Sony Introduces Next-Generation Image Sensor to Advance Mobile Device Cameras

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Sony today announced (via Macworld UK) the launch of new image sensor technology that the company expects will help improve performance and shrink the size of cameras on mobile devices by later this year. The new back-illuminated complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor utilizes a pixel section layered directly onto the sensor's circuitry, significantly reducing the sensor size from the previous design that utilized pixel and circuit sections side-by-side on a substrate layer.
This image sensor layers the pixel section containing formations of back-illuminated structure pixels onto chips containing the circuit section for signal processing, which is in place of supporting substrates for conventional back-illuminated CMOS image sensors. This structure achieves further enhancement in image quality, superior functionalities and a more compact size that will lead to enhanced camera evolution.
With sampling set to begin in March, the new stacked CMOS sensor includes built-in signal processing technology and utilizes the company's "RGBW Coding" that adds white-light sensors to the traditional red, green and blue, offering better low-light camera performance. Enhanced high dynamic range (HDR) technology will also improve the sensor's movie capabilities in bright-light situations.




Apple had utilized OmniVision Technologies as its image sensor supplier on its mobile devices, but Sony was able attract at least part of Apple's business with the new 8-megapixel sensor on the iPhone 4S. With its new image sensor technology, which is set to enter mass production in the fall and begin appearing in products late this year or early next year, Sony is clearly looking to remain at the forefront of the booming mobile device camera market.

Article Link: Sony Introduces Next-Generation Image Sensor to Advance Mobile Device Cameras
 

JonneyGee

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Obviously too late for this camera to make it into the iPad 3, but there's a strong possibility we'll see it in the next iPhone!
 

Thunderhawks

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Obviously too late for this camera to make it into the iPad 3, but there's a strong possibility we'll see it in the next iPhone!
Waiting for all the complainers to say that now they can't buy the ipad3

3,2,1.........
 

chrmjenkins

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I'm trying to imagine why someone would post this.
When I search my motivations, things like rice krispy treats and green army men pop up, but the biggest motivator was definitely that I posted that 8 minutes ahead of them.
 

Rocketman

macrumors 603
If you can have a RED Epic on your portable device with exceptional light range, one might not need another image capture device unless shooting theatrical movies, and even then we may see another round of consumer device content edited into big screen epics.

That pixel count is nearing 4K theatrical projection resolution, some of which are captured in 5K to allow for framing.

Internal bandwidth becomes an issue, but solid state capacity on phones are comparable to RED cameras already. The issue is simply bandwidth.

TB out to save content and 5Gb 802.11ac (or 10Gb 60ghz 802.11ad) for wireless.

RED captures 5K at 60fps and an Air can edit it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKx-cr4bi74&noredirect=1

Works on Win 7 64 and even better on MacOS.

Rocketman

Wish list: iPhone with the world's smallest and most useful lens mount . . . . ;)
 
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LimeiBook86

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I welcome all new technologies to help us get better cameras in mobile devices. So this is of course awesome news. It would be interesting to see if this finds it's way into a future iPhone (or other mobile device) to see how it performs in the real world. :)
 

morespce54

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Beat you by 8 minutes. http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=14204994

OP doesn't mention that a 13 MP sensor will hit in June. That would be perfect for the next iPhone if they want it to stay king of the hill (and I bet it would start rivaling some point and shoots at that point).
Great, now my 8GB iPhone will hold about 4 pictures in the roll... ;)

I sure hope they will top it someday and really improve the sensor (although the 4S sensor is amazing, even comparing to a digital camera).
 

faroZ06

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Apr 3, 2009
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Awesome....

I hate shooting with flash and using CMOS on such a tiny sensor will help with low-light shots immensely...
I hate shooting without flash in low light on an iPod touch. Man, I want a jailbroken, no-service iPhone just for the flash :(
 

Buckeyestar

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When I search my motivations, things like rice krispy treats and green army men pop up, but the biggest motivator was definitely that I posted that 8 minutes ahead of them.
Do you want a medal? Congratulations, you had nothing to do for a few minutes.
 

chrmjenkins

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Do you want a medal? Congratulations, you had nothing to do for a few minutes.
Yes, what kind do you have? (hint: I prefer the fake ones with chocolate in the middle).

Great, now my 8GB iPhone will hold about 4 pictures in the roll... ;)

I sure hope they will top it someday and really improve the sensor (although the 4S sensor is amazing, even comparing to a digital camera).
Some of that should be alleviated by iCloud.
 

gkarris

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I hate shooting without flash in low light on an iPod touch. Man, I want a jailbroken, no-service iPhone just for the flash :(
Go to Apple Feedback and post your request (iPod Touch "Product Enhancement").

I would imagine that when the add dual flash to the iPhone, maybe they'll put a single LED flash on the Touch?
 

chrmjenkins

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Go to Apple Feedback and post your request (iPod Touch "Product Enhancement").

