OmniVision announces a 48MP image sensor for smartphones
The camera on a modern smartphone forms one of the core experience in today’s time. Smartphone OEMs who produce smartphones do not produce the camera component themselves. Instead, they rely on dedicated companies (or dedicated divisions within larger corporations) to innovate on digital image sensor technologies, and who then manufacture components which can be installed inside phone. One of the newer trends for smartphone cameras is large megapixel-count sensors. Sony began the trend its 48MP IMX586 sensor, and Samsung joined in with its 48MP ISOCELL Bright GM1 sensor, following up with the 48MP ISOCELL Bright GM2 and the 64MP ISOCELL Bright GW1 recently. Now, OmniVision is joining the trend with its new 48MP OV48B sensor.
The OV48B is the first 48MP image sensor from OmniVision, featuring a 0.8 micron pixel size. The camera sensor is built on OmniVision’s PureCel Plus stacked die technology, and offers features like digital crop zoom, both DPHY and CPHY MIPI interfaces, making it a versatile sensor that can be used in rear multi-camera configurations like main, wide angle and telephoto. The sensor integrates an on-chip 4-cell color filter array and hardware re-mosaic to provide 48MP Bayer output. For low light, the sensor can also use pixel binning to output a 12MP image. The sensor also includes 2×2 microlens PDAF for low-light focusing.
Output formats from the OmniVision OV48B include 48MP and 12MP (pixel binned) for images, and 4K @60fps, 2K @60fps, 1080p @240fps and 720p @480fps for videos. The sensor is expected to be available in Q4 2019.
While OmniVision sensors are not as readily marketed as Sony and Samsung sensors, they do still find a lot of favor with OEMs. Many smartphones have used an OmniVision sensor in the past, either for their front or rear camera setup. The sensors are usually found in the lower end of the smartphone market (or on the lower variants in case of multi-variant devices), but we have seen it being used in some capable devices like the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 and the Moto G4 Plus. Having more component choices in the lower end of the smartphone market will give greater flexibility to phone OEMs for specifications and pricing, and ultimately, to the end consumer as well.