Sony intros 22.5 MP Exmor RS IMX318 camera sensor with built-in high-speed hybrid autofocus

Sony may not be a market leader when it comes to finished smartphones, but the company still manages to play a role in bringing some of the most popular phones around to market. Just as companies like Samsung don’t only make their own phones, but also build the electronics that make their way into competitors’ handsets, Sony’s got a solid business developing components that make it into phones like the Nexus 6P, Galaxy S6, and LG G4. And while the jury’s still out as to whether or not we’re going to see any new Sony handsets at MWC next week, we’ve got at least one new Sony product to look forward to, with the company announcing its new Exmor RS IMX318 camera for smartphones.

The IMX318 is a 1/2.6-inch stacked CMOS sensor capable of delivering 22.5MP images. Compared to pretty much every other sensor out there, that spells some seriously tiny pixels – just 1.0um square. Despite that potential red flag, Sony swears that image quality won’t take a hit, thanks to a combination of low-noise circuitry and efficient light capture.

Beyond just a high megapixel count from a physically small sensor, the IMX318 packs some other interesting tricks, like a built-in hybrid phase/contrast autofocus system (with focus times as low as 0.03 seconds), and integrated three-axis electronic stabilization. And with the ability to capture 4K video at 30fps, the sensor is just as ready to tackle video needs as still photography.

When can we hope to see this guy show up in a new smartphone and finally demonstrate what it can do? Well, manufacturers should start getting their hands on the sensor as samples arrive this May, so it’s not crazy that we could expect to have a phone using the IMX318 launch by the end of the year.

Source: Sony

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!