We’ve recently heard that Sony may be working on a high-end successor to its Xperia Z and ZL flagship Android smartphones with a very capable 20-megapixel sensor called the Honami. Now, we’re learning new information about the sensor, the glass and optics that are being used, and the sensor size.
We’re now hearing that Sony will be using a rather large sensor size for the 20-megapixel sensor. Unlike the prior leak that suggests Sony will be branding it as a Cyber-shot sensor, Sony will be using a 1/1.6-inch Exmor RS stacked sensor.
The sensor size would place the Sony Honami between the sensor size of the Nokia 808 PureView camera, which has a larger 1/1.2-inch sensor, and the previously highly regarded Nokia N8 camera with its 1/1.83-inch sensor. All three of these devices would have sensor sizes that bests point-and-shoot camera sensor sizes. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Camera offers a rather small 1/2.3-inch sensor.
Larger sensors are beneficial to end users in that they’re able to capture more light and could offer more subject isolation with an appropriate lens. The Nokia phones as well as Sony’s Honami would easily beat the HTC One and the Xperia Z and other smartphone camera sensors. Those sensors are typically small.
Sony is no stranger to camera technology on mobile. In the past, under its old partnership with Ericsson, Sony Ericsson had released some great feature phones with excellent cameras, including models with Xenon flash.
And though Carl Zeiss glass initially rumored for the camera lens, it looks like Sony will instead be using its Cyber-shot G glass. The G series lens on Sony’s Alpha DSLR cameras is considered a premium camera lens for that range. In comparison, Apple chose to go its own way with the iPhone 5 by using a sapphire glass lens that protects against scratches better and Nokia has traditionally relied on Carl Zeiss for its camera-centric devices.
There is also a new camera UI. It’s unclear still what Sony is envisioning, but perhaps we’ll be seeing more features borrowed from the Cyber-shot point-and-shoot range to aid amateur photographers. Samsung is porting its camera experiences from the Galaxy Camera to create a sleek camera UI for its Galaxy S4 flagship phone.
And despite the large sensor size to let in plenty of light for night photography, if users choose, they will have a powerful flash on board. Rumors suggest that Sony may either use a Xenon flash or dual-LED flash, which is described to be ten times brighter than a regular camera phone flash according to GSM Arena‘s report.
The Honami is rumored to arrive in fall, but could come as early as summer in Asia.
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