Apple’s next-gen iPhone 15 range is tipped to receive a new state-of-the-art camera sensor from Sony with massively improved performance.
The new camera part, according to Nikkei Asia, is able to capture twice as much light per pixel compared with conventional sensors, and is expected to appear in Apple’s 2023 iPhones as well as devices from other manufacturers.
“The sensors can capture more light and reduce overexposure or underexposure in certain settings, enabling a smartphone camera to clearly photograph a person’s face even if the subject is standing against a strong backlight.” – Keiichi Furukawa, Nikkei Asia
The measure of a camera’s ability to capture bright highlights and dark shadows simultaneously is known as its ‘dynamic range.’ This is one of the key ways in which premium cameras differentiate themselves from lesser alternatives. The higher the dynamic range of the sensor, the less software trickery the smartphone needs to perform in order to deliver a pleasing result.
Significantly upgraded dynamic range would boost the iPhone 15’s ability to take photos in challenging lighting conditions as well as improving advanced features such as HDR video recording. It would also increase the degree to which photos can be edited when using Apple’s ProRAW mode.
The Sony sensor’s breakthrough performance is achieved thanks to a new semiconductor architecture that places photodiodes and transistors in separate layers. Placing the light-sensitive photodiodes in their own layer would allow more of the sensor’s surface area to be dedicated to capturing light, rather than being blocked by other electronic components.
The advantages of the new sensor could be far-reaching — Improving the light-gathering ability of a smartphone camera typically involves using physically larger sensors and brighter, more expensive lenses. Sony’s new sensor technology would allow the camera to effectively double its light-gathering performance without having to increase the size of any camera components. This is good news not only for Apple fans, but for smartphone users in general, as it suggests we can expect a noticeable improvement in iPhone camera performance next year.
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