Sony’s new IMX586 stacked CMOS sensor puts 48MP in your phone

Jul 24, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Sony’s new IMX586 stacked CMOS sensor puts 48MP in your phone

Jul 24, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

For the most part, phone camera resolutions seem to have been stuck between about 12-20MP for the last few years. But Sony plans to change that and make super high-resolution phones a thing, with the announcement of a new IMX586 stacked CMOS sensor. The new sensor packs a whopping 48MP and uses a new Quad Bayer array to maximise sensitivity and dynamic range.

With sensors this small, pushing the resolution higher and higher is a big challenge. It can be done, but it comes at the expense of dynamic range and ISO performance. You can only really make pixels so small. To solve this, the new 48MP Sony sensor uses a Quad Bayer array to provide both the high resolution count with high sensitivity.

By adopting the Quad Bayer color filter array, where the adjacent 2×2 pixels come in the same color, the new sensor delivers both high sensitivity and high resolution. In low light situations, such as shooting at night, the signal from the four adjacent pixels are added, raising the sensitivity to a level equivalent to that of 1.6 μm pixels (12 effective megapixels), to capture bright, low-noise photos and videos. 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.

Sony also claims that it offers “four times greater dynamic range than previous products” with realtime output. They say that scenes containing both bright and dark areas can be captured with minimal highlight blowout or loss of detail in the shadows.

Left: Conventional 12MP phone image / Right: 48MP image from the new IMX586 sensor.

The specs show that it can shoot 4K DCI video (4096×2160) at up to 90 frames per second, 1080p at up to 240 frames per second, and 720p at up to 480 frames per second (with a crop). For stills it has a total of 8000×6000 resolution. And if I’m reading it right, it can shoot those at up to 30 frames per second.

The Sony press release says the new sensor will be available from September. But, as always, there’s no word on what phones it may appear in nor how much of the sensor’s capabilities any future phones may use.

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 responses to “Sony’s new IMX586 stacked CMOS sensor puts 48MP in your phone”

  1. JarFil Avatar
    JarFil

    Isn’t that… interpolation?

    I mean, there is only accurate raw data for 6 out of the 16 subpixels in the converted array, which is better than the just 4 if it were normal 2x interpolation, but still I’d say those “48Mpx” can only contain 50% more information than the 12Mpx image.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Perhaps, but one could argue that all Bayer & X-Trans sensors, and anything else that isn’t Foveon is interpolated, too. :)

  2. Nordic guy Avatar
    Nordic guy

    There are 3CCD or Jai 3 sensor like that use actually prisms to allow all light and reduce color crosstalk.