Last week, during IFA 2015, Sony unveiled the Xperia Z5 lineup of devices, complete with a 23-megapixel sensor, making it one of the highest-resolution on a smartphone to date. A 23-megapixel sensor like that in the new Xperia Z5 line makes recording 4K video easy and produces pretty large images. Of course, as we all know, megapixels are not the be all and end all of producing good photos. Having said that, a higher resolution image does provide more detail to work with, and this is why the majority of professional hardware, from the likes of Canon and Nikon, produce images with megapixel ratings of above 30-megapixels or so. Canon however, have recently created a 250-megapixel sensor.
The APS-H sized sensor, not unlike the large sensors used in today's dSLRs, packs 250-megapixels into a single chip. We mentioned above that sensors like Sony's 23-megapixel sensor are capable of recording 4K video without issue, well, this new sensor from Canon can record video up to 30 times the resolution of 4K. That's a scary amount of pixels, and thinking of the file size would could wipe out the internal storage of many smartphones with just a handful of shots. Canon have said that the sensor can be used to make out the letters on the side of an airplane from up to 11 miles away. Clearly, this is not a sensor designed for your everyday snaps, and Canon is keen to point out that such a sensor would be used for strictly professional applications, and while there's no news on something like this heading to a smartphone near you, it does paint an interesting future.
The sensors inside of our smartphones are tiny compared to those used in a dSLR and even smaller than the full-frame sensors used in professional camera hardware. The fact that Canon have packed so many pixels into a sensor smaller than a 35mm piece of film suggests that there's some hope for the future of smartphones and higher resolution sensors.