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Sony unveils new IMX318 22.5MP sensor: could this be the camera for the Xperia Z6?

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Sony unveils new IMX318 22.5MP sensor: could this be the camera for the Xperia Z6?

Sony has just taken the wraps off its brand new camera sensor for smartphones - the Sony IMX318 - and it comes with two hugely impressive new features: lightning fast auto-focus and 3-axis video stabilization, a first, according to Sony.

Sony says the new sensor takes just 0.03 seconds to auto-focus and its stabilization is unmatched, but to fully comprehend the meaning behind these two numbers, you should simply watch these two short illustration videos.

Hybrid auto-focus



So how does this new impressively fast hybrid auto-focus (AF) work? Sony explains that Hybrid AF merges image plane phase detection AF with contrast detection AF and has previously been implemented through the combination of an image sensor and an application processor. With the IMX318, though, Sony introduces the world's first stacked CMOS image sensor with hybrid AF built into the sensor's internal signal processor. This allows AF as fast as 0.03 seconds and as fast as 0.017 seconds when shooting video at 60fps.

Smooth 4K videos: built-in 3-axis stabilization



We have had phone cameras with 3-axis stabilization (the LG G4, for instance), but the new Sony IMX318 is the first with 3-axis stabilization built into its internal signal processor. This means that we can finally get smooth 4K with little camera shake by making effectively use of the signal output obtained from the external 3-axis (pitch, yaw, and roll) gyro sensor. This new technology incorporated into the IMX318 corrects not just camera shake, but also lens distortion. On top of that, with stabilization processed within the hardware of the image sensor itself, less power is used. Its remarkable stabilization capabilities make the Sony IMX318 a great fit for use in drone cameras as well.

Sony IMX318: 22.5-megapixels, smallest individual pixels


The Sony IMX318 is a 22.5-megapixel 1/2.6" sensor and at that size, it features the smallest pixel size we have seen on a phone camera: just 1 micron. Pixel size is considered a key feature for judging how well a camera performs in low light: the larger the individual pixel size, the more light it can capture and perform better in low light. For comparison sake, the majority of smartphones these days have a 1.12 micron sized pixels, while some phones that take pride in their low-light camera performance have up to 1.55 micron pixels. Given the fact that this new sensor has such small pixels, it's particularly impressive that Sony claims there is no drop in image quality from its popular IMX230 camera sensor 

No drop in image quality from the IMX230 predecessor, Left 1.12μm unit pixel size, Right 1.0μm unit pixel size

No drop in image quality from the IMX230 predecessor, Left 1.12μm unit pixel size, Right 1.0μm unit pixel size


Release date: shipping this fall


With a release date set for the second quarter of 2016 (read, late June 2016), the Sony IMX318 has all chances to be the camera used in the Sony Xperia Z6.

Not just that, if it is as impressive as it looks, we would not be surprised the Sony IMX318 to become the camera of choice in the Galaxy Note 6 and even the iPhone 7, as both Samsung and Apple are traditionally loyal Sony clients.

source: Sony

49 Comments
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posted on 16 Feb 2016, 03:52

1. avishekmukherjee (Posts: 287; Member since: 09 Apr 2015)


Wow
22.5 mp ;/

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 05:05

17. vincelongman (Posts: 4164; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Can't wait to see:
S7 (BRIGHTCELL) vs G5 (duo cam) vs Z5 (this or better) vs M10 (IMX 377+OIS)

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 17:32 1

45. Furbal (Posts: 944; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)


377+ OIS should be impressive as long as HTC gets the software right.

Google is doing the sensor a disservice with the stock camera app

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 09:49 1

37. Jairus24 (Posts: 48; Member since: 20 Jan 2012)


Superb camera hardware paired with an incompetent and inferior image software processing by Sony Xperia phones. Yes it's a wow! /sarcasm

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 03:57 1

2. Switch00 (Posts: 423; Member since: 04 Sep 2013)


sony, where's that ultra2 we were talking about?

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 04:38 4

7. techperson211 (Posts: 1179; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)


Yeah, I'm waiting for the ultra2 as well. Going back to this camera. All OEM will fall in line to get this baby. This is one of the strong department of Sony aside from their PS division. Good job Sony!

