Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 10:01 AM CDT

Looking at the Expanding Sensor Market

Changes sharpen resolution, decrease noise, increase frame rates
Kodak's CMOS sensors
© Kodak
Kodak's latest generation of CMOS sensors include its high-ISO color filter pattern, or sparse color filter array.
Kodak 's new interline products
© Kodak
Kodak has produced new interline products with smaller pixels and faster frame rates that they are deploying into different sensor sizes, including this CCD, for full-frame, medical and photographic applications.

By Barry Hochfelder

The sensor features an embedded image stabilization function to prevent image blur, which is, of course, important in low-light situations where cameras need longer exposure time.

Other hot news came in March when Samsung Electronics Ltd., unveiled an 8.4mp CMOS sensor. The chip provides a high signal-to-noise ratio through a photo diode technology to achieve higher light sensitivity and saturation levels.

Samsung says the new sensor provides the same image quality as the CCDs used in most digital cameras and camcorders because it uses only one-tenth the power of a CCD. The company is targeting the mobile phone, digital camera and camcorder markets with the new sensors in the second half of the year. It may trigger what some deem "Megapixel Wars."

"A lot depends on the application," says Michael DeLuca, marketing manager for Kodak's CCD group. "Consumers want resolution and low-light production. At the industrial level, it's frame rate. We have to reconcile how to take different needs customers have identified and get to market. The way you meet that need is to make the pixels work better. You can improve sensitivity and dynamic range, make them smaller and decrease noise. Then, once you have what I call ‘pixel good-will' you can deploy the application in different ways, depending on the market."

Brian Benamati, CMOS product manager at Kodak, adds: "We see the industry force moving to high-definition video in mobile applications. The high-end will have a feature set consistent with the low end of point-and-shoot—8mp 10mp, xenon flash, optical zoom and high-definition video, even 1080p. The midrange will be 720p mobile video phone with three- to five-times optical zoom." The low-end, he says, will feature a smaller chip of 3-5mp for economy. "What we're looking for is low-light sensitivity, high-speed and high-definition video."

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