Sony IMX586 promises to put 48 effective megapixels in phones

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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. This is largely thanks to the ultra-compact pixel size of just 0.8μm, the smallest in any image sensor to date.

"These days, high-end smartphone models require even greater imaging quality from their cameras", Sony says. But today, the Japanese company has successfully revolutionalized the smartphone camera industry.

The unit measures just 8.0mm diagonally. A quad-Bayer filter sacrifices daytime precise detail for better low light performance, and the implementation of lossless zoom in both still and video mode will be down to the individual manufacturers using this in their phones in 2019. Indeed, the single sample that Sony shared offers noticeably higher resolution while keeping noise levels low, although the image was clearly taken in sensor-friendly broad daylight. In darker scenes, the data from the sensor simply isn't converted, resulting in a 12-MP effective sensor that Sony says has the light-gathering power of 1.6-µm sensor wells. Sony exposure control and signal processing functionality are integrated into the sensor to allow real-time output and superior dynamic range that is four times greater than conventional products.

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However, the new sensor, called IMX586, counters that effect with the introduction of a Quad Bayer color filter.

Before we forget, the sensor is also capable of recording 4K footage at an outstanding 90 frames second, 1080p video at 240 frames per second and 720p clips at 480 frames per second.

According to Sony, the company's new sensor boasts a world first for both resolution and pixel size, something of which it is quite rightly rather proud. The efficacy of Sony's new sensor will depend in large part on the devices it lives in.

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