Sony IMX586 was perhaps the most popular camera sensor this year and proved revolutionary for photography on mid-range phones. It was among the first 48MP sensors to go official and was largely considered superior to Samsung rivals like Isocell Bright GM1 and Isocell Bright GM2.

It’s been more than a year since the Sony IMX586 launched and we have been waiting for an upgrade from the company. Meanwhile, Samsung has already launched 64MP and 108MP sensors that OEMs are rushing to for obvious marketing advantages. The good news is that Sony could soon catchup or supersede with the new IMX686. 

In fact, the company has already started promoting IMX686, which implies it’s likely to go official in the next couple of weeks. We don’t have an exact date, though.  

As most of you would know, the Sony’s quad-pixel sensor, Sony IMX586, squeezes 4 tiny pixels under one Bayer filter color pixel and combines the information collected by four adjoining pixels, thus resulting in better details, and lesser noise. The sensor actually does more than just that and can be split into two virtual halves to shoot and combine images at different exposures, resulting in a wider dynamic range. 

This is broadly the same concept technology that Samsung used and further scaled to its 64MP sensor (GW1) and more recently to 108MP Isocell Bright HMX sensor that’s grabbing all the limelight these days. 

Sony IMX686 teased in China

Sony has already showcased some camera samples shot from the new sensor in a promotional video on its China official social media page, and yes there’s an astral photography sample too. The video makes it clear that these shots were taken using the Sony IMX586, A prototype board, and PC – which is to say that we might have to wait some more before the sensor shows up in real-world phones.  

As excited as we might be, it would be unwise to read too much into these camera samples, but here, have a look. 

Sony IMX686 Camera Samples

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