By Stephen Schenck | August 20, 2012 1:19 PM
In late January, Sony shared news of its next-generation camera sensors for upcoming smartphones and tablets. Their big claim-to-fame was that they recorded RGBW data, adding a white luminance channel to the regular triad of color data. In theory, this would help support lower-noise, higher-sensitivity image taking even in dark environments. Back then, Sony talked about producing sample sensors by around March, with plans to then introduce a 13-megapixel version in June followed by an eight-megapixel edition coming out this month. Well, Sony’s just a little bit behind schedule, but these new sensors should finally be getting here soon, as it’s announced that these so-called Exmor RS sensors will be available as of October.
We’re still looking at both eight-megapixel and 13-megapixel versions, with two separate options for the former. All of these sensors will be RGBW components, but one of the eight-megapixel versions will be a slightly lower-end version without the latest signal processing engine.
With smaller image sensors, like the kind we see in smartphones due to the serious space constraints, light sensitivity can be a big issue, so adding this extra layer of brightness-sensitive pixels sounds like an elegant solution to the problem. Beyond the higher-quality stills, the higher-end of these Exmor RS sensors will also support an HDR Movie mode, bringing the extended range of HDR still shots to full-motion video. Knowing what Sony’s managed to do with imagery tech in the past, we’re excited to see just how these perform. With any luck, Sony will have some models featuring the Exmor RS sensors before the end of the year.