Sony reveals what could be the iPhone 5’s camera sensor (with video)

“Prepare to see another giant leap in smartphone picture-taking quality this year,” Christopher MacManus reports for CNET.

“Sony announced today three new back-illuminated stacked CMOS image sensors optimized for bright and low-light conditions,” MacManus reports. “The new compact sensors are faster, consume less power than previous versions, and will be available in 8- to 13- megapixel flavors.”

MacManus reports, “Most notably, the sensors feature new ‘RGBW Coding’ and ‘High Dynamic Range (HDR) Movie’ abilities baked directly onto the hardware. The iPhone 4S features a Sony 8-megapixel sensor, and it’s possible that this may be a preview of the camera sensor inside the iPhone 5.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

21 Comments

    1. LOL, in your dreams. Physics dictates that an optical zoom would require a thicker iPhone, and that is not going to happen. There’s another way to zoom, it’s called using your feet and getting closer to your subject. Also, there’s a 3rd way to zoom, it’s called cropping. With enough pixels, and a high quality lens that can resolve all those pixels, you can still crop, and zoom-in.

      1. Cropping (a.k.a. “digital zoom” minus a few enhancements) is no substitute for optical zoom. You essentially turn an 8 megapixel picture into a… less than 8 MP picture, depending on how much you crop.

        Turning off digital zoom is the very first thing do after I buy a digital camera.

        1. After a quick search the references I found were from the early 2000s. The original Minolta folded zoom lens required a depth of 0.8″, much thicker than an iPhone, and there’s little mention of the technology today.

      2. There is actually a 4th way, which has been used in some early optical zoom cameras that were very thin. Specifically by placing the sensor and optical zoom perpendicular to the normal placement and then by placing a front surface mirror at a 45 degree angle at the end of the lens, you can make a very skinny camera that still has an optical zoom. I still have one of these, and though I haven’t used it in years, it was a really great idea.

  1. Looks very nice. The fall release points to use in an iPad 4 or iP 6. But who knows? This is what Sony is doing. Maybe someone else will top them and just hasn’t pre-announced?

    It would be nice to have a little bit of optical zoom/macro capability. Apple should design in some capacity for external lenses. They don’t need to define a threaded mount. Just put in an iron ring around the existing lens. Then an external lens can attach with a magnet.

  2. As much as I like my 4S camera, its weak point is definitely the LED flash.

    First problem: it causes white-eye in people shots. This is a huge problem, I have to apply the red eye fix (works on white-eye, usually) to everything before importing into iPhoto (since iPhoto 11’s red-eye fix doesn’t cure white-eye). This is tedious, and made bearable only because the 4S’ low light sensor is good enough that I usually take flash-free pictures.

    Second: it somehow shows more motion blur than if I keep flash off. On a real camera a flash means the shutter is held open a shorter period of time, but here the LED isn’t bright enough to flood the area with light, so it seems the shutter is held open the same amount of time.

    The image sensor could be the best in the world, but until Apple can figure out a better light source (xenon fixes both, but is apparently larger and drains battery faster), fill-in flash shots on the iPhone will remain a disappointment.

      1. No need to be sarcastic. I’m pointing out a flaw in one of the iPhone’s features. Doesn’t mean I’m going to carry a freaking DSLR in its place, a modern Canon P&S would do the trick but that’s exactly what Apple’s aiming to replace, isn’t it?

        Some camera phones have xenon flash. They compromise by being slightly thicker, draining battery life fast, and longer time between pictures (to recharge the flash bulb). The image sensor wasn’t great on the phone I saw, but its flash pictures *were* much better than the equivalents taken on my 4S.

    1. I totally agree about the flash, except I have been less successful removing the “white eye”. I have a bunch of holiday pics that are ruined because the demonic eye glow imparted. The flash is only useful when you are not shooting people’s faces.

  3. My eyes have been giving me fits. First readers… then glasses, like looking out of a fishbowl.

    Damn you old age!

    Can someone please point out the significant change differences from those two short clips? I have played them over serval times and I’m not catching it.

    What am I supposed to be seeing. Thanks.

  4. Will media ever stop with this “iPhone 5″ name nonsense? Your train left the station when Apple decided not to name iPhone 4S that way. iOS 6, A6, iPhone 6 (or iPhone 4G). Apple never named anything by number (not year) which was out of order of actual generations count. And just because media came to love “iPhone 5” name so much this does not mean Apple will name anything with it. Media failed with it last year, and will fail again.

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