Monday, June 25, 2012

Interesting new camera

Point Grey has just announced an 8.8 Mp version of their compact Flea 3 USB 3.0 camera. Inevitably, packing an array of 4096 by 2160 pixels into a C-mount format sensor means the pixels are pretty darned small, and that’s where this is interesting.

This hi-res Flea 3 is using a Sony IMX121 color sensor with pixels just 1.75 microns in size. On learning that, my first thought is “poor sensitivity and high noise,” but that might not be the case. Sony are making a big deal of their “Exmor R” CMOS sensor technology that effectively switches the positions of the internal wiring and the photon-capturing silicon. (Click the link to see a great animation of how it works.)

This, it is claimed, increases sensitivity by 6db and reduces noise by 2db. Those might not seem big numbers but remember that it’s all logarithmic. Sony has one comparison image posted on their site; it would be interesting to see a few more.

Two last points to mention: the camera puts out 21fps at full resolution, which is a pretty impressive number. Good thing USB 3.0 offers 5Gbits per second of bandwidth! And pricing? $945, which seems like a bargain.


Anonymous said...

High resolution sensors may sound tempting, but those with small pixels (less than 3.5microns) are limited in the lenses that will work with them. To take advantage of all of those pixels and reap the true benefits the lens will be quite expensive and even then you will be limited to large apertures on the lens. There is a very interesting article from a few years ago on the Vision System Design website that sheds some light on this. The article is written by Greg Hollows (Edmund Optics) and Stuart Singer (Schneider Optics). Follow the link below.

Anonymous said...

It is also said that this particular sensor from Sony would be discontinued in the end of the year. Not sure why nobody noticed this.

Anonymous said...

Sony states that it will discontinue this sensor in the end of the year. Not sure why noone seems to have noticed

Anonymous said...

I couldn't find any note regarding this sensor and why (and if) it is discontinued.