You don't necessarily need to rock a digital SLR camera to get the benefits of a CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor, in case you were wondering) image sensor. According to market research firm iSuppli, digital still cameras have started adopting CMOS senors in place of CCDs (charge-coupled devices) at a rapid rate. By 2013, iSuppli says there will be more CMOS point-n-shoot cameras than CCD equipped ones.
According to CrunchGear, Sony may be preparing to step up the image quality of smartphone and point-and-shoot cameras with a new 17.7MP CMOS sensor. It's not just the crazy-high resolution of the sensor that makes this imaging gear special, the sensor is reportedly able to "convert multiple pixels into single pixels simultaneously" making image compression 75% faster, reports The Nikkei.
Sony recently announced the commercialization of the world's first 16.41 megapixel "Exmor R" back-illuminated CMOS image sensors for use in mobile phones, and this got us wondering. At what point do we start to consider these devices as digital cameras with a built-in smartphone rather than vice versa?
"IMX081PQ is world's first type 1/2.8 back-illuminated CMOS image sensor which realizes 16.41 effective megapixel resolution, and adopts the industry's smallest unit pixel size of 1.12μm achieved by the fine pixel fabrication process technology," Sony said. "In theory, when a unit pixel size is made smaller, there are also some issues such as color mixture among smaller unit pixels. Sony solved this problem by implementing a unique formation of photo diodes optimally designed for fine pixel structure to realize a CMOS image sensor with high resolution, high sensitivity and low noise."
Sony plans to start mass producing the Exmor R sensors by the end of 2010, which could find their way into new smartphones in early 2011. In addition to the high megapixel count for stills, cameras that employ the sensor will also be capable of shooting HD video.