Sony unveils the world's highest-resolution smartphone camera sensor

Sony-48MP-smartphonecamera

This amount is even superior to Google's Pixel 2 XL which at 1.4 microns is now one of the best low-light smartphone cameras available. This product was designed and manufactured with techniques that improve light collection efficiency and photoelectric conversion efficiency over conventional products, resulting in the world's first 0.8 μm pixel size, with both high sensitivity and high saturation signal level.

In many cases, higher resolution sensors are created to enable digital zoom and that's one of the functions that Sony is pushing with its new IMX586 sensor. In short, enhanced images from your smartphone's camera. With that, this is why it was possible to pack in the 48MP into the 1/2 type unit and it's a ideal solution for smartphones that don't really allow as much as space a DSLR. The IMX586 performs some DSP magic on the raw bits from its unusual Bayer color array to arrive at an impressive-sounding 48-effective-megapixel resolution. At the same time, four adjacent pixels can be added together during low light shooting, yielding a 12-megapixel sensor that delivers "bright, low noise images", Sony said.

Sony is hands-down the primary supplier of image sensors for phones.

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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 0.8-micron pixels are now the smallest on the market, however its use of a quad Bayer colour filter array helps each pixel coordinate with those that surround it to essentially create a larger pixel.

It is yet unknown when the first smartphones featuring the new Sony IMX586 will start shipping, but we expect manufacturers to start testing it in the last quarter of the year. 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.

Naturally, this is a stacked sensor, meaning that the DRAM is combined with the sensor to give it processing power, like Sony's other recent sensors, so HDR video and super-slow motion are all likely to be possible.

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