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Sony launches the third generation of its image sensors

Sony Semiconductor Solutions has launched its third generation image sensors, IMX421 and IMX422, for “high-speed automation”.

Framos, a supplier of the technology, says the Sony Semiconductor Solutions feature its high-performance third generation CMOS Global Shutter with the brand-new IMX421 and IMX422 image sensors.

Both of these two high-speed sensors are designed for machine vision and factory automation, says Framos, and come with a pixel size of 4.5 µm for “high sensitivity and low noise”. 

The IMX422 achieves a frame rate of more than 434 fps at 10 bit pixel depth, providing a square pixel array of 1/1.7” and 2 megapixel resolution.

The IMX421 achieves a frame rate of up to 371 fps implementing a 2/3” format and 2.8 Megapixel resolution.


These high readout rates are supported by a full-HD readout-mode and the new SLVS-EC interface.

New features like High / Low Conversation Gain (HCG/LCG), Dual Trigger, Dual ADC, and Self Triggering increase the maximum throughput for precise object recognition and quality assurance of moving objects.

Sibel Yorulmaz-Cokugur, Line Manager for Sony Semiconductor Solutions at Framos says: “Sony’s new SLVS-EC standard with 8 lanes answers the increasing demands in resolution and speed, and provides a maximum output of 18.4Gbps.

“Besides the excellent speed performance, both sensors achieve a high saturation of >25.000e-, low dark current, and low PLS characteristics.

“The IMX421 and IMX422 clearly show how the combination of high resolution and high frame rates, along with Global Shutter read-out technology, boosts imaging quality and speed.

“Especially in the smart factory or so-called ‘Industry 4.0’, automated production plants and lines benefit from Sony’s additional sensor functionalities to increase image quality and speed.”

Framos says both sensors are equipped with several additional features, specific to Sony’s third generation:

The High Conversion Gain (HCG) allows the acquisition of images with better quality under low light conditions. This result is achieved by increasing the conversion gain of the pixels while keeping the noise contribution of the analog circuit constant.

Conversely, the Low Conversion Gain mode (LCG) is used under bright illumination conditions, realized by lowering the conversion gain of the pixel.

Dual triggering allows different exposure times and gains in different regions of interest, to obtain an individual and effective image acquisition pipeline with two external trigger signals.

The Dual ADC can read each pixel with separate gains. A high dynamic range image can be obtained by combining the two images, “off-the-sensor”.

The Self Trigger feature detects a change in the predefined “sensing area” and acquires an image automatically when this change exceeds a set threshold.

Evaluation samples are now available at Framos, with mass production scheduled for Summer, 2018.

Framos says all Sony third generation sensors are pin-compatible, and the one sensor board design can be utilized for other sensors and projects to minimize development efforts.