With the development of machine learning, which has had the biggest impact on mobile photography in recent years, the need for manufacturers to race for the highest resolution or matrix size has almost disappeared. Despite all that, some manufacturers still rely more on physical parameters than algorithms. These include the companies Sony and Xiaomi, which jointly developed a new 1-inch sensor for smartphone cameras, which was named IMX989 and should appear for the first time in the flagship model Xiaomi 12S Ultra.
According to a Weibo post that was noticed by Android Authority, Xiaomi’s flagship will get a 1-inch sensor. It’s the same size sensor as in one of Sony’s best compact cameras, the Cyber-shot RX100 VII.
This is actually a great achievement because previously manufacturers have not managed to create a 1-inch camera sensor for the relatively compact body of a modern smartphone. Xiaomi’s best result was a 1/1.12″ 50MP sensor in the Mi 11 Ultra, Sony formally did it in the Xperia Pro-I model, which indeed includes a sensor of this size, but only uses part of it.
At the same time, the larger sensor, larger pixels, and larger optics should provide significant image quality advantages over smaller, traditional smartphone cameras, especially in low light. At least both companies are counting on it, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun previously stated that Xiaomi and Sony shared $15 million for the development of the new matrix.
There are no details on the IMX989’s resolution at this time, but Xiaomi says the new sensor is capable of capturing more light, focuses faster, and has improved dynamic range capabilities. Specifically, the company claims a 76% increase in light capture compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max sensor.
Xiaomi claims that the Xiaomi 12S Ultra will also get Summicron lens coating. It is said to provide 0.2% reflectivity and 93% light transmission, as well as reduce purple fringing and glare.
The younger models in the series, the Xiaomi 12S and 12S Pro will be equipped with a 50-megapixel IMX707 sensor (1/1.28-inch sensor size). The company promises that this sensor is able to capture 49% more light compared to the IMX766.
We will learn more details about the new Xiaomi smartphones and camera modules on July 4, after their presentation.