Sony IMX318 CMOS image sensor announced – 1/2.6-inch, 22.5MP, 3-Axis Image Stabilization

by XB on 16th February 2016

in Imaging, Videos

Sony IMX318Sony has unveiled its latest CMOS Exmor RS image sensor designed for smartphones – the IMX318. Sony’s latest camera chip boasts to be the industry’s first to offer built-in 3-way electronic image stabilization technology and high-speed hybrid autofocus (as fast as 0.03 seconds) in one chip.

The Sony IMX318 has a 1-2.6-inch stacked CMOS with 22.5 effective megapixels. Shipments begin in May 2016 – just in time for the Xperia Z6 launch, which is expected to launch in the second quarter of 2016.

Sony says that it created the IMX318 sensor for smartphones that require “increasingly better cameras and thinner form factors.” The IMX318 is the successor to the IMX230 with 1/2.4-inch sensor and 1.12?m unit pixel size. Sony says that the new IMX318 does not suffer in image quality despite the smaller pixel size (1.0?m unit) versus the IMX230. It has done this by “manufacturing technology that improves light utilization efficiency, as well as circuit design technology that eliminates noise”.

Sony adopted MIPI (Mobile Industry Processor Interface) Alliance’s latest C-PHY 1.0/D-PHY 1.2 specifications for this image sensor’s interface. Other features include 4K video recording at 30fps, HDR imaging with RAW image format.

Sony IMX318 Stacked CMOS Exmor RS Image Sensor

Sony IMX318

  • ChilliPSco

    Let’s hope it doesn’t produce blurry photos like the Xperia Z5 did!

  • DonRox

    That’s cool and all. But we need cameras with bigger sensors!

  • fluxx

    Yes, the biggest fault of the Z5 was not the sensor but the optics.

  • FYLegend21

    I agree having had the lens blur but the post-processing is still too aggressive.

  • FYLegend21

    The question is whether the stabilization works for still photos (it doesn’t on the Z5), and if shutter lag is improved…

  • kirfer

    How come you-know-who hasn’t started crying about OIS yet?

  • joseph carmine nero

    IMX230 is not the sensor used in Z5.

  • Chaturanaga Manchanayake

    I hope this 3-Axis Electronic Image stabilization works for still images so it won’t affect low light photos. Cause Superior-Auto is so sensitive, with small shake it goes nuts.
    My body is ready for Z6. :D

  • Chaturanaga Manchanayake

    Very true. I thought the same it’s IMX300.
    I think they made a mistake.

  • Alex Norris

    Most importantly, that i don`t want see IMX300 in future Xperia Z6, because it not better than previous generation, and it will be another failure if Sony puts IMX300 in Z6. Because the future GALAXY S7 will have a larger sensor with a huge pixel size 1.55 mcr., with fantastic F / 1.7 aperture, and the latest image technology BRITECELL

    Galaxy S7 will be real DSLR killer!

    If Sony Xperia Z6, will again have so Grappy soft and algoritms, it will be FAIL!

  • ramuk

    I don’t think its for Z6. I have a feeling that its for M6 or similar type mid-high mid phones. Sony never announced their flagship sensor before for their flagship phone. Z6 will use even advance tech. Curved Sensor I wish.

  • joseph carmine nero


  • Chaturanaga Manchanayake

    Hopefully man, hopefully. I really love to see killer specs on Z6, Overall Z5 camera isn’t bad it’s just way too aggressive post processing software makes the photos look crap.

  • Alex Norris

    ADMINISTRATION – Why you blocked my post! WHY????????? ((((

  • subm

    i should buy z6

  • Alex Norris

    Xperiablog Admins, Are you afraid the truth!!!

  • Vuyo Ncube

    Yeah this does look like a premium midrange sensor now that 20MP sensors are doable on more SoCs.

    Best case scenario, they’ll just slap OIS on to the IMX300 for the Z6, make the SD820 do all the work and call it a day to save time and money. Apparently, it’s difficult as hell to implement any form of stabilisation on curved sensors at the moment.

  • Vuyo Ncube

    The genuine problem with the Xperia Z5 series is the lens clarity. They need to clean up those blurry corner photos!

  • fluxx

    Some interesting details from the press

    “built-in 3-axis electronic image stabilization technology for video”

    The video looks impressing, but this also means still no OIS and therefore no image stabilization for photos.

