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  • - For a few years now,

  • I've been saying this thing.

  • If the most important part of a new phone for you

  • is the camera, maybe instead of buying a new phone

  • you should think about buying a new camera.

  • I've been thinking a lot about that advice

  • since I started testing these two Sony products.

  • This is the Sony Xperia 1 II smart phone,

  • and this is the Sony ZV-1 vlogging camera.

  • And both of these are excellent devices

  • if you're looking for a really specific thing.

  • But if you're just looking for the best smartphone

  • or the best pocketable camera,

  • I don't think either one of these

  • would be my first pick.

  • But they are worth talking about

  • because they come from a different world than we're used to

  • and it's one that can teach us something.

  • You know what it's like to live in Apples iPhone world

  • or Google's Pixel world, or even Samsung's Galaxy...

  • World? Galaxy world?

  • Sure.

  • But there's a Sony world too,

  • and living in it for a while

  • has clarified how I think about cameras.

  • So, here's a question.

  • What can we learn from Sony world?

  • (relaxed electronic music)

  • So, I just have to tell you that this video

  • has been super hard for me to make.

  • This is probably my third attempt

  • at doing something with one of these devices

  • and I think it's because my brain

  • is just chock-full of little details

  • and observations and opinions, so,

  • instead what I decided to do is

  • we're gonna have a full review of each of these devices

  • up on theverge.com, but it's way too much

  • for a single video, or even a couple,

  • and so instead, I wanna talk about Sony world,

  • or more specifically, Sony camera world.

  • See, Sony is a monster in mirrorless cameras,

  • they're really good at shooting far-cam video,

  • and some of them are great all-rounders.

  • So, I'm using a Sony a7 III right now,

  • before that I was using an RX100,

  • there's a whole ecosystem around them and,

  • Sony cameras also have quirks,

  • like impenetrable menus and unique color science,

  • but generally they're really well regarded.

  • And so, the Sony Xperia 1 II

  • is Sony's attempt to take a smart phone

  • and put it inside that camera world.

  • You might know that Sony already makes great camera sensors,

  • your phone right now might even use one,

  • but historically, Sony's phone cameras

  • have been kinda, meh.

  • So the Xperia 1 II's big idea

  • is to make Sony's phones work

  • a little bit more like Sony's cameras.

  • Okay, so I actually should tell you

  • a little bit more about each of these devices

  • and I'm gonna do it really fast.

  • Normally these would be the whole review,

  • but I've got other things to talk about so,

  • buckle up.

  • (he sighs) Here we go.

  • Sony Xperia 1 II is the sequel

  • to the Sony Xperia 1, duh.

  • It is Sony's attempt at making a super flagship 5G phone

  • and it costs 1,200 bucks in the U.S.,

  • where it doesn't support 5G for bad reasons.

  • Whatever.

  • Sony likes making these super tall

  • 21 by 9 aspect ratio screens,

  • and I actually kinda dig it,

  • even though this phone is a little bit too big for me.

  • I think the overall aesthetics are really clean

  • and really nice.

  • Sony also checks a lot of rare feature boxes,

  • this is a 4K OLED screen, there's a fingerprint sensor

  • on the power button, there's a real,

  • honest-to-God shutter button, there's a headphone jack,

  • there's Micro SD card slot expansion,

  • there's dual front facing speakers.

  • It runs Android pretty well,

  • it's a relatively clean install,

  • Sony's cleaned some stuff up,

  • but the whole point of this phone

  • is the camera system.

  • And there, Sony is focusing, aha,

  • on a familiar Sony camera interface,

  • but most of all, a 1 over 1.7 inch 12 megapixel sensor

  • which is pretty big for a phone.

  • This thing can focus 60 times per second,

  • it can shoot 20 full resolution images per second,

  • it can focus on your eye,

  • or it can focus on your pet's eye.

  • (he sighs)

  • Yeah.

  • Okay, now, the Sony ZV-1 vlogging camera.

  • It is basically an RX100 with the optics,

  • the zoom, and ND filter of the mark 5,

  • but with the faster focusing, updated one inch sensor

  • and video processing capabilities

  • of the mark 7.

  • However, Sony finally made the right kind

  • of flip-out screen that you want for vlogging,

  • but they replaced the magnesium body with plastic,

  • they got rid of the electronic viewfinder,

  • they got rid of the focus ring,

  • and they got rid of the flash

  • and in replacement of those,

  • you get a better three mic array microphone.

  • You get a tally light which shows it's recording,

  • and you get a hot shoe.

  • Plus there's a couple of neat pre-set options,

  • it has a background de-focus button

  • that automatically sets the aperture

  • to its most open to blur your background,

  • and it has a product focus button

  • that turns off face priority

  • so it can focus on the product you're showing the camera

  • and not just lock onto your face.

  • Oh, and it's only 800 bucks, which is 400 bucks

  • less than the RX100 mark 7.

