This sensor makes 100% PDAF coverage on mobile viable

Smartphone cameras continue to improve at a rapid pace. OmniVision Technologies‘ new smartphone image sensor inches them closer to the capabilities of dedicated DSLRs.

As reported by PetaPixel, OmniVision Technologies’ new smartphone image sensor is the first-ever smartphone image sensor with 100% phase detection autofocus (PDAF) coverage. Made with 50 megapixels with 1.0-micron pixel size, the smartphone sensor delivers faster autofocus along with improved low-light and distance calculation.

OmniVision’s sensor improves mobile autofocus

One of the key areas this sensor improves is autofocus. It utilizes selective conversion gain and a 1/1.5-inch optical format. Additionally, it features quad-phase detection autofocus tech with an on-chip re-mosaic. Also, OmniVision claims the quad phase-detection allowed them to use 2×2 phase-detection autofocus across 100 percent of the sensor’s image.

OmniVision sensor chart
Image courtesy: OmniVision

Better low-light video capture with OmniVision’s sensor

Many smartphones struggle when shooting video in low-light. OmniVision’s sensor improves the overall low light performance of mobile devices, keeping noise levels down. So, how does it do this? The sensor, with 1.0-micron pixel size, conversion gain, and its 1/1.5-inch size, lowers the camera’s noise level.

“Additionally, this sensor offers excellent HDR through 2- and 3-exposure staggered HDR timing, along with selective conversion gain for the optimum balance between low-light image quality and HDR,” Omnivision says. “These features provide mobile designers with maximum flexibility to select the best HDR method for the contrasting light and dark areas in any scene.”

Smartphones with sensor capable of shooting 8K video

Alongside the improved autofocus performance, OmniVision’s sensor allows for 50-megapixel output or 8K video, in real-time. Additionally, the sensor can use near-pixel binning to output a 12.5MP image for 4K video offering four times the amount of sensitivity you see from standard smartphones.

The sensor can output 8K video at 30 frames per second (fps). Also, the sensor is capable of 4K video at 60 fps and 1080p Full HD at 240 fps output. Ultimately, you have more quality options when shooting with mobile.

The rise of smartphones cameras

According to OmniVision, this sensor brings smartphones even closer to the capabilities offered by dedicated DSLR cameras. The camera market is showing clear signs of a decline due to smartphones. So, it is very likely OmniVision’s sensor will contribute to the fall of dedicated cameras and the rise of smartphones.

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

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