Devices Hardware News Software, , , , , , , — November 2, 2012 10:12 — 5 Comments

New, powerful camera sensors will bring high-quality video to smartphones

omnivision, sony, sensors, cameraphone

The new iPhone 5 has two cameras, a front-facing camera for videoconferencing software uses a sensor from OmniVision, the back camera uses a Sony chip

OmniVision and Sony are developing a series of sensors to boost video quality on mobiles, and offer 16MPs cameras on top end smartphones


OmniVision has developed two new camera chips that will boost the quality of images and video in smartphones and tablets, from the basic models to more advanced devices.

The first is a low cost (OV5645) 5MP BSI Sensor, which includes backside illumination, support for 1080p30 (or 720p60) video and its own internal autofocus system. The OV5645 has retained only a MIPI port, eliminating both the bandwidth-limited DVP interface and the costly embedded JPEG compressor. With an embedded AF VCM driver, the OV5645 offers further cost savings for mobile device manufacturers.

OmniVision’s digital imaging budget software even extends to front cameras, as a forward-facing sensor can share resources with the back camera to scale back on redundant hardware. The 5-megapixel sensor will bring a similar low-light performance to cheaper devices that you get on high-end smartphones.

The 720p HD video is captured in full FOV with 2 x 2 binning. Additionally, a unique post-binning, re-sampling filter function removes zigzag artifacts around slant edges and minimizes spatial artifacts to deliver even sharper, crisper colour images.

Per Rosdahl, senior product marketing manager at OmniVision, said: “The OV5645 SOC sensor provides handset manufacturers with a fully-featured yet extremely cost-effective solution that delivers the high-quality image capture and HD video currently required in the mainstream handset market. In addition, the OV5645′s increased CRA enables ultra-thin camera modules with z-heights of approximately 4mm, which is a key requirement for many OEMs’ future products.

“Industry analysts predict 5-megapixel image sensors will remain highly popular for mobile devices for the next few years. Consequently, there is an increased need for cost-effective 5-megapixel cameras that meet the requirements of mainstream mobile markets.”

There is also a huge demand for 8-megapixel cameras, of course, and OminiVision has also announced the development of a new, powerful 8-megapixel CameraChip solution for smartphones and tablets.

The OV8835 is built on a new and improved OmniBSI-2 pixel architecture that offers best-in-class pixel performance and enables full resolution 8-megapixel high speed photography at 30 frames per second (FPS) and 1080p/30 or 720p/60 high-definition (HD) video.

“The OV8835′s fast frame rates, excellent pixel performance and low power consumption are critical performance benefits for manufacturers. Furthermore, because the OV8835 is pin-to-pin compatible with the previous-generation OV8830, manufacturers can easily and quickly upgrade to a dramatically improved 8-megapixel camera,” said Vinoo Margasahayam, senior product marketing manager at OmniVision.

For all you techies, the new CameraChip sensor supports an active array of 3264 x 2448 pixels (8-megapixel), and can operate at 30 FPS for zero shutter lag. It is capable of capturing full 1080p HD video at 30 FPS with electronic image stabilization, or 720p HD video at 60 FPS with full horizontal field-of-view (FOV). The sensor’s 2 x 2 binning functionality with post-binning resampling filter minimizes special artifacts and removes image artifacts around edges to deliver clean, crisp color images for industry-leading HD video recording.
Apple’s iPhone 4S and the new iPhone 5 feature 8-megapixel cameras,  the iPhone 4 comes with a 5MP camera while the Nokia N8 boasts a 12MP camera.

The race is also on to develop the first 16-megapixel sensors small enough to be packed into smartphones. Earlier this year OmniVision also announced its two new 16MP sensors that will be capable of producing smooth 4K video technology to tablets and sophisticated smartphones. The sensors, which are the tiny 1/2.3-inch format, can record 4K (3840 x 2160) video at 60fps, or even higher resolution (4608 x 3456) at 30fps.

Not to be out done,  Sony has been developing its CMOS camera sensors tiny enough to slot into mobile devices. Out in front is the 16.41-megapixel Exmor R-based sensor, which uses the same image-sensing technology found in mid-range digital cameras. Sony’s chip should be available for smartphone manufacturers early next year.

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About the author

Tony Myers has written 866 articles for Smart Movie Making

Fooling around with the iPhone since 2010. Taking it to the next web by writing about new media, new technology, new wave cinema and the digital revolution.

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