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Sony IMX253/IMX255 CMOS sensors

Sony are continuing their outstanding PREGIUS CMOS Global Shutter series with further high-resolution image sensors for crisp, clear, distortion-free images at high speeds. Available globally from Sony’s distribution partner, FRAMOS, any of these sensors can meet all industrial requirements: high resolution, high sensitivity, high frame rates and high sensitivity in the near infra-red region.

Fulfilling all these performance metrics, the new models IMX255 with 8.9 MP and IMX253 with 12 MP are intended for industrial, traffic, microscopy and other applications where high sensitivity or precise image acquisition for fast-moving objects is needed. At just 3.45 µm, the new IMX253/IMX255 family of devices provides the smallest pixels in the industry for this spectrum. They offer greater sensitivity, less noise, improved image quality, higher resolutions and faster imaging than the existing IMX174 and IMX249 (5.86 µm) sensors from the first PREGIUS generation. In addition, they are more sensitive in the infra-red spectrum than their predecessors, reaching ca. 18% at 850 nm.

Dr. Silviu Grecu, Sensor Expert at FRAMOS, explains: ‘All demands of the imaging market were considered by Sony’s CMOS design engineers: In addition to their high resolution, the Pregius IMX255 and IMX253 are fitted with many unique functions for industrial and ITS applications. With their high sensitivity and small pixels, they represent an impressive development when compared with the existing 5.86 µm. The IMX255 has a sensor size of 1” (diagonal 16.1 mm) and the IMX253 of 1.1” (diagonal 17.6 mm). That enables the user to use small C-mount lenses instead of large full-frame optics’.

The readout noise and the dark current are amongst the lowest available on the market. The multiple region of interest feature, with up to 64 possible regions of interest, offers greater freedom to transfer only the relevant data for the application, thus achieving higher frame rates without compromising on image information. To support fast image processing, both models generate high frame rates in 8, 10 and 12 bits per pixel (for example, 64 and 88 fps at 10-bit and full resolution). The bandwidth of around 7 Gbps brings interfaces like USB 3.0, CameraLink Full and CoaXpress CXP6 to their limits. Camera manufacturers that want to use the full bandwidth have to consider USB 3.1, 10 GigE and other interface standards that support bandwidths higher than 7 Gbps.

In addition, these new CMOS image sensors feature a range of added functions – such as a variable-speed shutter function, different exposure processes and external trigger modes. Just as important for automation in production and manufacturing: both image sensors support hardware trigger modes to control image-taking using external trigger signals from light barriers or strobe controllers. These modes allow users to adjust the memory and readout time to suit their requirements. IMX253 and IMX255 sensors are equipped with a global shutter pixel, enabling high-quality image capture that is not affected by focal plane distortion and flash bands. The colour image sensors offer sub-sampling, horizontally and/or vertically, inverted readout and multiple frame output. The monochrome image sensors also have a pixel addition (binning) function in addition to colour image functions.

Compared to the other SONY CMOS Global Shutter models, the IMX253/IMX255 family impresses with its high resolution. The IMX255 can deliver 4K images, making it suitable for both industrial applications and traffic surveillance, as well as for other specialised uses. Whereas conventional traffic cameras must be installed one per lane, the IMX255 can capture multiple lanes with a single camera whilst maintaining the same resolution.

The IMX255 uses the same package as the IMX253 to ensure pin compatibility. The IMX253 and IMX255 facilitate an expanded line-up for customers by aligning the optical centre and pin layout of the package with the existing IMX250 (5 MP). With the IMX255 and IMX253, Sony are launching two more outstanding alternatives to the outgoing CCD sensors. The new sensors are a very good replacement for the discontinued CCD sensors ICX834 and ICX814/815. With a deep knowledge from sensor to system, the FRAMOS industry and product experts provide additional services like development support, reference design kits, engineering and logistics to support customers in using the new sensor series for their applications and projects.


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