Sony taking on the Galaxy S11 camera with an impressive new phone sensor

Sony taking on the Galaxy S11 camera with an impressive new phone sensor
The world's largest supplier of mobile camera sensors won't sit still while Samsung is eating its lunch with the rumored second generation "Bright Night" 108MP sensor that is expected to make a cameo in the Galaxy S11 series.

Sony just announced a new phone camera sensor technology that has been developed exclusively for and will first appear in Oppo's Snapdragon 865-laden X2 flagship that will also be released in March to take on the S11 directly. 

After the restrictions that the US placed on Google for its Android exports to Huawei, companies like OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi sensed an opening and are working hard to take advantage of the market vacuum by outdoing themselves with new mobile technologies and eye-catchy designs.

Sony calls the sensor that will be in the X2, and probably many other high-end phones next year, the 2x2 On-Chip Lens (OCL) solution. It will bring "all pixel omni-directional PDAF" technology to our phones, which is a fancy way of saying it will be focusing and refocusing almost instantly, even in low-light scenarios. 

As for the sensor itself, it's not gunning for ultrahigh resolution like Samsung's Tetracell family that goes up to 64MP and 108MP even. Rather, Sony explained during the ongoing International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) expo that:

The sensors built on the technology will still use the Quad Bayer filter array, and allow for pretty high resolutions that have pixel-binning advantages like merging the brightness and color information from multiple dots into one super pixel. 

Sony 2x2 on-chip lens (OCL) sensors

By moving from individual lense array for each pixel to ones that encompass more pixels at once, Sony has managed to eliminate the slight differences in light sensitivity between the individual pixels, thus improving focus and HDR performance, as well as reducing noise potential in certain scenarios.

What does that all mean? Better pictures, of course, and, coupled with the Snapdragon 865 processor that allows for faster and richer dynamic range calculations, the pictures taken with phones like the Oppo X2 should give whatever sensor Samsung is cooking for the S11 a run for its money. 

All in all, next year is shaping up to be the most exciting for smartphone cameras in a good while, as the improvements will actually be on the hardware and sensor side of things, too. In the past couple of years companies like Google, Apple and Samsung focused mainly on software trickery and sensor count increases when it comes to improvements in the photographic department, but 2020 will take us in a whole different (and exciting) direction.

Related phones

Galaxy S20 (S11e)
  • Display 6.2" 1440 x 3200 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 128GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3730 mAh



1. User123456789

Posts: 1316; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

It is imx686. Many brands will use it in 2020.

2. briankeithmays

Posts: 39; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

Now only if sony can make a phone without those big ass bezels I will definitely be down with them.

4. User123456789

Posts: 1316; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Bezel is shorter than iphone notch.

5. sleepypandaeyes

Posts: 405; Member since: Apr 12, 2015

Personally I loved the designs of the xz2 and xz3 over the Xperia 1 and 10 models

6. caelironstaff

Posts: 20; Member since: Nov 02, 2018

XZ2 owner here. I specifically bought my XZ2 due to those large bezels, because the thing housed in them that all of the bezel-less designs lack: great sounding stereo speakers. I will fight tooth and nail before I go bezel-less, as I want great speakers. My prior phone was an Axon 7, which also had some of the best speakers around.

7. mimicryXD

Posts: 184; Member since: Apr 03, 2015

Samsung 15 min limelight featuring 64mp and 108mp sensor crush by sony. I wont be surprised if samsung also use the sony sensor like they did on their galaxy flagship variants.

8. josephnero

Posts: 795; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Sony sensors are miles ahead anyway

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