Sony has developed the industry’s first triple-layer stacked CMOS image sensor for smartphones. Sony’s previous camera chips, such as the IMX318, used a dual-layer stacked CMOS. This new 3-layer 1/2.3-inch 21.2 MP (megapixel) chip adds a DRAM layer, to the traditional back-illuminated CMOS image sensor layer and the logic processing technology layer.
So what does the additional DRAM layer add? Well it makes it possible to significantly increase data readout speeds, allowing users to capture still images of fast-moving objects with minimal distortion as well as filming super-slow motion movies at 1,000 frame per second (8x faster than the Sony IMX318 chip) in Full HD (1080p). The chip is also capable of recording 4K movies at 60 frame per second.
The new triple-layer chip is capable of reading a 19.3 million pixel image in only 1/120 second, 4x faster than the IMX318 chip. This reduces the time lapse for reading each pixel line. This is particularly important for smartphones, which lack a mechanical shutter for controlling exposure, as it minimises focal plane distortion in still images when shooting fast-moving objects.
There is no news as to when we expect formal production of the new CMOS chip to start, but it sounds like great progress for smartphone photography. Check out some examples of 64x super slow motion video below, to give you an idea of what to expect. The examples show video that was captured at 960fps and played back at 15fps.
Thanks Augustine, Diogo, Marinko and No Name!