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CMOS image sensor brings HD video to DSCs

Posted: 25 Apr 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:OV5620? CMOS image sensor? OmniPixel2? OmniVision? Gina Roos?

OV5620 CMOS image sensor

OmniVision Technologies Inc. has unveiled its second-generation, 5Mpixel camera chip with significant improvements in video capabilities for digital still cameras, hybrid cameras and high-resolution camera phones.

Using its 2.2m OmniPixel2 architecture, OmniVision said it significantly improved performance and image quality in the OV5620 CMOS image sensor, while reducing the overall sensor size. The OmniPixel2 architecture offers one of the industry's smallest pixel sizes and better performance in bright and dark environments.

With an optical format of 1/2.5 inches, the OV5620 fits into popular 3x zoom lens modules, making it one of the first 5Mpixel CMOS camera modules to compete in the CCD mainstream DSC market segment, according to the company.

The OV5620 5Mpixel CMOS image sensor is said to surpass CCD sensors in performance, particularly in the area of video performance, based on the company's testing of products with the OV5620 versus those with CCD sensors. In addition, advanced high-definition (HD) video modes with vivid colors make this device suitable for next generation digital still cameras (DSCs) and hybrid cameras, which take both still and video pictures.

The OV5620 offers two video modes. The first is a D1 resolution (720 x 480) at 60fps, which is slightly larger than the VGA resolution (640 x 480) found in most DSCs. Because D1 is a TV resolution, the user can plug an OV5620-enabled camera directly into a TV for high-quality video playback. The second is a 720P resolution (1280 x 720) at 30fps, which is considered an entry-level, HD video specification. This allows the user to play video back directly through an HDTV display.

Performance can be measured in two areasimage quality and speed, said Jess Lee, vice president of the mainstream products business unit at OmniVision. The image quality of many CCDs overlaps with OmniVision's own CMOS image sensors, so the area of performance improvement is in speed, he said.

Offering faster frame rates at high resolution, the OV5620 offers 60fps at D1 and 30fps at D2, which is something that CCDs can't hit, Lee said, and opens up a whole new application for DSCs.

New on-chip features include an OmniQSP signal processing core for high-grade picture processing that enables 50Hz/60Hz auto flicker detection, LCD scaling, lens shading correction, defect pixel correction, edge enhancement and noise reduction functions. It also integrates VarioPixel-2 technology, a new pixel binning process, which provides improved image quality, reduced sub-sampling artifacts and greater performance in all conditions including bright light and low light. The pixel binning technology offers roughly a four times improvement in signal-to-noise performance, said Lee.

The OV5620 is priced at $10 each in large quantities. Available for sampling, the OV5620 comes in both a 48-pin, lead-free CLCC package and a 40-pin, lead-free CSP-2 package.

- Gina Roos

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