Sony's new image sensor for smartphones has 48 effective megapixels

24 July, 2018, 03:55 | Author: Shannon Newton
  • Sony IMX586 Smartphone Camera Sensor With 48 Effective Megapixels Resolution Launched

This increased pixel count allows for 8,000 x 6,000 photos and high-definition imaging even when an image is zoomed in, the company says. The new sensor features 48 effective megapixels, the highest pixel count in the industry. With the new IMX586 image sensor, Sony is assuring brighter pictures with lower noise despite low-light conditions.

The IMX586 sensor features the highest-ever pixel count for any smartphone image sensor, coming in at an effective 48 megapixels. Of course, comparing a DSLR sensor to an eight-millimeter-diagonal smartphone sensor isn't an entirely straightforward comparison, and the IMX586 is no exception.

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"Generally, miniaturization of pixels results in poor light collecting efficiency per pixel, accompanied by a drop in sensitivity and volume of saturation signal", Sony says. That conversion is how the company arrives at that 48-MP effective resolution.

The IMX586 also has dynamic range that's "four times greater than conventional products", and it can take 4K video at 90fps and 1080p video at 240fps, according to Sony's specifications. Sony's new sensor compensates for its little pixels by use of what's called a Quad Bayer color filter array: in low light, groups of four adjacent pixels essentially act as one.

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In addition to this, Sony's also shrunk the pixel size down to an impressive 0.8 μm.

Of course, it's not only the sensor that makes the camera - there's the quality of the lens, the aperture and a whole lot of digital signal processing, both from Sony and from the phone manufacturer which results in the final product. Even scenes with both bright and dark areas can be captured with minimal highlight blowout or loss of detail in shadows while viewing the image on the smartphone display.

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While its smartphones haven't exactly been earning awards in any category, Sony still has the smartphone market cornered when it comes to camera sensors. It's possible that Apple could use this sensor in its future iPhones models.

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