  • Oh, and you get a free dead cat!

  • That's what they call the thing

  • that keeps the wind from hitting your microphone,

  • it's called a dead cat, I don't know.

  • Camera people get to have jokes too, okay?

  • That might be the fastest I've done any spec run down

  • of a gadget, much less two in a row,

  • but I think we did it.

  • And, if you live in Android world,

  • you maybe heard this Xperia description

  • and you thought to yourself,

  • ah, that's interesting, tell me more about the camera

  • but I don't know if it's worth 1,200 bucks.

  • Probably not, and you're right.

  • But, maybe the second explanation of this camera

  • was gibberish to you.

  • But if you live in Sony camera world,

  • you heard that explanation

  • and you now know exactly what the ZV-1 is,

  • what it can do, and whether or not

  • it'll work for your needs,

  • you might know that, yeah, you need interchangeable lenses,

  • or maybe you just wanna have a B cam,

  • or you just want something that's this powerful,

  • that can do this much, that fits in your pocket.

  • Or maybe it was all gibberish,

  • I mean, that's totally fair.

  • If I hadn't spent the last 10 years

  • learning how Android phones work,

  • or the last three months on a goddamn crash course

  • in Sony camera so I could shoot video

  • during a lockdown, it might've been gibberish to me too.

  • The point here isn't necessarily

  • all the individual details of the specs,

  • what I wanna talk about in this video is,

  • what they mean for how you

  • actually end up using these cameras.

  • Okay, so I'm gonna do this,

  • I'll turn on the background de-focus.

  • Ooh.

  • Okay, how is the Sony ZV-1 as a vlogging camera?

  • I actually think it's kinda stupendous.

  • I admit this is a parts bin camera,

  • it's basically an RX100 with a bunch of customizations

  • made for vlogging, but I love the RX100.

  • But there are some limitations here to know about, so,

  • the widest that this lens can get

  • is the equivalent of 24 millimeters,

  • which isn't quite wide enough

  • to comfortably hold the camera out

  • to point at your face unless you've got it

  • way out on your arm like I do now or,

  • use a selfie stick, my arm is actually

  • already kinda tired right now.

  • It also props in a little bit

  • if you have image stabilization on and so,

  • if you're gonna get this thing,

  • you've really gotta get a selfie stick

  • in order to do proper vlogging with it.

  • But, other than that, in terms of simplicity

  • and in terms of not having a ceiling

  • for when you wanna learn to do more professional stuff,

  • this thing is great.

  • I mean, look, this thing is wildly capable

  • as a camera.

  • It has basically all of the same features

  • and options as my a7 III there,

  • but it's in a $800 package that fits in my pocket.

  • And I also love this product showcase feature

  • which basically turns on a bunch of settings

  • that are already available on other Sony cameras,

  • but it simplifies it to one button,

  • so it turns off face priority,

  • so if I put something in front of the camera,

  • it'll focus on the closer thing to the camera

  • instead of to my face,

  • and then it'll focus on my face again,

  • and then on this thing,

  • and it does it really fast.

  • Now, I do have to use this camera

  • a little bit differently that I would use an a7 III,

  • or even how I'd use a phone to do vlogging,

  • and I want you to hold that thought

  • about using cameras differently

  • because it's super important.

  • But right now, let's get back

  • to this Xperia 1 II.

  • See, the Xperia has this hot shit, big sensor

  • that can do eye auto-focus and focus really fast

  • and shoot fast Birch photos,

  • but the standard camera app is kinda, meh?

  • The pictures it takes are okay,

  • but they feel a little bit lifeless.

  • But that's part of Sony's game here.

  • It knows that it can't hang with Google or Apple

  • or maybe even Samsung when it comes to image processing,

  • so instead it just kinda skips that for the most part

  • and gives you the option

  • to use it more like a traditional mirrorless camera

  • with the Pro Camera app and the Cinema Pro video app.

  • The interface with the Pro Camera app

  • even looks a lot like Sony's big camera interface, see?

  • Now also, I've got some photos, here's an example.

  • You can see that there's motion blur in this night photo.

  • So what I did is I set the the ISO

  • so that the shutter speed was slow enough

  • so that I could get the motion blur

  • while still capturing the rest of the scene

  • just like I wanted, like you might on a DSLR or whatever.

  • Your standard night modes on a Pixel or an iPhone,

  • they just won't do that.

  • And Sony even sort of tries

  • to make it feel like a real camera,

  • you've got a real shutter button here

  • and you can choose between the lenses

  • by looking at their millimeter equivalents.

  • Now look, I know you can probably get similar results

  • using a manual camera app and one of those other phones,

  • but the other thing that Sony does here

  • is less post-processing,

  • because it's trying to maximize capture speed.

  • So, again, you can shoot a 20 frames per second burst

  • and it wants to get that saved to your disk