Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Aptina Announces 1-inch 10MP Sensor for Bridge and Mirrorless Cameras

Business Wire: Aptina announced the 1-inch 10MP AR1011HS digital camera image sensor aimed to high quality bridge and mirrorless cameras and targeting Tier-1 camera OEMs. The sensor is based on 3.4um pixels "delivering uncompromised low light and bright light scene image quality". Its high-speed architecture is capable of reading full 10MP resolution at 60fps, and enables a variety of video modes, including broadcast quality quad HD, oversampled 1080p for True HD resolution, 1080p video at 120 fps, and additional high frame rate modes for slow motion playback.

"Image quality and speed are the two things this market cannot compromise on. Tier-1 OEMs competing in this market are looking for increasingly versatile solutions to meet the demand for speed and performance, and this sensor provides both," said Sandor Barna, VP and GM of Aptina’s Consumer Camera business.

The AR1011HS DR-Pix pixel is said to deliver both high-pixel sensitivity for low-light imaging, and high-pixel capacity for bright outdoor scenes. The new sensor uses 24-lane HiSPi High Speed Serial Pixel Interface for fast data transfer.

The AR1011HS is currently sampling in limited volumes and will be in mass production in Q1CY13.


  1. is AR1011HS used in Nikon 1?

  2. It does seem to have similar specs as Nikon1.

  3. Does the sensor also have the auto-focus pixels ?

    1. Dr. Theuwissen -

      The AR1011 does not include any specialized focus detection pixels.

      If you are interested in seeing more, please stop by our booth at Photokina (4.1, USA Pavilion)

      Best regards,
      Sandor Barna

  4. Aptina mention their DR-Pix (Dynamic Range pixels) on their web site with a very helpful (and slightly technical) video


    I'd not paid attention to this before they have a very interesting idea (that's so obvious when you think about it -- like a lot of good ideas :-) to mode switch the size of the floating diffusion that stores the charge between a large capacitor (higher saturation and higher kTC noise) at low ISO and a small (low saturation and low kTC noise) at high ISO. This is in addition to changing the pre-amp gain. So you get the best of both worlds: high DR at low ISO and low noise at high ISO. The best of both worlds.

    That made me recall comments the DxOmark folks (and others) had made about the Nikon 1 ISO performance: they said it looked like the RAW output at higher ISOs was slightly "cooked". I presume because when they made the PTC measurements not everything landed on the expected line (there would be a kink in it above ISO 400). So I suspect the RAW on the Nikon 1 isn't "cooked" at all (by signal processing) but this mode switch is hidden behind the scenes and Nikon didn't tell anyone about it.

    This also accounts for the "high read noise" of the Nikon 1 sensor at ISO less than 400 (e.g. see the rendering of the DxOmark results at sensorgen.info ... it's 11 e or so in low ISO mode).

    This also makes me wonder about Nikons sensors ... they seem to be outsourcing a lot of them: not just the fabbing but the design too. In this case they're really appear to be using Aptina IP. Plus their own in the PDAF and special Bayer filter overlay they use with the PDAF sensors.

    The PDAF "stuff" (assuming they use standard photosites) would be in the "top layers" (microlenses, other optical layers, metalization and modified Bayer filters). Nikon have patents in this area on using pixel sized PDAF and modifiying the Bayer to "interpolate" around the missing pixels.

    I think it would be possible for Aptina just to make a "normal" (non-PDAF) version if they can't license the Nikon PDAF IP.

    The upside is there are now two type 1.0 inch CMOS sensors that camera makers can use in 2013 for interesting new compact cameras.

  5. Great job, Aptina is improving.


All comments are moderated to avoid spam and personal attacks.