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" (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 and Fujifilm GFX 100S, 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 and Hasselblad 907X 50C, could we potentially see Hasselblad release a new flagship camera that packs 127MP?
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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.
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 and Phase One XT 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…