Xperia PRO-I: Making the Switch for Cinematographer Drew Geraci

What drove me to make the switch?

I’ve used (and have been) an Android user for years, specifically using the Samsung Galaxy series. I also was an iPhone user for a long time but found that Android offered way more options in terms of quality and customization. Flash forward to 2021 and I’m pretty sick of my Galaxy phone. I contacted Sony and asked if it was possible to test out the new Xperia PRO-I and without hesitation, they said yes. I’ve been looking to make the switch for a long time (which can be hard for cell-phone users!) but making the switch to the Xperia line was both painless and ultimately rewarding.

What about the Xperia makes it worth switching to?

For me, it’s all about photo and video capabilities. I work on a ton of film sets or I’m out in the field and I love to capture behind the scenes. Sometimes there just isn’t enough room in my bag for a proper camera and the Xperia PRO-I offers just that, a proper camera that’s pocket-sized. The 1” sensor coupled with the ability to shoot photos or video on the fly made this phone the perfect choice. I should note though, that I wouldn’t call this phone a phone. It’s really a camera that makes calls. The instant you tap the shutter button the camera springs to life (nearly instantly) and it allows you to capture the moment without having to wait to log into your phone, start up the app, and then adjust your settings. You can just press the shutter button and you’re ready to roll. I LOVE this feature and it’s allowed me to capture so much more that I would normally have missed.

The photos and video both look amazing in low light and mimic that of the Sony A6000 series in terms of quality (for photo). The video comes out looking ultra-clean in Cinema mode and is 100% usable (with the right lighting) for actual production use. I also found myself using the phone for shooting timelapse and I was ridiculously surprised when I brought the image sequence back into post and found that it was tack sharp, had great dynamic range (perhaps 12-13 stops) and it looked nearly as good as my Sony A7S3 in terms of resolution and image quality.

During my use, I found myself really missing the Xperia when I had to use my Galaxy phone for actual phone calls (since I was using a pre-production model of the PRO-I and it wouldn’t allow for sim card usage).  In terms of actual use, the Xperia PRO-I is incredibly fast, responsive and the 120Hz OLED screen looks dazzling in both daylight and indoors. It really makes your photography pop and gives you a solid grasp of what you’ve captured. The design is also quite nice. I love how the ridged lines around the body allow you to grip the phone better and it feels super solid (and professional).

The last feature that I love (and it’s something that other Android phones have but Sony just refined it) is the use of the microSD expandable media slot. You basically get unlimited space on your phone and can transfer images/video via the microSD to your computer or workstation with ease. It works just like any other camera that you might have. You can simply pop out the microSD, plug it into a card reader, and you’ll be set! My other android phone had a microSD as well but it was nearly impossible to access without having to remove the entire back of the phone so this phone makes it so much easier to use.

 

Final thoughts

I never thought I would really upgrade and want to use the Sony Xperia as my main phone but I was 100% wrong. It reminds me of when I shot on Canon and tried a Sony Alpha for the first time. It was a life changing moment (no joke) and I think Sony has done a wonderful job at listening to their customers and giving them exactly what they asked for to make a perfect product. If you haven’t tried the Xperia PRO-I yet you should. It may not be for everyone but if you’re into photography and video it’s a must get!