OmniVision has developed a new 50-megapixel sensor, OV50A for upcoming high-end smartphones, which is said to have particularly good autofocus, as the entire sensor surface can be used for autofocus via phase comparison (PDAF).
The manufacturer assumes that the first samples of the OV50A can be offered in the course of the second quarter of 2021.
OV50A uses CMOS image sensor with PureCel®Plus-S Technology. At a size of 1/1.55 inches, the OV50A has 50 megapixels with a pixel size of 1.008 µm edge length. The available sensor area is 8289.792 × 6225.408 µm and allows a maximum resolution of 8192 × 6144 pixels with up to 30 FPS in a maximum of 10 bit RGB RAW via a 4-lane MIPI-D-PHY interface with 3 Gbit/s per lane or the newer C-PHY interface with two or three “trios” (three lines) with 3.5 Gbit/s per trio.
As OmniVision explains, the advantage of the OV50A with autofocus is via phase comparison over the entire sensor surface, which should ensure better calculation of distances (without laser autofocus or ToF sensor), generally faster autofocus and better performance in low light conditions.
The sensor uses an RGB color filter in a classic Bayer arrangement with a division into one blue, one red and two green areas per pixel. OmniVision covers four segments per basic color of the Bayer color filter with a micro lens of the PDAF and has therefore named the technology “Quad Phase Detection (QPD) Autofocus”. OmniVision also explains that other PDAF methods usually only use 3 to 6 percent of the sensor area for autofocus.
In addition to the full resolution of 50 megapixels for photo or 8K video recordings with up to 30 FPS using the QPD autofocus, the QV50A supports pixel binning from four adjacent pixels to 12.5 megapixels, with a sensitivity according to the manufacturer the level of a sensor with 2 µm pixels should be achieved. In this pixel binning mode, continuous shooting with 60 instead of 30 FPS is possible using QPD-AF. 4K 2K video recordings are supported at up to 90 FPS and QPD-AF, in 1080p it is 240 FPS and at 720p 480 FPS.