Knowing what we know of some of our web traffic and the comments in the twittersphere and elsewhere, we know that one of the most closely guarded and also the most sought after pieces of information is the maker of the camera modules. For the flagship phones like the iPhone 5, we take a close look at both the primary and secondary sensors.
So without further ado, lets announce who Apple invited to the ball:
Primary Camera – Design win by Sony.
Unlike the prior generation iPhone 4S that had an IMX145, infra-red imaging did not show the same die markings. Only a lonely little “SONY”. When we measured the pixel, we did find it to be 1.4 µm, similar to the IMX145 and we know that the published specifications are also similar. Further analysis will determine the unique features of this sensor.
With apologies for the ‘invited to the ball’ statement above (blogs are supposed to be a little bit trite), lets look a little closer at these sensors. The companies in question are only in such a marquee product because they are innovative, have solid supply chains, drive down cost, and deliver excellent image quality.
Package image, X-Ray and die mark (click to enlarge)
Sony Sensor Features:
- Resolution = 8 Mp
- Module dimensions = 8.0 mm x 8.7 mm x 5.2 mm
- Pixel Size = 1.4 µm, back illuminated
- Die size = 6.15 mm x 5.81 mm
Secondary Camera – OmniVision
Package image and die mark (click to enlarge)
OmniVision Sensor Features:
- Resolution = 1.2 Mp
- Module dimensions = 5.5 mm x 6.0 mm x 3.6 mm
- Pixel Size = 1.75 µm pixel size, back-illuminated
- Die size = 3.35 mm x 4.15 mm
What is impressive about these sensors, and the whole system in general, is how Apple has delivered a thinner (and lighter) phone. If you allow us a bit of a digression, achieving this is likely a combination of several things including a thin touch screen with fewer layers, a thin battery, and the use of thin camera modules using the latest technology. The battery is just a battery so a picture will do.
In conclusion, the camera modules are amazing pieces of technology in and of themselves, and what the image sensor manufacturers have been able to achieve to deliver high quality shots with very tiny pixels is nothing short of amazing. In total they contribute to a phone that seems to be substantially new, despite what many of the early reviews felt. (the author) is no Apple fan-boy, but to give credit where it is due (unlike the iPhone 4S and maybe even the iPhone 3), the iPhone 5 seems to be the culmination of several useful and valuable tweaks to result in a genuinely better overall system. You will hear more about this when we post depots of all the major silicon.