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Sony boss reportedly reveals Apple's plans for 8MP iPhone 5 camera - rumor

post #1 of 65
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Reports emerged on Friday that, during an interview, Sony CEO Howard Stringer had accidentally confirmed plans to supply an eight-megapixel camera for Apple's next-generation iPhone.

As noted by MacNN, reports surfaced late Friday that Stringer told The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg in an interview that a Sony camera sensor plant in Japan had been damaged by last month's earthquake, delaying shipments of sensors to Apple.

However, Sony does not currently provide image sensors to Apple, prompting speculation that the electronics giant could be set to provide a higher-resolution camera for the next iPhone. OmniVision has been Apple's camera supplier for the 5-megapixel camera on the iPhone 4 and the 3.2-megapixel sensor for the iPhone 3GS.

Stringer's slip-up has led some to believe that an earlier rumor suggesting Sony would take over for OmniVision in providing an eight-megapixel sensor is indeed accurate. In February, an analyst claimed that OmniVision would be unable to produce an eight-megapixel sensor in time for the launch of the next iPhone and that Sony would step in to for at least the first wave of orders.

According to the report, Sony's eight-megapixel sensor, which is used in the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo, would suit Apple's needs because it has a CMOS sensor for low light situations.

While the executive's comments should certainly be taken with a grain of salt, it's also possible that shipment delays of camera sensors corroborate rumors that Apple will hold off on showing new iPhone hardware at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which runs from June 6 through June 10. Apple has traditionally revealed a new version of the iPhone at WWDC in advance of a June or July release.
post #2 of 65
What’s the physical size of the sensor area? Are we just adding 60% more sensors to the same sensor area? I suppose that even if it the same size better low-light images are a good sign.
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post #3 of 65
I hope not, 8mp would be terrible on a phone camera! Please increase the sensor size before increasing mega-pixels!
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post #4 of 65
So when we get a solution from Olympus we can all laugh about the leak.
post #5 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


While the executive's comments should certainly be taken with a grain of salt, it's also possible that shipment delays of camera sensors corroborate rumors that Apple will hold off on showing new iPhone hardware at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which runs from June 6 through June 10. Apple has traditionally revealed a new version of the iPhone at WWDC in advance of a June or July release.

Big surprise is when Apple actually announces and displays the Iphone5 at the WWDC. Don't be fooled, Apple most likely has parts lined up for the Iphone5 other than Japan.
Take note of how Apple is not saying a word or dropping any hints or leaks yet.
post #6 of 65
That could explain the rumored delay of the iPhone 5
post #7 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by theguycalledtom View Post

I hope not, 8mp would be terrible on a phone camera! Please increase the sensor size before increasing mega-pixels!

I agree. Look how great the pictures/videos come out with the iPhone 4.
post #8 of 65
Sad if it's true. Apple could be one of the very few (or the only) companies that could get it through to mainstream users that "more megapixels" is not the same as "better quality".

It's supposed to be about the experience, not the specs!

For the way that I use the iPhone camera I would be happy if they reduced the number of MP all the way down to around 2MP... as long as it was matched with kick ass quality at higher ISOs.
post #9 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by BUSHMAN4 View Post

Big surprise is when Apple actually announces and displays the Iphone5 at the WWDC. Don't be fooled, Apple most likely has parts lined up for the Iphone5 other than Japan.
Take note of how Apple is not saying a word or dropping any hints or leaks yet.

Maybe Apple leaked to Dalrymple on Monday.
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post #10 of 65
Even is Sony was the supplier for the iPhone 5 it's quite possible that Steve will ruthlessly cut them out for screwing up.

His Steveness is not such a nice bloke if you reveal his future plans for world domination, took ATI years to get back into his good graces!
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post #11 of 65
I'm happy with the physical size of the current photos, I do want something higher quality. the jump from 3gs to 4 was insane. i hope its a similiar jump from ip4 to ip5 in picture quality
post #12 of 65
There's no April 1st feel about Sony giving Apple a camera at all?
post #13 of 65
Pixels are not quality, smaller sensor cells are not better.. seriously as was said up above I'd be happy if they didn't up the res ever, just improve the quality.

