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 


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

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49 Comments

1. avishekmukherjee

Posts: 362; Member since: Apr 09, 2015

Wow 22.5 mp ;/

17. vincelongman

Posts: 5728; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

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

45. Furbal unregistered

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

37. Jairus24

Posts: 49; Member since: Jan 20, 2012

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

2. Switch00

Posts: 536; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

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

7. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 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!

3. josephnero

Posts: 783; Member since: Nov 16, 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

8. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 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.

13. combatmedic870

Posts: 986; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

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

23. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 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.

4. WPX00

Posts: 511; Member since: Aug 15, 2015

Iphone 7 will definitely not use this.

5. Biernot unregistered

Maybe in 7 years

6. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

" 1 micron"

9. S.R.K.

Posts: 678; Member since: Feb 11, 2016

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

15. mixedfish

Posts: 1561; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

How about you just buy a camera.

21. S.R.K.

Posts: 678; Member since: Feb 11, 2016

Nope, the PureView has 3x optical zoom, but the camera has a hump. We don't mind the hump to justify better camera.

25. TheGranter

Posts: 63; Member since: Jan 28, 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.

10. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

Lol even s7's sensor is 1.78 micron

11. Swordylove

Posts: 209; Member since: Jun 27, 2015

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

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.

14. S.R.K.

Posts: 678; Member since: Feb 11, 2016

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

41. TyrionLannister unregistered

Changed it again. Does it look good now?

46. S.R.K.

Posts: 678; Member since: Feb 11, 2016

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

16. itsjustJOH

Posts: 232; Member since: Oct 18, 2012

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

38. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 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..

18. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 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.

19. EcoCare

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 30, 2014

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

20. Djz89

Posts: 447; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

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

36. Scarambay unregistered

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

39. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 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!

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