Smartphone cameras are the most frequently used device for taking pictures today. Photographs with family or friends, or shots of beautiful landscapes or townscapes―whatever the scene, image sensors are the crucial element needed to capture those scenes just how they appear to our eyes. Though hidden from our view, the performance of this component influences the image quality significantly.
Smartphone cameras need to be able to produce images as expected and offer stress-free operation. Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation(SSS)’s image sensor has an array of functionalities to support these needs, such as great photos taken against a light source, accurate focusing, and clear image shooting even in low-illuminance environments.
Photographs and videos with both high sensitivity and high resolution
In recent years, the required level for smartphone camera performance has increased greatly, which has caused the acceleration of the high picture quality of image sensors for smartphones. One related trend is multi-pixel count, which reduces the size of pixels and allows the arrangement of more pixels. If it is excessively multi-pixel, however, it can lead to pixel miniaturization, and there is a trade-off relationship between pixel miniaturization and decrease in sensitivity.
Therefore, SSS has developed a pixel array called Quad Bayer Coding that minimizes the decrease in sensitivity even if the pixels are made smaller. This increases sensitivity even for photography at nighttime and in other low-illuminance environments, and makes it possible to shoot low-noise, bright photos and video, achieving both high sensitivity and high resolution.
Versatile auto focus function that manages various shooting conditions
The auto focus (AF) feature is one of the essential components for ensuring the best shot moments. SSS’s all-pixel AF technology enables to mobilize all pixels to obtain focus information. This facilitates high-precision auto focus under a multitude of environmental conditions.
It can offer precise focus even if the focus point is a small area ,such as human eyes or subject with blurred edges.
The all-pixel AF handles a variety of focus information, so it offers a reliable and highly accurate performance even in dark scenes.
Reduces the chance of blowout/blackout in a high-contrast composition
In an environment with high contrast, taking a picture can be tricky. For example, a bright background can overshadow the face of the person in the frame. In such a situation, advanced HDR（High Dynamic Range） function automatically adjusts the brightness. It reduces the blowout or blackout and helps the rendering to be as close as how the scene appears to the human eyes.
In fact, nightscapes are also high-contrast images. The HDR function reduces the blowout effect of neon signs, making it possible to capture an image just like we see it.
Cinema-quality super-slow motion movies at your fingertip
SSS's image sensor makes it possible to shoot Super Slow Motion videos that previously could only be shot with high-speed cameras for broadcast applications. At Full HD (1920 × 1080 pixels), it is capable of recording 960 frames per second. This is equivalent to the performance of a commercial broadcasting camera, and it enables smartphones to record smooth slow-motion videos equivalent to professional specifications.
It is possible to record instantaneous movements that cannot be captured by the human eye and images of animals running in smooth slow motion. It is also useful for those who want to examine their golf swing or a tennis serve in detail to improve their form. It also makes it easy to record interesting slow-motion videos that could go viral on social media and impressive slow-motion videos worthy of TV or the movies. Even familiar scenes, such as falling snow and scenery, can be turned into dramatic videos.
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