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The OmniVision OV50A Sensor Claims DSLR-Like 100% PDAF Coverage

Aside from Samsung and Sony, OmniVision is also a big name when it comes to camera sensors. For last year, they have announced a 48-megapixel sensor with huge 1.2um pixels and a 64-megapixel sensor with 2×2 microlens PDAF. This year, OmniVision scales down on the megapixel count with the OV50A, focusing instead on improved autofocus tech.

As the model name implies, the OV50A is a 50-megapixel sensor with 1.0um pixels and a 1/1.5″ sensor size. Its biggest selling point is quad phase detection (QPD) autofocus. An evolution of 2×2 microlens PDAF found on the OV64C, QPD aims to deliver faster autofocus speeds even in low-light shooting, along with better distance calculations. OmniVision even goes further by claiming that their new tech has 100% PDAF coverage. In theory, OmniVision’s solution is better than Samsung’s Dual Pixel solution but we have to try out a phone using the said sensor if their claims is true.

“Our QPD autofocus technology now makes that gap even smaller, by bringing DSLR level autofocus performance to smartphone cameras,” OmniVision Staff Marketing Manager Arun Jayaseelan said in the press release. Again, those are big claims until we get our hands on an actual phone using the OV50A.

Being a high-resolution sensor, the OV50A has quad-pixel binning that outputs 12.5-megapixel photos and 4K videos with 2.0um pixels. It is also capable of shooting 8K30 video with QPD active, along with up to 4K90 video and slow-mo video at 240FPS (Full HD) and 480FPS (HD). For better image quality, the OV50A comes with 2- and 3-exposure staggered HDR and 10-bit RGB RAW output, along with selective conversion gain that determines the best processing mode based on lighting conditions.

With those features, OmniVision intends to make the OV50A available to flagship and high-end smartphones for their main and ultra-wide cameras. We expect to see the first phones using the said sensor by Q2 of 2021.

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