This article should be read by everybody

Started Dec 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
Robsphoto
Robsphoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,219
Sony's 16.41mp phone sensor and its very small pixels: Apple increases pixel size on the iPhone 5S

tbcass wrote:

There was a discussion about that a little while ago. It was also pointed out that another Sony report from a couple years ago said just the opposite, that increasing pixel density does not increase noise. Those guys you quoted are not engineers but were referred to as "designers" who probably have more to do with deciding how the camera is built and looks, not the electronics.

Below is a quote from my web page about the report that I think Tom is referring to. The report said there is a "misconception that reduced pixel size causes deterioration in characteristics".

"On 30 August 2011, Yasuhiro Ueda of Sony's Image Sensor Business Division, Semi Conductor Business Group, issued a semiconductor briefing "Image Sensor Business". As part of this briefing, a diagram was produced titled "Misconception that reduced pixel size causes deterioration in characteristics". This diagram has sometimes been reproduced on forums to support the view that reducing the pixel size does not necessarily lead to a noticeable deterioration in image quality when the image is viewed at the image level."

So, for Tom to say that this statement said that "increasing pixel density does not increase noise" is a bit misleading because "noise" is not actually mentioned in Sony's choice of words! In previous threads the diagram in the statement has been referred to as what happens only when the images are viewed at the image level.

In any event, the above statement is referring to a back-illuminated 16.41mp CMOS sensor that Sony developed for use in PHONES. The image size is 4672 pixels x 3512 pixels and the pixel pitch is just 1.12 microns (with a sensor width of only about 5.23mm). If we could see a range of actual full-sized high ISO images from cameras using these sensors, this may give us a better appreciation of the quality of these images when taken in low light.

Note that the megapixel race in phone cameras is now being "reversed" by Apple as discussed here.

Anyway here is another extract from an article by Sony engineers about the Exmor CMOS imaging sensor developed by Sony for use in digital cameras:

"To achieve higher pixel counts, pixels must be made smaller. However, sensitivity is generally proportional to pixel area and will decline if pixel size is reduced. By combining its knowledge of the technology developed for CCDs, Sony has been able to compensate for the sensitivity loss caused by reductions in pixel size. The future goal is to combine higher speeds with higher resolutions while compensating for reductions in sensitivity resulting from reductions in pixel size. This will be achieved using device process technology, circuit technology and image processing technology."

Cheers

Rob

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