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Sony preps ultra-fast 17.7MP phone camera

updated 07:40 am EST, Fri February 25, 2011

Sony 17.7MP phone camera hits 120FPS

Sony late Thursday said it had developed a small, phone-sized 17.7-megapixel camera sensor that would overcome much of the performance bottlenecks of earlier technology. The technique, described by Nikkei [reg. required], can process several pixels' input in parallel and takes up to 75 percent less time to generate the final image. At 34.8Gbps of bandwidth, it's about five times faster than a typical phone camera and can handle burst photography or high-speed video that wouldn't have been an option before.

The CMOS-based Exmor sensor can shoot video at its maximum resolution at up to 120FPS if the device processor and storage can handle the footage; it would more likely shoot at lower resolutions or use the extra speed for continuous still shooting. A new underlying design also reportedly prevents the extra speed from draining extra battery power.

Sony hasn't given a timeline for when the sensor would be used but plans to use it both in phones and in its point-and-shoot Cyber-shot cameras. The company is the most prolific camera sensor manufacturer in the world and may supply the iPhone 5's camera, although the 2011 update would be for a lower-resolution eight megapixel sensor. [via CrunchGear]

By Electronista Staff


  1. nowayoutofmymind

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007



    The camera producers have learned their lesson and stopped that pixelmania. 17.7 Megapixel on such a TINY chip will produce utterly ugly pictures that only are useful when scaled down. It seems that phone consumers have not yet understood that double the pixels on the same chip size won't produce twice as good pictures...

  1. dynsight

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    It's the Glass in front

    It is not so much the chip size (although that is a factor) but the "glass" in front. Good Lenses give you the most beautiful and breathtaking photos. Most of these phone cameras are behind a tiny piece of plastic... and you will never get anything more than a flat looking snapshot from that setup.

  1. Athens

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Jan 2003


    Its a combination

    Its a combination of sensor size in relation to how many sensors are packed in it, the size of the hole for the light to come in and the size and quality of the lens that makes or breaks photos. The biggest problem for camera phones is the hole and lens is not large enough to let in enough light for the sensor to do a good job. Under bright conditions they can rival point and click cameras of a couple years ago, under low light conditions is another story. That said they have improved a h*** of a lot. 95% of my photos are now taken with my iphone. I also get asked to take photos for work with my iphone because of the built in HDR the photos on my iPhone turn out better then the 7.2 MP point and click we have because a lot of the photos end up with bright lights behind it white washing the normal camerea we have. So they are not far off.

    I personally would take a 5MP camera phone over a 10+ IF it took better real world photos. Sensor design, density, lens all play a part. So 10+ MP as a feature isnt a feature for me. Only end result photos are.

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