Curved TVs and phones are already a fad, so why not camera sensors?

Nikkei reports that Sony has released the first image ever taken with a curved CMOS sensor, which Sony developed for compact and full-frame cameras. The new image sensor features a curvature similar to the human eye that helps to fix optical distortions normally created by flat sensors.

Sony also hopes curved sensors will feature greater light sensitivity, provide better image quality and pave the way to simpler lenses.

Typically the problem of capturing an image with a curved sensor is light rays that pass the lens at an angle. This creates distortions, vignetting and a host of other problems that have to be corrected with extra glass elements in lenses.

However with a curved camera sensor, light rays would be able to enter the camera in a straight line and remove the need for bulky and heavy lenses.

A working, experimental concept

Sony, Curved Sensors, compact cameras, full-frame cameras, compact cameras, Newstrack
Lots of detail to pixel peep (credit: Nikkei)

The first image out of the sensor might not be a high-resolution sample but it's enough proof to show Sony has something that actually works rather than a concept in early development.

Thus far, Sony has produced a 2/3-inch prototype sensor for use with compact cameras and a full-frame version.

Rumors picked up by The Phoblographer suggested this sensor might make its way into the next Sony RX1 fixed lens, full-frame compact. However, Sony informed DP Review that the sensor is nowhere close to a 24-million pixel resolution.

Sony also indicated that it would be difficult to design high-power zoom lenses to work with the curved sensor, so it may be some time before the company figures out a way to properly implement its new sensor with a consumer camera.