    “No drop in image quality from the IMX230 predecessor model”

    Funny, they want to prove this by images scaled down to 400×300 pixels :D

    “boasting an AF as fast as 0.03 seconds”

    That’s not faster than their promise for the latest IMX300 in the Z5.

    “the IMX318 corrects […] lens distortion”

    That will be really helpful to counter some of the flaws of the current lenses, at least the wide angle distortions (not the blur).

  • fluxx

    The press release clearly mentions, that it is an eletronic solution (only) for video.

    That shouldn’t stop manufacturers from adding an OIS system, but it is not part of Sonys stock offer.

  • ramuk

    Saving money and time is not an option for Sony mobile. Its a highly competitive market. If Sony wants to win the premium flagship market they need to take advantage of their own strength i.e. their advance image sensor tech. I’m not saying IMX300 is a bad sensor all I’m saying that they need to convince people that they always reserve and put the latest and greatest sensor tech in their own flagship phones. I really hope they reserve/put even advance sensor than IMX300 for Z6.

  • Tommy He

    Perhaps It will be used by M6, which might get revealed in MWC 2016 next week.

  • ludimilojko

    We do have cameras with bigger sensors. We have Four Thirds cameras with 17 mm wide sensors, we have APS-C cameras with 23 mm sensors, we have Full frame cameras with 36 mm sensors, we have Medium format cameras with sensors up to 50 mm wide.

  • In terms of megapixels, the Z5 sensor have more:

    The Sony Xperia Z5 series actually has a 25MP multi-aspect primary camera sensor

  • XperiaBlog

    Yep, mistake on our part.

  • Having been a Nexus 6P user for a while, my first time in years not to be primarily using an Xperia, I have to say that the Sony camera in this seems far superior to that of the Z range up to and including the Z5. It may lack OIS too, but the photos are absolutely stunning. I know it would seem to some as a step backwards, but could Sony not actually consider dropping the pixel count (and consequently upping the pixel size) in its next Z flagship?

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  • Vuyo Ncube

    Me too. I was really hoping for a huge 1/2″ 16MP sensor with deep trench isolation, more phase detection points, a die shrunk ISP and fused lenses to save space. Basically the GS7’s sensor but as a thinner module with many more pixels. Maybe Sony will surprise with a curved 25MP sensor with negligible noise or something in an Xperia before anything else. Maybe they finally get better lenses and image processing software this time. Fingers crossed.

  • Faisal Armand

    As an owner of M5, I can agree that M5 preserves better detail than Z5, and it’s even less noisy too. All Xperias tested dxomark were using 8MP superior auto which have the benefit of oversampling, M5 was tested at full resolution.

    A combination of texture and noise score of 90 & 86 is better than Z5, S6, note 5, and LG G4. I agree with that.

    But there are several things that I disagree with dxomark:
    – Exposure and contrast (Dynamic Range) score of 86: in my experience M5 never overexposed high contrast scenes. Other Xperias such as Z2 & Z3 sometimes did. But Z2 & Z3 has better score in DR :S

    – Autofocus Score of 80: M5 has Hybrid PDAF. Z2 & Z3 sometimes very slow to focus but Z2 & Z3 has better autofocus score

    – Colour Score of 73: M5 in auto mode has accurate WB in almost all conditions, no need to tweak manual. But the score is not even 80

  • akzidenz

    maybe timels asleep, just wait a bit

  • Ambitious Man
  • smartuser8

    So the iPhone will have it in the future, like the future Xperia… but the pictures will be better on the iPhone XD

  • hmmm

    they said that what will be on xperia,will be only on xperia!last ces conference!

  • DonRox

    Lol i know. I’m talking about cameras in mobile phones

  • Alex Norris

    Hi Faisal. Soon i will make video about Xperia Z5 camera.

    I compared my 808 pureview vs Xperia Z5 compact.

    Results Shocked Me

  • Faisal Armand

    I’ve visited your flickr page and seen your Z5c vs 808 pureview comparison. No surprises Z5c lost.

    But keep me notified, anyway

  • James Bond

    are you suffering from auto shutdown problems in m5?
    And how is battery life?
    BTW i still cant believe that 3000 iso pics from m5 are less noisy than z5’s in lower iso!

