Teardown reveals Sony image sensors in iPhone 7: Digital Photography Review

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Patent and technology consultancy Chipworks has published its iPhone 7 teardown and reveals that front and rear image sensors on the new Apple models are supplied by market leader Sony. This is not too much of a surprise as earlier iPhone models used Sony sensors as well. In its report Chipworks doesn’t say which exact sensor model has been deployed in the rear camera but we know the 12MP chip uses the Exmor RS technology platform, a Bayer RGB color filter array and on-sensor phase detection. Its die size is 5.16 mm x 6.25 mm (32.3 mm2) as measured from the edges of the die stack. 

On the FaceTime front camera the resolution has been increased to 7MP. The Sensor is also a second generation Sony Exmor RS model and measures 5.05 mm x 3.72 mm (18.8 mm2). Chipworks has not treated the larger iPhone 7 Plus model with its dual-camera to the teardown procedure yet, but we would expect both sensors in the dual-camera to come from Sony as well. For now you can find more technical detail in the iPhone 7 teardown on the Chipworks blog.

“But two nasty surprises have been discovered which may cause owners of the iPhone 7 to regret their purchase…
Apple has ditched its premium sapphire glass both the new home button & lens:

The revelation comes after JerryRigEverything used tools to determine makeup of surfaces on the Mohs’ scale of mineral hardness. Previously his tests on the iPhone 6S confirmed the presence of sapphire, but this time both the new home button and larger camera of the iPhone 7 scratched easily using picks that do not damage sapphire.
He concludes: “we know for sure that it is regular glass and not sapphire.”

And here’s where it gets interesting, Apple still advertises that both the iPhone 7 &iPhone 7 Plus as using sapphire ( considerably more expensive than toughened glass) on the home button & camera lens. Given the new iPhones are marketed as more durable than ever this would be a major let down. I have put these claims to Apple will update when/if the company responds.”

You mentioned earlier that it wasn’t a big deal that Apple would mislabel the camera lens as sapphire when it wasn’t. Probably assuming that no one would care that a tiny piece of glass would be covered.

I made a point that I do care since the glass being sapphire has made a difference between my 6S and all the previous iPhones I had before. If there are independent tests that show the lens isn’t as scratch resistance as the previous generation, while Apple claims otherwise, it would be a pretty decent deal in my mind.

Other than that, I have the 7+ now, as I don’t trust internet opinions above my own. I plan on returning it as the negligible differences between it and the 6S aren’t worth it. I suggest people seeking an upgrade save hundreds and get the 6S instead.

I has little to do with marketing. Even though Sony has hardware, their software department is a train wreck and has always been. Their camera app is horrendous and slow, their exposure and WB metering is hit and miss and their noise reduction and sharpening algorithms turn images into oil paintings. Oh, and putting an easily scratchable plastic camera cover lens on a flagship phone should be a freaking crime, but Sony feels it is just fine to do that over an over again.

So no, it’s not only about marketing or image quality, it’s also about consistency, ease of use and convenience. Sony makes great sensors, but they have a lot to learn from Apple of Samsung in phone imaging area. No one needs “more control over settings” on their phone, need to be able to point and shoot and get good results, which works way better on an iPhone than Sony Zs.

And your “No one needs more control over settings on their phone” is an absolutely ridiculous statement, because if you can shoot at a lower ISO at a given situation why should you let your camera decide that for your and they 99% of the times decided that you need a much higher ISO than necessary? Are you a photographer or a casual snapper?

To me your reply sounds more like the cries of a fanboy than anything rational. I had iPhones before and I would definitely not go back to them and one of the main reasons is the camera and the controls. If I am being given more tools for a job for no extra why would I say no? If not for having been brainwashed by the marketing.

@Preternatural Stuff,
Why are you talking about Sony cameras in a discussion about phones? Or do you think it’s the same people at Sony who make ALL the software? And I have never said it was “only” Sony’s problem. Yes, many other manufacturers do the same, but how does that change what I have said? “Others make crap, so let’s make crap too”? There are examples of good software so it’s not an excuse.

However, if you want discuss cameras, then we can do that: their software is mostly crap too. Even most hardcore fans of Sony kind of agree about menus and settings needing a MAJOR redesign. The new A6500 has a 1-second touch screen lag for god’s sake! Is that acceptable to you too? That’s not a hardware problem. You are either in denial or you have never used an actually convenient software that provides streamlined user experience. Either way, you are wrong.

PS: Professional software does not always mean “good” software. That’s a fact that any actual professional knows for a fact.

iPhone 6’s sensor size is 1/3″ and lens is f/2.2. So iPhone 7 shall have one stop advantage over iPhone 6s.

>>> “reveals Sony image sensors in iPhone 7”?

it always surprises me how difficult it is for some people to identify a joke in an online forum.

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