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April 20, 2006 – With the megapixel craze bowing to trendier features lately, OmniVision Technologies, Inc. announced a newly developed 5-megapixel CMOS sensor that packs some interesting features. This 1/2.5-inch image sensor is the second generation OV5620 for the OmniVision manufacturer. Most compact digital cameras carry CCD image sensors, so this 5-megapixel CMOS chip is one of the first of its kind.
"After several years of exponential growth, the DSC market has slowed down significantly, and the pixel race seems to have found its sweet spot around 5 megapixels," said Brian O’Rourke, senior analyst at market research firm In-Stat, in yesterday’s press release. "With so many DSCs sold today featuring 5 megapixels, the key market differentiators in this segment are shifting away from the pixel count and towards advanced features such as video."
To differentiate itself, the 5-megapixel CMOS chip offers high-definition video capabilities. The first video mode shoots 720 x 480 pixels at a quick rate of 60 frames per second; this is optimized for televisions and has slightly more pixels than the average VGA video mode included on most digital cameras. The other video mode incorporated on the chip shoots 1280 x 720 pixels at 30 frames per second, which is enough resolution for smooth high-definition movie clips. OmniVision claims that its CMOS technology is more conducive to high-quality video.
"Based on our testing of products containing the OV5620 versus those containing CCD sensors, the OV5620 will offer camera makers significantly enhanced video performance over CCD sensors, while maintaining an affordable price," said Jason Liu, senior product marketing manager at OmniVision, in the press release.
The OmniVision OV5620 uses OmniPixel2 architecture to provide better image quality in a smaller size than most CMOS sensors. According to the press release, the 5-megapixel sensor includes the following features: "50/60 Hz auto flicker detection, LCD scaling, lens shading correction, defect pixel correction, edge enhancement and noise reduction." The sensor also claims to do well in low light, which is fast becoming a hot topic for digital still cameras.