Sunday, January 29, 2012

Aptina, SE on Image Sensor Future

Image Sensor Conference interviews Mats Wernersson, Master Engineer - Camera Research, Sony Ericsson and Gennadiy Agranov, Aptina's VP Imaging Technology

A quote from Mats Wernersson's interview:

Q: The megapixel race seems to be over, as consumers are becoming more savvy about the quality of the images their devices capture - how does this affect you and how do you react to these needs?

A: It is a relief that we don't have to hunt for a larger number of pixels for every new generation of phones. But there is still some market pressure for high numbers. We could make a better balanced system with somewhat better perceived image quality if we could pick the megapixel number purely from a technical and image quality point of view.

Few quotes from Gennadiy Agranov's interview:

"...there is the market for sports cameras that consumers can attach to bicycles, helmets, surfboards, skis, cars, motorcycles etc. to capture exciting video and images of their personal sporting adventures. Aptina has a strong position in this market, with what we believe is well over 70% market share, and we expect to secure this position through advances in our high-speed HD video enabled sensor offerings.

...Manufactures of sensors for the mobile market are passing the gate of 1.4 micron pixel node and working on 1.1micron pixels and smaller. The automotive market is moving from 5-6 micron pixels to 3-4 micron pixels. Sensors for the high-end digital camera market are targeting smaller pixels in the 2um - 4um range.

...It is interesting while the world economy and the semiconductor industry are expected to grow in the low single digits of percentage in the coming years, we see the narrower semiconductor segment of image sensors as growing in excess of 15% year-over-year going forward.


  1. "It is exciting to see the world of image processing merge with computer graphics." is even more interesting, OpenCL, Franken CAM and other ways to parallelize the ISP pipeline on GPU must be followed closely in the near future.
    GPUs will have same GFlops numbers as XBOX360 (albeit not same memory BW) so performance will be enormous.

  2. with all the changes happening at Aptina, sounds like Gennadiy has moved to business dev from pixel dev

  3. Mpix race seems to be over? Why Sony just released 18Mpix compact?

    1. It is over in the sense that we're not going to race from 16MP to 40MP at the same speed as from 2MP to 5MP.

    2. Maybe. Arguably, the 2-to-5 transition resulted mainly from shrinking pixel sizes, allowing small-area chips with low stack heights for a burgeoning mobile phone camera market. And a lot of the marketing push centered around getting to resolutions matched to full-page print resolutions.

      The other day I sat in the back row at my third-grader's winter choral concert and watched someone in front of me struggle taking a picture with a smart phone. She was trying zoom in on and frame her kid on the side up at the front using the touch screen. There was, from my perspective, a lot of sliding and tapping, followed by some imprecations I can't repeat, and she missed her shot. She would have been better off being able to take the whole scene at very high resolution, then zoom and frame afterwards. Possibly to print, but more likely to be shared purely digitally.

      I think the demand would be there for higher resolutions if the chip-makers could deliver at reasonable cost. Probably this entails relaxing demand for minimum chip area and stack height.


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