  • deekbee

    Results aren’t surprising – Sonys attempt at “oversampling” in superior auto mode is virtually non-existent.

    I fully believe that the Z5/c is fully capable of excellent results, if only Sony would sort out their software – which to be honest is pretty poor.

  • deekbee

    Absolutely nothing to do with high pixel count sensors – purely down to a cheap/small wide angle lens.
    (which is what virtually all mobiles have – even dedicated compacts have soft edges, most have mobile phone sized sensors).

  • deekbee

    Apparently people “don’t like” having large sensors in phones, as it makes the phones larger.

    Personally don’t care, which is why I have the Z5C for daily usage, and the 808 and 1020 for when I have more demanding photographic needs (primarily when I’m out cycling or running, carrying a DSLR is slightly awkward)

  • deekbee

    The biggest fault of the Z5 is the software …..

  • Alex Norris


  • ludimilojko

    Yeah, i know you’re talking about phones.
    But do you know that current lenses on phones cannot cover bigger sensors? Bigger sensors need bigger lenses too. Not 1 or 2 mm bigger, much bigger.
    And if you want bigger sensor, why don’t you buy a real camera? It’s cheaper than a flagship phone. For 400 bucks you can have the newest entry level digital SLR with a zoom lens. Or a small mirrorles APS-C camera. For 300 you can have the previous year model. You don’t want to carry a DSLR with you? Well, then you’ll have to settle with the shitty images from the small sensor on your phone.

  • Abdul Ghani

    u sir a biggest delusional faggot ive read the comment from ois for mobile is a joke sony laughed at samsung and apple who is using ive personally used lg g4 samsung s6edge+ and iphone 6 none of them were able to beat m5 -_- and u guys want that fake ois in a sony phone when they supplied the camera to all major and Chinese brands

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  • Chitti- The Robot

    Every other company except Sony will utilize this sensor to its full potential and deliver exceptional image quality, while Sony will be like “Hey lets screw with post processing and make photos look patchy, people love patchy photos”

  • Faisal Armand

    1. No, I don’t suffer from auto shutdown issues. I’ve been using M5 for over a month now, and probably because I buy from new production batch.

    2.M5 battery life is very good despite only having 2600mah battery and (reportedly) power inefficient chipset. I have an average of 5h 30 min of SoT while still having 30-40% battery left. And usually while my battery hits 50%, I already have 3h – 3h 45min SoT. I think full SoT from 100% – 0% is somewhere between 6 – 8h

    Overall, M5 can get you to a full day easily without having to charge. I can say that M5 battery life is equal, if not tiny bit worse compared to the legendary Z2 & Z3.

    3. M5’s Camera? For the first time in my life, I actually trusted Superior Auto to shoot the best image. Yes, I can confirm that M5 can shoot crazy good image at ridiculously high ISOs. And believe me or not, M5’s selfie camera quality is almost the same as its back camera.

    I don’t know about that ISO 3200 M5 shot is better than Z5 at ISO 800, but you’re probably right. I once did indoor shot comparison between Z2 and M5. And M5’s quality at ISO 1500 is loads better than Z2 quality at ISO 400. And I saw someone on flickr do a camera comparison of Z5 vs Z2 in low light and I can tell Z5 is not better than Z2.

    NB: In comparisons, I set M5 to full resolution which doesn’t have the advantage of oversampling. Had I put 8MP on M5, the image would’ve been much cleaner and Z2 & Z5 would’ve been crippled even more.

    5x Digitally zoomed image is good too, unlike the artifact mess of Xperia Z flagships

  • ZoubIWah

    Wouldnt hold my breath for the z6 camera.. If sony executives figured a very good camera is a must for smartphones we’d know that by now.

    They must have some bad internal politics and blame shifting issues. Its generally surprising to see how easily big and seemingly well known problems can be ignored that way.

  • James Bond

    Thanks for the reply!
    On flickr i have seen 3000 iso pics and they were good.
    Hell even C5 Ultra gave good details at 400 iso. the C5 only gave those smudgy pics like z5@400 iso at 1000ish iso.
    Looks like i will be waiting for Xperia M6 rather tham Xperia Z6.(will probably end up buying M5 due to budget)

  • aseuss

    Sony. Keep this for yourself. Could be Xperia’s killer app.
    Think this new sensor incorporates STARVIS technology:

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  • Cod3rror

    I don’t frequent this site so I assume you are talking about some local troll. IMO, OIS is not good, at least in its current implementation on phones like the S6 or G4. It produces an annoying video warping effect when panned around. Sony’s EIS is MUCH better. I am glad Sony stuck to EIS and did not move to OIS.

