One of the most important features of a smartphone would definitely have to be the camera, and it looks like Sony has got something very exciting to offer. The company just took the curtains off a new Exmor RS sensor, the “industry’s first stacked CMOS image sensor with an image plane phase detection signal processing function for high-speed AF”. In simpler terms, it means it has amazing autofocus capability, allowing you to capture quick moving subjects accurately. The sensor should debut in the next flagship smartphone from Sony, the Xperia Z4.
Called the IMX230, the new sensor also comes with High Dynamic Range (HDR) functions and 4K video recording. It is a type 1/2.4 stacked CMOS image sensor with what Sony says, a significantly improved 21MP effective MP, and is also equipped with a newly developed signal processing functions. In the same announcement, Sony also said that they are planning to extend the lineup by adding a 16 effictive megapixels stacked CMOS image sensor that has the same image plane phase detection AF and HDR.
The main feature of the IMX230 would definitely have to be its autofocus. It has 192 points AF, a very impressive number even when compared to its predecessor, which has 172 points AF. This means that it doesn’t matter if you are capturing still objects, your pets, child or even a sports event, with high-speed autofocus on board, the camera will be able to capture them all.
Dedicated image plane phase detection AF pixels are discretely incorporated into the screen of the image sensor, and the distance to the subject (range) and lens position for focusing are calculated based on the information obtained from these dedicated pixels. Up to 192 AF points can be used. All of this is instantaneously carried out by the stacked CMOS image sensor’s internal image processing circuits, making it easy to enjoy shooting photos and videos of fast-moving subjects on a smartphone or other device.
With HDR imaging on board, the new image sensor can also capture still images and videos with HDR enabled. This is made possible by capturing an image at 2 different exposure conditions, and applying the appropriate signal processing to the image information obtained from each condition. Below is a sample provided by Sony that compares a traditional HDR movie with its new HDR imaging.
The IMX230 will ship in April 2015, and the smaller 16MP version is expected to be ready by the end of the next fiscal year.
Are you excited about the Xperia Z4 yet? I know I am.