Sony just debuted a new type of 3-layer CMOS sensor that captures images with incredible speed. At full tilt, the sensor can capture 1080p Full HD video at a blazing-fast 1,000fps, and all but eliminates the rolling shutter effect when shooting fast moving objects.
The newly-announced sensor was developed with smartphones in mind—imagine an iPhone 9 or Google Pixel 3 that can shoot 1,000fps at 1080p—and the secret to its speed is in its third layer.
Stacked CMOS sensors usually feature a layer of backside-illuminated pixels and a circuit layer that processes the signal. This sensor adds a third layer of high-speed DRAM that can process and buffer images at extreme speeds.
“This newly developed sensor with DRAM delivers fast data readout speeds,” writes Sony, “making it possible to capture still images of fast-moving subjects with minimal focal plane distortion as well as super slow motion movies at up to 1,000 frames per second (approximately 8x faster than conventional products) in full HD (1920×1080 pixels).”
The DRAM is able to read one full 19.3MP still image at 1/120 of a second, which Sony claims is about 4 times faster than conventional sensors.
This eliminates the so-called “jello effect,” more properly called focal plane distortion, that happens when you’re shooting a fast moving object without a proper mechanical shutter. Since the image is scanned one line at a time rather than captured all at once, fast moving objects “tilt” in the resulting images. This happens at a 1/30 second readout, but speed that up to 1/120 and the effect is greatly reduced:
Of course, the headline feature is the most impressive. 1,000 fps at 1080p out of a sensor that fits into and can be run by a smartphone… that would be just plain incredible. Correction: is just plain incredible.
Sony already has a sample reel of slow-motion footage shot using this sensor at 960fps and 1080p, and it’s glorious. Check out the full video at the top, sample GIFs below:
No telling when this sensor will start popping up in smartphones, but we can’t wait until it does. This technology truly promises to bring super slow motion to the masses. To learn more about this amazing new image sensor, click here.