Published: Wed, July 25, 2018
Industry | By Faith Ward

Sony IMX586 image sensor for smartphones announced

Sony IMX586 image sensor for smartphones announced

While record-breakingly small pixels allow for higher-resolution images from a smaller sensor, larger pixels have more surface area and take in more light; the bigger the pixels, the better the low-light performance.

'These days, high-end smartphone models require even greater imaging quality from their cameras, ' Sony said. The IMX586 packs an impressive 48 MP on an 8mm diagonal unit with each each pixel measuring just 0.8 microns.

Once upon a time, smartphone cameras were judged by their megapixel counts.

Sony has a strong heritage in cameras, however in recent years the cameras on its flagship smartphones haven't quite hit the same illustrious heights as rivals - but that could be about to change.

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The IMX586 has an effective pixel count of 1.6 micrometers. The result should be bright, low noise images, Sony says.

It believes the new complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) IMX586 sensor, capable of delivering an image resolution of 8000 x 6000, will achieve that.

The IMX586 adopts a Quad Bayer color filter array which manages to combine adjacent 2×2 pixels. With that, this is why it was possible to pack in the 48MP into the 1/2 type unit and it's a flawless solution for smartphones that don't really allow as much as space a DSLR. This will enable you to capture bright, low-noise photos and videos. Going by the spec sheet, other features of the sensor include full frame burst capture at 30 fps and support for 4K video recording at 90 fps and 1080p video recording at 240 fps.

Sony will start shipping samples of the IMX586 in September 2018, so we can probably expect the first smartphones sporting the sensor in early 2019. In good lighting conditions, Sony's DSP magic conceptually lets the sensor perform array conversion on the raw pixel data to a traditional Bayer mosaic before further processing.

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