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Proper slow motion video recording may soon be possible on smartphones thanks to the industry-leading efforts of Sony's camera sensor division. The company has created a new smartphone-sized sensor capable of recording 1080p video at 1,000 frames per second, which comfortably blows away the slow-mo offerings of current-gen handsets.
The sensor, which Sony is calling the "industry's first 3-layer stacked CMOS image sensor with DRAM for smartphones," achieves such high video capture frame rates through extremely fast data readout speeds. When shooting still images, the sensor can read one 19.3-megapixel image in 1/120th of a second, which is around 4x faster than current sensors. This speed advantage allows high frame rate video capture in this form factor for the first time.
Most smartphone cameras at the moment can record up to 240 frames per second at 720p, or sometimes 120 FPS at 1080p. This new sensor won't just record four times faster than current devices: it'll do it at a higher resolution as well.
The sensor's ultra-fast data readout speeds also help reduce focal plane distortion, which makes fast-moving objects appear slanted in still imagery. It should help mitigate the equivalent issue in video capture as well, known as the 'rolling-shutter effect'.
The sensor itself is a 21.2-megapixel 1/2.3-inch CMOS unit with 1.22 micron pixels. It can capture stills at up to 30 frames per second with a resolution of 19.3-megapixels, plus it supports 4K video at 60 FPS, and of course 1080p at up to 1,000 FPS.
There is no word on when we might see this sensor in smartphones, but this technology should hit the market in the coming years. Expect it to debut in one of Sony's next-generation flagship devices.