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Sensor to address 'sweet spot' of digicams

Posted: 19 Mar 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:sensor 9Mpixel? image sensor? digital still camera?

OV9810 image sensor

OmniVision Technologies Inc. claims that its new 9Mpixel OV9810 image sensor is designed specifically to address the "sweet spot" of both digital still camera (DSC) and HD camcorder market segments.

The OV9810 combines 9Mpixel photography with 1,080p HD video on a single chip, OmniVision said, eliminating the trade-offs between high-quality still photography and high performance HD video. The OV9810 is also designed to address the convergence of digital still and HD video in emerging digicam applications.

According to independent market research firm TSR based in Japan, demand for CMOS image sensors in DSC and camcorders is expected to more than double between 2009 and 2012 as CMOS technology continues to equal or better CCD components, while offering additional benefits such as on-chip image processing, smaller profiles, lower system device count and lower cost.

"Today's announcement underscores OmniVision's commitment to delivering the industry's broadest range of high-performance, high-resolution, feature-rich sensors," said Devang Patel, senior product marketing manager for DSC at OmniVision. "Popularized by online video sharing communities such as YouTube, video has revitalized the digital camera market segment, and manufacturers are consistently looking to identify competitive solutions. Based on early access customer feedback, we expect the OV9810 to further our penetration in this growing emerging market."

"9Mpixels is the sweet spot for DSC in 2009," Patel added in a briefing. "Consumers want 1,080p video, and CCD sensors can't do 1,080p in a single chip, and they can't do the integrated processing."

Featuring OmniVision's high-sensitivity 1.75?m OmniPixel3-HS architecture, the OV9810 delivers low-light sensitivity at 960mV/lux-sec, which the company said is significantly better than competing sensors. The OmniPixel3-HS architecture is OmniVision's most advanced generation of front side illumination pixel architectures to date, providing enhanced image capture under very low lighting conditions. The low-power, high-performance OV9810 provides the full functionality of a single-chip camera in a small footprint package (10mm x 10mm). The 1/2.3-inch OV9810 is capable of operating at 8.9fps in full 9Mpixel resolution, and offers true HD quality (1,080p) video at 30fps.

The OV9810 is capable of providing various output formats over a digital video parallel (DVP) or serial MIPI port, controlled by an SCCB interface. The MIPI and DVP interfaces can also be used for a second camera. All required image processing functions including exposure control, white balance and defective pixel canceling, are programmable through the SCCB interface. OmniVision said the OV9810 also eliminates image contamination issues such as fixed pattern noise, smearing and blooming to produce a clean, stable and vivid color image.

The OV9810 is immediately available for customer sampling with volume production slated for the 2H 09. Pricing is under $10 in volumes of 100K.

- Cliff Roth
Video Imaging DesignLine

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