RAW Images from a Mobile Phone
Omnivision have recently announced that they have produced a brand new quarter inch, 5mp RAW CMOS sensor based on its 1.4 micron BSI Technology (Back Side Illumination). They are boasting that it delivers superior low light sensitivity and a small “footprint” which could make it ideal for the smaller cameras and/or (more likely) camera phones.
The sensor can also record 720p High Definition Video at a super smooth 60 fps (frames per second) and an astonishing 1080p at 30 fps. Here is their press release:
OMNIVISION INTRODUCES 1/4-INCH, 5-MEGAPIXEL RAW SENSOR FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE MOBILE APPLICATIONS
OMNIBSI DELIVERS SENSITIVITY AND PERFORMANCE TO ENABLE HIGH FRAME RATE HD VIDEO
BARCELONA, Spain (Mobile World Congress) – February 15, 2010 – OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: OVTI), a leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions, today announced a new 1/4-inch, 5-megapixel RAW CMOS image sensor based on its 1.4-micron OmniBSITM backside illumination (BSI) technology. The OV5647 is a cost-effective, high-performance mobile imaging solution, offering the performance and size benefits of BSI technology while allowing mobile phone designs to utilize existing baseband or applications processors for image processing functions.
OmniVision’s 1.4-micron OmniBSI pixel delivers best-in-class low light sensitivity (680-mV/lux-sec), low profile z-height and a small footprint, making it ideal for the ultra-compact camera modules used in mobile phones and notebooks. The superior pixel performance of the OV5647 enables 720p HD video at 60 frames per second (fps) and 1080p HD video at 30 fps, with complete user control over formatting and output data transfer.
The 720p/60 HD video is captured in full field of view with 2 x 2 binning, which doubles the sensitivity and improves the signal-to-noise ratio. Additionally, a post-binning re-sampling filter function unique to the OV5647 removes image artefacts around edges and minimizes spatial artifacts to deliver even sharper, crisper colour images.
“According to industry research firm iSuppli Corporation, 5-megapixel cameras will account for over one-third of all camera phones by 2012,” explained Vinoo Margasahayam, product marketing manager for OmniVision. “The OV5647’s 1/4-inch optical format is well positioned to target the design-in sweet spot for mainstream handsets for three key reasons.
First, it enables the industry-standard 8.5 x 8.5-mm module size with a z-height of less than 5-mm, offering miniaturization that is important for thinner camera phones. Second, the OV5647 is optimal for 720p/60 HD video, which is a key requirement in today’s handsets. Third, advanced technologies such as OmniBSI are transforming the image quality of mobile cameras, enabling mobile phone manufacturers to compete not just based on features, but on the camera performance.”
Because BSI technology uses a technique that inverts the sensor to collect light from the backside, it offers the most direct path for light to strike the pixel. This results in a greatly improved fill factor, higher quantum efficiency and significantly reduced cross-talk, which translates into greater sensitivity and better colour reproduction, compared to front side illumination (FSI) image sensors.
As a RGB RAW image sensor, the OV5647 offers a cost-efficient solution for handset customers looking to implement a low-power, dual-chip solution with image signal processing in the applications or baseband processor. The sensor supports a digital video parallel port or two-lane MIPI interface, and provides full-frame, windowed or binned 10-bit images in RAW RGB format with complete user control over formatting and output data transfer. It offers all required automatic image control functions, including automatic exposure control, automatic white balance, automatic band filter, automatic 50/60-Hz luminance detection, and automatic black level calibration. The OV5647 is sampling now and will enter mass production in July 2010.
OmniVision Technologies (NASDAQ: OVTI) is a leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions. Its award-winning CMOS imaging technology enables superior image quality in many of today’s consumer and commercial applications, including mobile phones, notebooks, netbooks and webcams, digital still and video cameras, security and surveillance, entertainment devices, automotive and medical imaging systems.
Find out more at www.ovt.com.
Certain statements in this press release, including statements regarding the expected benefits, performance, capabilities, and potential market appeal of the OV5647and/or OmniBSI technology are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties, which could cause the forward-looking statements and OmniVision’s results to differ materially, include, without limitation: potential errors, design flaws or other problems with OV5647, customer acceptance, demand, and other risks detailed from time to time in OmniVision’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings and reports, including, but not limited to, OmniVision’s annual report filed on Form 10-K and quarterly reports filed on Form 10-Q. OmniVision expressly disclaims any obligation to update information contained in any forward-looking statement.