Technology

Sony IMX586 will cram 48 megapixels into smartphone cameras

Sony IMX586 will cram 48 megapixels into smartphone cameras

The sensor is the world's first to feature an ultra-small pixel size of just 0.8μm, which is what allows it to stuff 48-megapixels onto a 1/2-inch sensor. 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. Moreover, this new sensor is made specifically for smartphone cameras! The IMX586 packs an impressive 48 MP on an 8mm diagonal unit with each each pixel measuring just 0.8 microns. Sony says the 48MP sensor will rival that of high-performance SLR cameras, making it possible to capture attractive high resolution images with a smartphone.

If you're using a relatively recent iPhone, then you're using a Sony sensor when you take a photograph and the Japanese company has today announced a new version of that sensor, this time pushing the resolution higher than ever. Pixels in a smartphone camera sensor are generally larger than 1 μm; the Pixel 2's sensor, for example, features 1.4-μm pixels. In terms of performance, Sony's IMX586 image sensor rivals that of the high-performance SLR cameras and allows users to capture state-of-the-art, high-res pictures with a smartphone. According to Sony, the Quad Bayer does this in which "adjacent 2x2 pixels come in the same color, making high-sensitivity shooting possible".

Capture more detail with more megapixels.

Sony 48MP CMOS sensor
Conventional image vs. IMX586 image

For bright low-noise photos and videos when shooting at night. This enables real-time output with a much better dynamic range that is four times greater than conventional units. Scenes that are both bright and dark areas can be captured with minimal highlight blowout or loss of detail in shadows.

Sony will begin shipping out samples this September, and these new IMX586 sensors should find their way into new phones beginning in 2019.


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