Wednesday, February 6, 2013

HTC M7 Camera to Feature "Ultra-Pixels"

Looks like the megapixel race might be about to end (ok, I'm being overly optimistic). Just the other day I was talking about a new image sensor developed by Panasonic that promises to fully use 100% of the incoming light, and now it seems like the new HTC M7 will have a camera featuring ultrapixels.

But... what are these ultrapixels?

A while back I explained how image sensors worked, and how our digital color cameras mostly use monchrome image sensors fitted with Bayer pattern filters to actually figure out each color. But that also means that each color pixel isn't actually real, but estimated based on the pixels next to it. To actually be truly accurate we'd need to use at least three or four pixels with a color pattern to make one real color pixel. But you might imagine how that would go in the marketing department: "how do you mean our 8MP image sensor only produces a 2MP color image!?!"

But, there are different color image sensors, like Foveon:

Instead of wasting pixels with color filters, these sensors are stacked in layers, with each layer capturing a specific color. Meaning, each pixel is actually a "color pixel" and won't suffer from the interpolation estimation done in the bayer pattern image sensors.

This is the kind of sensor HTC will be using in their upcoming M7 flagship, and let's hope the differences will make it worth the wait.

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