OmniVision to launch 50Mpixel image sensor with autofocus

At next week’s MWC Shanghai, OmniVision will debut its first image sensor with 100 per cent phase detection coverage. The OV50A image sensor combines 50Mpixel resolution, 1.0 micron pixel size, selective conversion gain and a 1/1.5 inch optical format with quad phase detection (QPD) auto focus technology and on-chip remosaic.

QPD enables 2×2 phase detection auto focus (PDAF) across the sensor’s image array, for 100 per cent coverage, explains OmniVision. Unlike micro lens and half-shield PDAF technologies, which only capture three to six per cent of the phase detection data, QPD captures 100 per cent of this data for improved distance calculation, faster auto focus and better low light performance. In combination with on-chip remosaic for the QPD colour filter array, the result is premium image quality for the wide and ultrawide main cameras in flagship and high end smartphones.

Referring to how mobile phone cameras have been closing the gap with DSLR cameras, Arun Jayaseelan, staff marketing manager at OmniVision, commented: “Our QPD auto focus technology now makes that gap even smaller, by bringing DSLR level auto focus performance to smartphone cameras.”

The OV50A image sensor’s large 1.0 micron pixel size, selective conversion gain’s low-noise, high conversion gain mode, and its large 1/1.5 inch optical format are claimed to combine to provide the best low light performance in its class. The sensor offers high dynamic range (HDR) through two- and three-exposure staggered HDR timing, with selective conversion gain to balance low light image quality and HDR. These features provide the flexibility to select the best HDR method for the contrasting light and dark areas in any scene.

The image sensor is built on OmniVision’s PureCel Plus-S stacked die technology. The OV50A integrates an on-chip, QPD colour filter array and hardware remosaic, which provides improved auto focus performance with high quality, 50Mpixel Bayer output, or 8K video, in real time, adds OmniVision. The sensor can also use near-pixel binning to output a 12.5MP image for 4K2K video with four times the sensitivity, yielding 2.0 micron-equivalent performance for preview and video. The OV50A can also enable 2x digital crop zoom with 12.5Mpixel resolution and fast mode switch.

Output formats include 50Mpixel, or 8K video, with QPD auto focus at 30 frames per second (fps), 12.5Mpixel with QPD auto focus at 60fps, 4K2K video with QPD auto focus at 90fps, 1080p at 240fps and 720p at 480fps. All of these options can be output at up to 3.5Gsamples per second per trio, over the sensor’s CPHY MIPI.

OV50A samples are expected in Q2 2021.

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