I would imagine that when the add dual flash to the iPhone, maybe they'll put a single LED flash on the Touch?
I would be surprised if an iPod touch ever gets flash. I don't know of any competing media player with a flash for the camera, plus it's another way to up-sell to the iphone (which apple makes a lot more on).

I also don't see apple doing a dual flash for the iphone. That strays from simplicity in design.
 

knewsom

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Jun 9, 2005
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The trouble with this technology is, what exactly will they do with it?

1. More megapixels

We all know that more mexapixels do not mean better photos. The iPhone 4's camera was better than anything else on the market, even though it shot with less resolution. Optics and sensor size have a lot to do with image quality, whereas resolution actually has quite little to do with it, once you get above the 5 mp range. In truth, I sometimes wonder if my iPhone 4 took better pictures than my 4S.

2. Smaller cameras

Smaller cameras do not take better pictures. LARGER cameras take better pictures. The bigger the sensor, the bigger the lens, generally speaking, the better your picture will be. I realize this is a gross oversimplification, but flat depth-of-field free images do not look natural, because our eyes do not work that way. In nature, the animals with the best eyesight (especially at night) tend to have larger eyes. Making the camera smaller in the iPhone is not going to make it take better pictures. ...much the opposite.

3. Combine the two, sell more phones

Of course when combined - smaller phone form-factor and more megapixels, on paper, this will be very attractive for consumers. "Whoah! 13 megapixels!! Look how small it is! HAZ TO HAV!"


The end result is no improvement whatsoever, unless they keep sensor size the same, or increase it - which I don't see happening. Making smaller things is cheaper. It's difficult to sell image quality because most people can't tell the difference.
 

chrmjenkins

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If something like that makes your day you must have a sad life.
It was customary to point out prior posts to merge discussion. As Eidorian pointed out, that isn't done as much anymore. It's not something that upset me, which was why I simply said I beat them and posted the link. The other thread was closed, which is just as good as it being merged. No tragedy or butthurt here.

The trouble with this technology is, what exactly will they do with it?

1. More megapixels

We all know that more mexapixels do not mean better photos. The iPhone 4's camera was better than anything else on the market, even though it shot with less resolution. Optics and sensor size have a lot to do with image quality, whereas resolution actually has quite little to do with it, once you get above the 5 mp range. In truth, I sometimes wonder if my iPhone 4 took better pictures than my 4S.
You would need a subsequent drop in quality of software backing the sensor. I don't think there's any question the sensor is better, regardless of increased MP count (they are doing 8 MP and 13 MP versions, so even higher MP isn't given). I don't see Apple making the software suck more just because the MP count increased.

2. Smaller cameras

Smaller cameras do not take better pictures. LARGER cameras take better pictures. The bigger the sensor, the bigger the lens, generally speaking, the better your picture will be. I realize this is a gross oversimplification, but flat depth-of-field free images do not look natural, because our eyes do not work that way. In nature, the animals with the best eyesight (especially at night) tend to have larger eyes. Making the camera smaller in the iPhone is not going to make it take better pictures. ...much the opposite.
Is there a need to go much smaller though? I don't see apple dramatically shrinking the device or giving the camera less space given it is a selling point.

3. Combine the two, sell more phones

Of course when combined - smaller phone form-factor and more megapixels, on paper, this will be very attractive for consumers. "Whoah! 13 megapixels!! Look how small it is! HAZ TO HAV!"


The end result is, no improvement whatsoever, unless they keep sensor size the same, or increase it - which I don't see happening. Making smaller things is cheaper. It's difficult to sell image quality because most people can't tell the difference.
I think apple has been intelligent about how they've approached the cameras and emphasized quality over raw numbers, which is why their camera quality has been praised.
 

ABernardoJr

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Dec 19, 2006
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Beat you by 8 minutes. http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=14204994

OP doesn't mention that a 13 MP sensor will hit in June. That would be perfect for the next iPhone if they want it to stay king of the hill (and I bet it would start rivaling some point and shoots at that point).
Higher megapixel counts don't necessitate better picture quality, and the iPhone already rivals point and shoots. I imagine it replaces many of them as a matter of fact and would go so far as to say that it is capable of serving as a worthy backup for people who might not have their DSLRs with them.
 

maril1111

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Mar 14, 2010
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It was customary to point out prior posts to merge discussion. As Eidorian pointed out, that isn't done as much anymore. It's not something that upset me, which was why I simply said I beat them and posted the link. The other thread was closed, which is just as good as it being merged. No tragedy or butthurt here.
k got it sorry for the misunderstanding :D
 

chrmjenkins

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Higher megapixel counts don't necessitate better picture quality, and the iPhone already rivals point and shoots. I imagine it replaces many of them as a matter of fact and would go so far as to say that it is capable of serving as a worthy backup for people who might not have their DSLRs with them.
No, it doesn't, but I don't see anything in the advertised specs to make it seem like quality would go down. Besides, I would trust apple to make the right decision if there were an actual trade study to be done on the camera.