Did you know that whenever a smartphone company brags about a 1-inch camera sensor, the sensor is not actually 1 inch? They are lying to you and can get away with it because of one peculiar loophole.
This trend all started with the Sony Xperia Pro-I and has most recently resurfaced with the Xiaomi 12S Ultra. Everybody automatically thinks that this means a sensor of this size, because why wouldn’t you? It is named after the size and something massive like "1-inch" sounds like you’re getting DSLR quality.
A “1-inch sensor” takes us on a journey back over 50 years ago, to when video cameras ran on vacuum tubes, which were essentially a part of the camera’s sensor.
The outside diameter of these tubes was measured and the size grew over time from ½ inch to ⅔ inch, all the way up to 1 inch. The actual image pick-up area of the sensor that is connected to the lens was always much smaller, but since these tubes were part of the image sensing technology, they could get away with calling it a 1-inch sensor.
In the UK, a 500ml bottle of fizzy pop is technically two servings according to the calorie information. It’s technically a bottle for one person. Everybody treats buying a drink of this size as a drink for one person. But on paper, it’s technically a drink for two people.