Sony has revealed its new range of Exmor RS image sensors and camera modules which could be winging their way into your next smartphone or tablet. The CMOS sensors, which will also feature in devices from rival manufacturers, use a newly-developed "stacked structure" which means they are not only more compact, but also boast better image quality and advanced functionality.

The three sensors include two 8-megapixel options (one of which has a built-in camera signal processing) and a top-of-the-range 13-megapixel variant. Sony will also be launching three new sensor-toting imaging modules, which feature a newly-designed lens optimized to get top notch performance out of the smallest pixels and an auto-focus mechanism.

The stacked structure sees the pixel section of the sensors (containing formations of back-illuminated pixels) layered over the chip affixed with mounted circuits for signal processing – conventional sensors merge a pixel-sensor and circuit on a supporting substrate.

Sony says the new 13-megapixel sensor and one of the 8-megapixel ones will feature "RGBW coding" and an "HDR (High Dynamic Range) movie" function. RGBW coding means heightened sensitivity and better low light performance thanks to the addition of white pixels, while HDR movie mode records two different exposure conditions to generate images with a wide dynamic range and brilliant colors.

As the first of the new sensors is expected to start shipping in October and it will be May 2013 before all of the imaging modules are available, you might want to check out some smartphone-beating compact cameras in the meantime.

Source: Sony