The quality of cameras on mobile devices have taken a huge leap of improvement over the last decade or so. Indeed, smartphone cameras nowadays are so good that various filmmakers have already tried (and succeeded) in shooting movies using their own iPhone devices. And now thanks to a new technology from Sony, capturing video footage via one’s handsets will continue to get even better.
According to a report published by Nikkei Tech, Sony has managed to build a new image sensor that is capable of shooting video at 960 frames per second (fps). Specifically, a smartphone with a built in camera of this quality would be able to take 19.3 megapixel still shots at 120 fps, and footage with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels at 960 fps. For some context, Apple’s latest flagship device, the iPhone 7, and Samsung’s Galaxy S7 are both capable of shooting 240 fps slow motion footage with a resolution of 1,280 by 720 pixels.
For those who want to know what shots look like when taken at 960 fps, they might want to check out this video clip, which was recorded using a Sony NEX-FS700. Typically, image sensors that are designed for high end smartphone devices generally possess a dual layer set up that makes full use of a rear lighted image sensing component for the upper part and then a logic circuit component for the lower part. What Sony’s crew did was put an extra dynamic random access memory (DRAM) layer between the image sensing component and the logic circuit component. With this three layer approach, images can be captured at very high speeds.
To be perfectly clear, nobody is entirely certain yet if this kind of camera technology will be made available for mobile users around the world, and by keeping mum, Sony is not providing any help in clarifying that point. But we all know by now that phone makers across the globe are already on a race to provide the best smartphone camera for end users, especially with the increase in popularity of dual camera configurations, as seen on the latest smartphone releases from Apple and Huawei. It is likely that Sony can not keep this technology to itself for long. Interestingly, Sony had already developed a similar technology for its lineup of digital camera products. But the Japanese tech giant is yet to fully incorporate one for smartphone devices. Could this happen in 2017? Keep your fingers crossed.
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