Sony announces new smartphone camera sensor featuring 48 effective megapixels

Sony announces new smartphone camera sensor featuring 48 effective megapixels
Sony announces new smartphone camera sensor featuring 48 effective megapixels
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25 July, 2018

While more megapixels doesn't always mean better, it's hard to deny the benefits of having 48 megapixels occupying the same space as a standard smartphone camera sensor, promising not just high-resolution images but also better low-light performance. Pixels in a smartphone camera sensor are generally larger than 1 μm; the Pixel 2's sensor, for example, features 1.4-μm pixels. What is unique to Sony's newly revealed tech is the combination of the highest pixel count balanced out by a competent sensitivity adjusting filter. The new sensor features 48 effective megapixels, the industry's highest pixel count.

Smartphone cameras could be getting some significant quality improvements in the near future, at least according to Sony.

So to speak, the new sensor was created to improve light collection efficiency and photoelectric conversion efficiency, even when in zooming in, the image quality won't be as blurred as its predecessors. This all means that in those low-light situations imaging data from four adjacent pixels is being added in order to achieve sensitivity comparable to that of 1.6 μm pixels.

However, the new sensor, called IMX586, counters that effect with the introduction of a Quad Bayer color filter.

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Sony says this allows even scenes with both bright and dark areas can be captured with minimal highlight blowout or loss of detail in shadows.

Sony's IMX586 sensor should appear in smartphones as of next year, as the company is now planning on shipping samples in September for 3,000 yen ($27) each. Long story short, it's able to produce images in low noises thanks to the integrated exposure control and signal processing functionality technology. Last but not least, IMX586 also boasts full-resolution burst shooting at up to 30 frames per second and true-4K (4096 x 2160) video recording at 90 fps.

The IMX586 sensor has dethroned the Nokia Lumia 1020's 41MP camera, which in itself beat the Huawei P20 Pro's 40MP sensor earlier this year.


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