Sony releases Exmor RS IMX230 smartphone camera sensor with top-notch specs

Sony has just announced its latest smartphone camera sensor, the top-notch Exmor RS IMX230, which boasts impressive specifications.

The company announced the commercialization of its new Exmor RS IMX230 on Monday, Nov. 17, touting the sensor's advanced features and capabilities. The Exmor RS IMX230 marks the first time a mobile image sensor company has included image plane phase detection autofocus in a sensor designed for smartphones, and that's just one of the highlights.

The new autofocus technology will allow the camera to accurately capture fast-moving objects for both video and still photos, as the sensor's internal processing circuit will perform all of the necessary calculations. The screen of the image sensor incorporates dedicated phase detection autofocus pixels, which enables it to track the distance to the subject. Moreover, the sensor supports as much as 192 different auto focus points.

As expected, Sony's new Exmor RS IMX230 also comes with a wide range of image and video capture features such as HDR and more. In fact, it can capture HDR video in 4K at 30fps, in addition to 1080p at 60fps and 720p at slow-motion 120fps.

Sony's latest smartphone camera sensor retains the same 21-megapixel density as its predecessor, but the company plans to release a 16-megapixel version as well.

"Sony Corporation (hereafter 'Sony') today announces the commercialization of the Exmor RS IMX230 for smartphone cameras and other devices requiring increasingly sophisticated image-capture functionality. With 21 effective megapixels, this stacked CMOS imaging sensor features compact size, higher image quality, and improved functionality. This is the industry's first CMOS image sensor for smartphones to be equipped with an onboard image plane phase detection AF signal processing function to achieve excellent focus tracking of fast-moving subjects. The High Dynamic Range (HDR) function, which captures both backgrounds and subjects clearly and vividly even in high-contrast scenes such as backlit locations, now supports high-resolution still images and 4K video recording," Sony touts in a new press release on Monday, Nov. 17.

"The new IMX230 is a type 1/2.4 stacked CMOS image sensor with a significantly improved 21 effective megapixels, and it is also equipped with a newly developed signal processing function. These features fulfill the growing needs in smartphone photography for high-speed autofocus (image plane phase detection AF) and clear, high-quality capture of bright and dark areas even in backlit scenes (HDR imaging). Image plane phase detection AF if a technology used in mirorrless interchangeable-lens cameras, and HDR imaging now supports not only 4K (4096 x 2160) high-resolution videos but also still images."

The new Sony Exmor RS IMX230 is set to start shipping in April 2015, which means that it could become available in large quantities for the company's 2015 flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z4.

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