  • roeshak

    Smaller sensor with digital image stabilisation? Don’t expect much improvement in lowlight then. Forget Sony’s marketing bull. It’s simple physics, we need a larger sensor, lower mp count, optical image stabilisation and a sharper lens. This is going to be another attempt by Sony which fails to hit the pass mark.

  • Timel

    No! You’re wrong bro

    even the Z5 Premium doesn’t has OIS but I’m really impress with its SteadyShot, it’s so cool.

  • Timel

    I think this is not for Z6, Hope Sony will make something big about camera like Nokia did with 808 and 1020

  • Timel


  • Timel

    Absolutely agree ramuk ^^

  • Timel

    Wow Sony really did the good job with M5 camera while Z5 Premium camera still continue to disappoint me

  • rygarto

    Electronic crop-level stabilization is unfortunately no good for stills with a long exposure time. It helps with shaky motion between successive video frames.

    For long exposure stabilization, you need to shift the lens or sensor around.

  • illstplaya .

    I really hope they don’t use this in the z6. I plan on upgrading to the z6 from my z1s but I won’t buy the phone if it used a smaller sensor

  • Battel

    I applause for Sony on Camera Hardware advancement then i’ll Boo Sony on Camera Software (Image quality process) fallback !
    Please Sony don’t screw that sensor this time ?

  • Alvin

    Ah goody gumdrops….. Lol :D

  • Alvin

    Even though SteadyShot which is for video is absolutely amazing, but for images, the stabilisation is not that good, so maybe they should develop steadyshot for photos? Even Sony alpha/cybershot cameras don’t have that-_-

  • Faisal Armand

    This is an ISO 3200 sample if you wanna look

    Yes C5 Ultra also has good camera and excellent battery life despite some review sites (gsmarena) claiming that it’s bad. My friend has 4h SoT of gaming and still have 50% battery.

    Update: just did 7h 14 min SoT with M5

  • FYLegend21

    I agree, but still better than no stabilization. The Z5 has a closed loop actuator which moves the camera unit around (like sensor-shift), but it only works for video.


    No offence, is that Hybridasfuck(HybridAF) since they bought from Toshiba?

  • FYLegend21

    nope I have the Z5 and when I’m in video mode I can still this warping effect. I sometimes see the shapes physically distort as the EIS moves – it doesn’t do this in still photo mode (so it’s not due to the lens distortion). OIS does have a warping effect or “floatiness” but it works better for still photos. It does seem strange it floats around but it shouldn’t distort the shape of the image if it’s implemented well.

    Sony has yet to bring EIS to still photos (in fact they removed the anti-shake option on the Z5 in a later update, though that was more like an increase of shutter speed or ISO). They do use a closed loop actuator (which is basically like sensor shift) combined with EIS for video only.

  • sammyl

    Please use this sensor in C5 ultra successor!

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  • James Bond

    wow looks like c5 and m5 are either not made by sony or they are the only xperias that were made by sony!
    I mean just read the audio quality section on gsmarena!
    They say that audio is impressively loud unlike what we read about z series.
    7h SOT sounds pretty good to me.
    Thanks BTW

  • Faisal Armand

    If you ask me, I never truly believe in audio quality benchmark that gsmarena is conducting.

    They said Xperias with strereo speakers such as Z2, Z3, Z3+, and Z5 don’t have the best audio quality. But in real life testing, it’s the completely the other way around. My friends with iPhone 6s, Note 5, LG G3, etc went ballisticly envious when they listened to Z2’s noise cancelling headset and stereo speakers.

    In M5’s case, despite only having single mono speaker, the speaker quality is equal if not better than Xperia phones with stereo speakers.

    Really, M5 is one hell of a phone

  • Afzal Zainal Rddz

    Lucky you while we sony user in malaysia starting to banned the M5 and forcing sony to stop promoting M5 here. Most of M5 user returning back the product. To much faulty and some user get more then a twice device replacement from sony but still facing the same problem. Burn out motherboard, auto shutdown, malfunction camera even display get loose from the device frame. We consider a user here with no issue related to M5 a very lucky person.

