When it comes to smartphone photography, high-resolution, large sensors are the way to go forward. OmniVision’s new breakthrough manages to do just that and then some.
Over the last few years, component manufacturers have shifted focus to creating larger image sensors with higher resolution and bigger individual pixels. However, achieving growth on all three fronts comes with physical constraints such as size and weight. Thus, features such as pixel-binning were introduced to offer flexibility.
The new OmniVision OV64A image sensor takes that to the next level by packing a 64MP resolution across a large 1/1.32-inch image sensor with 1.0µm pixel size. For comparison, Samsung’s popular ISOCELL HM1 image sensor spans 1/1.33-inches but has significantly smaller pixels owing to the 108MP resolution.
OmniVision claims that the new sensor with 1.0µm pixels is 60% sensitive to light than its older 64MP sensor with 0.8µm pixels. Quad Bayer pixel-binning can take the pixel size to 2.0µm for 16MP resultant images. An interesting feature is the ability to shoot videos (at up to 4K resolution) at the same level of binning for much better low-light performance as well as lossless digital cropping.
Other shooting modes include 64MP capture at 15fps, 8K video at 30fps, 4K video at 120fps with EIS, 4K video at 60fps with 4C binning, 1080p at 240fps and more.
The OV64A sensor also supports 2- and 3-exposure staggered HDR timing option, offering more flexibility to OEMs. The PureCel Plus-S stack also enables on-chip 3-exposure and tone-mapping on the chip. This is faster than offloading the processing to the phone’s chipset.
The component samples are now available to smartphone companies. Mass production is expected to begin later this year. “TSR estimates there will be 322 million image sensors with 50MP or higher resolution shipped to smartphone manufacturers in 2021, which presents a huge opportunity for OmniVision’s growing 64MP portfolio,” said Arun Jayaseelan, staff marketing manager at OmniVision.