More interesting is how tedious it must be to have to give your competitors the jump by using their bits. Samsung studies their chips, now Sony knows their cameras, on top of all other component suppliers are probably taking bribes to leak data to competitors.

Sigh...
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post #14 of 65
These "rumours" are funny. So even if Sony is providing sensors to Apple, at what point did anyone say they were 8MP sensors? Where did that information come from? It certainly didn't come from Stringer, and it didn't come from Apple either.
post #15 of 65
No surprise about an 8MP camera. And nothing newsworthy. We know the camera will continue to change and improve. What about new features? A night camera! Infrared! Sees through clothes!

No. I don't want to know in advance. Because I'm stuck in an iPhone4 contract until Nov 2011 anyway.
post #16 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

These "rumours" are funny. So even if Sony is providing sensors to Apple, at what point did anyone say they were 8MP sensors? Where did that information come from? It certainly didn't come from Stringer, and it didn't come from Apple either.

http://www.electronista.com/articles...me.for.iphone/
post #17 of 65
Quote:

Thanks for the link, I was wondering where the 8 MP came from too.

The link still refers to it as a rumour, and its a new one to me.

Did any of you hear about this before today?
post #18 of 65
What matters more is that they keep the sensor size/pixels ratio the same or better. Cramming that many more pixels on the same sensor would introduce more noise, and require more artificial noise reduction, and overall reduce quality.
post #19 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

Sad if it's true. Apple could be one of the very few (or the only) companies that could get it through to mainstream users that "more megapixels" is not the same as "better quality".

It's supposed to be about the experience, not the specs!

For the way that I use the iPhone camera I would be happy if they reduced the number of MP all the way down to around 2MP... as long as it was matched with kick ass quality at higher ISOs.

Some of you guys are getting into a reverse mega pixel mentality (more megapixels = automatically bad) and not even bothering to do some research on the part in question. Do some research on the Xperia NEO's picture and video capability and come back and tell me this is a bad thing.
post #20 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

What’s the physical size of the sensor area? Are we just adding 60% more sensors to the same sensor area? I suppose that even if it the same size better low-light images are a good sign.

Apple's use of small, low end camera / software technology is pretty advanced. The iPhone 4 uses similar technology to the latest Nikon DSLRs that can take a photograph in a room and correctly expose the darker inside as well as the window's far brighter outside in a single shot in idiot mode. Previously high end software was used to combine several radically different exposures of Raw HD images to achieve such results. So simply comparing the hardware, be it sensor size or pixel density doesn't give the whole picture even if traditionally these were good metrics for comparisons and expected resolution / quality. This new technology is simply in another dimension. I have faith that the iPhone 5 camera will blow our socks off in price / performance and we need not worry that some Android has a seemingly better hardware configuration.
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post #21 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post

What matters more is that they keep the sensor size/pixels ratio the same or better. Cramming that many more pixels on the same sensor would introduce more noise, and require more artificial noise reduction, and overall reduce quality.

And on the video side, an increase in fps from 30 to 60 is also far more important than more pixels.

iPhone 4 "HD video" is only really HD if you aren't moving the camera. It's not bad quality, but it isn't great either.
post #22 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

And on the video side, an increase in fps from 30 to 60 is also far more important than more pixels.

iPhone 4 "HD video" is only really HD if you aren't moving the camera. It's not bad quality, but it isn't great either.

Amazing what people expect these days isn't it? I paid over $4K for a HD video camera which I only consider prosumer. The lens on it alone would cost more than two iPhones.
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post #23 of 65
The quality of a photo depends on how much light each pixel gets. With higher megapixels the amount of light each pixel gets is less if everything else is the same.
post #24 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

Sad if it's true. Apple could be one of the very few (or the only) companies that could get it through to mainstream users that "more megapixels" is not the same as "better quality".

It's supposed to be about the experience, not the specs!

For the way that I use the iPhone camera I would be happy if they reduced the number of MP all the way down to around 2MP... as long as it was matched with kick ass quality at higher ISOs.

Some of you guys are getting into a reverse mega pixel mentality (more megapixels = automatically bad) and not even bothering to do some research on the part in question. Do some research on the Xperia NEO's picture and video capability and come back and tell me this is a bad thing.

Ok, to be fair, yes... more megapixels does not automatically equal bad and you don't get awesome quality ISO quality simply by dropping the pixel count.

