Friday, January 09, 2009

Sony BSI Sensor in Products

It looks like Sony leads the race to get BSI sensors into production. Just announced Sony 2009 camcorder lineup features Back-illuminated Exmor-R sensor. Sonystyle also has a video on the new sensors.

Sony says that its BSI sensor provides approximately 2x increase in sensitivity compared with conventional models. However, InfoSync observed just 50% improvement in brightness and exposure comparing BSI-based HDR-XR520V with conventional HDR-SR12.

It's hard to say what is the pixel size in the new sensor. HDR-XR520V camcorder featuring 1/3.15" Exmor-R sensor has 12.1MP stills resolution, which corresponds to 1.1um pixels, if no tricks are used. Most probably, Sony interpolates the its 45-deg angled ClearVid sensor by a factor of 2, meaning that the physical pixel size is close to 1.6-1.7um or so.

The HDR-XR520V and HDR-XR500V camcorders with BSI sensor will begin shipping in March 2009.

Update: reports that the actual pixel count of HDR-XR520V sensor is 6.6MP, which means that my pixel size estimations of 1.6-1.7um are correct.


  1. Sony first to production not important because Sony and Omnivision (the other big BSI guy) are trying different things.

    Sony is the high end with a part that sells for $15 - $25. Omnivision's BSI target $3-5 market.

    Sony is niche but Omnivision is mass market. They can both make some money.

  2. Yes, you are probably right. Still, it's quite exciting that BSI sensors become the mass market reality in March.

  3. Actually, Omnivision's BSI announcements are towards the 8MP segment, which I expect to be priced higher than $3-$5 range.

  4. Not only 8MP. Omnivision also announced 5MP BSI SoC:


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