. There's also tap-to-focus functionality, but there's no tracking, so if your subject moves within the frame, the phone won't follow it - instead, it will focus on whatever is in the box where you tapped.
Oh, and Focus peaking is now available in Cinema Pro as well - there is a toggle just below the viewfinder.
There's no change in the availability of Eye AF in Cinema Pro - it's limited to the other two apps.