Toshiba launches 16MP CMOS image sensors targeting smartphones and tablets

Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. today launched its first 16-megapixel (MP) CMOS image sensors: T4KC3 and T4KC3-121, which includes phase detection auto-focus (PDAF). Designed for use in smartphones and tablets, the backside-illuminated (BSI) chips are among the world’s smallest class of CMOS image sensors, and achieve both high-performance image capture and low power consumption.

The functional range of the new sensors supports users in capturing beautiful images and movies. The T4KC3-121 is the first Toshiba sensor to feature PDAF technology, which makes it easier for mobile devices to capture both still and moving objects. This approach to AF technology, also used in single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras, takes an incoming image and splits it between two pixels, allowing the camera to figure out exactly how out-of-focus a subject is, and then immediately hone in and track movement.

“Mobile device manufacturers are constantly striving to design and build the most powerful, power-efficient devices in the smallest possible form factors,” said Andrew Burt, vice president of the Image Sensor Business Unit, System LSI Group at TAEC. “To support this objective, both new 16MP CMOS sensors are housed in a small module (both area and height) and use Toshiba’s new low-power circuit design method to lengthen battery life when the smartphone or tablet is being used in video mode.”

Image brightness in both new sensors is boosted by up to 4x by Toshiba’s Bright Mode technology, which enables HD video capture at 240fps equivalent. They also support high dynamic range (HDR) to capture natural images of scenes with a high contrast ratio, ending the problem of over- and underexposed images.

The T4KC3 and T4KC3-121 achieve output speeds of up to 30fps at full 16MP-resolution (4624 x 3472pixels) with power consumption figures of just 240mW or lower. Full-HD outputs of 1920 x 1080 pixels are supported at frame rates of up to 60fps, and HD outputs (1280 x 720 pixels) are supported at 120fps in normal mode and 240fps in Bright Mode.

The new sensors have an optical size of 1/2.78 inch and pixel pitch of 1.12 micrometer BSI. Additionally, they incorporate16Kbit one time programmable memory that can store lens shading correction data for four conditions at maximum, such as indoors and outdoors, daylight and sunset. Settings can be switched by one simple command.


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One thought on “Toshiba launches 16MP CMOS image sensors targeting smartphones and tablets

  1. Chad

    I’m not sure how useful HDR is on a cell phone, as it requites a tripod in order to stabilize the camera long enough to take the 3-5 images that HDR is built from.


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