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Sony Unleashes First Smartphone Sensor with Hybrid AF and Built-In 3-Axis Stabilization

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Sony’s CMOS sensors are widely used in digital cameras and smartphones these days, and the company’s latest sensor shows why. The new IMX318 sensor is designed for smartphones and features 22.5 megapixel photos, 4K videos, hybrid autofocus, and built-in 3-axis image stabilization.

The 1/2.6-inch CMOS sensor offers a smaller form factor, better image quality, and faster performance compared to its predecessors. Sony says it’s the world’s first to offer built-in high-speed hybrid autofocus that merges phase detection AF with contrast detection AF. The combo has AF performance as fast as 0.03 seconds (and 0.017 seconds during 60fps video recording).

Another major industry first is the built-in 3-axis electronic image stabilization, which helps capture smooth video despite shaky hands. The functionality is built directly “into its internal signal processor,” Sony says, and it uses info from an external gyro sensor. And it doesn’t only correct camera shake, but it fixes lens distortion as well.

Sony says that the 3-axis stabilization system makes the sensor a great candidate for camera drones.

Finally, the new sensor is quite formidable on the video front. It can do 4K recording at 30fps, and 22.5MP stills can be obtained while the video is being recorded.

The Sony IMX318 sensor will start shipping out to camera companies in May 2016.

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