updated 11:10 pm EST, Tue February 15, 2011
OmniVision OV8830 may give iPhone 5 low-light cam
OmniVision this morning quietly detailed a new sensor that might be an ideal fit for an upgraded iPhone. The OV8830 shoots at eight megapixels but with a next-generation version of its backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. The revamp has 35 percent better sensitivity to low light and also has overall improved color and noise reduction.
Continuous shooting is also an option as well, and the sensor could shoot at its native 3264x2448 resolution at 24FPS in a 4:3 ratio or at 30 frames per second at 3264x1836. While this isn't likely to be maximized in practice, it should make continuous burst shooting minimize the "tower of jello" effect from a rolling shutter and let users record video in 1080p at up to 60 frames per second.
Companies can start shipping the OV8830 now, but mass production isn't formally expected until the second half of the year.
The sensor is a potentially ideal fit for the iPhone. Apple has regularly emphasized relative image quality over sheer resolution and may be keen to tout low-light performance. A second-half update might come too late, however, since Apple usually starts manufacturing two or three months before its June or July historic release windows.
It's possible OmniVision could reserve production early for Apple, but it might be more probable that Apple might use the OV8820, a direct predecessor that achieves much of the intended effect and which should be shipping in March.