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First samples from Sony's new 13MP "stacked" camera sensor capable of HDR video show up

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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First samples from Sony's new 13MP
The folks that posted the hands-on videos and the 1080p sample from the international LT29i version of the Sony Xperia GX, have taken a few sample shots with its 13MP camera now.

This is still a prototype hardware, yet the shots look much better than the ones we had from the same sensor in an LT30p "Mint" inside a coffee shop not long ago.

From the looks of it the 13MP "stacked" camera sensor is shaping up to be a worthy contender for one of the best smartphone cameras out there, this side of the Nokia 808 PureView. Outside pictures turned out great, and inside pretty good, although noise shoots up quite a bit if you look at the full-res photos, but let's not forget that this is a prototype unit, still with the Sony Ericsson logo on it, and the final results might be improved further.

Sony's new stacked architecture saves space

Sony's new stacked architecture saves space

The new CMOS sensor, is "stacking" the pixel section squarely above the circuit section, which in turn is replacing directly the supporting substrate needed for a back-side illuminated (BSI) sensor. This achievement, along with numerous other manufacturing techniques that focus on improving picture quality, allow the new sensor to achieve better low light performance in an even more compact package than what we already have in today's smartphones.

Moreover, a number of these stacked CMOS sensors will be shipping with Sony's proprietary RGBW coding" and "HDR Movie" technologies. RGBW ads a white pixel to the usual red-green-blue arrangement, much like in Sony's WhiteMagic display, which we expect to see in the Nypon handset later this year. This improves significantly low light sensitivity for better pictures in the dark, and Sony says it has developed techniques that deal with the noise that is a fallout of adding the white pixel.


First samples from Sony's new 13MP "stacked" camera sensor capable of HDR video show up
Sony's second shot at greatness with the new stacked sensors is the so-called "HDR Movie" capability. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and in still photos it takes several photos with different exposure settings and merges them together, thus avoiding over- or underexposing the picture, which can happen very often with bright objects in the frame. Sony, however, has somehow applied this trick to video capture, and claims we will be able to see things distinctly even if our movies are shot against bright lighting.

Have a look at the sample in the slideshow below and tell us what you think. We are also embedding the HDR video mode promo video, as this function should make a debut with the Xperia GX in Japan August 9 as well, then flow over to the international version.


35 Comments
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posted on 31 Jul 2012, 06:28 8

1. mercorp (Posts: 971; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)


Seems like the second best camera in a smartphone.
But how about oversampling?

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 10:50 2

21. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)


It still has to beat the N8 and the iPhone 4S, before taking the second or third best title. As well, if it doesn't pack a decent XENON flash (iow, a Xenon spec that actually delivers low light performance), then it will have a hard time against the N8 as an all around shooter.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 06:34 6

2. som (Posts: 768; Member since: 10 Nov 2009)


Good for Sony making a come back is tough and more innovative technology.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 06:37 2

3. loken (Posts: 462; Member since: 09 May 2012)


epic!!!

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 06:37 3

4. marchels14 (unregistered)


looks good,a big improvement that you can see in the video.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 06:47 6

5. pokharkarsaga (Posts: 364; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)


Sony makes the best cameras for phones compared to Nokia.i remember the older camera phones K750i,K550i,K810.i want to see the comparison of this 13 mp sensor with Nokia pure view.....

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 07:34 5

8. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


pointless. sony will fail like it did with those mentioned above. Decent cameras but nothing else. Sony still relies too much on post processing. Just like HTC and its superb duperb "image chip". Cheap optics, small sensor, lack of experience, still doing the same mistakes and trying to take an advantage using dual or quad cores instead of focus on what's really important in photo department.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 08:12 1

10. RamyRamz69 (Posts: 390; Member since: 12 Dec 2011)


Would your 808 Pureview like to rival my 400$ Sony Cybershot HX20V? Because I am totally sure it will kick it's ass.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 09:03 1

12. Snoobab (Posts: 174; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


Last time I checked we were talking about camera phones? But honestly, your HX20V probably wouldn't...

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/8083837371/review-nokia-808-pureview

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 09:25 1

15. RamyRamz69 (Posts: 390; Member since: 12 Dec 2011)


Not impressed at all. My Cybershot has much more options, 20X optical Zoom and 80X digital zoom, 16000 ISO and Pop up flash. And apart from that, you can see the 808 pure-view samples, they're not close to high end digital camera samples.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 09:05

14. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


first of all kiddo.
I don't give a damn about your camera. We are talking about PHONES. P-H-O-N-E-S. Kapish?
Secondly, I don't have the allmighty 808. Yet. But I surely will.
And to end this discussion I'd like to add I've got much better camera equipment than your cybershot but I'm still using N8 in daily basis. Try guess why. You may win a frying pork.
Be more modest kiddo and try to read with understanding. It is all about PHONES and in this matter Nokia was/is/will be better than SONY. If you tend to show off about your sajberszat you should know why a stand alone camera is better than a cellphone (which should lead you to a conclusion why the 808 is better than sony's handsets).
ufff...enough.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 09:29 1

16. RamyRamz69 (Posts: 390; Member since: 12 Dec 2011)


Eh, Nokia Fanboy much?

http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/compact-digital-cameras/sony-cyber-shot-dsc-hx20v-review-50007951/

Nokia is better than SONY when it comes to phones? Seriously, Nokia's best phone has a single core processor that can't run simple games like Riptide, 512 MB of RAM, 8 MP camera with 720P recording and a crappy low resolution display. That is the Lumia 900. Now I won't even talk about the Pureview because it runs on Symbian.

