Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Omnivision Announces New Webcam Sensor

Yahoo: Omnivision introduced OV7740, the sensor for notebook webcams. The VGA sensor is based on 4.2um pixel having 6800mV/lux-sec sensitivity. The OV7740 is capable of operating at 60fps in VGA resolution and 120fps in QVGA.

The OV7740 is immediately available for sampling with volume production slated within the first quarter of 2009. Techno Systems Research projects the notebook webcam market to exceed $6 billion by 2012, as demand for portable PCs continues to grow.


  1. I wondered when they were finally going to get around to doing this with their high sensitivity pixel design. If OP3-HS works as advertised, its a no brainer from a cost and benefit standpoint.

    Does anybody know if OP3-HS has found its way into any phone cams so far? Management says that they are selling a VGA version in China, but its been radio silence here in the US.

  2. Where do you think NBPC market is heading from the imaging point of view? Why are more and more VGA cameras popping up? What about HD? Full HD? Why not more 2 megapixels or even 1.3 megapixels?

    - undotre

  3. I believe higher resolution sensors will appear in notebooks eventually. To work with low light they should have large pixels, meaning bigger optics too, while notebooks becoming slimmer and lighter. Also, large sensors require AF, which is more expensive and complicates the design. So, it takes some time to adopt.

  4. What about EDoF or Digital Focus technologies?

    Fundamentally, sticking to VGA helps as far as Live Messenger or Skype are concerned. But, for true HD experience you need a good camera. A high end smartphone camera should be good for it...

    - undotre

  5. OV7740 is the first OV VGA sensor with OP3-HS pixels. It was designed to replace the aging (3+ years) and expensive OV7725 (6um pixel) for the tier 1 branded notebook market (Acer, HP, Dell)

    The quickest HD sensor destined to go into notebooks is OV9710 (OP3-HS), this is used by some of the Acer notebooks that have recently appeared on the market, supporting 720P and WXGA at 30fps

    The OP3-HS pixel design itself has also been specced into some additional sensors such as OV2655 and OV3642. Both of which have real project design wins for Cellphone cameras and notebook cameras. As a side note, tier 2 notebook brands who want to one-up the tier 1 brands in the resolution race will usually go for larger than HD resolutions on the inbuilt cams.

    There are real challenges in bring HD 720P quality to the notebook. The main bottleneck is USB 2.0 and its isochronous mode transport with only 24MB/sec of bandwidth. All 720P HD streams need to be compressed into either MJPEG or some kind of other format on the camera module and then decoded again on the PC during preview.
    Notebooks with 2MP cameras don't even try to compress the stream and as a result can only manage 3-5 fps due to USB limitations

    These limitations of course don't apply so much to cellphones due to the sensor I/F data not limited by USB and usually goes into the baseband in parallel of high speed differential serial.

  6. Isn't Omnivision working on BSI? Why wouldn't this new camera be based on that technology rather than the older one?

  7. Thanks for a very interesting overview of OP3-HS-based sensors.

    As for the BSI question, I don't think that the low-resolution webcam sensor really needs BSI at this time.


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