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New Sony Sensor Will Bring Quick Tracking AF and 4K Video HDR to Smartphone Cameras



Sony isn’t short on innovation. After exciting the photo industry last week with talk of a APCS (not to be confused with APS-C) sensor that promises to take dynamic range and especially frame rates to absurd heights, they’ve dropped another image sensor announcement.

The Exmor RS IMX230, announced earlier today, is being hailed as the first stacked CMOS image sensor with image plane phase detection, and it promises to bring super-fast tracking AF and better HDR to future smartphone cameras.

The 21MP 1/2.4-inch CMOS sensor stacks the BSI pixels on top of signal processing circuitry, something Sony has been doing since 2012 because it promises, “superior image quality and high functionality in a compact size.”

Traditional HDR movie mode (left) compared with the new, higher-res mode in the new sensor (right).
Traditional HDR movie mode (left) compared with the new, higher-res mode in the new sensor (right).

Putting this in a smartphone-sized sensor for the very first time means mirrorless camera AF performance (even when tracking fast moving subjects) and HDR capabilities that now cover everything from 4K video to still images.

On the AutoFocus front, the IMX230 can sport up to 192 phase detect AF points, which the stacked circuitry analyzes on the fly to keep everything from skittish animals to skittish children in focus.

HDR functionality is the other major improvement. Sony introduced HDR for video back in 2012, but the new sensor takes that to new heights by upping the capability all the way to 4K resolution and supporting stills for the first time as well.

The new sensor will ship in April of 2015, so keep an eye out for a big improvement in smartphone AF and HDR capability sometime next year, and click here if you wanna dive into the nitty gritty technical details.

(via Image Sensor World)