  • Faisal Armand

    Auto shutdown, mulfunctioning camera, and even burnt motherboard and display get loose? Man, those are really fucked up repugnant shit. Just how the fuck sony let quality control get loose and shipped bucketloads of defective products?

    Burnt moterboard case interest me tho, just how the hell did that happen?

  • Afzal Zainal Rddz

    Most cases report that M5 suddenly getting to hot causing the sudden shutdown as result report from sony center the motherboard burn out. A very not a happy ending for some M5 user here as the parts takes ages to arrived. M5 totally a disaster here.

  • James Bond

    I didnt experience this shit when i tested it thoroughly.
    Hell yeah it was snappy and fast enough just like Z series or any flagship out there. Autofocus was crazy fast.
    Looks like Bond is lucky with Sony’:)

  • Faisal Armand

    I am a bond fan too :)

    Yes, bond fits really well with sony because sony defines elegance, capability, and sophistication.

    Imagine if bond uses iPhone, he would seem like an insecure teenage girl :(

    Samsung too doesn’t fit bond image, too much gimmick and other shit

  • Faisal Armand

    For the first time in my life, I really trusted Superior Auto to take the best shot. You know, I was a proud manual user in the past. In M5, I only switch to manual when I want to shoot long exposures

  • jamie evans

    looking forward to stunning Z6s here

  • Steven Khoo Skkl

    Hmm.. interesting.. I could only say the hot weather here have something to do with that.. Probably not but just my 2 cents.. I’m a proud Z user that manages day to day with a Z that is still relatively snappy.. I’m also interested in the M5 after reading Faisal’s comments now, but will look at the M6.. From my experience of the 15 mins on the M5 display, it didn’t seem to have any problem with heating or camera problems. Yes, 15 mins is short.. But I really tested everything and made it open apps to apps in a short span. really good… I know it was taken off from sales about 4 months back.. but last month, i saw it back on sale and last week it was taken off again.. I really want to try that phone out.. Hope the M6 will be released soon with better overall specs..

  • Steven Khoo Skkl

    Holy shit Faisal, that pic you attached.. It had nearly zero noise.. or rather almost none… I’m thoroughly surprised and impressed..Did they fix that in some updates?? The demo unit in Sony had some noise when I played with it, or is there a special combo you used that you know eliminates any chance of noise in pics?

  • Faisal Armand

    I shot the image using superior auto at full resolution, no tricks played. If I downsize that pic to 8MP, it would’ve looked as it was taken at ISO 50.

    There is no change in image quality since I bought M5 with 5.0.2 lollipop. Only the camera interface gets really smooth compared to before. Oh and that noise thing, I do spot noise in some images but only in certain areas such as shadows and skies, but those noises are minor and not distracting

  • Steven Khoo Skkl

    That’s great to hear.. That means that if my dad has any spare cash for me to use,(bot that be doesn’t have any) would probably get myself an M5 or 6 depending how good 6 is.. Lol.. Thanks.. Btw, if and when 6 comes around, I would like for you to have a look at it.. Especially regarding the camera. Thanks!

  • Tangent Lin

    Good hardware is important, a good software also important. Improve camera algorithm to fit this brilliant sensor.

  • James Bond

    you are my fan?
    Thanks :)

  • Faisal Armand

    Fan of the character, fan of the franchise :)

    I’ve watched all bond movies from Dr. No to Spectre

  • James Bond

    yaa me too!
    My name says that all!

  • rygarto

    thanks for the info, curious why they couldn’t make that work for stills…

  • James Bond

    Can M5 do supersampling?

  • James Bond

    So the image of yellow car you shared, don’t tell me it was digitally zoomed!

  • Faisal Armand

    Yup but on manual only. Superior auto is locked at 21MP

    As usual when I choose 8MP or below, images have less noise

  • Faisal Armand

    Sorry I just noticed your comment now.

    Yes, the fucking image is zoomed X3.0 times

  • James Bond

    God damn right its much better than Z3 and Actually matches flagship phone zoom.
    How M5 handles indoors BTW?

  • Faisal Armand

    Ah I have an indoor comparison against Z3.

    Both are set to full resolution. Z3 chose ISO 400, M5 ISO 1100. M5 still wins, and by quite a margin

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