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Super Slow: Sony develops smartphone camera capable of recording 1080p at almost 1,000 fps

The new sensor can create 64x slow motion video clips. (Source: Sony)
The new sensor can create 64x slow motion video clips. (Source: Sony)
The new sensor can capture 19.3 megapixel still images in 1/120 seconds and can record 1080p video at 960 fps, allowing for incredible slow-motion playback.

Slow-motion video support is becoming common in smartphones. The latest flagships (like Apple’s iPhone 7) can record crisp FHD videos at 120 frames per second. This makes the clip move four times slower when played back (depending on playback speed) and can create a cinematic experience. Sony is looking to push that experience even further with their newest image sensor for smartphones.

Announced today, the new sensor is the “industry’s first 3-layer stack CMOS image sensor with DRAM for smartphones.” The new design allows for faster transfer of image information, which in turn allows for much faster image capture. Sony has also stated that the sensor is able to record 1080p video at a whopping 1,000 frames per second. The recording, which is 8 times faster than leading competitors, actually records clips at 960 frames per second, but the effect is stunning. If played back at 60 fps, this would make the clip move 16 times slower. Sony has also released a video (embedded below) with clips played back at 15 fps. The subjects move 64 times slower, which brings out a lot of detail in their motion. The video can also record 4K footage at 60 frames per second. Most other smartphones can only record 4K at 30 frames per second.

In addition to improved video, Sony’s new sensor can snap detailed photos very quickly. The sensor is able to “read one still image of 19.3 million pixels in only 1/120 second( approximately 4x (sic) faster than conventional products.” This makes for cleaner and less distorted shots of fast-moving subjects and could lead to improved “burst mode” settings in smartphones.

There’s no word on when the sensor will debut in smartphones, but as Sony’s sensors are used across the industry, we should be seeing impressive slow motion clips from mobile devices soon.

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Still image capture. Note the focal plane distortion on the left; the train's front appears slanted. (Source: Sony)
Still image capture. Note the focal plane distortion on the left; the train's front appears slanted. (Source: Sony)
Sony's new sensor stacks a 2-layer CMOS on top of DRAM. (Source: Sony)
Sony's new sensor stacks a 2-layer CMOS on top of DRAM. (Source: Sony)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 02 > Super Slow: Sony develops smartphone camera capable of recording 1080p at almost 1,000 fps
Sam Medley, 2017-02- 7 (Update: 2017-02- 7)
Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Review Editor - @samuel_medley
I've been a "tech-head" my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a Systems Analyst for my local school district. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news articles and notebook reviews. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not hunched over an electronic device or writing code for a new database, I'm either outside with my family, playing a decade-old video game, or sitting behind a drum set.