Foveon has released specifications for the 'Foveon X3 5M CMOS Image Sensor'. This is a very interesting sensor because it is the same size as the now almost standard 1/1.8" type used in many of todays compact digital cameras. The X3 5M has 4.53 MPS (million pixel sensors) in an array of 1420 x 1060 x 3 layers. This sensor is also capable of 640 x 480 full color video (3 colors per output pixel) at an impressive 30 frames per second using Foveon's Variable Pixel Size (VPS) capability. Could this be a sign that we will soon see consumer level digital cameras with X3 sensors? (Note: According to our friends at Imaging-Resource mention was made of this sensor back in March but until now we had not seen the specifications).
Foveon X3 5M CMOS Image Sensor (F19X3-A50)
The Foveon X3 5M is a 1/1.8-inch CMOS image sensor that incorporates the breakthrough Foveon X3 technology. Foveon X3 image sensors capture full-measured color images through a unique three-layer pixel sensor design. By capturing fullmeasured color images, the need for color interpolation and artifact-reducing blur filters is eliminated. As a result, the Foveon X3 5M delivers the highest effective resolution possible without color artifacts for the 1/1.8-inch optical format. The Foveon X3 5M features the powerful VPS(Variable Pixel Size) capability. VPS provides the on-chip capability of grouping neighboring pixels together to form larger pixels that are optimal for reduced noise, high frame rate or dual mode still/video applications. Other advanced features include: low fixed-pattern noise, ultra-low power consumption, and integrated digital control.
- Foveon X3® Technology
- Three pixel sensors are layered at each pixel location to achieve full-measured color.
- Images have improved sharpness and immunity to sampling artifacts
- Variable Pixel Size (VPS) Capability
- Several neighboring pixels can be averaged together on-chip to obtain the effect of a larger pixel.
- Enables flexible video capture at a variety of resolutions.
- Enables higher ISO mode at lower resolutions.Reduces noise by
- On-Chip A/D Conversion
- Integrated 12-bit A/D converter running at up to 40MHz.
- Color sequential row readout onto a 12-bit tri-state output data
- Integrated Digital Control
- Minimal external control logic required.
- Data bus from the image sensor can be connected directly to DSP or video capture bus.
- Image sensor control is via simple three wire serial interface.
- Ultra Low Power
- Advanced CMOS process technology results in ultra low power requirements.
- Power consumption is less than 200mW during readout, less than
40mW in standby mode,and less than 1mW in power down mode. (Preliminary)
- Low Noise
- The Foveon X3 image sensor offers extremely low-noise readout and high dynamic range.
- Proprietary readout circuits suppress fixed pattern noise artifacts associated with CMOS image sensors.
|Effective Pixel Sensors||4.53 MPS (million pixel sensors)
1.51 million pixel locations x 3 layers
(1420 columns x 1060 rows x 3 layers)
|Total Pixel Sensors||4.7 MPS (million pixel sensors)
1.57 million pixel locations x 3 layers
(1440 columns x 1088 rows x 3 layers)
|Pixel Pitch||5.0 µm|
|Effective Area||7.1 x 5.3 mm|
|Effective Diagonal||8.8 mm|
|Frame Rate||7 fps for 1420c x 1060r x 3 layers
30 fps for 640c x 480r x 3 layers (VPS)
|Variable Pixel Size Increments||Integer Multiples|