Panasonic today announced the development of a 3-megapixel camera module designed for mobile phones that incorporates auto-focusing and image-stabilizing capabilities in the industry's thinnest 8.63mm package. The GP-KM3500V makes camera phones thinner while ensuring superb picture quality. Advanced mounting and image processing technologies, plus an ultra-mini focus actuator and thinner lenses have allowed Panasonic to develop the v Maicovicon image sensor and have contributed to reducing its size.
The new sensor is capable of arranging 3 megapixels on a single chip with a 1/3.2-inch optical format (image diagonal of 5.6 mm). The final result is high quality pictures with reduced ghosts, flares and correction of blurry images caused by camera-shake as well as less power consumption.
"Conventional 3-megapixel Charge Coupled Device (CCD) and CMOS image sensors are not small enough to design compact camera modules, resulting in bulky mobile phones. This new camera module successfully combines quality imaging with compact design by taking full advantage of the new 3-megapixel v Maicovicon™ that features the industry's smallest 2.2-micron pixel size. Advanced mounting and image processing technologies, as well as the ultra-mini focus actuator and thinner lenses, also contributed to reducing the size," said Mr. Satoru Masuda, Director of Engineering, PSCDS.
"This tiny package includes automatic focus in the range of approximately 8 cm to infinity and an image stabilizer for motion image recording. This makes taking quality picture very easy," he added.
In order to achieve the compact camera module, Panasonic integrated the sensor, an imaging digital signal processor (DSP), and the lens unit with an infra-red (IR) filter, in a three-dimensional electronic circuit board using Molded Interconnect Device (MID) technology.
The high-resolution DSP was specifically designed for camera phones to optimize the performance of the new 3-megapixel image sensor. The chip delivers clear, vivid still pictures as well as corrects blurry images caused by camera-shake. The image stabilizer functions when taking video at a full rate of 30 frames per second at VGA resolution. The chip also controls the mechanical shutter and strobe.
Along with the 3-megapixel (1/3.2-inch optical format) module, Panasonic announced two new imaging modules: the 2-megapixel (1/3.2-inch optical format) camera module with auto-focus and the 1.3-megapixel (1/4-inch optical format) camera module with built-in macro zooming function.
The company plans to start volume production of the 3-megapixel and 2-megapixel modules in March 2005 and 1.3-megapixel module in January 2005.