Sony 1-inch smartphone sensor
Image courtesy: Teme

While we’ve seen one-inch smartphone sensors before, we’ve never seen one designed specifically for smartphones. According to a leaker, a one-inch Sony smartphone sensor will be here soon.

The leaker (Teme, @RODENT950 on Twitter) claims the upcoming Huawei Mate P50 series includes a new one-inch Sony sensor, the IMX700. The leaker has some merit, having leaked information about Huawei products in the past. While the details are scarce, Teme claims the sensor fits an ultra-wide and telescope camera in the main camera. Additionally, the leak suggests higher-end models of the phone include periscope lenses.

https://twitter.com/RODENT950/status/1364560003298856965?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1364560003298856965%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fpetapixel.com%2F2021%2F02%2F26%2Fthe-first-one-inch-sensor-for-smartphones-is-coming-report%2F

We’ve never seen a one-inch sensor dedicated to smartphones

If true, this won’t be the first time a phone included a one-inch sensor. The Panasonic Lumix CM1 features a one-inch sensor. However, the sensor isn’t for smartphones. The Lumix CM1 is more akin to a smartphone and point-and-shoot hybrid because it contains a camera sensor. According to the leak, Sony designed the IMX700 specifically for mobile devices and didn’t just port a sensor intended for point-and-shoot cameras.

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Moving smartphone cameras forward

If phones start including one-inch sensors, the size increase improves their image quality. It would be a huge step forward for the smartphone industry. As pointed out by PetaPixel, a larger sensor would allow for “more realistic defocused areas, or bokeh, than any other sensor in any smartphone currently on the market.” We would even see improvements to mobile low-light capture.

Every step brings smartphones closer to matching dedicated cameras. We already see this happening in camera sales. As smartphone camera quality improves, people become less inclined to purchase a dedicated camera when they have one in their pocket.

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