Saturday, December 02, 2017

Almalence Works on 1-inch Sensor-based Mobile Phone Cameras

DisruptorDaily publishes an interview with Almalence CEO Eugene Panich talking about the recent developments in mobile imaging. The most interesting part talks about 1-inch smartphone cameras:

"Our recent development, a collapsible camera system having just 3 millimeters in height and utilizing 1-inch sensor, normally found in those big cameras. (To compare – your smartphone camera normally has 1/3 inch or 1/2.4 inch sensor, collecting ten times less light). To accommodate such a big sensor, our camera module pops up when you need to take a shot and collapses into a slim structure on standby, allowing the users to take images that only a DSLR could take and still fitting in the pocket form factor of a mobile phone."

I can imagine a global CIS wafer capacity shortage, if indeed the whole mobile industry starts a transition to 1-inch cameras.

Almalence site shows some of its customers and partner companies:


  1. Sensor size is good for dynamic range, but lens diameter needs to increase to improve low light performance. Larger diameter means thicker elements means less collapsing (I think there is not much space to collapse out of an f/1.7 wide angle lens anyways).
    Is the dynamic range that fundamental? Why directly to 1" and not something in between?

    1. I dont think this will be for increasing low light performance, dynamic range and decreasing depth of field. I think it primarily will offer higher resolution.

      In 2013 Nokia had 808 pureview with 1/1,2" sensor and f/2,4 and 41 Mpix with 1,4 micron FSI pixels. This phone was 18mm thick. Its main selling point was the high resolution camera and its "lossless" digital zoom capability.

      Assuming 1,4 micron BSI pixels the new phone camera would offer close to 60 Mpix and thus zoom up to 5x with FHD resolution. f/2,0-2,4 should be enough to avoid diffraction limitated resolution. This would make the phone around 20 mm thick. Thus not something for everybody, but something for those that want to pay with money and thickness to get an exeptionally good phone camera. Low light performance would knock every other phone on the market out of the water.

  2. Go big or go home, right?

  3. Not " 1-inch Mobile Phone Cameras", but 1-inch Mobile Phone Camera Sensors.


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