While Sony’s smartphone business continues to struggle with keeping up the industry, its image sensors power nearly every other major phone maker’s devices. Today, the Japanese manufacturer is doubling down on that lead with a new sensor which it claims has the highest resolution in the market.
Called the IMX586, the new image sensor has a resolution of 48 effective megapixels (8000 x 6000). However, the company has managed to keep the size down to just 8mm diagonal which for you, essentially means no extra camera bumps on the rear. Of course, more pixels don’t necessarily mean better picture quality since smaller pixels can, in fact, let in more noise under dimly lit scenarios and the new IMX586’s 0.8-micron pixels is the smallest in the industry.
To counter that, Sony is making use of a quad Bayer color filter array. Jargon aside, that component allows the sensor to employ data from the four adjacent pixels raising the light sensitivity effectively to the equivalent of a 12-megapixel image captured with 1.6-micron pixels. To know how well these measures translate to real-life shots, we’ll have to wait.
Sony isn’t the first to come up with such a pixel binning approach. Existing smartphones with high-resolution cameras such as the Huawei P20 Pro have similar approaches to curb noise in outcomes. Sony says phones with the new IMX586 will be available sometime next year. Samples for testing will be available from this September at a price of 3,000 yen ($27) per unit.