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Samsung and OmniVision Announce New Image Sensors with 0.6µm Pixel Size for the Smartphone Market

by Jeffrey Mathews | Jun 10, 2021

As we head into the peak period of new smartphone announcements and portfolio refreshes, Smartphone makers are trying to pack new technology and a host of feature upgrades in their devices which includes the application of the latest camera innovation. The camera continues to be a key selling point for smartphones and OEMs are constantly working with image sensor vendors to introduce new CIS products for the smartphone market.

Recently OmniVision Technologies announced its latest image sensor, 60MP OV60A aimed at selfie camera applications in a small footprint, enabling smartphones with minimal punch hole area and is also targeting rear ultrawide applications for smartphones.  

Now Samsung also announced its achievement with its new 50MP ISOCELL JN1 image sensor having a small sensor profile and is targeting selfie and rear ultrawide smartphone camera applications.

We highlight the features of these sensors below.

OmniVision OV60A


Image Source: OmniVision


  • This sensor features a 60MP resolution with a sensor size of 1/2.61” and supports 3:4 or 16:9 aspect ratio configurations.The sensor features the industry’s smallest pixel size of 0.61μm. The sensor combines a large resolution in a small package and offers a high quantum efficiency and reduced crosstalk.
  • The sensor’s capabilities are driven by OmniVision’s PureCel®Plus stacked die technology which uses a 4 cell color filter array. The sensor also enhances light sensitivity in various scenarios using the near-pixel binning mechanism to boost the pixel size to 1.22µm, output a 15MP image.The sensor supports staggered HDR and 4K video recording at 60fps with EIS.The sensor also features ambient light sensing mode for always-on sensing and low power streaming.

Samsung ISOCELL JN1



Image Source: Samsung


  • This image sensor features a 50MP resolution with a sensor size of 1/2.76” and has a sensor pixel size of 0.64μm. The sensor provides a reduced camera footprint making smartphones slimmer with a balanced overall design. This sensor provides Samsung’s top-tier pixel technologies for capturing highly detailed images.
  • The sensor uses new generation ISOCELL 2.0 technology to boost light sensitivity. In low light scenarios, the sensor uses 4-in-1-pixel binning to amplify the pixel size into a large 1.28μm pixel and output an image with 12.5MP resolution when binned. The image sensor’s capabilities are further improved through Smart-ISO for enhanced dynamic range and Double Super-PD for faster autofocus. The sensor also supports 4K video recording at 60fps.

Outlook

One key area for improvements in smartphones has been the selfie/front camera which has not seen major hardware upgrades over the last year.  Packing high resolution in a smaller footprint has been a challenge for CIS vendors. However, with the recent announcements, CIS vendors have been able to achieve technical breakthrough and provide an elevated smartphone photography experience. Smartphone OEMs are expected to feature these sensors within their premium and high-tier devices launching in H2 2021.

Our research notes that CIS products with Less than 1.0µm Pixel Size witnessed a strong shipment growth of nearly 20 percent YoY in the Smartphone Image Sensor Market in Q1 2021.  In terms of revenue share, Sony Semiconductor continued to lead the market with 44 percent share followed by Samsung System LSI and OmniVision Technologies. We expect all the image sensor vendors to be aggressive in introducing new CIS products with next-generation sensor technologies, to grow their respective share in the smartphone image sensor market in CY2021.

Key Questions

  • Samsung’s 50MP JN1 and OmniVision’s OV60A are both currently in the mass production stage and could soon be applied to devices. Which smartphone OEMs will be the first to introduce these sensors and also across which application? What is the positioning of each of these image sensors for customers?
  • How do the sensors differ in real-world applications? Is the 60MP offering from OmniVision better than the 50MP CIS product from Samsung? Does Samsung’s key pixel technologies give its image sensors an edge over OmniVision’s CIS products?
  • We are yet to see an image sensor with 0.6μm pixel size from Sony. What CIS product would the vendor expect to introduce for the smartphone market and also to compete with the recent product offerings from its two key competitors?


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