Mitsubishi Electric Corp has announced the CMO51 camera module for mobile phones. This module appears to feature a 2 megapixel Fujifilm SuperCCD sensor. Mitsubishi are calling this module '4 megapixel' although of course we know it's 2 million effective. However because of the honeycomb layout of SuperCCD the output image size will be twice that of the effective resolution.

Phil: Since we first ran this article we now know that this sensor is from Fujifilm and is SuperCCD but not the extended dynamic range 'SR' sensor. Probably an issue with the translation but interestingly the specs table (which came from the Japanese release) does indication 'x 2' on the resolution... As we noted previously Mitsubishi have used Fujifilm SuperCCD before (click here). There is also the CMO41 (816 x 612 x 2) and CMO11 (648 x 486 x 2).

Press Release:

Mitsubishi Electric Announces Industry's First 4 Mega Pixel CCD Camera Module with Auto-Focus

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation announces the industry's first 4-mega-pixel CCD auto-focus camera module for cellular phone use.

Shipment of samples will start in early November.

The market of cellular phones with cameras has been expanding domestically as well as overseas along with increasingly pixilated cameras. In response to this as well as a trend towards greater number of functions in cellular phones, Mitsubishi Electric fully utilized the module technology and know how gained from our module development to date to achieve the industry's first 4 mega-pixel CCD camera module with auto focus.

Main Features of New Product

  1. Realization of first 4 mega pixel module in a cellular phone
    Small 4 mega-pixel CCD camera module developed by full use of an advanced optical design and mounting technology.
     
  2. Realization of high sensitivity and high definition using Super CCD
    This module can fully respond to photography in low lighting and dark places by utilizing Super CCD.
     
  3. Equipped with AF (Auto focus) function for precise photography
    With AF function, photography of any type of photographic subject is possible; from close up human subjects to scenery.
     
  4. Customizable FPC(b) and connector
    The FPC and connector are customizable to the needs of the customer.
     
  5. Corresponds to the frame rate of 30 fps (max) in VGA(c) size
    Can respond to 30 fps (max) frame rate in VGA size picture output, making television quality animation possible

Main Specifications

Image sensor CCD image sensor
Number of effective pixels 1152 x 864
Output image size 2304 x 1728 (max)
Output format Y:Cb:Cr = 4:2:2
Frame rate • 30 fps (max) - VGA, CIF, QVGA, QQVGA
• 7.5 fps (max) - 4M, UXGA, SXGA
Master clock (EXCK input) 4 - 37 MHz (d)
Power consumption 580 mW (Standard / Typ.) (d)
Weight 3.0 g (Standard / Typ.) (d)
Features • Automatic exposure adjustment (Auto Exposure)
• Automatic white balance adjustment (Auto White Balance)
• Output picture size adjustment (Output image size adjustment)
• Color interpolation, level correction
• 9 Main functions (Color/contour adjustment) Color difference matrix conversion (Color difference matrix transformation)
• The degree of picture clearness (Image sharpness adjustment)
• Defective pixel compensation (Pixel Correction)
• Auto focus
• JPEG compression

Nikkei Electronics Asia article:

Mitsubishi Releases 4-Megapixel Camera Module for Mobile Phones

October 25, 2004 (TOKYO) -- Mitsubishi Electric Corp has released the CMO51, a 4 mega-pixel camera module designed for use in mobile phones. This is claimed to be the industry's first mobile phone camera module, which is capable of 4 mega-pixel recording. The module is also equipped with auto-focus and color tuning functions. It measures 22.8 x 12.2 x 11.4mm.

This product is embedded with Super CCD, a proprietary CCD solid-state image pickup sensor, which Mitsubishi developed and is manufacturing. Although the sensor's effective resolution is 2 mega-pixel, the image processor boosts it to a maximum of 4 mega-pixel when recording. This appears to be the first time that the company ever mass-produces CCD sensors for mobile phones.

What is distinctive about this CCD sensor is its picture elements, each of which contains two photodiodes to broaden the dynamic range. As the dimensions of these photodiodes' surface are different, their saturation properties are also different. By synthesizing respective images gained from these photodiodes, so-called "image noise" caused by over-exposure and underexposure can be reduced.

Fuji Photo Film Co Ltd also placed 2 photodiodes in a pixel to broaden the dynamic range and developed the Super CCD Honeycomb SR ahead of Mitsubishi. According to Mitsubishi, however, its latest technology "is not infringing any of our competitors' patents. "Fuji Photo Film said the Super CCD Honeycomb SR "has never been applied to cell phones," but only to digital cameras thus far.

Mass production with a volume of 700,000 units a month is slated to start in March 2005.

[NE Asia Online]