Sony continues to lead the industry with its Exmor RS image sensors and the company has just announced its latest IMX318 CMOS sensor for smartphones. The new camera component boasts built-in hybrid autofocus, a staple of Sony’s latest high-end Exmor RS chips, and 3-axis electronic image stabilization.
The IMX318 is the direct successor to Sony’s IMX230 and is a 22.5 megapixel 1/2.6 size sensor, featuring a smaller 1.0μm pixel size. However, Sony says that these smaller pixels don’t affect the image quality, as its engineers have employed manufacturing technology that improves light utilization efficiency and have improved the overall circuit design to eliminate noise. Noise is typically the leading problem in tightly packed image sensors with small pixel sizes, due to circuit crosstalk and poorer light sensitivity.
Sony’s latest hybrid autofocus technology, which is based on a combination of image plane phase detection autofocus and contrast detection AF, allows for focusing times as fast as 0.03 seconds. For video enthusiasts out there, the IMX318 supports 4K capture at 30fps and features electronic image stabilization to reduce camera shake and lens distortion. The IMX318 is actually the first stacked CMOS image sensor to build these features directly into the signal processor.
Check out the videos below for a quick demonstration of what all this tech talk actually means for capturing better looking pictures and video.
Although Sony is still the biggest player in the smartphone CMOS image sensor market, the division recently reported a 12.6 percent year-on-year decline in profits. This was due to slowing Sony smartphone sales and falling demand from external customers. Perhaps the cutting edge features in the IMX318 will give Sony’s sensor business a needed boost this year.
The IMX318 is scheduled to begin shipping out to manufacturers in May 2016 and could appear in smartphones set for release in the latter half of the year.