Having less pixels in the sensor does improve quality, but it's all a trade-off. I get that.

From what I could find of the Xperia NEO's camera it still looks crap. It's good (or even great) when compared against other smartphone cameras... but as a camera it still looks pretty crap.

Look at the iPhone 4/N8/NEO comparison here.

The NEO looks like it's doing a massive amount of post processing to clear up noise. My guess is that it's actually resolving nowhere near the 8 megapixels in the sensor.

It also blurs hideously toward the edge (possibly due to the lens rather than the sensor itself). Look at the buildings in the top right corner of the frame. The 8MP sensor in the NEO isn't even resolving as much detail as the 5MP sensor in the iPhone 4 (or maybe it is, but it's post-processing it all away).

The end result is that the extra pixels in the 8MP are kind of wasted. If the phone needs to post-process the photo back to something like 4MP just to get rid of the excess noise generated from having too many pixels packed onto the sensor... why not try having less pixels on the sensor to help reduce the excess noise and avoid the heavy post-processing in the first place!

I know that's oversimplifying it, but over the years I've seen pixel density continually increase and ISO performance continually decrease so much that I can't help but feel reducing the pixel count, at least a little, should help.
post #25 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Reports emerged on Friday that, during an interview, Sony CEO Howard Stringer had accidentally confirmed plans to supply an eight-megapixel camera for Apple's next-generation iPhone.

Surely someone at a CEO level should know better. Even Steve Ballmer is smarter than that.

Either this is an Apple-authorized leak, or Sony will be getting their plans canceled.
post #26 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

These "rumours" are funny. So even if Sony is providing sensors to Apple, at what point did anyone say they were 8MP sensors? Where did that information come from? It certainly didn't come from Stringer, and it didn't come from Apple either.

Quote:

Simply a lot of assumptions.
Sony did not (seem) to mention anything about 8MP. Just that they were going to ship product to Apple.
post #27 of 65
It was possibly an April fools day joke.
post #28 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

Ok, to be fair, yes... more megapixels does not automatically equal bad and you don't get awesome quality ISO quality simply by dropping the pixel count.

Having less pixels in the sensor does improve quality, but it's all a trade-off. I get that.

From what I could find of the Xperia NEO's camera it still looks crap. It's good (or even great) when compared against other smartphone cameras... but as a camera it still looks pretty crap.

Look at the iPhone 4/N8/NEO comparison here.

The NEO looks like it's doing a massive amount of post processing to clear up noise. My guess is that it's actually resolving nowhere near the 8 megapixels in the sensor.

It also blurs hideously toward the edge (possibly due to the lens rather than the sensor itself). Look at the buildings in the top right corner of the frame. The 8MP sensor in the NEO isn't even resolving as much detail as the 5MP sensor in the iPhone 4 (or maybe it is, but it's post-processing it all away).

The end result is that the extra pixels in the 8MP are kind of wasted. If the phone needs to post-process the photo back to something like 4MP just to get rid of the excess noise generated from having too many pixels packed onto the sensor... why not try having less pixels on the sensor to help reduce the excess noise and avoid the heavy post-processing in the first place!

I know that's oversimplifying it, but over the years I've seen pixel density continually increase and ISO performance continually decrease so much that I can't help but feel reducing the pixel count, at least a little, should help.

Cool site. You can really compare the difference in quality between the different cameras. To me they all have good enough quality. Unless you are printing out glossy's or zooming way in, it's tough to tell the difference between 3MP, 5MP, and 8MP cameras. In all the cameras I compared the iPhone 4 looked the best mainly because its pictures had the brightest and most vibrant colors. What I really want is better pictures of moving objects. I have a 2 year old daughter, and she rarely stays still long enough for me to take a picture.
post #29 of 65
CCD's are slightly better at high light levels, while CMOS sensors are better (much) at low light levels. Sony pioneered the backlit sensor which has better performance at smaller sensing sites. The 5MP sensor Apple uses is also a backlit sensor.

300 DPI is pretty much considered to be an ideal resolution for prints sized 12x16 down. But my own testing in my lab showed that for most prints 200 DPI was perfectly fine for most people. The first requires a resolution from a 4/3 sensor of 8 MP, the second, 5 MP for an 8x10 print.

