Sony has announced a new image sensor for smartphones that features 48 effective megapixels (8,000×6,000 pixels). The new IMX586 stacked CMOS image sensor is touted to sport the industry’s highest pixel count onto a 1/2-type (8.0 mm diagonal) unit, suitable for smartphones. It beats the current highest-resolution sensors, used in the Huawei P20 Pro and Nokia Lumia 1020’s – 40-megapixel and 41-megapixel respectively. The Sony IMX586 48-megapixel sensor is expected to arrive in future smartphones soon for better daylight photos that render great detail.
The company has confirmed that the sample shipments will begin from September, and the price of IMX586 CMOS image sensor will be JPY 3,000 (roughly Rs. 1,800) excluding additional taxes that vary with each country. The IMX586 stacked CMOS image sensor for smartphone cameras sports 0.8-micron pixels, and this miniaturisation of pixel size could affect low-light photography, capturing more noise. It could result in poor light collecting efficiency per pixel, accompanied by a drop in sensitivity and volume of saturation signal. For this, Sony uses the same technique as Huawei of combining four pixels to raise sensitivity, and delivering a 12-megapixel image.
Sony says that it has used the “Quad Bayer colour filter array, where adjacent 2×2 pixels come in the same colour, making high-sensitivity shooting possible. During low light shooting, the signals from the four adjacent pixels are added, raising the sensitivity to a level equivalent to that of 1.6-micron pixels (12 megapixels), resulting in bright, low noise images and videos. When shooting bright scenes such as daytime outdoors, the built-in, original signal processing function performs array conversion, making it possible to obtain high-definition 48 effective megapixel images in real time.”
The IMX586 CMOS image sensor is smartphone-compatible, as it comes in a compact 8.0mm diagonal unit and enables HD imaging even on smartphones with digital zoom. It sports Sony’s exposure control technology and signal processing functionality enabling a dynamic range that is claimed to be four times greater than conventional products. It also brings features like image plane phase-difference AF, HDR imaging, and supports 4K shooting as well, at up to 90fps, while 1080p recording goes up to 240fps, and 720p recording goes up to 480fps. At full resolution, it can only record video at 30fps.