Sony’s Xperia phones have had a big emphasis on mobile photography, but if some new leaks are accurate, the company has some really interesting new features planned for the upcoming Xperia Alpha.
According to a handful of new leaks that popped up recently on Weibo (via @I_Leak_VN) Sony’s next flagship phone is expected to be called the Xperia Alpha or possibly the Xperia Pro 1 and looks to push even further into mobile video production thanks to a handful of unusual features.
The headline feature on the Xperia Alpha is rumored to be a huge 1-inch sensor, which is a sensor size rarely seen on smartphones outside a handful of oddball devices like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1. The move to a bigger sensor is clearly meant to be a push towards increasing overall image quality and low-light sensitivity, but the nifty features don’t stop there.
That’s because it seems Sony is also looking to include a variable aperture camera module that can switch between f/2.0 and f/4.0 on the fly, to better allow photographers to control the phone’s depth of field. Now, this wouldn’t be the first phone to feature a variable aperture, as Samsung included a similar feature back on the Galaxy S9.
That said, the actual benefits of a variable aperture on a phone camera (at least back in 2018) weren’t quite as pronounced as many were hoping, which eventually caused Samsung to drop the feature on later Galaxy S phones. But with Sony having tested out a variable focal length telephoto lens for the first time on the Xperia Alpha III earlier this spring, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Sony revisit this feature for 2021.
But what might be the Xperia Alpha’s most interesting new feature is an add-on display that can be attached to the back of the phone, allowing people (i.e., vloggers) to record themselves using the Xperia Alpha’s sophisticated rear cameras while still being able to see themselves and compose their shots on the rear monitor.
Aside from the add-on display, it looks like Sony is also making microphone and gimbal/mount accessories for the Xperia Alpha, which leans even further into the theme of the Xperia Alpha being positioned as an even more mobile-friendly alternative to Sony’s line of ZV cameras for streamers and vloggers.
Finally, in what might be the most out-there accessory, rumors also claim that the Xperia Alpha could be connected to a new Sony VR headset designed to make it easier to view 360-degree 8K video on the go, though I’ll believe that rumor when I see it come true.
Regardless, given the massive success Sony has had with its line of Alpha mirrorless cameras, it makes a lot of sense for Sony to continue porting some of its fancy camera features down to its mobile phones. Now, we just have to hope that Xperia Alpha will be somewhat affordable, unlike the Xperia Pro, which started at a whopping $2,500.