Sony Motion Eye slow-mo hands-on: shooting at high speed with the new Xperias


Who doesn't like playing around with a new camera? Seeing what kind of professional-looking shots you can pull off with the help of its advanced optics? Zooming in on distant features with a powerful new telephoto lens? Or maybe going up-close for a little macro action, taking a peek at familiar objects in a new, super-magnified way? The Motion Eye camera Sony just introduced on its latest smartphone flagships, the Xperia XZs and Xperia XZ Premium, is bound to inspire similar bouts of creativity and exploration, as it allows users to film their world in some seriously high-frame-rate slow-mo action.

Any time you shoot video faster than the 30 frames per second we normally use, you open up the potential for some slow-mo fun: by playing back that footage at regular 30 FPS speed, everything seems to slow down. Shoot at 60 FPS, and the world moves at half speed; shoot at 120 FPS, and motion's dialed back to just one-fourth of its normal pace.

We've already seen some pretty impressive slow-mo options from smartphones, recording high-quality footage at rates as high as 240 FPS. But with Motion Eye, Sony's flying straight past everyone else, giving users the ability to record video at a staggering 960 FPS.

The camera pulls this off with the help of memory that's integrated right into the camera package. Normally, data from your phone's camera has to travel off the camera sensor and get run through an external image processor before software has a chance to touch it. And while that normally works great, it's tough to do when you're talking about the crazy amount of data needed when shooting video at this kind of blazingly fast frame rate.

Even with the help of that “stacked memory,” Motion Eye's slow-mo still has its limitations. The biggest is that you can only shoot for a really, really short length of time – like, a second or two. That threatens to make it impractical in regular day-to-day situations, but Sony's come up with a few usage modes designed to help mitigate that impact.


One lets you record normal, reality-speed video, then tap an on-screen icon to slow things down for a quick burst of 960 FPS action. Another foregoes that continuous-recording action and just lets you tap to capture real quick slow-mo videos on demand. Finally, if neither of those are acceptable. You can shoot at a much more manageable 120 FPS for as long as you please – it just doesn't look as cool as 960 FPS mode.

There's also the video quality issue. Motion Eye can't pull off this slow-mo action at 4K, or even 1080p resolution, and you're constrained to shooting in 720 x 1280 for the highest-speed slow-mo. There's also a very real issue with image fidelity, as the sensor seems to struggle to get enough light to snap those nearly thousand frames a second. As a result, footage in indoor environments can be extremely grainy and splotchy looking. Things may fare better outdoors, but we're just warming up with our Motion Eye tests. Take a look at the video below to get a taste of what's possible, and check back for our full reviews on the Xperia XZs and XZ Premium for the rest of the story.

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Sony at MWC 2017 (11 updates)

Related phones

Xperia XZs
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 19 MP / 13 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2900 mAh
Xperia XZ Premium
  • Display 5.5" 2160 x 3840 pixels
  • Camera 19 MP / 13 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3230 mAh(24.7h 3G talk time)

FEATURED VIDEO

18 Comments

1. iushnt

Posts: 3086; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

Hope they got their software right this time..

2. liberalsnowflake

Posts: 273; Member since: Feb 24, 2017

It's sony they don't make half baked products mate

4. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Yes but in the past they have made half baked camera software, apparently last year's XZ stopped that trend tho.

6. liberalsnowflake

Posts: 273; Member since: Feb 24, 2017

Could be anyway kudos to sony for this time. Cheers sony

9. iushnt

Posts: 3086; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

That's nice

18. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Yeah they so. In fact every Samsung since the S2 has used Sony's sensors and Samsung did a betetr job with them vs Sony themselves. After all the top camera in the market has been the S4, S5, S6, S7 all in a row.

3. Jason2k13

Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

960 FPS mode for only 1 or 2 seconds? yeah i dont find it exciting anymore, I was expecting it to be at least 30 seconds of recording.

7. kabiluddin

Posts: 275; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

You are a s**tty samsung fanboy and a infamous sony hater. I don't expect you to find it exciting.

11. Jason2k13

Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

So your taking it personally because I expected it to be longer? Does Sony donate food to your hungry family, every time you defend their brand for stupid reasons?

14. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

I'm sure Sony has not and never will do that. But I know for a fact that Samsung was caught for paying their fanboys to denigrate products from other brands.

15. kabiluddin

Posts: 275; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

@ Samsung's b*tch Jason2k13. Did Samsung donate food to your hungry family, every time you defended their brand during note 7 saga?

8. donrox

Posts: 201; Member since: Jul 18, 2014

go buy yourself a phantom camera. make sure you have the money for it!

12. Jason2k13

Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

that can record 5,000 frames per second, way overkill.

13. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

Since when you get excited about Sony products when almost everyone knows you are a die hard Samsung fanboy who also Sony hater. 960fps for 30 seconds in relatively small form factor with no active cooling? I'm not an expert but I am sure it is arguably impossible to do at least with the technology available today. Samsung was not even able to make image sensor that can record 960fps and they still put time limit in S7 series for 4K recording. Even for short burst you can still record many things with it because there is a lot of thing that could happen less than 1 second for example a human can throw multiple punch or kick when the do some martial art tricks. I know you're jealous because you just want to see Samsung as the only one who is able to show innovative technologies but don't worry since Sony can get their hands at Snapdragon 835 there is a possibility that Samsung will get a 12MP version of Sony DRAM image sensor.

5. iLovesarcasm

Posts: 589; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

The Xperia battery was never been the same since Z3.

10. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

And T2 Ultra battery was amazing!

16. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

It's because they decided to focus on squeezing the most out of a moderately sized battery instead of throwing a bigger one in it. I wish this thing had a 3500mAh cell. It would be golden. Or at least let us decide when we want to resolve full resolution. Personally I'd do it only in video or pictures, otherwise it's FHD for me.

17. Acqua34

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 02, 2013

Alright , Young MA will be interested in this

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