ON Semiconductor – a Fortune 1000 semiconductor supplier company – announced new sensors that provide 4K resolution, global shutter and high frame rates in a 1-inch platform.
As stated in the press release, “The X-Class image sensor platform enables a new dimension in camera design by supporting multiple CMOS pixel architectures within the same image sensor frame. This allows a single camera design not only to support multiple product resolutions, but also different pixel functionality, such as larger pixels that trade resolution in a given optical format for higher imaging sensitivity, designs optimized for low noise operation to increase dynamic range and more. By supporting these different pixel architectures through a common high bandwidth, low power interface, camera manufacturers can leverage existing parts inventory and accelerate time to market for new camera designs”.
According to the product blog, this technology has the potential to allow camera manufactures the privilege to bring new camera models to market. That would be a clear competitive advantage.
1-inch sensor, 4K resolution, Global Shutter and 120 fps
There are two initial sensor designs in the X-Class family: the XGS 12000 and XGS 8000. Both of them share similarities regarding performance and specs.
The XGS 8000 is a 8.8 Mp (4096 x 2160) 4K / UHD resolution Global Shutter CMOS image sensor in a 1/1.1-inch optical format, supporting up to 120 frames per second readout at full resolution. The XGS 1200 is a 12.6 Mp (4096 x 3072) CMOS image sensor in a 1-inch optical format, supporting up to 90 frames per second readout at full resolution.
Dedicated to small cameras
The package design and low power footprint make the device compatible with a 29 x 29 mm camera footprint, which means that this platform can suit small cameras (action cams more likely).
The combination between the 1-inch sensor and a small camera is not so rare, and was demonstrated in the Sony RX0 model, which we reviewed here. The size of the sensor can dramatically upgrade the video quality even in small action cams.
The XGS 12000 and XGS 8000 will begin sampling in Q2 2018, with production availability scheduled for the Q3 2018.
Possible potential implementations
Just imagine an action camera that has the capabilities to shoot 4K at 120 fps and with a global shutter… This technology can open more possibilities for us filmmakers in regards to action shooting when small cameras are needed. Maybe GoPro should check out this new sensor technology. It could be nice to see a joint venture here.
What are your thoughts about these new sensors? Do you see future implementations by established camera companies? Let us know in the comments section below!