Skip to main content

OmniVision’s new image sensors will bring zHDR technology to smartphones

sony research on chip polarization filter image sensor
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Chinese image sensor manufacturer OmniVision Technologies has announced four new smartphone sensors capable of capturing more dynamic range and less noise than ever before.

The four sensors use OmniVision’s second-generation PureCel Plus and PureCel Plus-S pixel technologies to achieve the increase in performance.

To increase dynamic range, OmniVision has increased full-well capacity (FWC), meaning each pixel is capable of collecting more light before clipping of the highlights begins to occur. This improvement is said to increase dynamic range by 20 percent over the previous generation.

In addition to improved overall dynamic range, OmniVision also utilizes a new high dynamic range technology it calls zHDR. This unique method of capture records two separate exposures simultaneously by dividing the pixels in a zigzag pattern on the sensor — the inspiration behind the “z” prefix in zHDR. One section captures the image slightly underexposed, while the other captures a slightly overexposed image. The data from these two images is intelligently synced together to create a photograph with even more dynamic range than it’s natively capable of.

The pixels on the new sensors are arranged in a new structure that improves light acquisition while simultaneously reducing noise. This is done through a new composite metal grid (CMG) design with deep trench isolation (DTI), which reduces light contamination from one pixel to the next.

OmniVision claims these two technologies should result in 12.5 percent improvement in light sensitivity. This should come in handy for those times when you’re trying to capture an image in a less-than-ideal lighting situation.

The sensors come in two different resolutions: 16 megapixel and 20 megapixel, and are offered in ‘4C’ versions that include a different filter array that makes it possible to improve low-light capability even further, but at the cost of resolution. Like the previous generation sensors, these utilize phase detection autofocus and are capable of recording 4K video.

OmniVision says it anticipates the sensors will be primed and ready for smartphone production in the first quarter of 2017.

Gannon Burgett
The 4 best GoPro alternatives in 2024
campark act74 action camera amazon deal

While the GoPro series of action cameras are some of the best in the business, in particular, the GoPro Hero 11, they can get exceedingly expensive, especially for those who don't really need the fanciest of features that the GoPros provide. Luckily, there are a lot of other great options, including some really cheap action cameras that don't really lose a lot on what you'd normally get with a GoPro, which is why we've collected our four favorite ones below. We've included some direct alternatives, as well as some more compact and vlogging-focused options as well, just to make sure you find exactly what you're looking for.
The Best GoPro Alternatives in 2024

Buy the 

Read more
The 15 best GoPro accessories in 2024
best GoPro accessories

If you own a GoPro, you are probably already obsessed with capturing thrilling action shots. But what if we told you there were a few different ways you could make those action shots even better? There are a wide variety of GoPro accessories out there that will let you create even more exciting content on your next adventure. If you don't already own a GoPro, check out some of the best GoPro deals happening right now. Then add some of the below accessories to your cart as well to heighten your GoPro experience.

FitStill Waterproof Case

Read more
How to turn off the camera sound on an iPhone
how to turn off the camera sound on an iPhone

Every iPhone camera is accompanied by a shutter click sound whenever you snap a photo. Sometimes that sound is an unneeded and unwanted intrusion—if you’re attending a meeting or in a crowded room, you may prefer to shoot photos in silence. There are a few methods for turning off the camera sound on your iPhone (whether you own the iPhone 15, iPhone 14, or an older model) which include:

Turning on Live photo
Flipping the mute switch on your iPhone
Turning the volume down on your iPhone

Read more