Sony has revealed the company’s curved full frame sensor at the 2014 VLSI Technology Symposium, further fueling the rumors that the sensor is ready for prime time and that we may see it in the RX2 compact camera soon.
Curved image sensors are said to be better than flat ones. We will explain the reason for that later in this article, but in the meantime let us remind you that Sony has patented a curved full frame sensor not very long ago.
Furthermore, the rumor mill has recently begun claiming that the Sony RX2 is in the works and it may become the first digital camera in the world with a curved sensor.
After a few months of complete sensor-related silence, Sony presented its curved sensor to the public attending the 2014 VLSI Technology Symposium and has showed off the enormous implications that it could have for the world of photography.
Sony curved full frame sensor revealed, brings 2 times more sensitivity to pixels located in the corner
The Symposium on VLSI Technology has seen Sony Device Manager Kazuichiro Itonaga taking the stage and presenting the sensor’s advantages. Itonaga said that the human eye is curved, so the company has decided if it were possible to bend its image sensors.
The way to do this was using a bending machine which also adds ceramic to the surface, stabilizing the sensor and preventing it from breaking. Because it resembles the human eye, the Sony curved full frame sensor features the same curvature as you and me.
This curvature means that a ray of light will hit the pixels located in the corner in a straight manner instead of at an angle. This is important because the sensor will become two times more sensitive in the corners, but also 1.4 times more sensitive at its center.
But wait, there’s more! Light hitting the pixels in a straight fashion means that distortion, chromatic aberration, and vignetting will be reduced to a minimum. This means that lenses will have a much simpler internal design, as they will no longer need to have extra surfaces to correct all the aforementioned optical flaws.
Sony’s FF sensor could be added into the RX2, while a smaller version will make its way into smartphones
Photos will turn out a lot sharper and lenses will become smaller, better, and cheaper than ever before. Nevertheless, Sony is not bringing this sensor only to the dedicated camera world. The company has confirmed that a smaller version of the sensor is also in development and will make its way into smartphones and tablets.
The smaller Sony curved sensor has a diagonal of 11mm, which means that it will be a 2/3-inch-type sensor. Similar-sized sensors are already found in smartphones, such as the Nokia Lumia 1020 as well as cameras such as the Fujifilm X20.
This may sound like a small sensor, but it is bigger than the 1/2.3-inch sensors found in devices such as the GoPro Hero3 and the 1/1.7-inch-type sensors found in cameras such as the Pentax Q7.
These are all great details and it could spark new life for declining compact camera sales. Sony has launched the RX100 III as a replacement for the RX100 II, which means that the RX1R should also be replaced anytime soon. Either way, it should not be a complete surprise if the Sony RX2 becomes official in the near future with a curved full frame sensor.