Sony Exmor IMX220 sensor (image 001)

Most of the iPhone 6 rumors floating around the blogosphere seem to point to Apple passing on the megapixel race. The firm instead appears to focus on advancing mobile photography using a number of hardware and software techniques to produce better-looking images.

These range from optical image stabilization to using larger pixels and enhanced filters for better low-light performance to providing a wider aperture to let more light in.

And just as the pundits have started to accept that the iPhone 6’s back camera will be eight megapixels comes a new report alleging that Apple will switch to a Sony-made 13-megapixel module in its upcoming iPhone refresh. Interestingly, the same unit is expected to appear on the Sony Xperia Z3 handset…

Citing a Chinese forum post [Google translate], GforGames is reporting that Sony’s module is capable of recording 1080p videos (3840 x 1080 resolution sampling). For those wondering, the publication mentions that the source “has a great track record” when it comes to Sony rumors.

Pictured top of post and below, the Sony Exmor IMX220 module (you can check it out on Alibaba – it sells for $27 a pop) is a larger 1/2.3-inch sensor that can offer up to 20-megapixel mobile photography.

Apple will obviously use its 13-megapixel variant, the story alleges, with Sony’s upcoming Xperia Z3 reportedly expected to tap the same sensor to enable 20-megapixel shooting capabilities.

Sony Exmor IMX220 sensor (image 002)

Keep in mind that Sony has been supplying Apple with back-facing iSight camera sensors since the iPhone 4s. For example, the iPhone 4s and iPhone 5 use Sony’s Exmor IMX145 unit while the iPhone 5s comes outfitted with a newer Exmor sensor.

Also, Apple typically increases camera resolution in its S-upgrades.

Sony also makes cameras for Samsung and Huawei smartphones and was recently rumored to be displacing OmniVision  as a supplier of the front-facing FaceTime camera in 2015 iPhone models.

Do you care about the megapixels?

  • Andrew Roth

    Um… The Z3 is going to have at least a 20 MP camera… Anything less would be downgrading the camera rather than upgrading it…

    • JayDee917

      You apparently don’t understand how cameras work. More megapixels does not mean better pictures. Sometimes the opposite could be true actually.

      • Andrew Roth

        Lol adding megapixels is never bad. And like I said in my other comments, it can make or break a photo. It’s not that the only thing that matters, no, but it does matter. A lot.

      • James Gunaca

        Sensor quality matters more than megapixels. Period.

        50 megapixels with a shitty sensor will not be better than 8 megapixels with a great sensor.

        Case in point, DSLR cameras. A 13 megapixel DSLR compared to a 13 megapixel phone camera. The difference? The sensor.

      • James Gunaca

        Megapixel just adds to the file size anyway. Don’t need more storage eating pixels if the sensor doesn’t improve as well.

      • Laura Frank

        I switched to iPhone from Android because of the 4 inch screen, it would also be hypocritical for Apple not to release a 4 inch iPhone 6 after years of pushing the iPhone as a one handed device.

      • Shingo

        love ya boobies

      • Andrew Roth

        That’s where you’re wrong. Once you reach a certain point, they don’t matter. We haven’t reached that point yet. You can have a great picture, but if it’s grainy as heck, it doesn’t matter.

      • James Gunaca

        Megapixels aren’t the biggest contributor to grainy pictures; light and ISO are. That’s where the sensor comes in. Phones don’t have powerful sensors like SLRs because they’re so small, but they’re making improvements and narrowing the gap. Just adding more megapixels won’t decrease graininess or combat poor lighting conditions.

      • Andrew Roth

        I’m not talking about it being a little bit fuzzy. I’m talking about it looking like the attached image. That’s what a 3 MP camera is with no zoom, and what a 5 MP camera is with a little zoom.

      • James Gunaca

        I see your point. But even so, I’m not looking for detail that far away nor should people be taking photos from a phone to blow up to print professionally. That’s why there are professional cameras.

      • Andrew Roth

        Lol there needs to be some detail though. You can’t even tell those are deer in the picture…

      • Steven Honey

        Don’t forget the iPhone does not have expandable storage and photos from a 20 megapixle camera will eat up a lot of storage.

      • Andrew Roth

        Point taken. That’s probably why they’re making things more cloud based. Plus rumor is that there will be no 16 GB version. 🙂

      • James Gunaca

        Exactly.

        But icloud photo library should help alleviate these woes like iTunes Match has for music.

        Now if I could just get att to stop throttling my unlimited data….

      • Andrew Roth

        Well I would suggest Republic Wireless but I guess that probably wouldn’t help since you couldn’t bring your iPhone…

      • James Gunaca

        Not sure that’s even a US carrier? We don’t have such options here anymore.

      • felixtaf

        He said it coz all the Z lineups have 20MP cameras. So anything less will be downgrade in Z series.

      • Andrew Roth

        Yeah I know that’s what they meant

  • Andrew Roth

    Megapixels matter. People say it’s not the only thing that matters, and that’s true, but they do matter.

    • felixtaf

      Edit: From a HTC One Owner.
      You should add this disclaimer too… 😉

      Agree with you. Megapixels do matter, but it isnt everything. Its one of the factor that influences image quality.

  • Tony Trenkle Jr.

    I just wanna know if the iphone 6 is gonna shoot 4K…my guess is no since we havent heard it yet. Maybe the 5.5 inch one will?

  • Captain Canada

    By saying “also, Apple typically increases camera resolution in its S-upgrades.” The author suggests that this rumour will not manifest. The thing is that the iPhone has had an 8 megapixel camera since the 4S, the megapixel bump was skipped on the 5s so I personally expect a 13 megapixel sensor in the 6.

    Sidenote: It is unfortunate there has only been rumours of a 4.7 and 5.5 inch screens. I switched to iPhone from Android because of the 4 inch screen, it would also be hypocritical for Apple not to release a 4 inch iPhone 6 after years of pushing the iPhone as a one handed device.

    Fingers crossed for a 4 inch version as well.

    • Andrew Roth

      I partially agree, but when I had a Moto X from Republic Wireless for a few months, it takes a little getting used to, but a 4.7″ screen can still be used with one hand comfortably, if it’s done right. Most people don’t do it right, but I have confidence that Apple would.

    • @dongiuj

      Apple is no different from its fans as to how it contradicts itself.

  • nazcorp

    “Also, Apple typically increases camera resolution in its S-upgrades.”
    What does this have to do with anything in your article? If anything you are discrediting yourself in posting this article with that comment included.

    • JayDee917

      I took that as meaning it’s possible they will use this camera, because it’s upgradable for the S version.

    • Andrew Roth

      Lol I thought that, too.

  • Wesh

    I care more so about hardware Optical Image Stabilisation.

  • Macdemon

    I would rather see Zeiss optics being used for the lenses, and maybe more UV coating and a few more elements as well, THAT will make for a SUPER sharp and SUPER clear photo, not squeezing in more megapixels.

  • Rosesmith placencio

    yeah i do because when you want nice picture to put as profile on anything you want it to look nice that pixel

  • Shingo

    SD card slot ples…..

    • Would be so unApplish like iOS 8, which is awesome!

  • n0ahcruz3

    Add megapixel and ois! That would be awesome