Sony’s New Stacked CMOS Sensor Offers HDR Video for Phones

Sony is toiling with a new type of back-illuminated CMOS sensor that will improve the performance of smartphones and entry-level cameras. The company’s new “Stacked CMOS” design will feature RGBW Coding and HDR video




Rather than blending the light-sensitive area of the sensor in with the circuitry on the top layer, Sony is creating a light-sensitive area of the sensor and laying it on top of the circuitry, as shown in the above diagram. As a result, the supporting substrate is eliminated and the light-sensitive area and circuitry are both larger, leading to purported enhanced image quality, faster performance and lower power consumption.

Sony-Stacked-CMOS

But that’s not all. Sony’s newest sensors will feature RGBW Coding, which “facilitates low noise, high quality image capture even in low light condition.” According to Sony, RGBW Coding adds white pixels to the sensor’s array for enhanced low-light sensitivity, though we may see a dip in color depth, resulting in slightly less saturated light images. Though the pixels are tiny, Sony claims the new sensor’s signal-to-noise ratio is quite accurate, resulting in higher resolution.

Sony-Stacked-RGBW

Sony’s Stacked CMOS sensor will also specialize in HDR Movie mode, which you guessed it, allows users to use HDR mode while shooting videos. High Dynamic Range is a tool that’s vacuumed a lot of popularity amongst consumer photographers because it quells blown backgrounds and livens up dark shadows. Sony is achieving this on the new sensor by two different exposure settings within a single screen.

Sony plans on shipping samples of their new Stacked CMOS sensor in the following order:

Type 1/4 Stacked CMOS Image Sensor with approx. 8.0 effective megapixels

  • (equipped with camera signal processing function*1)
  • Sample shipments planned for March, 2012

Type 1/3.06 Stacked CMOS Image Sensor with approx. 13.0 effective megapixels

  • (equipped with “RGBW Coding” and “HDR Movie” functions)
  • Sample shipments planned for June, 2012

Type 1/4 Stacked CMOS Image Sensor with approx. 8.0 effective megapixels

  • (equipped with “RGBW Coding” and “HDR Movie” functions)
  • Sample shipments planned for August, 2012

Source: dppreview


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