Sharp Japan today announced a new CCD which we will probably see in a new wave of compact digital cameras. The RJ21V3BA0ET (just rolls off the tongue) is a 1/1.8" Type CCD (7.2 x 5.3 mm) which packs 8.5 million total pixels (8.3 million effective). This sensor can also deliver 640 x 480 (VGA) at 30 fps for both high resolution live preview and video capture. Just when we thought seven million in the 1/1.8" Type package was enough. This CCD has a pixel pitch of just 2.2 µm (approx. 23% smaller than 8 million pixels on a 2/3" type CCD).

Phil: Further indication that the pixel race certainly isn't over, my guess is that this is just the tip of the iceberg with ten million pixel compact cameras before the end of next year. Once again I'll place my stake in the ground and say I'd rather see manufacturers spending time and money on better lenses, better AF, faster cameras, better auto WB, and some real innovation.

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Sharp RJ21V3BA0ET eight megapixel CCD sensor

Name RJ21V3BA0ET (32 pin SOP package)
Type 1/1.8"
Sensor size 7.2 x 5.3 mm
Color filter Primary (RGB)
Aspect ratio 4:3
Total pixels 8.5 million (3382 x 2513)
Effective pixels 8.3 million (3320 x 2496)
Video feed capable 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Pixel pitch 2.2µm
Sensitivity 90 mV (typ)
Saturation output 470 mV (typ)
S/N ratio -88 dB (typ)
Range of operation -20 to +70 °C