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Sony Launches Highly Sensitive 43 CMOS Sensor for 4K Surveillance

The new IMX294 image sensor from Sony is designed to meet the needs of the security segment. The new flagship model size 4/3" is optimized to be used in security cameras and industrial applications. The back-illuminated CMOS Starvis sensor achieves a 4K resolution, with 10.7 megapixels at a high frame rate of 120 fps. Available from the global imaging specialist Framos, IMX294 has a SNR1s* value and enables HDR shots with minimal movement artifacts thanks to the Quad Bayer pixel structure.

Sony has developed the IMX294 specifically to cover the needs of the security industry. The image sensor adopts the standardized 4/3"; optical format. It offers various combinations of output formats: 10 megapixels (3704 x 2778) for 4:3 ratio, UHD (3840 x 2160) for 16:9 and 4,096 x 2,160 pixels for the 17:9 image format. Depending on the application’s requirements, it is possible to select a color depth of 10, 12 or 14 bits. The low-illumination performance of 0.14 lx for SNR1s is achieved by the large 4.63 μm pixel size. This makes IMX294 suitable for applications with low incident light, eliminating the need of additional illumination.

A Framos Sony sensor expert explains that with a frame rate of 120 fps at 10 bits and a 4K resolution, the IMX294 is made for high-speed video applications. For applications with higher sensitivity requirements, the new sensor still achieves an frame rate of 60 fps in HDR mode, making it fit for surveillance applications. Its sensitivity of 1,700 mV and saturation of 970 mV promote high quality for image analysis and evaluation, particularly in low light conditions. In addition, the high-speed SLVS-EC interface enables image transmission over fewer signal lines. This sensor is additionally equipped with a universal MIPI (CSI-2) interface and supports the connection to an all-purpose ISP (image signal processor) for direct preprocessing of data.

Figure 1 IMX294 Quad Bayer CFA pixel structure

The IMX294 uses a Quad Bayer structure that outputs 2 x 2 binned pixels in normal mode. In HDR mode, two pixels of the quad array are used for a short exposure and the other two for a long one (Fig 1). This eliminates the temporal delay between short and long exposures seen in common two image HDR implementations, resulting in HDR images with minimal artifacts when imaging moving objects. (Fig 2).

Condition: Exposure time (3.2 ms/0.2 ms) blended image

Multiple exposure HDR

Quad Bayer Coding HDR (Fig 2)

The Sony IMX294 works with lenses such as the LMXC series from Kowa, as well as the Computar MPY series.

Labels: Sony,4/3

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