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 04:02 4

3. josephnero (Posts: 555; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


It won't be used in Z6.Sony never announces the exclusive sensors they use in their flagships.Z6 will either use the same IMX300 in Z5 or something new maybe even curved

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 04:40 7

8. techperson211 (Posts: 1179; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)


I think this is for mass production for OEM. You're right Sony only uses their exclusive sensor for Z line starting with the Z5.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 04:54

13. combatmedic870 (Posts: 566; Member since: 02 Sep 2015)


Their sensor division has split off now. There will be no more exclusives. Atleast their shouldn't be.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 05:53

23. Genza (Posts: 537; Member since: 12 Mar 2014)


You misunderstand the split off the decision will not change anything for the future all the latest tech will be use only in Sony devices for at least 6 months unless Sony stop making phones or other companies are willing to pay higher prices.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 04:13 1

4. WPX00 (Posts: 237; Member since: 15 Aug 2015)


Iphone 7 will definitely not use this.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 04:25 12

5. Biernot (unregistered)


Maybe in 7 years

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 04:29 1

6. nebula (Posts: 541; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)


" 1 micron"

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 04:44

9. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


The S7/Z6/G5 should use/come with 3x optical sensors, rather than crappy digital zoom, also with PureWiew.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 05:00 12

15. mixedfish (Posts: 1154; Member since: 17 Nov 2013)


How about you just buy a camera.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 05:36

21. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


Nope, the PureView has 3x optical zoom, but the camera has a hump.

We don't mind the hump to justify better camera.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 06:14

25. TheGranter (Posts: 51; Member since: 28 Jan 2016)


I bought a sony phone for the simple reason of having a decent pocket camera, i don't carry around my nikkon 5500 everywhere because it's not a bother.

Great camera is about as important as having good battery life, wouldn't buy a phone if battery life was crappy and camera was s**t, i don't care to much if it can run games. Aslong as socialmedia apps works (y)

So i guess this is target to consumers like me.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 04:48

10. abdoualgeria (Posts: 324; Member since: 27 Jul 2015)


Lol even s7's sensor is 1.78 micron

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 04:51

11. Swordylove (Posts: 177; Member since: 27 Jun 2015)


Wouldn't make any difference if it's the same inferior lens and/or software.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 04:53

12. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


I hope it's not for z6. Light gathering is not the only issue with small pixels. Besides, imx230 was not that impressive anyway. Moto X style has an average camera at best, and pretty poor in low light.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 04:59

14. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


What happened to you're old avatar?
Looked better.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 11:13

41. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


Changed it again. Does it look good now?

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 18:41

46. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


No, where's the one with the guys photo, the trible one?

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 05:00 1

16. itsjustJOH (Posts: 232; Member since: 18 Oct 2012)


It's not a flagship-grade sensor. All the flagship phones have custom-made sensors. Sony's flagship also uses exclusive sensors.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 11:04

38. marorun (Posts: 3393; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


Did you use the Moto X style yourself or you base yourself on review?

Real life result on the camera of this phone is pretty amazing and low light picture are very good as well.

I agree thats on the review they dont look thats good but review in todays world is rarely neutral so..

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 05:08 1

18. Astoni (Posts: 649; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


i'd bet its focus and quality is as horse s**t as its predecessors, since sony don't know s**t how to optimize software for camera on phones. and yes i'm talking from experience. ever since the Z-line began the camera had problems with correct focus and overall quality. Even the darn z5 still has problems with overall quality.

YES! you can take good pictures with the phone but compared to its competitors its alot harder and requires a steady-hand aswell as mulitple tries.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 05:19 2

19. EcoCare (Posts: 415; Member since: 30 Jul 2014)


No matter how good or exclusive their camera hardware, the Xperia lines never won the cameraphone battle.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 05:32 4

20. Djz89 (Posts: 287; Member since: 25 Aug 2014)


well not true, check out gsmarenas first blindtest with the z5. It won!

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 09:08

36. Scarambay (Posts: 85; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


The Xperia Z5 takes the worst pictures among the Galaxy S6, LG G4, Galaxy Note 5, iPhone 6S and 6S Plus and Xperia Z5.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 11:07

39. marorun (Posts: 3393; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


Remove iphone from this list the quality of the picture they take are FAR from been on par with any of the other model said and the Z5.

They take amazing 4k video but thats its.

As for the Z5 its take amazing picture but you just need to use another camera app like Google stock one or Camera FV-5 and the picture its take beat all the competition ( even if you use camera FV-5 on other flagship )

My old Z1 take better picture than the S6 using Camera FV-5.
Ok its slower to focus and slower to take the picture itself but the end result is better.

Anyway most ppl use stock app to take picture the one thats come with the phone and yeah Sony suck big time on thats end!

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 05:46 1

22. othmanusse (Posts: 4; Member since: 29 Jul 2015)


sony...the best

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 06:12

24. Hallyu (Posts: 329; Member since: 21 Jul 2015)


Wait till Britcell sensor is ready and you're done, Sony.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 06:25 6

26. dimas (Posts: 1975; Member since: 22 Jul 2014)


British cells don't have camera sensors, little hallyu.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 06:42

27. Hallyu (Posts: 329; Member since: 21 Jul 2015)


What kind of joke is that? I know you've been a diehard Sony fan, and I'm sorry to tell you that you had been brainwashed by Sony. Wake up, dude.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 08:39 1

34. vuyonc (Posts: 992; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)


-----------the joke---------->

*Your head*

Check your spelling, please.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 15:02

42. dimas (Posts: 1975; Member since: 22 Jul 2014)


I used to own an iphone, nokia lumia, htc, oppo, huawei, samsung, asus and lenovo so I guess that's not being a sony fanboy right?

I'm sorry to tell you that you had been brainwashed by Samsung. Wake up, dude.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 06:46 2

28. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


Lmao, even CarlZeiss kicks the butt out of Britcell.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 15:03 1

43. dimas (Posts: 1975; Member since: 22 Jul 2014)


Agree. 2016 and nokia lumia 1020 is still one of the dope techs in phone camera world.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 18:45

47. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


And the 808 Nokia, that would be the king till 2017.

CarlZeiss

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 16:38 1

44. Subie (Posts: 543; Member since: 01 Aug 2015)


Carl Zeiss just makes the lens! They don't design sensors, or semiconductors of any kind.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 18:53

48. JMartin22 (Posts: 1940; Member since: 30 Apr 2013)


Why? Because they put cartoon sized sensors in phones that make the backsides look like cancer lumps? Real, mainstream manufacturers have to battle capacity and optics quality in one. Most people don't want to by something of an eyesore like that Lumia 1020 and other manufacturers know it.

Anyone can do what they do and stick an absurdly sized sensor in a phone chassis compartment but they don't for obvious reasons

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 11:08

40. marorun (Posts: 3393; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


Hallyu wait to see if its deliver before talking.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 06:49

29. SK_WS (Posts: 43; Member since: 17 Apr 2015)


Why don't Sony improves on their camera software first

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 08:01

32. Djz89 (Posts: 287; Member since: 25 Aug 2014)


they sell sensors so it has a higher priority.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 08:44

35. Ordinary (Posts: 2211; Member since: 23 Apr 2015)


Its already the best so there is no need.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 06:55

30. lallolu (Posts: 458; Member since: 18 Sep 2012)


I will trust the sensor when I see the results and reviews.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 08:02

33. Djz89 (Posts: 287; Member since: 25 Aug 2014)


the senso will be awesome like all the sensors they produce, sofweare is the big question.

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 07:43

31. TheGranter (Posts: 51; Member since: 28 Jan 2016)


this is old news???

like the z5 premium is already being sold and said to be able to autofocus on 0.03sec and is on 23mp, so why is this being said to be something completly new? lol

posted on 17 Feb 2016, 06:38

49. fancollo (Posts: 41; Member since: 30 Dec 2015)


Sony imaging Sensor and a Sony Smartphone are just a no-go! this combination simply doesn't work. Although put a Sony imaging Sensor in any other phone, it will be great!

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