Paying attention to smartphone CMOS sensors has been one of the things we've been doing for a while now in our smartphone reviews, and today OmniVision announced details about their upcoming 16 MP CMOS sensors. The announcement details two upcoming 16 MP CMOSes, the OV16820 and OV16825, which differ only in their packaging (Ceramic LGA for for OV16820 and raw die form for OV16825). Both are are 16 MP with an active area of 4608 x 3456, with 1.34µm square pixels built on OmniVision's OmniBSI-2 pixel structure.

This is slightly smaller than the 1.4µm we've seen in other OV and Samsung sensors, but still much larger than upcoming 1.1 or 1.2 µm based designs. The result is that OV's 16 MP sensor should deliver similar sensitivity as current 1.4µm based sensors - there should be a minimal increase in noise over other BSI-2 based OmniVision sensors. The tradeoff is that the OV1682x is a bit bigger than the smartphone sensors out right now, at 1/2.3", which will necessitate new optical designs or a system with longer throw (thickness).

Probably one of the other headlining features is inclusion of 60 FPS video capture at 4K2K (3840 x 2160) and QFHD (3840 x 2160 - Quad Full HD) or full frame output at 30 FPS. The usual caveats still apply though - you still need an ISP and video encoder capable of handling the 8 lanes of MIPI output and all that data. We've already seen some smartphones moving to very high resolution CMOS sensors, like the HTC TItan II's 16 MP camera or the Nokia PureVision 808 at 41 MP. The OV1682x family is targeted both at high end smartphones and digital video / still cameras, and will enter production in the fourth quarter of 2012. Samsung also has a similarly specced 16 MP 1/2.3" 1.34 µm sensor in the S5K2P1 which is currently in production.

Source: OmniVision (Spec Page), OmniVision (Press Release)

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  • nathanddrews - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    Hey man, if you can't tell the difference then you don't have to worry about it. That's the beauty of consumer choice.
  • FASIV - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    When you have a large mega/giga/tera pixel sensors you have extra light input for things like spectrum layering, video stabilization, digital zoom, and input frequency.

    I would like to see silicon based technology reach its atomic lattice limits before we start reducing our expectations.
  • cosmotic - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    Maybe 14?
  • Ragnarofl - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    No, 41 is actually accurate, believe it or not. There are several articles floating around on it. It's actually not a bad idea, considering you can't fit an optical zoom into a smartphone easily - a sensor at 41MP let's you crop without losing a noticeable amount of quality.
  • fteoath64 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    That 41 MP is useless without decent optics to capture the light, get good focus and sufficient aperture controls for depth-of-field. I agree that sensors can evolved to more MP and many desirable features but the optics hardly change. How surprising, not one manufacturer uses a small barrel with some form of zooming that tiny digicams already have including automatic lens-cap. No wonder the quality of phones trail even rather cheap digicams for miles.
  • Brian Klug - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    No it's actually 41 if you can believe it, they oversample and you can get a lower resolution image (8MP) with higher frequencies preserved, or the full 41 MP image.

  • mavere - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    Ughh. The megapixel war in the phone industry needs to die soon. I hope a phone manufacturer starts to brag about pixel size in its sensors instead of total megapixels.
  • michael2k - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    In 2010, Apple bragged about the large 1.75um pixel pitch on the iPhone 4.

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