Canon Develops A New CMOS Sensor With High Dynamic Range and Able To Shoot Images In Harsh Settings

Ibis Canon Rumors Canon Full Frame Mirrorless

Canon press release:

Canon Announces Development of New CMOS Sensor with High Dynamic Range and Ability to Capture Images Under Harsh Conditions

MELVILLE, NY, June 20, 2019 – The high demands of complex lighting and harsh environments require sensors capable of delivering high-dynamic range (HDR) and high-image quality in adverse temperature conditions. To answer this application need, Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is pleased to announce that its parent company Canon Inc. is pursuing development of the 3U3MRXSAAC, a 2.8-megapixel, 1/2.32-inch CMOS sensor ideal for HDR imaging.

“As Canon evolves in the sensor market, we are dedicated to utilizing our expertise to develop products built to meet current growing market trends,” said Kazuto Ogawa, president and chief operating officer, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “The 3U3MRXSAAC CMOS sensor under development reflects the continuation of our business strategy that leverages the high-quality imaging technology Canon is able to achieve.”

The 3U3MRXSAAC CMOS sensor being developed will be equipped with an HDR drive function that can achieve a wide range of 120 dB at low noise levels. This HDR function will reflect a greater ability to extract usable information even when there is a substantial difference between the lightest and darkest parts of an image. Even during normal drive operation, the sensor can achieve a dynamic range of 75 dB—greater than the sensors on many conventional digital cameras. 

Additionally, the 3U3MRXSAAC CMOS sensor will also be capable of operating in environments with extreme temperatures ranging from -40 degrees Celsius to 105 degrees Celsius. Typically, in high-temperature conditions, the increase in dark current noise (noise that occurs due to heat, even when no light reaches the sensor) can affect the quality of the image. However, the 3U3MRXSAAC CMOS sensor will be equipped with functionality that helps correct black levels (the luminance level of the darkest portion of an image) in real-time to help maintain high image quality. 

With a diagonal size of 1/2.32 inches (7.75 mm), the 3U3MRXSAAC CMOS sensor will feature approximately 2.8 million effective pixels (1936 x 1456), a pixel size of 3.2 μm x 3.2 μm and a frame rate of up to 60 fps (30 fps during HDR drive operation). The sensor will be compatible with the MIPI CSI-2 interface used by consumer-oriented cameras for a wide variety of purposes.

For more information on Canon sensors, please visit canon-cmos-sensors.com.

Industry News: Samsung Announces 64MP Smartphons Sensor With 21fps

Samsung

The industry is scared by the increasing popularity of smartphones, and for a good reason. The technology evolves at a fast pace.

Now Samsung announced a new, 64MP sensor for smartphones doing 21fps. You can already get smartphones with sensors around 40MP (as the excellent Huawei P30 Pro, which seems to be gold standard for smartphone photography for the time being), and it seems the next generation of smartphones might raise the resolution to 64MP. As crazy as it sounds (at least to me) this is the future, along with computational photography algorithms getting always better. Why should people buy a dedicated camera when

Samsung press release:

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today introduced two new 0.8-micrometer (μm) pixel image sensors – the 64-megapixel (Mp) Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1 and 48Mp ISOCELL Bright GM2. With the addition, Samsung expands its 0.8μm image sensor lineup, the smallest pixel size currently available in the market, from existing 20Mp to ultra-high 64Mp resolutions.

“Over the past few years, mobile phone cameras have become the main instrument for recording and sharing our everyday moments,” said Yongin Park, executive vice president of sensor business at Samsung Electronics. “With more pixels and advanced pixel technologies, Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1 and GM2 will bring a new level of photography to today’s sleekest mobile devices that will enhance and help change the way we record our daily lives.”

ISOCELL Bright GW1 is a 64Mp image sensor that features the highest resolution in Samsung’s 0.8μm-pixel image sensor lineup. With pixel-merging Tetracell technology** and remosaic algorithm***, GW1 can produce bright 16Mp images in low-light environments and highly-detailed 64Mp shots in brighter settings. To take pictures resembling the way the human eye perceives its surroundings in a mixed light environment, GW1 supports real-time high dynamic range (HDR) of up to 100-decibels (dB) that provides richer hues. In comparison, the dynamic range of a conventional image sensor is at around 60dB, while that of the human eye is typically considered to be around 120dB.

GW1 is equipped with a Dual Conversion Gain (DCG) that converts the received light into an electric signal according to the illumination of the environment. This allows the sensor to optimize its full well capacity (FWC), utilizing the collected light more efficiently especially in bright environments. Sharper results can be delivered through Super PD, a high-performance phase detection auto-focus technology, and full HD recording at 480 frames-per-second (fps) is supported for smooth cinematic slow motion videos.

ISOCELL Bright GM2 is a 48Mp image sensor that also adopts Tetracell technology in low-light environments and a remosaic algorithm in well-lit settings, bringing highly-detailed pictures with natural and vivid colors. GM2, like GW1, adopts DCG as well for added performance and Super PD for fast autofocus.

Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1 and GM2 are currently sampling and are expected to be in mass production in the second half of this year.

[via Image Sensors World]

Canon Might Have a 63MP Full Frame Image Sensor On Their Agenda, Leaked Document Suggests

An apparently legit Canon document describing a full frame image sensor with a resolution of 63MP leaked over the web.

The 35MM63MXSCD named CMOS sensor has Dual Pixel AF, shoots around 5fps, and is made with a 300nm manufacturing process.

We expect Canon to announce a high resolution EOS R camera in Q4 2019. Could this be the sensor Canon will feature in their upcoming high resolution EOS R camera? Hard to say. It might be but it might also well be one of Canon’s super-specialised image sensors, maybe even a prototype that never went into production.

The sensor in the leaked document seems at first glance to be the sensor rumored for the high res EOS R model, although the latest rumor we got was talking about a 75MP sensor. We tend to believe this sensor has nothing to do with the upcoming high resolution EOS R camera.

More about Canon’s special purpose sensors can be learned here.

What is you opinion?

[via EOSHD Forum]

Industry News: Sony Develops A Stacked Global Shutter Sensor With Back-Illuminated Pixel

Global Shutter

Sony press release:

Sony Develops a Stacked CMOS Image Sensor Technology Using Sony’s Proprietary Global Shutter Function with Back-Illuminated Pixel Structure to Deliver Both High Imaging Performance and Miniaturization

Improves Productivity of Industrial Equipment for Smartification

Tokyo, Japan — Sony Corporation announced today that it has succeed in developing Pregius S, a stacked CMOS image sensor technology that employs Sony’s proprietary global shutter function with back-illuminated pixel structure to deliver both distortion-free, high imaging performance and miniaturization. The new sensor technology is intended for industrial equipment used in fields such as manufacturing, inspection, and logistics that require higher precision and higher processing speeds, in light of the trends in industrial advancement including factory smartification and automation.

Sony will introduce the new technology at Vision China Shanghai 2019 starting on March 20, 2019.

Conventional CMOS image sensors equipped with global shutter function temporarily store charge signals in the memory area located next to the photodiode to resolve image distortion (focal plane distortion) caused by the time shift due to the row-by-row readout. In front-illuminated CMOS image sensors, there is a wiring layer on the silicon substrate forming the photodiode, and with such a structure, the benefit is that it is easy to form a light shield for protecting the charge signal temporarily stored in the memory area from leaked light. For this reason, conventional CMOS image sensors with global shutter function have adopted a front-illuminated pixel structure. However, the wiring on top of the photodiode hinders the incident light, which creates an issue when attempting to miniaturize the pixels.

In response to this, Sony has developed a proprietary pixel structure that achieves the global shutter function on a back-illuminated structure that has superior sensitivity characteristics, thereby resolving the issue of miniaturization. Normally, when pixels are miniaturized, the sensitivity and saturation characteristics deteriorate, but the new Sony technology enables a reduction in pixel size to 2.74 μm while maintaining performance of those characteristic, thereby achieving about 1.7 times higher resolution than conventional front-illuminated CMOS image sensors.*1 This makes it possible to measure and inspect objects in a wider area and with higher accuracy in manufacturing, inspection, logistics and other applications. Moreover, thanks to the high degree of freedom of the wiring layout of back-illuminated pixel structures, a high speed of about 2.4 times that of conventional*1 can be achieved, thereby contributing to significant productivity improvement, including shorter measurement and inspection process times. In addition, the sensor’s stacked structure makes it possible to mount various signal processing circuits, whereby it is possible to realize smart functions such as signal processing only for the necessary part of the measurement and inspection images in a smaller size compared to conventional sensors.*1 That, in turn, makes it possible to reduce the load of the subsequent processing and reduce the amount of data to be held on to, thereby contributing to the realization of highly efficient, energy-saving systems.

Going forward, Sony will work to develop products equipped with this stacked CMOS image sensor employing its proprietary global shutter function with back-illuminated pixel structure for various industrial applications and intelligent transportation systems, including development of derivatives for signal processing circuits to be mounted. Sony plans to start shipping sample units in the summer of 2019 or later.

Main Features

1) Proprietary global shutter function with back-illuminated pixel structure delivers both distortion-free high imaging performance and miniaturization

Sony developed a proprietary pixel structure that achieves a global shutter function on a back-illuminated structure that has superior sensitivity characteristics, delivering both high imaging performance and miniaturization. By miniaturizing the pixel size from the conventional*1 3.45 μm to 2.74 μm while maintaining sensitivity and saturation characteristics, Sony has achieved about 1.7 times higher resolution than the conventional front-illuminated 12 megapixels*2 CMOS image sensor,*1 thereby making it possible to perform measurement and inspection in a wider area and at a higher accuracy. Moreover, thanks to the high degree of freedom of the wiring layout of the back-illuminated pixel structure, it is possible to deliver high-speed performance of about 2.4 times that of the conventional technology*1, thereby contributing to significant productivity improvement such as shorter measurement and inspection process times.

