After the 1-inch sensor: are smartphone cameras getting bigger?

smartphone rumors

Not only is the resolution increasing, the sensors of mobile phone cameras are also getting bigger. Will Micro Four Thirds sensors soon also be available for smartphones?


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Xiaomi 12S Ultra Kamera
Xiaomi’s 12S Ultra is equipped with a 1-inch sensor. Will even larger Micro Four Thirds sensors be used in future models?
© Xiaomi

The larger a camera sensor, the more light it can capture and the better the photo quality in low light conditions. But due to the cell phone shape, larger sensors are often not feasible. Sensors in the 1-inch format measuring 12.8 mm x 9.6 mm are still the exception rather than the rule. The most prominent representative is currently the 1-inch IMX989 sensor developed by Xiaomi and Sony, which has also been used in other flagship models from Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo since it was first used in the Xiaomi 12S Ultra. So far, however, most smartphones have been working with significantly smaller sensors.

Rumor has it that even the now so exotic 1-inch sensors in smartphones are not the end of the road. Posts by a leaker point to the first potential developments affecting a so-called Micro Four Thirds sensor. This is a sensor format developed by Olympus and Panasonic with a size of 17.31 mm x 12.98 mm, which was primarily intended for mirrorless system cameras. To date, such a sensor cannot be found in smartphones.

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Do you believe that Advice from a Weibo leaker, this could change in the future. The difference in size to the usual smartphone camera sensors or the 1-inch format is enormous. Such a sensor requires correspondingly large and thick optics, which should be difficult to accommodate in most smartphone backs due to their size and shape. However, there is currently no smartphone with such a large camera.

So far, the rumor mill has only spoken of an early stage of development. The supposed plans to equip smartphones with Micro Four Thirds sensors could also come to nothing if they prove to be impractical. To date, it is not yet known who is behind this undertaking. The rumors revolve around Xiaomi and its German partner Leica, but there is no evidence for this. In general, the trend in smartphone cameras is currently towards ever larger sensors.

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