Flagship smartphones from Sony have always integrated powerful camera sensors. One of the most notable changes in their current Xperia Z5 lineup was the new 23-megapixel sensor with phase detection autofocus delivering extremely fast autofocus times. This is an example of what Sony’s imaging sensor business can achieve, but their camera sensors are not exclusive to Xperia phones as other manufacturers use their technology and integrate it with their own phones. We recently learned that despite these innovations, this sector is also in trouble as sales have decreased compared to the previous year, so the company is probably researching to make further improvements to their sensors.
During the recent Q3 FY15 Results Earnings Call, the Chief Financial Officer of Sony Corporation, Kenichiro Yoshida mentioned that he believes that next year, their own dual-lens and dual-camera platform would be launched with major smartphone players. But, he made it clear that the recent results of the smartphone market might affect the demand or production schedule of dual camera smartphones might really start to take off in 2017. Some rumors suggest that Apple is one of the major manufacturers interested in this dual-lens technology, but Yoshida’s comments seem to suggest that the company might use it in the iPhone 7 revision.
We’ve already seen manufacturers like HTC using dual-camera setups in their smartphones, it was used to create different depth levels for faster autofocus and some effects like blurring the background or augmented reality, but that technology didn’t seem very interesting because of the low resolution of their cameras. However, dual-cameras could bring benefits like better zoom photography. This is possible because one lens would be wide-angle and the other could feature some zoom, then lenses would be switched to magnify objects without the distortion of digital zoom and video recording could benefit from these lenses as well. Another benefit is improved low-light photography, as with two parallel lenses with their own sensor, the “better” pixels from each of them can be combined into a single image and thus, they can produce a picture with less digital noise and closer to the truth, just like a larger sensor would.