PureView lives again - Sony announces 48MP sensor

Sony IMX586 will cram 48 megapixels into smartphone cameras

Adding these four adjacent pixels raises the camera's sensitivity to the equivalent of an efficient 1.6 μm pixels (12 megapixels).

It's for this reason that Apple prefers to keep larger pixels, and Sony believes that it has solved this particular headache with its latest 48-megapixel sensor.

A 48-megapixel camera in a phone might sound like a silly idea, but we've seen a couple of examples of high resolution sensors being put to good use in recent smartphones. Sony says the 48MP sensor will rival that of high-performance SLR cameras, making it possible to capture handsome high resolution images with a smartphone. Here's a closer look at the main features of the sensor.

A 0.8 micron pixel size might seem small and less efficient in capturing the entire light information, especially in low light. In terms of performance, Sony's IMX586 image sensor rivals that of the high-performance SLR cameras and allows users to capture state-of-the-art, high-res pictures with a smartphone. The ultra-small pixels mean that the new image sensor comes in at just 8mm diagonal despite the impressive pixel count.

More megapixels don't always translate to great-looking photos, but they do result in much more detail being captured.

Sony will start shipping samples of the IMX586 camera sensor in September 2018, which means that the first smartphones sporting this sensor are expected to ship in early 2019.

The sensor features a Quad Bayer color filter array in which every 2×2 square of pixels has the same filter color. When shooting bright scenes such as daytime outdoors, the built-in, original signal processing function performs array conversion, making it possible to obtain high-definition 48 effective megapixel images in real time.

The IMX586 also has dynamic range that's "four times greater than conventional products", and it can take 4K video at 90fps and 1080p video at 240fps, according to Sony's specifications.

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