Sony to announce a curved sensor Sony A1 with "crazy high ISO"?

Curved Sensor
(Image credit: Curve One)

UPDATE: With only a few hours to go until the Sony Alpha launch event, the speculation is mounting about the mysterious 'Sony A1'. This rumored camera is said to include a curved sensor, which could result in smaller and faster lenses. However, some more potential specs have now been leaked.

Rumor website Sony Alpha Rumors has reported (opens in new tab) that one of its sources said, "I saw the unseen [camera] and trust me, you will never be blind in the dark again. CRAZY high ISO." It also seems that this new potential camera will use the E-mount and will be the "most expensive E-mount camera yet". 

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

If these rumors turn out to be true, then Sony is certainly kicking off 2021 with a bang. However, we'll have to wait for the event at 10AM EST/ 15:00 GMT (opens in new tab) to find out whether there's any fire underneath all of this smoke.

ORIGINAL STORY: The previously announced Sony launch will kick off tomorrow at 10AM EST, but it now seems that there could be an additional exciting camera added to previously rumored line-up. Past leaks have indicated that we could be seeing the Sony A9 III (opens in new tab) and the Sony A7 IV (opens in new tab) appear on 26 January. However, a new rumor suggests that Sony will also be announcing a full frame camera with a curved sensor. 

There's not a lot of concrete information about this potential new camera, as it appears that Sony is keeping its cards clutched close to its chest. Sony Alpha Rumors reported that its source said (opens in new tab) that all he had was "unofficial chatter", so it's definitely not a certainty that we'll be seeing this curved sensor camera.

So what would be the potential benefits of a camera with a curved sensor? Essentially, a curved image sensor mimics the design of the retina in the human eye, having a natural curve rather than the traditional flat design. 

Sony first revealed this technology in 2014, stating that a curved sensor design results in a simpler lens system that's 1.4x more sensitive at the center and 2x more sensitive at the edges. 

According to a report by IEEE (opens in new tab) on that original presentation by Kazuichiro Itonaga, a device manager with Sony's R&D Platform, Itonaga said, "A curved CMOS sensor has a few advantages over a planar sensor. Because of the geometry, it can be paired with a flatter lens and a larger aperture, which lets in more light." 

If a curved sensor can result in smaller, more compact lenses and wider apertures, then this technology could be a true game-changer for the camera industry. We'll have to wait and see whether Sony has managed to finally bring a curved sensor camera to market – and such a vague rumor doesn't exactly inspire oodles of confidence that it will turn out to be true. However, only time will tell…

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With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something at which she is so adept that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Louise also brings years of experience as both a web and print journalist, having served as features editor for Practical Photography magazine and contributing photography tutorials and camera analysis to titles including Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab) and  Digital Photographer (opens in new tab). Louise currently shoots with the Fujifilm X-T200 and the Nikon D800, capturing self-portraits and still life images, and is DCW's ecommerce editor, meaning that she knows good camera, lens and laptop deals when she sees them.