Diagonal 5.867 mm (Type 1/3.06) 13.13M-Effective Pixel Stacked CMOS Image Sensor


The Industry's First*1 13M-Pixel CMOS Image Sensor Enabling HDR Output at 30 Frame/s

*1: As of February, 2014 (based on Sony's research)

The recent growth of smartphone users brought more opportunities to share video imaging and still imaging on the internet, and higher picture quality is required even for smartphone cameras.
As the result, smartphone models have started to feature HDR (High Dynamic Range) function to capture the brilliant colors even when pictures are taken against bright light.
Now, Sony is releasing "IMX214", 13M-pixel stacked CMOS image sensor with the unique SME (Spatially Multiplexed Exposure) -HDR technology.
The image sensor is able to output 13M-pixel HDR at the maximum of 30 frame/s, and stabilized and high resolution HDR imaging can be generated for both video imaging and still imaging.

  • Diagonal 5.867 mm (Type 1/3.06) approx. 13.13M effective pixels
  • Stacked CMOS image sensor
  • Supports HDR video imaging (full 30 frame/s, 4K 30 frame/s, 1080p 60 frame/s)
  • Reduced height structure of back-illuminated structure sensor
  • Supports MIPI D-PHY ver.1.1 (Max. 1.2G bps/Lane)

Exmor RS
* Exmor RS is a trademark of Sony Corporation. The Exmor RS is a Sony's CMOS image sensor with high-resolution, high-performance and compact size by replacing a supporting substrate in Exmor RTM which changed fundamental structure of ExmorTM pixel adopted column parallel A/D converter to back-illuminated type, with layered chips formed signal processing circuits.

SME-HDR Technology

The HDR imaging function is one of the effective methods to improve picture quality. The conventional software method to generate one HDR image combining several pictures is not appropriate to capture moving subjects since this method cannot fill the time gap between the respective pictures. Handling several frames is also difficult for high speed video recording which contains big signal processing data.
This time Sony released the IMX214 featuring SME-HDR technology, which is capable of outputting 13M-pixel HDR images. The technology sets two different exposure conditions during shooting and seamlessly performs appropriate image processing to generate optimal images with a wide dynamic range. Therefore, the IMX214 outputs 13M-pixel HDR at 30 frame/s, and brilliant colors are captured even when pictures are taken against bright light for both video imaging and still imaging. (See figure 1.)
As well, this image sensor is capable to handle 4K or 13M-pixel HDR shooting which was not possible in the existing IMX135*2 (featuring BME-HDR function). (See table 1.)

*2: 2012 August 20th News Releases

Improved Pixel Characteristics of the Back-illuminated Structure Sensor

Sony has been adopted back-illuminated structure for shooting in the high sensitivity and low light conditions, and the IMX214 accomplished further improvements of pixel characteristics with the back-illuminated structure. The on-chip lens and photodiode were placed close to each other for better light collecting efficiency compared with the existing back-illuminated structure. Then incident light characteristics and color crosstalk were improved from the existing product with the back-illuminated structure. (See figure 2 and figure 3.)
The better color crosstalk resulted in higher performance in the color-processed SNR, and consequently high-picture quality can be provided even under low light conditions. Also more efficient incident light characteristics enabled the combination with high CRA lens, which contributes to reduce the height of the module, and adopting small F-number lens also allowed to capture brighter images even with short exposure time.

Miniaturization Using Stacked Structure

Cameras mounted on the recent smartphones have increasing demands for high-picture quality and compact size to compete on design of the smartphone itself.
The IMX214 adopts the Sony's specialized stacked structure and accomplished miniaturization while keeping the functions including SME-HDR technology for high-picture quality at the same time. The module size can be cut down and it contributes to the appealing smartphone design.

Figure 1 Comparison of HDR Images

IMX135 IMX214

Figure 2 Comparison of Spectral Sensitivity Characteristics

Figure 2
Solid line: IMX214  Dashed line: IMX135

Figure 3 Comparison of Sensitivity Characteristics with Different Incident Angles

Figure 3
Solid line: IMX214  Dashed line: IMX135

Table 1 Device Comparison
Item IMX135 IMX214
Image size Diagonal 5.87 mm
Total number of pixels 4224 (H) × 3176 (V)
Approx. 13.42M pixels
4224 (H) × 3200 (V)
Approx. 13.51M pixels
Number of active pixels 4208 (H) × 3120 (V)
Approx. 13.13M pixels
Fabrication process Back-illuminated process Back-illuminated process
+ reduced height structure
Unit cell size 1.12 µm (H) × 1.12 µm (V)
Output format MIPI 4, 2 Lane
Control communication interface I2C
Power supply
Analog 2.7 +0.2/-0.1 V
Digital 1.05 ± 0.1 V 1.0 +0.15/-0.1 V
I/O 1.8 ± 0.1 V
Input clock frequency 6 to 27 MHz
Signal processing function
within sensors
Spot pixel compensation
Noise reduction
HDR video
Full Not supported 30 frame/s
4K Not supported 30 frame/s
1080p 30 frame/s 60 frame/s

*Sony reserves the right to change products and specifications without prior notice.


group photo_Designers

The IMX214 targets that even smartphones can capture clearer still imaging and video imaging, and all project members put our best effort starting from the design to the manufacturing phases.
Please try this image sensor evolving Sony's unique HDR technology and do not miss the opportunity to make a new imaging experience that Sony is striving for.