Sony unveil smartphone capable of 960FPS video

Sony sign

Sony have unveiled a new smartphone, equipped with a camera that is able to capture high quality slow-motion footage at a rate four times higher than its major competitors.

The Xperia XZ Premium has the ability to capture video at 960 frames per second (fps).

This quality of image is due to the creation of a new kind of sensor that has its own built-in memory.

The Japanese tech giant’s share of the smartphone market is reasonably small, but the company makes the majority of its money by selling camera technology to other companies; recent models from the likes of Apple, LG and Samsung have all used Sony technology in their cameras.

Francisco Jeronimo, from the market research firm IDC, said: “despite this being one of the best devices at MWC, I don’t see it changing Sony’s fortunes.

“If you go through Sony’s financial statements you can see it now makes more money from selling phone cameras to its competitors than selling its own smartphones, which is quite remarkable.

“So, its phones are a way to show off its capabilities, and the new camera is outstanding – not just the slow-mo but also the picture quality.”

Sony’s smartphone sales halved in the last year and they currently hold only a 1 per cent share of the market, according to IDC, putting it in 17th place.

The new technology has been named ‘Motion Eye’ and uses a hi-tech sensor, complete with one gigabit of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM). This allows the camera to temporarily store a rapid burst of video data before transferring it to other parts of the device, which takes slightly longer.

Contrary to an initial announcement that claimed the was capable of 1,000 fps in 1080p “full high definition”, the Xperia XZ Premium has been limited to slightly below this, likely due to technological limitations.

Users can capture only 0.18 seconds of footage at this speed, which translates to around six seconds of video when played back.

One of the major features of the camera and sensor is that it can be used during filming normal footage in order to create a slow-down-and-speed-back-up effect. However, this does require precise timing, so that it is used at precisely the right moment.

The use of DRAM memory also enables recording of action that took place up to a second before the pressing of the record button; this enables users to avoid missed moments, but relies on motion to trigger the sensor.