48MP Camera Sensor Announced by Sony

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Sony announced today in Japan the release of their new smartphone camera sensor – the IMX586 which reportedly has the world’s highest pixel count on a smartphone sensor at 48MP. It aims to bring crispy high-res shots even at low lights.

The sensor has the world’s first 0.8 μm Ultra-Compact pixel and combines 4 of them placed adjacently to form one pixel which would result in a 12-megapixel with an effective pitch of 1.6 μm that will give a much sharper, bright, low noise low light images. This is dubbed as “Quad Bayer” by Sony. Currently, the Pixel 2 with its 1.4 μm sensor is one of the best low light cameras in any smartphone. This technology was used by the Huawei P20 Pro and LG V30s ThinQ which combines 4 pixels into one.

At 48MP, the IMX586 has more pixel count than the Lumia 1020 and Huawei P20 Pro. The increased pixel count should enable high-definition imaging even on smartphones which use digital zoom. This was demonstrated by Sony in a demo image.

Sony also claims that the new sensor has a higher dynamic range as much as four times as that of conventional smartphone cameras. The IMX586 will also be able to record video at multiple resolutions and framerates including 4K at 90fps, 1080p at 240fps, and 720p at 480fps with crop. The whole unit is also as small 8mm diagonal so it should help phones be thin as well as remove the camera bumps.

Sony has is the world’s leader when it comes to smartphone camera sensors with a market share of around 46 percent as reported in 2017. This means that we will start seeing this sensor on flagships in 2019. The announcement would upset Samsung who wanted to claim the top spot in the camera sensor market. The first sensor will be shipped at around September this year according to Sony. This means the flagships of 2019 would employ this tech to bring higher quality images. Top notch hardware with AI capabilities like the ones on Pixel will make smartphone cameras compete with DSLRs in a lot of scenarios if they aren’t already.

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