updated 09:55 am EST, Thu November 13, 2008
Sony Exmor 12MP Camera
Sony today said it has broken a new barrier in cellphone cameras through an update to its Exmor sensors. The company has shrunk the pixel size to 1.4µm and now says it can produce a 12.25-megapixel, 28mm equivalent CMOS camera small enough to fit in some cellphones. The unit gives a cellphone the image quality and detail of a modern point-and-shoot camera, according to the company.
It also operates quickly enough to shoot 1080p video as quickly as 27 frames per second and 720p at a TV-level 30 frames per second as long as the processor and storage are also capable of the same speed.
The 12.25-megapixel sensor is large and is most likely to be reserved for dedicated camera phones when it ships, which isn't scheduled until March of next year. However, the company has also produced more compact 5.2- and 8.1-megapixel cameras whose lower resolution also lets them shoot full 30FPS 1080p video. The 5.2-megapixel unit will be available at the same time as the premium model in March, while the 8.1-megapixel equivalent is due slightly earlier in February.
Sony hasn't said whether it will reserve the Exmor cameras for its own Sony Ericsson phones or if it will let third-party firms build them into their own devices. [via Akihabara]
12.25MP sensor (left); 8.1MP sensor (right)
12.25MP sample shot