SONY on 23th July introduced a 48-megapixel sensor for cellphone cameras that measures less than one-third of an inch diagonally. The sensor is slated for release in September. So we can think mobile phone cameras are about to get a outstanding performance boost

To pack that many pixels into such tight quarters, Sony had to shrink their size to 8 microns. Shrinking pixel sizes usually results in performance degradation, not improvement. It usually results in poor light collection and a drop in saturation sensitivity and volume.

Surprising Product

The new Sony sensor is an “amazing product,” said Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

The sensor blends a 48-megapixel super resolution mode with a lower resolution mode that offers high sensitivity for low light conditions, he explained.

“The 48-megapixel mode, combined with a precise lens, will offer very detailed pictures,” Krewell told. “The smaller area for each pixel will limit the amount of light those pixels receive, but the quad-pixel, low-light mode addresses that limitation.”

Sony works its low light magic through something called the “Quad Bayer color filter array.” In low light conditions, that technology allows the signals from adjacent pixels to be added together, effectively doubling their sensitivity.

“Sony is combining four smaller pixels into one in order to improve resolution in low light circumstances. Overall, this is a proven, sensible approach to solving a common problem,” observed Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

King of Megapixels

Sony will hold the leadership position in the megapixel category for some time to come, said Ken Hyers, director of emerging device technology research at Strategy Analytics.

“Most smartphone vendors aren’t going for a huge number of megapixels,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Only 2.5 percent of smartphones shipped this year will have 20 or more megapixels, Strategy Analytics has forecast.

“The sweet spot this year is at 12 to 15 megapixels,” Hyers said.

That may change, though, as resolutions of smartphone displays increase.

“We might start seeing smartphone companies pushing resolution up as the future of high-res screens looms,” Popular Science’s Horaczek said. “Filling an 8K screen takes something like 33 megapixels, so more image data is probably going to be the order of the day.”

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