Sony's i1 "Honami" is a device that we've been hearing a lot about and it's apparently going to be Sony's answer to both the Galaxy S4 Zoom and the recently announced Lumia 1020. While the Galaxy S4 Zoom has its quality optics and 10x optical zoom, the Lumia 1020 has a massive sensor (for a smartphone) and we've all been wondering what Sony are going to bring to the Honami to make it stand out. With a rumored 20-megapixel resolution, it sits in between the Lumia 1020 and Galaxy S4 Zoom but its sensor size might not be as large as we firs thought.
The above image is of a camera sensor - obviously from a larger camera than a smartphone - and it's this photo-sensitive component that determines how good the image quality is going to be. A larger sensor often makes for much better performance, compared to a smaller sensor, and where space is tight - in smartphones, for instance - it's important to get the right sensor for the device. Nokia have managed to squeeze a massive sensor into their Lumia 1020, backed up with a 41-megapixel resolution. Larger sensors translate to better low-light performance at higher ISOs and of course, much more detail.
Over at the Esato forums, one user is claiming to have seen photos taken with the Honami and has described his thoughts on the ISO performance:
Based on the early sample image that I saw, full res output @ISO100 reveals lots of detail comparable (take note, not better or anything superior) with the old RX100 with minimal loss of detail at ISO400, though at ISO800 and 1600 the image is flooded with Luminance and chroma noise with visible color blotches plaguing the image but someof the small details that I've seen visible with the ISO400 sample are preserved, bokeh effect is virtually similar to 1020's. as you guys would know, I posted my thoughts on Honami's ISO1600 performance relative to RX100's on the previous page before I got my hands on the sample, but now I have to say that RX100 @ISO1600+ is virtually untouchable at any rate.
The RX100 is a popular compact digital camera from Sony, so the comparison here might be a little unfair but, poor performance at higher ISOs is usually a tell-tale sign of a smaller sensor. I shoot with a Fujifilm X10 which is great but, with just a 2/3" sensor, I very rarely like to push it past ISO 800 if I have to. A smaller sensor, crammed with a 20-megapixel resolution would more than likely result in a lot of noise in low-light.
When talking about the overall specs, the user, "razec" had the following to say:
From this point I must say the camera is promising, I can only confirm the following camera specs based on the EXIF data included: 20MP (5248x3936pixels), F2 lens, 5mm focal length. JPEG engine has less aggressive NR than XZ prior to the latter receiving a ported camera driver.
An f/2.0 lens is pretty fast and bright but, it's become the standard for smartphones now and we'd have like to see something like f/1.7 or even f/1.5. Needless to say, it's beginning to look like the Honami might not be the cameraphone many of us thought it would be but, that performance isn't going to be anything terrible, either. The question is, how much does a smartphone's camera performance matter to you anyway?