Sony reveals world's highest-resolution phone-camera image sensor

Sony IMX586 will cram 48 megapixels into smartphone cameras

Sony Has Released the Smartphone Industry’s First 48MP Sensor That Goes Beyond Recording 4K Footage at 60FPS

Yesterday, Sony announced the upcoming release of an image sensor capable of delivering smartphone cameras with 48 effective megapixels (8000×6000), which the brand claims is "the industry's highest pixel count".

The 48 effective megapixels are found on an 8mm diagonal unit, which will enable enhanced photography in smartphones of the future.

Sony has a strong heritage in cameras, however in recent years the cameras on its flagship smartphones haven't quite hit the same illustrious heights as rivals - but that could be about to change. The latest sensor utilizes a Quad Bayer colour filter array, where adjacent 2 x 2 pixels come in the same colour allowing for higher sensitivity shooting.

The IMX586 has an effective pixel count of 1.6 micrometers. It seems that Nokia's original vision of a high resolution sensor to provide more information for imaging software to chew on is coming full circle and that modern handsets might work on similar, if not identical, lines. In fact, more megapixels can actually work against photos taken in low light. 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. Even scenes with both bright and dark areas can be captured with minimal highlight blowout or loss of detail in shadows.

Sony IMX586 will cram 48 megapixels into smartphone cameras

While Sony's smartphones have not been performing well in sales, there's one market where the company has been on top - camera sensors.

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.

As for video, the sensor is able to capture 4K video at 90 frames per second, while 1080p and 720p resolutions can hit 240 and 480 frames per second, respectively.

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