2) Miniaturization and high functionality made possible with a stacked structure

The sensor’s stacked structure makes it possible to mount various signal processing circuits, thereby contributing to miniaturization and enhanced functions for CMOS image sensors. Incorporating the data optimization functions (smart ROI, self-trigger, compression processing, compositing, etc.) that extracts only necessary information from the image data, it is possible to reduce the load of the subsequent processing and reduce the amount of data to be held onto while achieving a smaller package compared to conventional sensors,*1 thereby contributing to the realization of highly efficient, energy-saving systems.

Going forward, Sony will leverage the technology of Pregius S to further enhance and expand functions for new industries, including development of derivatives for signal processing circuits to be mounted.

Canon Working On Global Shutter Sensor With Dual Memory Pixels, Research Paper

Global Shutter

Canon published a research paper in the Japanese Journal of Applied Physics, named “A 3.4 μm pixel pitch global shutter CMOS image sensor with dual in-pixel charge domain memory” (by Masahiro Kobayashi, Hiroshi Sekine, Takafumi Miki, Takashi Muto, Toshiki Tsuboi, Yusuke Onuki, Yasushi Matsuno, Hidekazu Takahashi, Takeshi Ichikawa, and Shunpike Inoue).

From the paper’s abstract:

In this paper, we describe a newly developed 3.4 μm pixel pitch global shutter CMOS image sensor (CIS) with dual in-pixel charge domain memories (CDMEMs) has about 5.3 M effective pixels and achieves 19 ke− full well capacity, 30 ke−/lxcenterdots sensitivity, 2.8 e- rms temporal noise, and −83 dB parasitic light sensitivity. In particular, we describe the sensor structure for improving the sensitivity and detail of the readout procedure. Furthermore, this image sensor realizes various readout with dual CDMEMs. For example, an alternate multiple-accumulation high dynamic range readout procedure achieves 60 fps operation and over 110 dB dynamic range in one-frame operation and is suitable in particular for moving object capturing. This front-side-illuminated CIS is fabricated in a 130 nm 1P4M with light shield CMOS process.

[via Image Sensors World]

Latest Canon Patent Applications (Pop-UP EVF, Resin Mount, Hybrid EVF, Lenses and Sensor)

Canon Patent Applications

Here are the latest Canon patent applications.

Canon patent application 2019-023685 describes a pop-up EVF (Electronic ViewFinder). From the patent literature:

Since a display-device part and the eyepiece for magnifying it are needed EVF, when mounting on a compact camera, the place to arrange serves as problem. Since the large-sized external display device serves as a form which covers a camera back substantially, in order to look into EVF from the back face of a camera, an external display device must be avoided and arranged. A camera will enlarge only the part of EVF then. When it is going to avoid enlargement, an external display device must be made small and usability becomes less good. In order to correspond to these problems, there are some on which pop-up type EVF like the description to a Patent document 1 is mounted. 

EVF loading is realized without [ when using this inside a camera, being stored at the time of EVF non-use, without it functions as a finder by making it jump out to camera outside and miniaturizes an external display device, and ] enlarging a camera. 

Canon patent application 2019-023688 describes a resin (plastics) made lens mount:

Conventionally, although the camera mount of the camera with interchangeable lenses comprised a metallic material in consideration of durability, reliability and accuracy, etc., the camera mount which comprises a metallic material had the problem that things and component cost with heavy weight became high. 

The camera body which has the camera mount which comprised resin materials, such as a plastic, by improvement in the durability of engineering plastics or reliability and progress of forming technique is produced commercially these days. A weight saving and component cost reduction are attained because camera mount becomes a resin material.

Canon patent application 2019-020538 describes a hybrid optical and electronic viewfinder:

The present invention relates to the single-lens reflex camera which has an optical finder and an electronic finder, and relates to the change of the finder to which seeds responded as for the electronic device with which the especially single-lens reflex camera was equipped, or the optical element. 

In recent years, the single-lens reflex camera which has a finder which has arranged the optical-path dividing prism in the optical path of an optical finder in a single-lens reflex camera, and has arranged the display device which becomes the equivalent position from a liquid crystal panel etc. optically with a focus detecting plate is known. 

Canon patent application 2019-020679 describes the optical formula for a RF 100-400mm lens (for EOS R systems):

Focal distance 102.21 195.97 389.86 ​
F number 3.83 4.93 5.85 
Half angle of view (degree) 11.95 6.30 3.18 
Image height 21.64 21.64 21.64 
Lens total length 204.85 250.29 291.30 
BF 4.31 31.68 97.49

Canon patent application 2019-017065 describes a photon counting image sensor.

Canon patent application 2019-0052781 discusses how to improve the reliability of tilt-shift lenses.

That’s all for now; patent round-up source: Canon News

More Canon patent applications are listed here. Some particularly interesting patent applications we think might get into production in the next few years are these: