Huawei P50 could have the biggest image sensor ever seen on a smartphone

Huawei will unveil its next photography-focused flagship smartphone, the Huawei P50 series, in the coming months. A new leak suggests it will bring a major camera upgrade.

Huawei’s P series of smartphones has often been the first to bring certain innovations to the market, ranging from low light photography, smarter AI, periscopic zoom lenses and more. With the P50 series, it might take a leap bigger than any other smartphone.

A Huawei leakster that goes by the name of Teme took to Twitter to talk about how Sony will unveil a new smartphone image sensor in April called the IMX800. It is claimed to have a diagonal size of 1-inch, making it the largest one on a smartphone yet. The RYYB configuration is also said to be retained for better light sensitivity.

Most point-and-shoot cameras have a 1-inch image sensor

Sensors have the biggest impact on the look of an image, where a bigger one is invariably better for higher quality, better low-light photography, etc. The reason why a DSLR produces cleaner images than a smartphone is due to the significantly larger sensor. Most modern smartphones typically have a sensor in the range of 1/2-inches, with some of the higher-end ones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra’s 108MP camera coming in at 1/1.33-inches.

While a bigger sensor has its advantages, something as large as a 1-inch sensor will take up a lot more space across all three axes. Smartphone camera bumps have already gotten far too big to look good. It will also have to be balanced out with a smaller aperture to have a usable plane of focus. Lastly, there are also power consumption implications of running such a large sensor.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro's large camera module (Image credit: Future)

In a follow-up tweet, he shared what he expects to be the camera configuration on the series. The regular Huawei P50 is said to a primary, ultra-wide and telephoto combination, the P50 Pro will use a periscopic zoom camera instead of the telephoto lens, while the Huawei P50 Pro Plus is expected to sport a quad-camera setup with a large primary sensor, an ultra-wide lens, a short telephoto camera and a periscopic zoom camera.

Historically too, Huawei has partnered with Sony to create custom image sensors for its smartphones. 

We suggest that you take this information with a grain of salt as none of this has been confirmed by Huawei or Sony. The launch is supposed to take place in late March or early April, at least in China. Global availability is likely to be limited.

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