Sony has now released the ISX014, a CMOS image sensor with approx. 8M-effective pixels, a system-on-chip that provides a
1.12 μm unit pixel, the industry's smallest, CMOS image sensor and camera system. Use of a "Stacked structure," a characteristic of the next generation of back-illuminated CMOS image sensors will enable a highperformance image-processing engine in a more compact chip. This structure will enable more compact and slimmer mobile devices with camera functionality.
High-performance Image-processing engine
In the cellular phone field, more people are enjoying taking pictures and video and there is an increasing demand for better camera functions. The new 8M-pixel CMOS image sensor developed by Sony comes with a built-in image signal processing function to lower the total system cost including picture quality adjustment and to lower the barrier to entry of high picture quality and high pixel count sensors. Signal processing of 8M pixels requires logic processing with high speed and low power consumption and it has so far not been possible to produce a compact enough chip using existing technology. Use of the new "stacked structure" in the ISX014 has helped to reduce chip size and a further developed logic processing provides higher speed at lower power consumption.
Type 1/4 8M-pixel back-illuminated structure
The ISX014 uses the industry's smallest 1.12 μm unit pixels. Despite a high pixel count of 8M pixels, the ISX014 is a small Type 1/4 (diagonal 4.6 mm) optical size image sensor resulting in a compact module that also includes a lens. Thanks to the high sensitivity and high signal-to-noise ratio of the backilluminated structure, it can capture sharp clear images even in low light conditions.
AWB, AE, and AF camera system functions
The ISX014 comes with a compact, high performance propr ietary Sony image processing engine with a high resolution that is optimized for Sony pixels allowing generation and output of low-noise image data. The image sensor provides an auto white balance (AWB) function to achieve correct color rendering under any light source, an automatic exposure (AE) function to capture low-noise and clear images depending on brightness and an autofocus (AF) function to obtain sharp images under a variety of conditions. In addition to these three automatic functions (AWB, AE and AF), the sensor also comes with noise reduction, shading cor rection, contour enhancement, a variety of other effects and the processing functions required for camera signal processing and camera system functions, all built into a single chip.
High-definition video functions
The ISX014 supports the following HD video modes: 1940 × 1080p at 30 frame/s and 1280 × 720p at 60 frame/s. The built-in scalar function makes it possible to shrink all of the 8M pixels to perform 16:9 cropping, which enables effective use of all signals that irradiate the sensor surface to shoot highly sensitive video.
Supporting a wide variety of output formats
The ISX014 can satisfy user needs thanks to its support for a great number of output formats. In addition to general formats such as Y/Cb/Cr, YUV, RGB and RAW, the sensor also supports modes that allow simultaneous output of JPEG (4:2:2) output that can reduce interface lane numbers and the data rate as well as JPEG + YUV (thumbnail) that enables reductions in post-processing load. The interface format supports MIPI 4 lanes, MIPI 2 lanes and MIPI 1 lane.