You’re surrounded by cameras: there probably is a smartphone, a notebook and some security cameras thereabouts. They all have one characteristic in common: the image sensor that receives light passing through the lens is flat. But Sony presented a CMOS sensor slightly curved, to be used in future full-frame and smartphones, cameras and this is the first picture taken:
The same question we did with the appearance of the curves in smartphone screens can be made here too: how is curved image sensor? Fortunately, unlike the first case, there are some very encouraging responses.
Current cameras have sensor plane, but the lenses that project the image on the sensor are not flat. Therefore it is necessary to correct some defects such as distortion field (when a straight line appears curved), chromatic aberration (especially noticeable in areas of high contrast) and astigmatism (blurred images). For this, additional elements are included in optical systems: the Lumia 1020 has 6 lenses, and zoom lenses for DSLR cameras can exceed 20 elements.
But if the image sensors are also curved, following the natural curvature of the lens, it will allow the manufacture of simple optical systems: the light rays entering at oblique angles no longer need to be corrected to be projected onto a flat surface. In practice, this means that we can have lighter, cheaper and easier to produce lenses.
In a similar curvature to the human eye, Sony promises that the sensor has sensitivity to light 40% larger at the center and the edges 100% higher, which will reduce the level of noise in darker environments. Also because of the format, the darkening in the corners of the picture, something that photographers call vignette, simply does not exist in the above photo taken with the curved image sensor.
Curved image sensors are not exactly new, but it is the first time that a big company like Sony (which has as one of its main customers Nikon) is able to produce these components in bulk for full-frame cameras and smartphones – by least 100 units have been manufactured. Discover more about the possibilities and the image quality of these sensors in the coming years.