Diagonal 8.92 mm (Type 1/1.8) 6.44M-Effective Pixel Color CMOS Image Sensor


Back-illuminated Structure CMOS Image Sensor for Security Cameras and Industrial Applications Achieves High Sensitivity and High Dynamic Range

Sony developed back-illuminated structure CMOS image sensor, "IMX178LQJ", supporting three formats of 4:3, 5:4, and 16:9 ratio with type 1/2 in 5M-effective pixel. Adopting back-illuminated structure with 2.4 µm unit pixel and 14 bit ADC, it provides all three advantages of high resolution, high sensitivity, and high dynamic range, which are necessary for security cameras.

  • Back-illuminated structure 2.4 µm unit pixel
  • 10 bit/12 bit/14 bit A/D converters
  • Supporting type 1/2 5M effective pixels in 3 formats
  • HLP (High Light Performance) mode
  • LLP (Low Light Performance) mode
  • Pin compatible with the existing product "IMX185LQJ"*1

*1: For details on the IMX185LQJ, see the New Products section of this volume.

Exmor R
* "Exmor R" is a trademark of Sony Corporation. The "Exmor R" is a Sony's CMOS image sensor with significantly enhanced imaging characteristics including sensitivity and low noise by changing fundamental structure of "Exmor" pixel adopted column-parallel A/D converter to back-illuminated type.

* STARVIS is a trademark of Sony Corporation. The STARVIS is back-illuminated pixel technology used in CMOS image sensors for surveillance camera applications. It features a sensitivity of 2000 mV or more per 1 µm2 (color product, when imaging with a 706 cd/m2 light source, F5.6 in 1 s accumulation equivalent), and realizes high picture quality in the visible-light and near infrared light regions.

High Sensitivity

To achieve high sensitivity, which is one of the most important characteristics for security cameras, this time Sony developed back-illuminated structure 2.4 µm unit pixel and accomplished the equivalent sensitivity as the existing back-illuminated structure 2.8 µm unit pixel, "IMX136LQJ". Also near infrared sensitivity was improved from the IMX136LQJ, which is equivalent to the IMX236LQJ*2, and it is suitable for Day/Night cameras and near infrared light LED used as auxiliary light.

*2: For details on the IMX236LQJ, see the New Products section of this volume.

High Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is determined by the ratio of saturation signal and dark random noise. The IMX178LQJ featuring 14 bit ADC reduced quantization noise and also suppressed dark random noise. At the result, high dynamic range was achieved, which is equivalent to the existing 3.75 µm unit pixel, the IMX104LQJ. It enables clear image quality in light and dark areas even for the objects with high contrast.

Image Format

The format for image size of security camera is typically 4:3, 5:4 for fisheye lens, or 16:9 for full HD. The IMX178LQJ supports all these three formats in 5M pixels high resolution. Also it secures high resolution as well as high sensitivity and high dynamic range at the same time, therefore the specification works best for high performance security cameras with type 1/2 lenses.

Compatibility with Existing Sony Products

The IMX178LQJ is pin compatible with the 3.75 µm unit pixel full HD image sensor, the ICX185LQJ, supporting type 1/2 lenses. If you are using the IMX185LQJ, please do not miss the chance to try the performance of the IMX178LQJ.

*If the mouse cursor changes over the photo, you can click to see the larger version in a new window.

Photograph 1 All-pixel Scan, and 5M Pixels in Three Formats: 4:3, 5:4, and 16:9

Number of recommended recording pixels: All-pixel scan approx. 6.29M pixels (3:2), approx.
5.04M pixels (4:3), approx. 5.24M pixels (5:4), and approx. 5.31M pixels (16:9).

Photograph 1-1
All-pixel scan
(recommended recording
3072H × 2048V)

Photograph 1-2
5M 4:3
(recommended recording
2592H × 1944V)

Photograph 1-3
5M 5:4
(recommended recording
2560H × 2048V)

Photograph 1-4
5M 16:9
(recommended recording
3072H × 1728V)

Photograph 2 Sample Images
(recommended recording approx. 5.04M pixels, 4:3, ADC 12 bit mode, 59.94 frame/s)

Photograph 2-1

1000 lx HLP mode internal gain 12 dB, F5.6

Photograph 2-2

1 lx LLP mode internal gain 51 dB, F1.4

Photograph 3 High Dynamic Range Imaging
(recommended recording approx. 5.04M pixels, 4:3, 29.97 frame/s HLP mode, internal gain 0 dB, F5.6)

Photograph 3-1

A/D conversion 12 bit mode

Photograph 3-2

A/D conversion 14 bit mode

Table 1 Device Structure
Item IMX178LQJ
Image size Diagonal 8.92 mm (Type 1/1.8) Approx. 6.38M pixels all-pixel scan
Diagonal 7.83 mm (Type 1/2.0) Approx. 5.11M pixels 4:3
Diagonal 7.92 mm (Type 1/2.0) Approx. 5.32M pixels 5:4
Diagonal 8.51 mm (Type 1/1.9) Approx. 5.39M pixels 16:9
Transfer method All-pixel scan
Number of effective pixels 3096 (H) × 2080 (V) Approx. 6.44M pixels
Unit cell size 2.4 µm (H) × 2.4 µm (V)
Optical blacks Horizontal Front:0 pixels, rear: 0 pixels
Vertical Front:14 pixels, rear: 0 pixels
Input drive frequency 54 MHz/27 MHz/74.25 MHz/37.125 MHz
Package 128-pin LGA
Supply voltage VDD (Typ.) 2.9 V/1.8 V/1.2 V
Table 2 Image Sensor Characteristics
Item IMX178LQJ Remarks
Sensitivity (F5.6) Typ. 425 mV 1/30s accumulation
Saturation signal Min. 945 mV Tj = 60°C
Table 3 Basic Drive Mode
Drive mode Number of recommended recording pixels ADC Frame rate (Max.)
All-pixel scan 3072 (H) × 2048 (V) approx. 6.29M pixels 12 bit 29.97 frame/s
14 bit 29.97 frame/s
5M 4:3 2592 (H) × 1944 (V) approx. 5.04M pixels 12 bit 59.94 frame/s
14 bit 29.97 frame/s
5M 5:4 2560 (H) × 2048 (V) approx. 5.24M pixels 12 bit 59.94 frame/s
14 bit 29.97 frame/s
5M 16:9 3072 (H) ×1728 (V) approx. 5.31M pixels 12 bit 60 frame/s
14 bit 30 frame/s

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


group photo_Designers

Development of the IMX178LQJ started to consider qualifications for ideal security cameras. The cameras have enough resolution in zoomed images, and have clear images in high contrast day-time shooting and dark night-time shooting. To realize the ideal qualifications, the project members continued the development and reached to the result of this image sensor. From the IMX178LQJ, we will develop type 1/2 CMOS image sensors for high performance security cameras.