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Sony develops stacked smartphone camera sensor, low light photography and "HDR Movie" capabilities in tow

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Sony develops stacked smartphone camera sensor, low light photography and
If you think that due to their small sensors the main areas smartphone cameras are still lacking, seem to be low-light photography and videos against bright lighting, you are not alone.

Diagram of Sony's new stacked CMOS sensor

Diagram of Sony's new stacked CMOS sensor

Sony just came out today with an announcement that is supposed to address both issues. It has developed a new CMOS sensor, which 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. The company listed the sample shot below for comparison.

Sony develops stacked smartphone camera sensor, low light photography and "HDR Movie" capabilities in tow

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, and gives the example below.



Sony's new stacked sensors will be sampling in March, whereas the ones with the "RGBW coding" and "HDR Movie" tech will be available to customers in 13MP and 8MP versions in June and August, respectively. The iPhone 4S features a Sony CMOS sensor, but June shipments for the 13MP unit are probably too late to see this in the next iPhone, if it is released in the summer. Nevertheless, we can't wait to lay our hands on an Xperia or other handset with those and take it for a spin, as the promises are mind-boggling.

source: Sony via TheVerge

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posted on 23 Jan 2012, 03:54 12

1. israelian (Posts: 12; Member since: 15 Dec 2011)


This is why I love sony! :)

posted on 23 Jan 2012, 03:56 9

2. Jericho (Posts: 302; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)


Awesome love taking pics. Sony always pack good cameras in their phones unlike htc.htc camera's suck.

posted on 23 Jan 2012, 04:24 9

3. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 803; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)


Crossing ma fingers and Hoping this sensor make it to the Xperias that will be announced later this year (Hayabusa & Mint 1).

posted on 23 Jan 2012, 06:41 4

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


I can't wait to test the new Xperia phones with those censors. I guess if the Xperia S somehow doesn't beat the N8 the new flagships can do it.

posted on 23 Jan 2012, 08:00 1

5. mctcm (Posts: 204; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


I really hope a Sony device comes out with LTE on verizon. They make such nice phones

posted on 23 Jan 2012, 09:25

6. iKingTrust (banned) (Posts: 716; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)


I give it to Sony. Apple will just end up reinventing it though

posted on 23 Jan 2012, 10:48 10

7. jellytime (Posts: 135; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


Sony makes Iphones camera lol

posted on 23 Jan 2012, 18:00

8. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 803; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)


I have to agree with iKing, the Arc and the 4s have identical sensor but the 4s produces the better image.

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