Jan 23 AT 2:22 PM Dustin Earley 15 Comments

Sony’s new CMOS smartphone sensors will bring HDR video recording to mobile

sony cmos

Sony may not own the biggest slice of the pie when it comes to overall smartphone market share, but smartphone cameras are a different story. Sony’s smartphone sensors can be found in a number of handsets available all across the globe, where they’re constantly pushing the limits of what a smartphone camera can do. Their latest handsets, the Xperia Ion and S, both come with 12 megapixel Exmor CMOS sensors capable of capturing beautiful pictures in a multitude of different scenarios. But they aren’t stopping there.

Sony has just announced a new CMOS sensor the company is currently developing, that will eventually launch with “RGBW Coding” which will enable HDR video capture. By “stacking” the circuits that go into their new backside-illuminated CMOS sensors, Sony is able reduce the size of current senors, along with power consumption. That translates to better cameras, in smaller places, that don’t use as much battery.

Sony has also announced RGBW coding for these new sensors which adds a white pixel to the conventional arrangement of red, green and blue pixels. By utilizing signal processing, RGBW coding will allow for much higher sensitivity in low-light situations, without any added noise or loss of quality. RGBW coding will also allow for HDR video recording for added contrast and clarity in bright light situations.

Look for Sony’s new CMOS sensors to start shipping this spring. An 8 megapixel sensor without RGBW will ship in March, while a 13 megapixel and 8 megapixel sensor with RGBW coding will ship in June and August respectively.

Via: The Verge

Source: Sony

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    This looks like some cool stuff! It’ll be a while longer yet but I think we’re really starting to get close to being able to replace our P&S cameras with our phone cameras for the majority of us. Clearly not all of us but for the majority of us. A couple things that still need to improve:

    1. Some level of good optical zoom (yeah, I realize that’s physically difficult)
    2. Get companies to stop putting in crap lenses in our phones (glares at his nexus)
    3. Add some standard higher-quality camera software to AOSP (there’s plenty of it available for hacking your cheap P&S to add some pretty cool features – why not just get it into AOSP?)

    Once these three things happen, then I think P&S days will be VERY limited and that market will fade away for 90% of us. I don’t see them EVER replacing DSLRs, or at least not in the next decade unless they can start to attach some real lenses onto our phones…

    • _Diego

      I already use mine as a P&S camera, since I seldom bring my digital camera and always have my phone on me… The P&S camera takes too much room if I’m not planning to take any photo’s… That’s why 50% of the time, when I take a photo, my phone’s cam is good enough.

      I agree with you on all your points though; a phone that has a camera with optical zoom would have a huge advantage in my eyes! As for the lenses and software… That’s manufacturer- & device-dependent isn’t it? I’m pretty satisfied with mine (since I only take photo’s occasionally).

    • M0nk

      Sony already have TX P&S camera line with internal optical zoom and they are even water proof in a very compact device (not yet phone slim, but close), like the TX10. I think that in a couple of years we will have this technology on high end smartphones:


      • miso

        Yup. I bought TX10 for my wife. Excellent device, even the underwater pictures are acceptable. Zooming makes sort of barell effect, but it’s not that bad for such a compact camera with tiny tiny optics. ;)

        Anyway … once they will be able to get closer to this technology with smartphones lenses, I’m sold. No more P&S, just a smartphone.
        But then again, battery. :) How long will it last if the device will be truly universal?

  • Jeff Pan

    SOny is one company you can count on if you want a nice hone with camera.

    As @jaxidian said we need better lens. Not sure how the optical zoom is possible – may be in 2 yrs time.

  • spazby

    Love sony cameras…

  • WlfHart

    Beautiful… can’t wait to have a phone that replaces yet another piece of technology I’d normally carry around.

  • ArticulateFool

    This looks better than I was expecting!

    Bravo Sony.

  • Hall Lo

    This is something we can look forward to! Sounds like Sony are pushing their limits :D

  • Nathan D.

    I might just wait to get a phone that has this removed O.o

  • http://youtube.com/user/jawckamoe Marcus

    This is amazing for Sony and consumers. It’d be awesome to be able to record in HDR! And I love the colors in that picture, by the way!

  • Louis A

    This’s huge. CMOS sensor! Look at the latitude in the HDR movie sample. Nice work sony, but it’s gonna translate to power consumption.

  • dpleus

    A larger sensor does in general equate to a higher quality image, so this will be a huge improvement over the current range of CMOS sensors in cell phones today. I look forward to seeing one of these new sensors in action when they hit the market. So that raises two questions for me.

    1) Who are the manufacturers in regards to the “Sony’s smartphone sensors can be found in a number of handsets available all across the globe” statement in the article?

    2) Will Android and Me be doing a more in depth article on this sensor when it finally hits the market?