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Sony announces 127.68MP global shutter sensor… is a Fujifilm GFX 125 on the way?

Sony IMX661 Sony 127MP sensor
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has announced a monster medium format-sized 127.68MP global shutter image sensor, the Sony IMX661, boasting "the industry's highest effective pixel count of 127.68 megapixels (opens in new tab)" (more on that claim in a moment).

While the Sony IMX661 is listed as being for industrial equipment, this doesn't necessarily prescribe the end use (image sensors described as being for industry still sometimes end up in consumer cameras). So it does prompt the joining of dots: Sony makes a 102MP medium format sensor used by the Fujifilm GFX 100 (opens in new tab) and Fujifilm GFX 100S (opens in new tab), so will this 127MP sensor be used in a Fujifilm GFX 125?

Indeed, since Sony also provides the medium format sensors used by the Hasselblad X1D II 50C (opens in new tab) and Hasselblad 907X 50C (opens in new tab), could we potentially see Hasselblad release a new flagship camera that packs 127MP? 

• Read more: Best medium format camera (opens in new tab)

The IMX661 features Sony's Pregius global shutter technology for coveted distortion-free images, with a readout speed four times faster than the manufacturer's standard 12.37MP global shutter sensor. 

Here you can see the size of the Sony IMX661 image sensor compared to a standard 1.1-type sensor (Image credit: Sony)
(opens in new tab)

This is achieved by a chip-on-wafer process (whereby certain functions are provided by chips stacked on top of the pixel wafer) along with Sony's proprietary Scalable Low Voltage Signaling with Embedded Clock (SLVS-EC) standard. All of which enables the IMX661 to deliver full-pixel 10-bit readouts at 21.8fps, 12-bit: at 19.6 fps and 14-bit at 12.9 fps.

The sensor features a pixel size of 3.45 μm, with 13,400 x 9,528 effective megapixels across its 46.2mm x 32.9mm dimensions – slightly physically larger than the standard 43.8mm x 32.9mm image sensor used in the GFX 100. In other words, this could feasibly – if not likely – be used in a GFX body. (You can check out the full specs in Sony's announcement).

Now, back to Sony's claim of this being "the industry's highest effective pixel count of 127.68 megapixels" – of course, that comes with caveats. After all, the Phase One XF IQ4 (opens in new tab) and Phase One XT (opens in new tab) both feature 151MP true medium format sensors (not the cropped medium format used by Fujifilm and Hasselblad). 

Still, whether or not it makes it into a consumer camera, the fact that Sony has developed a 127MP medium format sensor with global shutter is truly remarkable. Who knows what else the manufacturer is developing in parallel with it…

Read more: 

Hands on Fujifilm GFX 100S review (opens in new tab)
Fujifilm GFX 100 review (opens in new tab)
Hasselblad X1D II 50C review
(opens in new tab)Hasselblad 907X 50C review (opens in new tab)
The 12 highest resolution cameras you can buy today (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.