With all the media hype about the iPhone, little has been said about the phone’s built-in camera. The iPhone specifications page says only: 2MP resolution. No other information is given. Speculation is that an 1/4″ CMOS sensor with a pixel size of 2.2µm x 2.2µm (most probably Micron’s MT9D112D00STC) is the sensor found in the iPhone.
Apple has previously used Micron CMOS sensors in various products including the iMac, Macbook, and the iSight. Based on the this fact as well as Micron’s current dominance of the CMOS sensor market it can be assumed that Apple has used Micron to supply camera components for the iPhone. From our experience with Canon CMOS sensors, we know they produce a smooth image similar to that obtained from film. Apple knows what they are doing!
What about the lens? Some great sleuth work by Almanazir (no longer online) points to a Largan NB(970) which has the following specifications:
Lens: 4 Element Plastic
EFL: 3.85 (Paraxial)
iPhone reviewers report that while the iPhone’s camera offers a nifty interface on the LCD with a graphic that resembles a camera shutter, there is no camera settings option. That means you can’t change the resolution, choose a color or quality setting, or select a night mode. There’s no flash either, and no self-portrait mirror — taking photos of yourself is going to be tricky. Also, you can expect a fair amount of noise in low light situations.
You can flip between photos by swiping your finger across the display. When selecting a photo, you’re given the option of assigning it to a contact, using it as wallpaper, or e-mailing it to a friend. However, you cannot send a photo as an MMS.
In summary, a 2MP CMOS sensor, fast plastic lens, no flash, no settings option but a nice interface on the LCD. Where are the photos? I don’t have an iPhone and I don’t intend to get one. However, there are quite a few photos taken with the iPhone posted on Flickr. See for yourself! Some look quite good.
Take a look at the iPhone Dissected Gallery if you want to see the iPhone disassembled.
From Micron’s website:
Built with Micron’s exclusive DigitalClarity® technology, this sensor features exceptionally low noise levels and low-light sensitivity. It achieves superior resolution delivering CCD image quality (based on SNR and low-light sensitivity) along with the low cost, low power, high performance, small form factor, and fast time-to-market of CMOS. With very low power consumption and variable functions, including gain, frame rate, and exposure, this sensor outputs high-quality images at high speeds and can be programmed through a simple two-wire serial interface. Because it is a complete camera system-on-a-chip solution, the sensor requires only a power supply, lens, and clock source for basic operation.