iPhone 4S camera manufactured by Sony

iPhone 4S camera manufactured by Sony

Summary: Take a special look at the technology needed to deliver 8 megapixel images and 1080p video at 30 fps.


The guys at Chipworks have been busy tearing down the new 8 megapixel camera found inside Apple's new iPhone 4S.

Using an infrared microscope that can look through the structure into the base layers, Chipworks discovered these die marking hidden several layers below the surface:

iPhone 4S camera manufactured by Sony

Image credit: Chipworks


Think that's an awesome shot? Take a look at this X-ray cross-section of the camera. This is the technology needed to deliver 8 megapixel images and 1080p video at 30 fps:

Image creditChipworks

I encourage you to take a look at the high-res image of that X-ray cross-section ... it's absolutely gorgeous.

Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility

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  • RE: iPhone 4S camera manufactured by Sony

    Hey, doesn't Nokia already have a 12mp camera phone out? I think it has carl zeiss optics too, and I think I heard the optics were glass and not plastic? Which camera is better, this 8mp one or the 12mp one?
    • Pixel count alone does not determine picture quality.

      Some people say that cameras with a smaller pixel count have larger sensor elements, which have better light-gathering ability, and therefore work better in low-light situations.
      • Is that the case here?

        Or are you totally guessing?
      • Not only that; iPhone 4S' aperture is significantly better than Nokia's

        @Userama: the wider aperture, the more light it allows.

        HTC Titan has even better aperture than iPhone 4S (f/2.2 against f/2.4), but the sensor itself in iPhone is better since it is physically bigger and it has IR filter, id est better colours and white balance, and Apple uses A5's built-in Image Signal Processor for that.

        Also, iPhone 4S sensor is times faster than any other, what, among other things, allows to shoot 1080p videos (HTC Titan can not do this).

        For better optical clarity through all width and height of the picture iPhone 4S has additional lens, what is not available in any other smartphone.

        And the video gets not purely software stabilization as usual, but software-hardware-based, using gyroscope and accelerometers for that.

        Overall, iPhone 4S is by far the best for photos and shoots among any smartphone and even better than any cameraphone in certain areas.

        Of course, Sony NEX or bigger DSLR cameras will always shoot and film better, but at least now there is little sense spending $200 on dedicated point-to-shoot camera. iPhone 4S pretty much covers this segment.
      • DeRSSS: again, you are totally guessing

        You have absolutely no idea what the cameras are like in other phones. You are simply assuming that Apple's specs are the best.

        You should stop. You are making yourself look bad.
      • Just totally guessing, TB (or should I say NZ?)

        As I said, that observation was a general statement I've seen other people make. I have not tried the 4S myself, so have no idea how it works for low-light shots.
        I do know that the 720p video from my iPhone 4 looks pretty dang good on a 47-inch HDTV. The 1080p on the 4S must REALLY be eye-popping.
      • Some people get like that, toddybottom

        "If it says Apple on it, then it's automaticlly the best there ever was".

        I don't understand it either.
        William Farrell
      • Where I was 'assuming'?


        Which other smartphone cameras have:
        1) IR filter (better colours, white balance),
        2) additional lens (for clarity and optical uniformity)
        3) use of Image signal processor (multipurpose)
        4) gyroscope and accelerometer-enabled video stabilization?

        <b>There is nothing to assume here</b>, these are the best characteristics for a smartphone camera, period.

        The fifth could be bigger apperture, 2.4/f, but, as I said above, the likes of HTC Titan surpassed iPhone 4S in that. But since Titan's camera is worse in other areas, overall iPhone 4S is by far best for this purpose among smartphones.

        You are ignoring 4S' factual characteristics -- what is it, some belief system that prevents you to accept the reality?

        You should stop. You are making yourself look bad.
      • DeRSSS: Answer this question

        How many lenses do other smartphones have?<br><br>What are they made of?<br><br>You don't know. You don't even know if 5 lenses is better than 3. We already know that 8MP is not necessarily better than 5MP.<br><br>You simply assume that because Apple says the iPhone has 5, that must be better than everyone else.<br><br>I don't know how many lenses other smartphone cameras have.<br><br>Neither do you.<br><br>Stop regurgitating everything that Apple tells you. It makes you look bad.
      • Camera elements were dissected already and they are all standard four-lens

        @toddybottom: ... system (unless it is cameraphone, rather than smartphone), so no need to guess. There more about other many points which you could not question.
      • RE: iPhone 4S camera manufactured by Sony

        @DeRSSS You can have the best specs in the world but it isn't going to matter if you don't give people control...

        Crud, I heard all about the iPhone 4 Camera when I was using my HTC Incredible... The Incredible gave me total control over White Balance, ISO and several other functions while the iPhone 4 pretty much just locked me to Auto-WB and Auto-ISO... The End Result, I was able to get much better images in many situations using the Incredible than I am from the iPhone 4.

        As for the two sensors, They're both 8MP BSI Sensors and as far as I know there's been no teardown of the Titan so we can't say if the 4s Sensor is Physically Larger or not but both are very similar.

        Reality, the Droid X was the first Smartphone to put an actual camera in the phone and it had an actual focal plane shutter which Apple is still lacking so Flash Sync Speed is 2nd to the Droid X (on pretty much every phone out there) and that was 8 MP Image Stabilized as well.

        As for being faster, that remainst to be seen and my Nex is better by far.
      • DeRSSS: You are lying about other cameras

        You are really making yourself look bad.
    • RE: iPhone 4S camera manufactured by Sony

      @mgrubb@... Nokia had a 12MP camera in the N8 back in 2010 but that was only capable of 720p video. The N9 has an 8MP cam with Carl Zeiss optics but again that's only 720p when it comes to video.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • RE: iPhone 4S camera manufactured by Sony

    No that would be the sensor that is made by Sony as are 90% of the small camera sensors on the market so why is this news?
  • RE: iPhone 4S camera manufactured by Sony

    For some, a series of expectations about Apple's next generation phone including various specifications and a predicted name ??? "iPhone 5" ??? were built up in the time preceding its debut.-<a href="http://companypond.com/unilifealanshortall">Unilife Alan Shortall</a>