Sony Starvis, Sony Exmor, Exmor R and Exmor RS – An Overview

Sony STARVIS vs. Exmor

The end of the era of CCD sensors and cameras has arrived because of Sony’s commitment to CMOS technology as the most significant sensor manufacturer worldwide. As a result of Sony’s investment in the creation of high-quality CMOS sensors, their cameras now have faster shutter speeds, greater low-light performance, and more accurate color reproduction. Sony is a dominant force in the imaging sector as a result of its commitment to innovation and technological improvement. Due to its emphasis on CMOS technology, Sony cameras are now well-known for their cutting-edge features and high-quality imagery.

As a result, Sony’s Starvis and Exmor sensors, which enable users to take incredibly detailed shots even in low-light situations, are a tribute to the company’s dedication to innovation and perfection. Moreover, Sony has been able to constantly innovate and enhance its camera solutions due to its dedication to CMOS technology.

In this post, we will explore them using differentiation that identifies their structures and uses cases. However, sony STARVIS vs Exmor indicates that the differentiation of STARVIS and Exmor types such as Exmor R and Exmor RS.

What is Sony STARVIS Sensor?

Sony’s STARVIS is a back-illuminated pixel technology used in CMOS image sensors for surveillance camera applications. This technology allows for clear and improved image quality even in low-light conditions, making it ideal for security purposes. This technology has become a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor cameras due to its ability to capture accurate images with minimal noise.

STARVIS increases the sensitivity of back-illuminated CMOS image sensors for security cameras. It achieves outstanding picture quality in the visible light and near-infrared light ranges and has a sensitivity of 2000 mV or more per 1μm² (color product, while imaging with a 706cd/m² light source, F5.6 in 1s accumulation equivalent). The increased sensitivity also enables surveillance cameras to capture important details and information for investigations or security purposes. Additionally, STARVIS technology helps reduce motion blur and distortion for sharper and more accurate footage.

What is Sony EXMOR Sensor?

Sony’s Exmor sensor is among the most advanced camera technology currently available. With their cutting-edge technology and sophisticated features including improved light sensitivity, greater image quality, and rapid image processing, Sony Exmor sensors have transformed the camera business. It is used to give users outstanding imaging capabilities in a wide range of Sony cameras and smartphones.

Exmor technology continued to advance with successive generations being introduced throughout time, but it was the Exmor R series (Exmor’s fifth generation), which considerably increased sensitivity, that sparked a revolution in sensor technology. A switch from FSI (Front-Side Illuminated) to BSI (Back-Side Illuminated) technology was indicative of this performance adjustment. A BSI sensor typically has a sensitivity level that is about twice that of a typical front-illuminated image sensor.

The Exmor R technology is distinguished by a back-illuminated pixel architecture, which relocates the readout circuitry from between each pixel’s microlens and photodiode to adjacent to the photodiode layer. As a result, each pixel’s light-sensitive photodiode receives a direct channel from the light that enters each pixel. As a result, a higher proportion of photons hitting each pixel are converted into charge, leading to increased quantum efficiency.

CMOS image sensor known as “Exmor RS” uses a distinctive “stacked structure.” Instead of using the traditional supporting substrates used for back-illuminated CMOS image sensors, this structure layers the pixel section, including formations of back-illuminated pixels, over the chip attached to installed circuits for signal processing.

Different structures of Sony STARVIS, Exmor, Exmor R, and Exmor RS

The architectural difference between Exmor and Exmor R sensors is that the former has an FSI structure, while the latter is built based on the BSI architecture. The BSI design in Exmor R sensors results in improved low-light performance, while the FSI structure in Exmor sensors offers better color reproduction and dynamic range. However, the gap in performance between the two technologies has been narrowing in recent years. Since there are no obstacles in the way of the light, it falls directly on the photodiode and light-receiving surface, giving BSI sensors a better sensitivity. Furthermore, this avoids the image data loss that would likely result from light falling on the sensor at an angle.

According to information on Sony’s website, Exmor sensors are layered in the correct order and have a front-illuminated structure:

  • On-chip microlens
  • Color filters
  • Metal wiring
  • Light receiving surface
  • Photodiodes

Exmor R sensors employ the same layers in a back-illuminated structure, however with a different pattern:

  • On-chip microlens
  • Color filters
  • Light receiving surface
  • Photodiodes
  • Metal wiring

The wire and photodiode placements are changed in Exmor R sensors. The wiring layer is eliminated as a source of light occlusion by placing the photodiodes initially.

Similar in structure to Exmor R sensors, Sony STARVIS sensors provide superior image quality in extremely low light because of their enhanced NIR sensitivity.

Stacking sensor architecture is a feature of the Exmor RS family. This architecture allows for a larger sensor size within a compact form factor, resulting in improved image quality and low-light performance. Additionally, the Exmor RS family also includes features like phase detection autofocus and HDR video capabilities.

Uses for Sony Exmor and STARVIS sensors in modern embedded vision

The possibilities for a set of sensors are virtually limitless because image sensors are employed in such a wide range of products as machine vision systems, mobile phones, embedded vision devices, etc. The employment of Sony Exmor and STARVIS sensors is widespread, even within the confines of embedded vision. Considering this, let’s take a closer look at some cutting-edge and creative embedded vision applications that make the most use of these sensors.

Effective surveillance

Smart security cameras can count individuals, analyze crowds, count vehicles, and other operations. They frequently must work in low light or at night, in which case excellent sensitivity is essential. Sony Exmor and STARVIS sensors can be useful in this situation.

Intelligent traffic systems

Smart traffic cameras are a kind of smart surveillance that use cameras to count vehicles, automatically read license plates, identify passengers based on their faces, and other tasks. The best Sony Exmor or STARVIS sensor may be selected based on the specific use case.

Broadcasting of sports automatically

Exmor and STARVIS-based cameras have the high sensitivity and SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) requirements of some automated sports broadcasting cameras.

Wrapping Up

Recent advancements in sensors indicate a trend toward more varied functionalities in new models. Sony improved the low-light sensitivity and wide dynamic range of their sensors with the Exmor and Starvis technologies, making them perfect for use in security systems and surveillance cameras. They also enable faster processing times and better image quality in smartphones and digital cameras due to their stacked CMOS sensors.

This article provides a full explanation of how these sensors differ in order to eliminate any confusion. In general, the Starvis sensor improves image quality in low-light conditions, making it easier to capture stunning images in low lighting. In the meantime, the Exmor sensor supports low noise performance, faster and more precise autofocus, and is particularly helpful when capturing moving subjects.

Vadzo Camera Portfolio has cameras based on Sony Exmor as well as Sony Starvis sensors. Please have a look at our

IMX258 – UVIGA 1310-U3-CRZ

IMX415 – UVIGA 810-U3-CRS

If you have any concerns or need assistance using Sony products for your desired projects, feel free to Contact Us