The newspaper, that extensively covers Rochester, N.Y.-based Kodak, writes that Kodak is developing five megapixel CMOS chipsets for camera phones. Some time this year, Motorola is expected to offer at least one handset with a Kodak chipset.
The article says Kodak is “banking on camera phones appearing on the market by next year that shoot high-quality, five-megapixel digital photos. Those photos would be due to a new line of inexpensive image sensors Kodak is starting to market.”
In February Kodak announced the world’s first 1.4 micron CMOS five megapixel image sensor, the KAC-05020. Kodak says the new sensor can produce photos that are as good as or better than larger, 1.75 micron CMOS sensors.
Why it’s better
Kodak explains its redesign of traditional CMOS sensors:
“In a standard CMOS pixel, signal is measured by detecting electrons that are generated when light interacts with the surface of the sensor. As more light strikes the sensor, more electrons are generated, resulting in a higher signal at each pixel.
“In the KODAK TRUESENSE CMOS Pixel, however, the underlying ‘polarity’ of the silicon is reversed, so that the absence of electrons is used to detect a signal. This change enabled a series of improvements to the design and structure of the pixel that ultimately results in CMOS imaging performance that rivals that available from CCD image sensors.
“Light sensitivity in the new sensor is enhanced through the use of the recently announced KODAK TRUESENSE Color Filter Pattern, which adds panchromatic, or ‘clear,’ pixels to the red, green and blue pixels already on the sensor. Since these pixels are sensitive to all wavelengths of visible light, they collect a significantly higher proportion of the light striking the sensor.
“This provides a 2x to 4x increase in sensitivity to light (from one to two photographic stops) compared to current sensor designs, improving performance in low light and reducing motion blur in action shots.”
Samples in the spring
Sample quantities of the new sensor are expected in the second quarter of this year, Kodak says. They will be produced in Taiwan, the newspaper says.
The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle says other 1.4 micron sensors offer a maximum of three megapixels.
In the United States we’re seeing a fair number of two megapixel camera phones. I think the highest resolution camera phone that’s available from a U.S. cellular operator is 3.2 megapixels. Overseas, five megapixel camera phones are available from a variety of manufacturers.
Five megapixels if you pay for it
In the U.S., unlocked five megapixel camera phones may be purchased from, for example, Nokia. However, they aren’t subsidized by any cellular operator and cost about $500 or more.
I have a five megapixel Nokia N95, that’s a great handset. I hope to get a new, more advanced Nokia camera phone in the near future.