Sony outs 21-megapixel IMX230 sensor with 192-point autofocus for fast objects, can we say Z4?

The new IMX230 sensor allows for real-time HDR stills and 4K video

The new IMX230 sensor allows for real-time HDR stills and 4K video

Sony just launched what might be its best smartphone camera sensor yet, the 21 MP stacked IMX230 where the company uses image plane phase detection autofocus for the first time in a phone sensor. This plane phase detection tech is borrowed from mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras, and, with its 192 AF points, will allow for blur-free tracking and snapping of fast moving objects, like kids, cars or pets.

Furthermore, the new Exmor RS IMX230 will now shoot not only real-time HDR video as before, be it in 4K, but also real-time HDR images, similar to Samsung's S5 and Note 4 handsets, which would bring out darker areas, and tone down bright ones for a more even exposure throughout the frame.

192 points AF for fast-moving objects

192 points AF for fast-moving objects

The company also said that it will be making a 16 MP sensor with the same image plane detection AF tech, which might go into midrangers we guess, and that would be a heck of a midranger. The 21 MP IMX230 is 1/2.4" in size, which is a tad smaller than the 1/2.3" in the Z3, for instance, but the difference is negligible. 

We will see how these more than 20 million 1.12 micron pixels behave in terms of noise suppression and low-light performance on that confined space, but at least on theory the new sensor sounds mighty promising, and hopefully we will see it in the upcoming Z4, as Sony states it will be put in mass production April 2015.

source: Sony



1. realjjj

Posts: 375; Member since: Jan 28, 2014

This is in response to Omnivision announcing their 21 and 24MP sensors a couple of weeks ago.

2. smarttechbadworld

Posts: 74; Member since: May 07, 2014

The z4 and the s6 are gonna crush the m9 this time.

3. vincelongman

Posts: 5555; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Weren't they already were crushing the M8? I hope M8 drops the ultrapixel, and use one with 1.5 μm pixels like the 6/6+, or better yet use this sensor

9. limporgyuk

Posts: 342; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

If you buy a phone just for it's camera. The camera on my G3 sucks compared to camera on my M8. Its not all about megapixels.

16. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

I can't talk about the m8 but the M7 camera is crap as it was good with close up images but that was about it

19. tiara6918

Posts: 2262; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

How can you be so sure about that? I have never heard the z2/z3 being one of the best android phones. It's not about the specs, it's about the accessibility and usage. Besides, I can find so many articles on the internet about this-​hone-2014-11 The htc one series is the best and that will continue in the future

4. jeeta444

Posts: 154; Member since: Mar 24, 2014

Impressive SONY !

5. vincelongman

Posts: 5555; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

All looks very good, except 720p 120 fps isn't as good as 240 fps in the 6/6+'s sony made sensor Also the next phones with Lollipop's raw support are going to be great I wonder if iOS 9 will also add raw support

18. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

off topic it's funny how windowphone was the first to add Raw support kind of a surprise that they had something first for a change aha I wonder if Microsoft will take pureview to the next level or the milk it back on topic I would like to point out that something could be a certain resolution but that doesn't mean quality what I'm trying to say is it could have a really high resolution but still have crappy quality only time and comparisons will tell though

22. vincelongman

Posts: 5555; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yep, the 1020's pics are still among the best, if not the best The next 1030 will be amazing too

24. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Well they did just sign a canon deal. Canon are still among the best.

27. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

yeah they are but I hope they keep the car zeiss lenses

6. josephnero

Posts: 772; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Can't wait for Z4. Sony sensors are the best.

7. vipervoid123

Posts: 163; Member since: Aug 27, 2013

I guess Sony might sold this sensor to competitor company ~ While Sony will using different sensor for their flagship ~ The IMX220 have been exclusive to Z series since Z1 , then only available to competitor with Z3 onward ~ Therefore I think Sony might have another exclusive sensor to the next Z-series ~

8. vuyonc

Posts: 1087; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

What took Sony so long to use PDAF in their smartphones? Anyway hopefully their software and ISP work out of the box and not in a few months like my Z1 did. Z4 is looking good :)

25. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013


10. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

Xperia Z4 is going to be introduced in january 2015 so it's not really possible for it to have this sensor installed

11. mohammad7888

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 17, 2014

Well, it's nice. But where is that curved sensor ? Where is the APCS (Active Pixel Color Sampling) sensor ? What was all about the 1/1.5" sensor ? I hope Sony wont disappoint us.

12. ggg377

Posts: 20; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

But still no OIS.

26. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

OIS has nothing to do with the sensor fyi

13. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

but some sony devices will just mess it up with the wrong software/processing algorithms. i say some because other devices apparently take great photos. sony's device quality inconsistency is baffling.

14. solidsnake695

Posts: 132; Member since: Jan 04, 2013

this sensor will be useless if sony give horrible sofware algorithm like z z1 z2 z3 that poor post processing from sony needs to end

15. mawhob2222

Posts: 219; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

Samsungarena, what about new sensor? also bad hhhhhhh

17. Af1rPA

Posts: 712; Member since: Jun 12, 2014

I have nothing against Sony but I have to say that example image looks fake. As if their senor can pick up that much detail on the picnic basket. I'll gladly wait and eat my words when the sensor gets released, hopefully on the Z4.

20. PhotoPixel

Posts: 29; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

o No No No No ((( This the same camera, even smaller than previous. Give us CURVED sensor, we don`t wat see this another 20mp sh*t ((((((

21. bubbadoes

Posts: 1225; Member since: May 03, 2012

Or just go out and buy a SLR and stop pretending, expecting smartphones with a $8.00 camera configuration maxx to do it all!!!

23. Chuck007

Posts: 1408; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

Isn't April a bit late for the Z4? It should already be in mass-production before then correct?

28. Ruturaj

Posts: 1484; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Does anyone knows about numbering scheme of Sony, as note 4 has IMX240, Z2 has IMX220 and Nexus 6 has IMX214?

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