Monday, September 19, 2016

Chipworks: iPhone 7 Image Sensors Made by Sony

Chipworks iPhone 7 teardown reveals no surprises - both the rear and the front sensors are made by Sony:

"The iSight camera chip was sourced from Sony and fabricated using its Exmor RS technology platform. The 12 MP chip features a Bayer RGB color filter array (CFA) and embedded phase detection autofocus (PDAF) pixels. The die size is 5.16 mm x 6.25 mm (32.3 mm2) as measured from the edges of the die stack. We expect our planned analysis will show the CMOS image sensor (CIS) die to be fabricated by Sony in its 90 nm technology generation. The through silicon via (TSV) patterning tells us it’s a 2nd generation Exmor RS sensor and not 3rd generation Exmor RS with direct bond interconnect (DBI). The TSVs are used to connect the CIS chip to an underlying image signal processor (ISP), which is not to be confused with the complementary ISP functions embedded within the A10 chip."

iSight rear camera

"iPhone 7’s FaceTime camera resolution has been bumped up to 7 MP. The front-facing Facetime camera module is 6.8 mm x 6.0 mm x 4.3 mm thick and contains a Sony Exmor RS chip, also featuring 2nd generation TSVs. Our preliminary analysis of the 5.05 mm x 3.72 mm (18.8 mm2) FaceTime camera chip reveals a 1.0 ┬Ám pitch Bayer RGB CFA."

FaceTime front camera


  1. I don't think seeing Sony in there is surprising. Interesting evolution in module design. Don't usually see this many passives in modules, and they are placed quite aggressively around the die.

    It will be interesting to see details of the dual-camera solution when Plus goes under the chisel. Are the two imagers the same? How does the construction of the two cameras differ given the different focal length of the two lenses, and the OIS/no OIS arrangement between them.

    Are these PDAF a sparse set, or a dual PD?

  2. Apparently the sensors for the 7 plus model are different:

  3. It is really interesting if they have gone to 1.0um for front camera or Chipworks initial report maybe inaccurate? Also, the PDAF pixel pattern is not clear in the image and is it really 2x1 or 2x2 and an improvement from iPhone 6s?


    According to above link, the 2 sensors are of different sizes.

  5. Yeah, all those sites are basically reposting some calculations someone made, with more speculation layered on top. Looking forward to teardown reports stating facts.

  6. i Phonr7, not 3rd generation Exmor RS with direct bond interconnect..3rd Exmor RS with DBI was shown in the previous product IMX260. definite advantages of DBI?

  7. 5.16 mm x 6.25 mm that means we have a big sensor!
    (5.16)^2 + (6.25)^2 = (Diameter)^2
    Diameter = 8.10 mm

    and that is bigger than IMX377 (7.81 mm (1/2.3"))
    it can be a new sensor with better performance. it might be 1/2.2" (approx: 8.10 mm) .

    1. One is the diagonal of the pixel array.
      The other is the diagonal of the die.


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