In recent years, the required level for smartphone camera performance has increased, which has accelerated the high picture quality of image sensor for the smartphone. One of the trends is the multi-pixel, which improves the image resolution by reducing the size of each pixel and arranging more pixels. However, there is a trade-off relationship between pixel miniaturization and decrease in sensitivity.
Therefore, Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation(SSS) has developed a pixel array called Quad Bayer Coding that minimizes the decrease in sensitivity even if the pixels are made smaller. This technology is optimized for the image sensors for smartphones, which have a particularly small sensor size.
High sensitivity and high resolution in one sensor
The Quad Bayer structure means four adjacent pixels are clustered with the same-color filters. In this way, high sensitivity and high resolution can be achieved in one sensor. It can, for example, prevent resolution loss in a low-illuminance environment and produce low-noise nightscape photos.
What is QBC?
When shooting in an environment of low illuminance, such as nightscapes, adjacent four pixels are clustered to create per-unit image signal that is four times greater than that of a single pixel.
By adding of adjacent pixels in analog, loss of resolution is prevented, enabling to reduce noise in the resulting image. The result is the enhanced sensitivity in low-illuminance environments, enabling low-noise, bright images for photos and movies. Meanwhile, in high-illuminance environments, such as outdoor in daylight, the sensor can revert the pixels to the Bayer structure by advanced processing of array conversion (remosaic) to achieve the high resolution of Bayer sensors.
The array conversion processing (remosaic) is usually processed by software, but SSS handles remosaic by installing an array conversion circuit on the image sensor chip as a unique technology. By leaving the array conversion processing to the hardware, low power consumption and real-time processing become possible, and these features can also be utilized in the video shooting mode.
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