Smartphone cameras are about to get pretty insane.
Sony, the company that struggles selling its own smartphones but is very good at building camera sensors for other companies’ phones, has announced its new IMX586 CMOS image sensor for smartphones.
The sensor is pretty impressive, with 48-megapixel resolution and a minute pixel size of just 0.8 μm, both world firsts according to Sony.
When this sensor makes it into smartphones, it will enable some pretty huge daylight photos with 8,000 x 6,000 pixels, beating even Huawei’s P20 Pro and its 40-megapixel sensor. Check out the example, which compares a 12-megapixel sensor with a 48-megapixel sensor, below:
But the best thing about this sensor is the ability to combine the light captured from four adjacent pixels in low-light conditions, creating a very bright, effective 12-megapixel image (The P20 Pro uses the same trick, but it’s only able to produce a 10-megapixel image in this way).
The IMX586 also has dynamic range that’s “four times greater than conventional products,” and it can take 4K video at 90fps and 1080p video at 240fps, according to Sony’s specifications.
Sony will start shipping samples of the IMX586 in Sept. 2018, so we can probably expect the first smartphones sporting the sensor in early 2019. Note that some models of Apple’s iPhone use Sony’s sensors, so it wouldn’t be inconceivable to see the IMX586 in a future iPhone model.