Sony is one of a small handful of camera sensor manufacturers in the world and whatever label may be on the outside of your smartphone, there are decent odds the camera sensor is actually a Sony unit. Despite being a leader in the field, Sony is not resting on their laurels. Ahead of MWC 2016, the company has announced a new model in their Exmor RS line of camera sensors, the IMX318, to be released in May 2016, likely in conjunction with the Sony Xperia Z6 launch.
The new IMX318 uses a 1/2.6-inch stacked CMOS that realizes an effective image size of 22.5 megapixels. However, pushing more pixels is not really the big news for this latest sensor. One of the main selling points for Sony with the IMX318 is the thin size, which Sony says can be used in thinner form factors.
Sony is also working to improve image quality with a couple new features included on the sensor’s chip. The first is what it claims is the industry’s first 3-axis electronic image stabilization technology. This will help users grab better images, notably when filming video with their smartphones. The other new technology is a hybrid autofocus system that Sony says can achieve focus speeds of 0.03 seconds.
Compared to their IMX230, a 1/2.4-inch sensor that this new unit is succeeding, Sony decreased the pixel size to 1.0μm from the 1.12μm pixel size. Normally this might create some worries about image quality, but Sony says they employed a “manufacturing technology that improves light utilization efficiency, as well as circuit design technology that eliminates noise.”
On the video front, the new IMX318 sensor will support 4K recording at 30 frames per second. Lowering the resolution to 1080p bumps up the available framerate to 120fps while 720p recording can be done at 240fps, which should yield some impressive slow motion video if used for that purpose.
Sony released a couple videos that showcase the new technologies that you can check out below.
3-axis electronic image stabilization
Hybrid Autofocus (very short)