Mobile Technology

New OmniVision sensor chips promise 4K2K smartphone videos

New OmniVision sensor chips pr...
The OmniVision OV16820 16-megapixel CameraChip sensor
The OmniVision OV16820 16-megapixel CameraChip sensor
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The OmniVision OV16820 16-megapixel CameraChip sensor
The OmniVision OV16820 16-megapixel CameraChip sensor
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Smartphones are quickly replacing the need for a camera. The phone is always within arm's reach, and ready to capture any subject worth documenting with a digital still or video image. The reason we're still toting around cameras is the resolution and a few other features such as focus for a sharp image. The Smartphone may soon catch up, however. OmniVision just released details on two new 16-megapixel CameraChip sensors for use in digital still cameras, digital video cameras and high-end smartphones.

OmniVision's OV16820 and OV16825 CameraChip sensors support 16-megapixel burst photography, and capture 4K2K, or Quad Full High Definition (QFHD) video at 60 frames per second. Burst photography is when several still images are captured in quick succession, which gives you frame-by-frame style footage of an activity, and is useful for capturing a group of images in order to pick the best shot for the photo album.

Video captured in QFHD, or 4K2K video, is four times the resolution of the 1080p HDTV video standard. QFHD offers a display resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixel ratio. That video is captured at 60 frames per second. In 1080p resolution, HD video is captured at the same 60 FPS, with extra pixels for electronic image stabilization.

Both the still burst photography and QFHD video features involve a number of required image processing activities such as defective pixel and noise cancelling, RAW scaling, image size, frame rate, exposure, gain, cropping and orientation. Each of these are programmable through a serial camera control bus (SCCB) interface.

Industry standard connectivity including up to 8-lane MIPI and LVDS output interfaces allow for high data transfer rates on both the OV16820 and OV16825 chips. The OV16820 will come in a ceramic land grid array (CLGA) – the OV16825, in a die form (RW/COB). OmniVision expects to make both chips available in Q4 2012.

Source: OmniVision via Engadget

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Avi Weiss
The sensor is one part of the equation. The other reason cameras are still required is that they support high-quality variable focal length and aperture lens which have far-superior optics than the plastic used for most mobile phone camera systems.
While it will be nice to have higher resolution sensors, the quality of the image will plateau unless the optics are improved as well.
Keith Reeder
"Smartphones are quickly replacing the need for a camera"
Yeah, sure...
I'll take that sort of observation seriously when I can shoot 8-10 frames per second at 600mm f/4 with fast, accurate, easily selectable and configurable multiple AF points, low noise and plenty of dynamic range, with my smartphone.
Robert Houllahan
Can you give us the size of the sensor and the size of the pixels? If a sensor has 4K of Bayer pixels and is small enough to fit in a phone can you explain how any known lens can resolve enough MTF to actually make the pixels useful? If there is no known lens system that can actually resolve 4K worth of resolution onto such a small imager how can it be called a 4k (or even 2K) imaging system if it is physically and optically impossible to resolve that detail? Is this article advertising or just wishful technological mythology?