Sony Unveils World's First 48MP Smartphone Camera Sensor

Sony Unveils World's First 48MP Smartphone Camera Sensor

Lindsey Duncan
July 25, 2018

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.

As smartphone's imaging capabilities get better and better, manufacturers like Sony and Samsung will continue to push the boundaries of technology with its own hardware created to make compact devices even more proficient in photography and videography. The new sensor features 48 effective megapixels, the industry's highest pixel count.

While the sensor could theoretically make an appearance in a future iPhone, it's more likely to pop up in Sony's own handsets, although we don't yet know when that might happen. Sony says that it gets around that by adopting Quad Bayer colour filter array. The Japanese company has taken the wraps off its new image sensor for smartphones which packs some impressive numbers.

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Also, IMX586 uses the Quad Bayer color filter array, where adjacent 2x2 pixels come in the same color allowing for a higher sensitivity shooting. Better dynamic range means that pictures with both bright and darker areas should have more detailed highlights and shadows. In fact, it was quite obvious that Sony would be the one to blur the lines between smartphone and a camera. When shooting in low light, the data from these 4-pixel grids are combined and interpreted as 1.6μm pixels with double the size, allowing bright, low-noise 12-megapixel photos to be captured. Like all image sensors out there for smartphones, the IMX586 will also be able to record video at multiple resolutions including 4K at 90fps, 1080p at 240fps, and 720p at 480fps with crop.

Sony will start shipping samples of the IMX586 in September 2018, so we can probably expect the first smartphones sporting the sensor in early 2019.