So the real question is; what size prints are people making from their phones, and how critical are they? It turns out that few people go bigger than about 6x8. But even at 8x10, 5 MP is fine.

But, there's something interesting that's going on here that has to be considered as well. When we work with high quality cameras and talk about noise, we notice something that most people don't know about. This is a phenomena that arises at the point where the individual pixel is small enough to just barely be seen. That is, if two images have the same per pixel noise, the image with the smaller pixels (higher resolution) appears to have less noise in the print, or onscreen image. If the image with the smaller pixels has slightly more noise per pixel, it can appear to have the same amount of noise as the print with larger pixels.

This depends on some math to determine the pixel size differences vs the amount of noise. It means that if the 8 MP sensor is slightly noisier, on the same size print, it could look the same as far as noise goes, but could be sharper, depending on lens quality and focussing accuracy.

In addition, when a print is made, noise is less critical than it is in an onscreen image viewed at 100%.
post #30 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgl323 View Post

I agree. Look how great the pictures/videos come out with the iPhone 4.

That is the funniest joke I heard all day! The camera is the weakest link on the iPhone 4.
post #31 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by msuberly View Post

That is the funniest joke I heard all day! The camera is the weakest link on the iPhone 4.

Youll have to back that up with some facts. Luckily there are plenty of non-partisan websites that have done all the research for you.
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post #32 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by msuberly View Post

That is the funniest joke I heard all day! The camera is the weakest link on the iPhone 4.

Maybe so, but the iPhone 4 camera is considered to be one of the best, if not the best camera on a cell phone, except for a couple of phones that are really cameras with crummy phones tacked on.
post #33 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by tzeshan View Post

The quality of a photo depends on how much light each pixel gets. With higher megapixels the amount of light each pixel gets is less if everything else is the same.


Given the same sensor performance, if they can some how increase the sensor(chip area, not individual sensor) size, should be a good thing.

If chip size does not increase, then it gets down to performance. Is the Sony sensor a better performer? Then sure, cram some more in.

One could say in general, sensors have increased performance, allowing decreasing or same chip size
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post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

Some of you guys are getting into a reverse mega pixel mentality (more megapixels = automatically bad) and not even bothering to do some research on the part in question. Do some research on the Xperia NEO's picture and video capability and come back and tell me this is a bad thing.

All other things being equal, more pixels IS bad.

Sure, you could improve the individual pixel elements to make make up for the effects of small pixels. But then you are comparing different pixel technology. Using a newer type of pixel to make up for cramming more of them in the same space.

But then I'd say take that same new pixel technology and put it in the same size as the "old" pixel, and you'll get an even better picture. That would be my preference. Use the new technology to improve the overall picture quality and have better low light performance, not to increase the number of pixels while maintaining current quality levels.

And of course we haven't even gotten into lens quality and diffraction limitations in a camera module that small. Cram in more pixels and you'll eventually get to the point where all you are doing is highlighting the limits of the rest of the components.
post #35 of 65
How about getting at least a 2 MP camera into the iPod touch while they are at it?
post #36 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

All other things being equal, more pixels IS bad.

Sure, you could improve the individual pixel elements to make make up for the effects of small pixels. But then you are comparing different pixel technology. Using a newer type of pixel to make up for cramming more of them in the same space.

But then I'd say take that same new pixel technology and put it in the same size as the "old" pixel, and you'll get an even better picture. That would be my preference. Use the new technology to improve the overall picture quality and have better low light performance, not to increase the number of pixels while maintaining current quality levels.

And of course we haven't even gotten into lens quality and diffraction limitations in a camera module that small. Cram in more pixels and you'll eventually get to the point where all you are doing is highlighting the limits of the rest of the components.

In general, I agree. Offhand though, it's hard to say without having the device in hand. We see better sensors as time goes by. At some point that pixel level quality will have reached a maximum, and no more progress will be possible without a new way of doing things. We're not there yet, but we're not that far away either.

Lens quality is becoming an issue. With low Rez sensors, cheap lenses are fine, especially because today, even a single element lens is aspheric, and so better than the simple meniscus lens of yore. When two elements are used with a diaphragm in between, it's amazing how good they can be; for a cheap lens, that is.