808 is not that good, it's the truth. If it was that good, people would have actually bought it.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 12:14 1

25. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


and you still haven't mastered the most desirable skill. READ WITH UNDERSTANDING, When I was writing about "better phones from Nokia" I was reffering to their camera department which is superior compared to sony's, not entire phone.

achhh, yes, andro fanboy with eyes covered by x-core propaganda.
If Lumia runs flawlessly on single core ...why they should put a dual core or a quad core in it? To make you happy and let you boast off about your octo core superb cell phone???
jesus....

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 12:16

26. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


btw. you must have missed the name of this site to compare a stand alone camera with a phone.
next time log on bicycle forum and try doing the same but this time start talking about your imaginaed ferrari. You will be banned in 1 minute or so.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 12:20

28. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


"Eh, Nokia Fanboy much?"
said guy who would like to have only sony (your profile) phones and can't get over a fact that his precious arc can't hold a candle to N8 despite the fact that arc as though won eisa award.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 15:54 1

30. Aaron_R96 (Posts: 198; Member since: 22 Jan 2012)


So you'd sacrifice having any decent features on a phone, just so you could brag about its camera.. honestly its an awful phone.. you might as well buy a decent camera, and get a high end phone with a reasonable (still good considering its a phone) surely? oh dear.. and yes the cybershot would outperform it too.. oh dear, dont rely on one source mate..

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 18:10

31. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


oh dear, you must be...no, it would be censored.
If I want a stand alone camera I BUY CAMERA. If I want a phone with a really good camera I buy n8/808.
If I want to take a pro photo I use a pro camera.
In daily usage you wouldn't be able to tell a difference between your precious cybershot and the 808. Don't be too smart kiddo. You'll be outsmarted anyway.
I've been using Symbian phones since they appeared and Belle suits me well.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 09:49 1

36. Aaron_R96 (Posts: 198; Member since: 22 Jan 2012)


"In daily usage you wouldn't be able to tell a difference between your precious cybershot and the 808."

Precisely, so why are you even arguing exactly?

Fair enough you like Symbian, not that its a very good OS IMO but hey, we all prefer different things..

What I'm saying is why argue against his cybershot, like you say, you want to take pro photos you use a camera, in this case the cybershot. If you want to take photos on a phone you use 808, Xperia S, GS3, iphone 4S etc etc

It's all personal preference, I'm just stating that whats the need for a ridiculously huge camera on a phone when normal ones do just what you want to do (take pictures with your phone) That huge camera on the back of the 808 makes it look even uglier aswell.. but hey, kudos to Nokia for using the technology though (obviously it's been around in the camera world a while, but not on phones)

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 11:44 3

22. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)


Based on this linked article from Digital Photography Review, I guess so.

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/8083837371/review-nokia-808-pureview

In this article there's also a link to the Nokia PureView whitepaper, explaining why superb performance can be achieved in such a small package.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 21:44 2

33. Brewski (Posts: 121; Member since: 05 Jun 2012)


How's the reception on your Cybershot? Does it have LTE?

Just like your camera can't even send a text, most phones don't take SLR-quality photos. Apples and Oranges.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 04:07

34. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


well said

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 06:48 2

6. Phullofphil (Posts: 801; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)


well i hope they do more with this than there suposed pre iphone smartphone that was the bases of the iphone lol

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 07:08 2

7. star5k1 (Posts: 4; Member since: 09 Jun 2012)


well guys, I don't know what you see in those photos, but they look overprocessed with that crappy Sony( Ericsson) way - denoised, compressed - not much detail, oversharpened edges with darker blurred color (in photoshop, take normal pic and blend it with a second blurred layer (e.g. gauss 1px) placed above the original and blending set to darken) - you'll see what I mean
808 PureView, N8, 4S are much better - and I admit this even though I don't like Nokia nor Apple

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 10:06 1

19. Atlas (Posts: 158; Member since: 15 Apr 2012)


The 4S uses a Sony made camera.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 10:35

20. star5k1 (Posts: 4; Member since: 09 Jun 2012)


That is nice and all, but the processing is what matters.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 12:17 2

27. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


but they are using it in a better way.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 07:43 5

9. kamil (Posts: 115; Member since: 07 Feb 2012)


gonna put sammy and apple fanboy to shame. nokia n8 u better watch out sony bringing the big guns this q3 of the year

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 09:38 3

17. shadez10 (Posts: 403; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


nokia N8 is already retired... =D

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 11:54 3

24. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)


...and they are still trying to catch up to this venerable shooter, which was announced over 2 years ago.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 09:37

35. shadez10 (Posts: 403; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


right... =D

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 11:52 2

23. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)


The real problem for the competition is that Nokia has ringfenced, with over 70 patents, a very innovative way to utilize its proprietary sensor and algorithms to acheive the PureView result. In addtion, and what seems to be missed by the blogosphere is that the lens system on the 808, from the Carl Zeiss-Nokia partnership, has resulted in optics 10X more precise (less distortion) than what was previously on the commerical optics market. Because the lens group is less complicated insofar as not requiring additional elements to correct aberrations and/or for zooming, the precise optics deliver extremely pin sharp results. This also allows for a more compact design, though it's still hefty given the massive sensor element.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 12:40

29. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


one guy who talks with sense.
thumb up for you

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 08:36 2

11. AndroidTroll (Posts: 359; Member since: 05 Mar 2011)


HDR movie on a phone is an awesome thing! Many professional video cameras and high end DSLRs already have high dynamic range (around 13 stops) but to get that on a phone is amazing!

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 09:39

18. shadez10 (Posts: 403; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


too much noise... not a worthy contender to the 808 pureview...

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 21:35 1

32. pikapowerize (banned) (Posts: 1869; Member since: 03 May 2012)


sony needs to dethrone N8 first! then could go after 808 pureview!!

i hope a lumia pureview will be announce this september on nokia world!

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