Sony's new portable data transmitter enables camera-to-cloud backups anywhere

Sony PDT-FP1 connected to a camera via a wire on a stock white background
(Image credit: Sony)

Current cameras are packed with wireless tech from NFC, to Bluetooth, to WiFi – yet somehow connecting wirelessly to get your images and videos off many cameras continues to be a chore, with a jumble of half-baked apps.

But Sony has just announced a solution for any photographer or filmmaker out in the field who wants a fast, convenient way to send their content to an FTP server or Sony's cloud services – the Sony PDT-FP1.

This new portable data transmitter can connect directly to a Sony camera and beam any captured content using 5G, with a maximum upload speed of 1.1 GB/s and download of 8.1 GB/s.

Sony says the transmitter supports a wide range of bands including "domestic and international 5G millimeter wave band, Sub6 communication, standalone 5G communication, local 5G", so it can be used nearly anywhere in the world. The transmitter can also take two SIM cards (one regular and one eSIM) and can switch between them for the best signal or different locations.

The PDT-FP1 comes equipped with ports for USB Type-C, LAN, and HDMI (Type A). There is also an additional USB-C charging port so it is possible to power the device separately while also transferring data, which will come in especially handy for any livestreaming. 

(Image credit: Sony)

Finally, there is a 1/4-inch screw hole for mounting the transmitter to a rig, with the transmitter weighing approximately 308g.that

The case houses a cooling fan and heatsink to keep the temperature of the transmitter at a minimum, while transferring files and should be possible to use in temperatures of up to 104ºF / 40ºC. This fan can be tweaked depending on your needs, and set to silent if you are concerned about it being picked up on any audio.

Is this a Sony Xperia phone in a cool new case? Yes, but no. At the European launch, journalists were told that it "It looks like, smells like a phone - but its not a phone". But is it clear that Sony has learned a lot from its launch of phones such as the Xperia Pro-I that had some very similar functionality.

A key point, we are told, is that this doesn't work as a phone - so you don't get calls on your camera screen when on assignment. It works as a dedicated device - and this also means it can be thicker than a standard phone, allowing for a built-in fan (that will allow you to live stream for 6 hours or more), and a built-in ethernet port.

Full-size Type A HDMI port, an ethernet socket and two USB-C ports give this hardwired connections in addition to the built-in 5G cellular connectivity (Image credit: Sony)

The device runs on Android with a SnapDragon 8 processor inside - so you can download your own apps, as well as using the suite of software Sony is making to go with the device.

The transmitter has a 6.1-inch screen that can be used to display content from the camera, as well as live waveforms of upload speeds. There is a 256GB internal memory, although this can be expanded to 1TB with a microSD card for transferring files from a camera to before transfer. The PDT-FP1 is powered by a 5,000mAh battery, which Sony claims with enable up to 4 hours total transfer time when using 5G, and 600 hours of standby.

Following its launch in Japan in January, the Sony PDT-FP1 will go on sale in America and Europe from May for $1,100 / £1,150.

For more on Sony check out our guide to the best Sony camera and the best Sony lenses

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Gareth Bevan
Reviews Editor

Gareth is a photographer based in London, working as a freelance photographer and videographer for the past several years, having the privilege to shoot for some household names. With work focusing on fashion, portrait and lifestyle content creation, he has developed a range of skills covering everything from editorial shoots to social media videos. Outside of work, he has a personal passion for travel and nature photography, with a devotion to sustainability and environmental causes.

With contributions from