Canon has made an announcement that they are no longer expanding the EF lens line because with 18 MP sensors, "L" lens IQ is required to get the most out of the sensor, and they're hurriedly upgrading those "L" lenses as well. As cell camera sensors get to higher pixel densities, they will rapidly run into the laws of physics, where no more resolution from even a perfect lens will resolve the tiny sensing sites. That's an issue being debated even for full frame 35mm sensor camera and lenses. Fortunately, smaller coverage lenses are easier to make, and can be sharper than larger lenses, but that concept breaks down at a certain sensor resolution.

I see no point in going to anything higher than 10 MP, and that not going to offer much advantage, no matter how quiet the sensor is. But if it's done well, 8 MP can offer better IQ. If this is true, we'll just have to wait and see.
post #37 of 65
I know you guys don't want to hear this. But it needs to be said. Most of this thread shows how spoiled we have become. There was a time (not too long ago) when cameras on a phone were part of dreamville, let alone video.

I have a 3MP camera in my phone. I see it as a connivence but not as a camera for taking quality pictures. If you want to take photos, a real camera will always work better than a phone. Just like DSLRs won't do video better than a dedicated video camera.

Why do people think they are justified in expecting their phone should do it all better than or even close to the real thing. Phones are for calling. Cameras are for still photos. Video cameras are for moving pictures. There I've said it!
post #38 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljocampo View Post

I know you guys don't want to hear this. But it needs to be said. Most of this thread shows how spoiled we have become. There was a time (not too long ago) when cameras on a phone was dreamsville, let alone video.

I have a 3MP camera in my phone. I see it as a connivence but not as a camera for taking quality pictures. I you want to take photos, a real camera will always work better than a phone. Just like DSLRs won't do video better than a video camera.

Why do people think they are justified expect their phone should do it all better than or even close to the real things. Phones are for calls. Cameras are for Photos. Video cameras are for moving pictures. There I've said it!

Happy you've said it, but it isn't always true. It's been said that the best camera is the one you have with you. That's really true. Right now, the most popular compact camera in the world is the iPhone. It takes pretty good pictures. If Apple could get a 3:1 optical zoom in the thing, something that's being worked on in a number of labs, and decent image stabilization, it would totally kill the low end compact camera.

If Apple can get a good 8MP sensor as well, it would take care of almost all photo needs most people have. The last thing would be a stronger flash.

As far as shooting video with a 35mm SLR goes, we can look to the commercial Tv and movie industry which uses Canon 5DmkII's in special mounts for the purpose. It works pretty well, and has a number of advantages. But we're now seeing from Sony, Panasonic, and JVC, video cameras with the somewhat less effective 4:3 and APS C sensors. I imagine that Canon will follow.

This is a rapidly moving field, and I wouldn't want to be too dogmatic until we reach the limits that physics imposes upon it.
post #39 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

Some of you guys are getting into a reverse mega pixel mentality (more megapixels = automatically bad) and not even bothering to do some research on the part in question. Do some research on the Xperia NEO's picture and video capability and come back and tell me this is a bad thing.

It is a bad thing. Higher pixel density means more photosites. More photosites in close proximity generate more heat. More heat generates noise, especially at high ISOs.

Even large sensor pro cameras have faced this challenge: DSLRs from Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Sony and Leica all have had to make compromises in this regard. The Nikon D3x, which is their top of the line body at 24.5MP ($7600 street price) actually gets inferior high-ISO performance than the D3s 12.1MP body ($5200 street), which is why the D3x is intended more as a sports (in bright light) and studio camera and the D3s is intended more as a street and photojournalist camera. While new models have continued to bring better performance in this regard, until someone makes a radical breakthrough in sensor design, this will continue to be the case.

And I don't know how big the sensor in an iPhone is, but I suspect it's smaller than the smallest of the point & shoots. The smallest sensor in P&S cameras is generally 1/2.5" (.4"), but I suspect the iPhone sensor is far smaller. It's amazing it works as well as it does. A 1/2.5" sensor has only 2.9% of the area of a 35mm-sized sensor and about 6.6% the area of a typical APS-sized sensor.
post #40 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by sippincider View Post

Even Steve Ballmer is smarter than that.



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