What does Sony’s new image signal processor mean for camera resolution?
The bottom line: How much difference does the sensor, camera, and electronics make for 4K video? The results may surprise you
The difference: It’s not a small deal: the resolution difference between what the sensor offers from its full 8-megapixel range and what the camera can capture at the lower 1/2.8-inch (36 mm) pixel scale of what’s recorded by the sensor alone can amount to three-and-a-half times the average human viewing distance
A good start for the new technology
Sony’s new sensor, the PIXMA 6K, is based on the same 18-megapixel CMOS sensor found in the Xperia Z2 family of smartphones. As with previous generations, the 6K does offer a whopping 8 megapixels of full-resolution, and the sensor itself is quite a bit larger (36 x 1.12 mm) than what we’ve seen before. The sensor itself is a dual-chip with a single pixel that covers both the front and the rear camera simultaneously. The chip is a single CMOS design, though most recent Sony smartphones sport dual-pixel designs. The Sony PIXMA 6K has no optical image-stabilisation or other electronic image stabiliser technology and Sony has said the resolution difference in its new sensor will not be much of an issue for video shooting. At the heart of the Sony PIXMA 6K is an 8-megapixel sensor packed with pixels of 2048×1536 resolution, meaning one pixel per row (rather than six per pixel). This is a significant jump over the 1-megapixel sensor used on the Xperia Z2, the 4K smartphone with a slightly larger screen — the 5.2-inch Sony Xperia Z5 and 4K video recorder Xperia Z3+. The new 5-megapixel sensor covers the front, and the one pixel is just a little bit thinner than the pixel on the 5.2-inch version.
Sony’s new sensor is not the biggest the company can produce; the Sony IMX390 APS-C 1.9-millimetre sensor has been used by the likes of Sony and Nikon cameras for years and is used in some of Sony’s more feature phones, including the Sony Xperia Z2 and Z2 Compact. However, the PIXMA 6K is the first time Sony has tried to match up its sensor’s resolution with the resolution of some of its
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