If you’re looking for a smartphone that offers unprecedented variety in the type of video and still shots you can capture, then Xperia 1 is the device for you.
Sony’s latest flagship – which has been getting glowing reviews – comes with an enviable triple camera set-up packed with Sony Alpha technologies and a host of built-in features to make the content you capture stand out from the crowd.
Xperia 1 handles low-light situations impeccably well with bright aperture and large pixel pitch, while the main camera’s 16mm, 26mm and 52mm lenses help you choose three very different shots from the same standing position.
To put the camera to the test, we travelled to God’s Own Junkyard, an immersive and colourful attraction that collects vintage neon signage and even makes new ones for Hollywood studios and private collectors! Among the signs on display are those featured in Marvel films such as Iron Man and Captain America.
So, it only seemed right to test the new cinema recording function Cinema Pro “Powered by CineAlta” towhile we were there. Developed with the help of Sony Digital’s motion picture camera engineers, Cinema Pro allows you to take still shots as well as capturing videos with eight different “Look” colour management pre-sets.
Here, we used the Soft Monochrome “Look” setting to give an Old-Hollywood feel to the shot.
By simply scrolling down the settings on the right of the app, we got a dramatically different shot with the Strong Blue “Look” setting.
And another, more gentle-feeling shot with the Cool Blue setting that captures more of the detail below the main signage, all in the glorious 21:9 aspect ratio to fill the CinemaWideTM display when you show your best shots off to friends and family.
If you want to know how to shoot neon in the best way (perhaps on a trip to Las Vegas, or the bright lights of New York City), we’ve got some top tips for you.
Control the lighting
When shooting with neon lights, you’ll want to be able to control the other lights in the room. If you can switch these off, you will be able to make the neons look a lot brighter.
Use Manual settings
By changing the shutter speed on Xperia 1 you can make the lights brighter or darker. When you have a darker image you can make the scene look more moody and dramatic, while when the overall feel of the photo is brighter it gives off a softer “high key” effect for an upbeat mood.
Play around with the different lenses
When working with multiple subjects in a scene that could look cluttered, it’s good to use different lenses on the camera. Try out Xperia 1’s 2X optical zoom, drawing the eye to the object that you want to focus on.
Wide angle for the win
The built-in 16mm super wide-angle lens gives you such a wide-angle view that you can get some very unusual perspectives which is helpful when trying to shoot lots of things at once.
To make sure you get a photo with no blur or movement you want to make sure the camera does not move and that the shutter speed is not too slow. Try to balance or rest the camera on a surface or lean it up against something stable. Because you have a live view on the Xperia 1 camera, you can see the end result when you change the shutter speed.
Change the focal point
With the following two images, we simply changed the focal point by tapping the area that we wanted in focus on the screen.
The two points were so far away from each other that the image changed dramatically using depth of field. This type of effect is very useful when shooting ‘through’ things.
Experiment with reflections
Use the items that you have around you to reflect the light. Here, we used a simple piece of clear plastic with a 90-degree bend to capture the bright reflection coming from the neon sign. Try to make your surroundings as dark as possible to get the full effect.
Play around with the positioning of the phone to get unique shots, such as this swirling effect.
While wandering around God’s Own Junkyard, where some signs and props date back to the early 20th Century, we compared the “Look” settings of Cinema Pro, using the flickering lights to capture nine very different videos (eight with” Look”, and one in standard 4K HDR).
Why not try capturing different “Look” videos yourself? Tag us in your content on social media using #Xperia1.