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Omnivision Announces 20% Thinner 8-MegaPixel Camera Sensor for Use in Smartphones


Apple's longtime camera sensor supplier for iOS devices, Omnivision Technologies, has announced a new 8-megapixel sensor which claims to be 20 percent slimmer than any other 8-megapixel module in commercial use today.
"With our new OmniBSI-2 architecture, we have further miniaturized our pixels while delivering a 20 percent improvement in peak quantum efficiency in all color channels, a 35 percent improvement in low-light sensitivity and a 45 percent increase in full-well capacity in an extremely compact and power efficient package," said Per Rosdahl, senior product manager at OmniVision. "This 1.1-micron OmniBSI-2 pixel enables the next generation of miniaturization in mobile cameras, and is key to the high-resolution smartphone camera roadmap."
The new camera module should pave the way to thinner smartphone designs which has always been a priority for Apple. Apple has used Omnivision's technology in the past and presently uses it in the iPhone 4. Omnivision has also been heavily rumored to be one of two suppliers for an 8-megapixel camera sensor in the iPhone 5.

Based on the press release, however, this particular sensor may not be ready in time for the iPhone 5's release which is expected in October. Sampling of this new part begins in August with mass production expected in the first quarter of 2012.

For reference this new part has a build height of 4.7mm. The current iPhone 4 5MP back-side camera has been measured to be 6.5mm.


Related roundup: iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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44 months ago
The iPhone 4 is thin enough. Use the extra space for additional battery capacity.
Rating: 9 Votes
44 months ago

Doubt it. I think it was for A5 reasons. Apple wouldn't hold back a design for a slightly enhanced lense. The 5MP iPhone 4 outshined some 8MP lenses back in 2010 if you remember correctly. It's not all about MP. Surely there is something that's upgraded from last years i4 5MP lens to now without it being a jump to this lens.


I think the iPhone 5 is delayed not for any of these reasons, but so they can get iOS 5 done right, iCloud launched and test everything more to avoid any bad press over silly things. Plus, I think it gives them time to build up more stock so they can better meet demand upon launch - or if the other rumors about Canada and China are right, launch in more markets sooner.
Rating: 6 Votes
44 months ago
I don't want more pixels*. I want better pictures (low light too).

*if it means that the actual quality of the picture does not improve
Rating: 4 Votes
44 months ago
I just want Apple to fix the green spot that shows up in the center of photos. I don't care if they need a new sensor or some software to do it. Just fix it:



The other thing is this—if they are going to add 1080p video, I'd like a switch to toggle quality. 720p videos already take up too much space. That or make the next iPhone come in 64/128GB sizes. Your call Apple.
Rating: 4 Votes
44 months ago
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/mpmyth.htm

I'm not a fan of Ken Rockwell, but his article sums up my feelings about the ever increasing MP count in phone cameras.
Rating: 3 Votes
44 months ago

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/mpmyth.htm

I'm not a fan of Ken Rockwell, but his article sums up my feelings about the ever increasing MP count in phone cameras.


I agree.... I have a really great quality 3Mp camera that takes amazing shots. It has an older CCD, but great lens and I can blow up prints to 18x24 and they look amazing.

I don't think more hurts, but it's far from what makes a great image.
Rating: 3 Votes
44 months ago

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/mpmyth.htm

I'm not a fan of Ken Rockwell, but his article sums up my feelings about the ever increasing MP count in phone cameras.


The MP Myth is actually a bit of a myth in of itself.

Yes, a lot goes into making a good camera and the lens is often way over looked. Yes, many camera have too many megapixels resulting in poorer low light performance. Yes, you do want a larger sensor to increase the megapixel amount, versus increasing the density.

However, new backlit sensors have really compensated a lot for the low light performance of the increased pixel density. And in situations where improvements to the lens can't necessarily be made, improving the pixel density can offer other advantages, such as actual usable digital zoom and image stabilization along with other sensor processing that can make up for the limitations of the negative impacts of increasing the pixel density.

The bottom line is that it's a much more complex formula for evaluating the impact of one level of megapixels versus another. More pixels could make things better, worse, or indifferent.

Considering this company's history, as well as Apple's, it's likely this sensor is going to deliver better images while using less power and occupying less space. So what's not to love?
Rating: 2 Votes
44 months ago
Hopefully this will allow a 5 MP camera in the next iPad. I care more about that than improving the iPhone, which I consider to be quite good for a cell phone.
Rating: 1 Votes
44 months ago
I would like to see them improve the lens and speed more than megapixels... But after using a 21mp dslr, I can say that megapixels do matter (if you have good lenses).

I have also used high megapixel cameras with crappy lenses with poor results...

I hope they put a good camera on the iPhone 5 that is coming out soon.
Rating: 1 Votes
44 months ago
Whoah. "Quantum efficiency". Things are getting small.
Rating: 1 Votes

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