Sony Xperia 1 IV review: a premium smartphone in the shadow of its predecessor

Sony Xperia 1 IV review: a premium smartphone in the shadow of its predecessor
Written by madishthestylebar

Sony has once again chosen a quadruple photo module with Zeiss optics. We thus find a wide-angle of 12 megapixels whose lens opens at f / 1.7, an ultra-wide-angle of 12 megapixels (f / 2.2), a 3D depth sensor (ToF), but also and above all a 12 megapixel telephoto lens allowing you to go from a focal length of 85 mm to 125 mm (opening from f / 2.3 to f / 2.8).

We decided to compare it to the Oppo Find X5 Pro, which proved to be very effective in this exercise thanks to its dual 50-megapixel Sony IM766 sensor (wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle). The latter captures standard shots in 12.5 megapixels thanks to the pixel binding.

Main module: 12 Mpx, f/1.7, eq. 24mm

Oppo Find X5 Pro (12.5MP, f/1.7, ISO 254, 1/500s)
Sony Xperia 1 IV (12MP, f/1.7, ISO 64, 1/160s)

In good light conditions, Sony and Oppo offer a balanced confrontation, even if the Chinese firm offers a much better result on the periphery. The Find X5 Pro’s shot benefits from good exposure and displays a higher level of detail while remaining sharp. The Xperia opts for a more natural rendering, in particular thanks to better controlled colors. It works well on certain parts of the image, like the mountain map or the ticket in the upper right. The software choice made by Oppo will flatter the retina of the greatest number, but Sony is defending itself well.

Oppo Find X5 Pro (12.5MP, f/1.7, ISO 6848, 1/20s)
Sony Xperia 1 IV (12MP, f/1.7, ISO 1250, 1/4s)

In the dark, the Sony Xperia 1 IV regains control. The Find X5 Pro delivers a shot of good quality, but that of the Sony turns out to be sharper and above all more detailed. This can be seen on the treatment of the cover of the book, which brings out the roughness better, or on the two faces at the top left. However, it should be noted that the pause time of the Xperia on night shots is significantly longer than that of the Oppo smartphone, which can more easily “strafe” a scene.

Ultra-wide-angle module: 12 Mpx, f/2.2, eq. 16mm

Oppo Find X5 Pro (12.5MP, f/2.2, ISO 253, 1/250s, eq.16mm)
Sony Xperia 1 IV (12MP, f/2.2, ISO 64, 1/100s)

During the day, the two devices once again engage in a good duel. In both cases, the scene is well transcribed and quite usable. If the Xperia 1 IV displays a more accurate general colorimetry, its opponent having a slight tendency to overexpose, the color patterns turn out to be a little less clear. Oppo’s smartphone indeed delivers a more contrasting and clear shot, while the Xperia 1 IV is certainly closer to what we see in reality.

Oppo Find X5 Pro (12.5 Mpx, f/2.2, ISO 7744, 1/8s, eq.16mm)
Sony Xperia 1 IV (12MP, f/2.2, ISO 1600, 1/13s)

On the night shot, we see that the two smartphones have a different approach. The low exposure lowers the level of detail of the shot provided by the Xperia 1 IV. For example, we see that Sony’s algorithm is struggling to perfectly transcribe the entries in the book. However, the result remains readable, and above all more natural.

Thanks to pixel binding, the Find X5 Pro’s 50-megapixel sensor manages to harvest a lot more light, which greatly improves sharpness. However, digital smoothing remains very pronounced and does not recover much more detail. A glance at the mountain range on the cartography makes it possible to be convinced of this.

Optical zoom: 3.5x to 5.2x: 12 Mpx, f/2.3, eq. 85mm to 125mm

While the previous model was equipped with a varifocal telephoto lens (70-105 mm equivalent), Sony has this time opted for a continuous zoom ranging from 85 to 125 mm in order to see even further. An interesting idea, which however seems limited by the choice of a smaller sensor.

Note here that we have installed the latest update deployed by Sony on its Xperia 1 IV, but that we have not detected any significant difference in terms of autofocus management when using the zoom.

Front and video module

A 13-megapixel sensor replaces the 8-megapixel sensor of the Xperia 1 III. It is also much more efficient. The selfies are of good quality, and the colors have a natural rendering. We benefit from a much better level of detail than last year and we appreciate that Sony has taken the problem seriously.

In Basic mode, the mobile is capable of filming in 4K at 30 fps and in Full HD at 60 fps on all its sensors. However, it is possible to unlock more options (including 4K/120 fps) by using the Video Pro application. The rendering is very well made, and will appeal to videographers. Again, the colorimetry might look a little bland if you’re used to the saturated processing of competitors, but it’s actually very true to life. It is possible to add an audio wind filter which is particularly effective outdoors. It is therefore very pleasant to film with this model.

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