Image sensor combines high end video, wide angle performance

Aiming at premium video applications, OmniVision Technologies, Inc., has unveiled the OV12D, a 1.4 micron 12MP image sensor with selective conversion gain (SCG) to optimize the balance between low-light image quality and high dynamic range (HDR). The OV12D features a large 1/2.4” optical format, on-chip 4-cell color filter, high speed phase-detection autofocus (PDAF), and extra pixels for 4K2K video electronic image stabilization (EIS).

The image sensor provides designers with both professional quality video, especially for low light conditions, and ultra-wide angle photos in smartphones with multicamera configurations. This combination makes the sensor ideal for high end front-facing selfie cameras.

“With multiple world-facing cameras becoming more common in premium smartphones, manufacturers are looking to not only increase the image quality of those cameras, but also to maximize their applications, in order to further differentiate their products,” said Arun Jayaseelan, senior marketing manager at OmniVision, in a statement. ”The OV12D sensor leverages OmniVision’s advanced pixel technologies and HDR expertise to enable mobile phone makers to use their ultra-wide cameras to capture premium quality video with on-chip, 3-exposure HDR, even in low light conditions.”

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Selective conversion gain allows the pixel conversion gain to be dynamically switched between low and high, depending on the scene being captured. When capturing images under low light conditions or with dark areas, high conversion gain can help lower noise and improve the signal-to-noise ratio, when compared with a traditional low conversion gain pixel. When set to low conversion gain, the sensor has a higher full well capacity, which helps to provide more detail when capturing scenes under bright light. This improves the signal-to-noise ratio under bright light as well as the pixel’s overall dynamic range.

The 16:9 aspect ratio image sensor uses a 4-cell color filter pattern to provide 4K video at 60 fps with 20% additional pixels for EIS. In a 4-cell binned mode, it can output 3MP/1080p resolution with 20% additional pixels for EIS video and images at four times the sensitivity. Additionally, the sensor supports 3-exposure HDR with on-chip combination and tone mapping, offering best-in-class HDR video.

The user can fast switch between the preview and capture modes, in combination with high speed PDAF. This sensor also supports both CPHY and DPHY interfaces, and can output 12MP 16:9 captures at 60 fps, 4K video at 60 fps and 1080p video at 240 fps.