Using the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium for content creation
A lot has been made by Sony about the Xperia Z5 Premium having the world’s first high definition display. Equally a lot has been said about the lack of content that would warrant the outlay for a 5.5″ high definition display, but what if you don’t want to just watch it? What if you want to create the 4K content, and use the device as a portable high definition field monitor?
Fortuitously I just happened snag one of these for an entry into the Hey human’s “Poetry in moments” promotion for Sony. Most people might have been disappointed they didn’t win the Sony Bravia TV, but I not me! I was absolutley over the moon…
I’ve been a big fan of DSLR controller for Android some some time, and I’ve used it on just about every device I’ve owned. The one problem has always been that it’s potential outpaced the device it was running on. Sure, those little handsets pack a real punch, but colour balanced, high definition displays they are not! Except that this one is!
The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is exactly that, it’s bright, it’s clear, and just the right size to use as a field monitor for your high end DSLR. Most landscape photographers I know don’t drag around a laptop to tether their camera to, they probably should because even with the wonder of mirrorless bodies I’ve yet to see a camera screen that does justice to the sensor inside.
If you’re not familiar with DSLR controller there’s a link right here for you to check it out, plus I’ve given you some into the bargain, so I’m not going into the app’s features.
There are couple of things you need to do in order to get this device working well as a tethered monitor, but these are pretty minor things. The first one is that the USB connection needs to be kept awake or it will reset itself. I believe that you can set up a shortcut on the phone for each USB connection, but at this time I can’t confirm that. This means that when the camera goes into sleep mode, the USB connection reset’s itself, and the app shuts down. The solution is obvious and simple. Either extend the the camera’s awake time, or switch sleep mode off all together.
The second one is that the Z5 Premium won’t automatically detect the connection type when you connect the camera. This means you you’ll need to go into the settings, and make the phone detect it. The good news is that in the “Device connection” section, under “USB Connectivity”, the last option “Tips for connecting with a USB device” there’s an option to add this functionality to the draw down quick menu.
The second part of this post is really to do with the camera. I’ve always been a big fan of Sony’s Z handsets, simply for the quality of the camera’s, and I’ve owned and used a Z3 for some time now. The technology behind mobile photography has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years, and while the Galaxy S5 had a great camera, the Z3 has a better one, and in my opinion the Z5 Premium is even better still. Despite everything you might have read, I love this camera, but I’m not going to review here because there are enough out there already. Suffice it to say I’ll be using this device a lot in situations where it’s impractical to use a DSLR, or I just don’t have one with me [though TBH that is very rare].
The bottom line, yes the reviews are all correct. At the moment this is a device that has a 4K display in a world where there’s really no 4K content, but if you’re the one making the content does that really matter? I’d also have to add that there never will be unless more companies release devices like this one. Content is created by demand, and demand is driven capability. The kindle demonstrated that, and I’m actually disappointed with the tech world for not learning that lesson.
The above photographs were taken this morning on my 5D MK3 tethered to the Xperia Z5 Premium as a live field test, there not in themselves exiting, but I’d they pass the test. The idea here wasn’t to create great art, it was just to take out a monopod, a camera, and this 4K phone to discover if it really is practical to use it in full 4K mode as a tethered field monitor. The answer is a resounding yes. It’s small enough that you can just hold it while using the camera [Though at some point I’d like to be able to attach it to the stand] and the screen is large enough, and detailed enough to give you an accurate preview of how an exposure has turned out. You also have the ability to pinch an zoom into an area to review highlights and shadows, which is really useful.
When it comes to video things get even better. The display gives you all the rich colour the average DSLR is missing, and the touch screen, combined with the software, allows for full and accurate monitoring of what’s going on through the lens. If I where Adobe I would be looking carefully in the direction
Why 4K? Well simply because it’s the future, and with this device you can start making it now! Better still you can even put small projects together without leaving the device. Maybe as a smartphone for the average business guy it doesn’t entirely live up to all the hype, but for a photographer it’s quite literally a God send…A big thank you to Sony and Hey Human for the gift of creative potential 🙂
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