Aptina unveils 1-inch sensor with 1080p video at 120FPS, we suspect Nikon wants 1

Part suppliers sometimes telegraph their customers' plans months in advance: when you're the only provider for a key piece of technology, it's not hard for others to read the tea leaves. Aptina might have just given us one such peek into the future by unveiling its 1-inch AR1011HS camera sensor this week. As the Nikon 1 series is one of the few current, mainstream camera lines to use Aptina's 1-inch sensors, it's quite possible that we're looking at a template for one or more of Nikon's tiny interchangeable-lens shooters. The 10-megapixel CMOS sensor and low-light sensitivity aren't surprises. We're more interested in the wild levels of video capture support -- the AR1011HS can record 1080p footage at 120 frames per second, oversample movies at that resolution or scale up to quad HD. There's no guarantee any or all of the features will make the cut, especially given a dearth of 4K TVs, but it's not hard to imagine Nikon playing to the 1's high-speed strengths with an even quicker upgrade. Mass production starts in the first quarter of 2013, and while neither Aptina nor Nikon has confirmed any plans, Aptina's emphasis on top-tier companies in the "performance-oriented" mirrorless camera world leaves few other choices for a partnership.

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Aptina Introduces High Performance Camera Sensor to Bridge and Mirrorless Camera Market

New Aptina Consumer Camera Image Sensor Combines Larger Size with Unique Pixel for Performance and Speed

SAN JOSE, Calif. & COLOGNE, Germany-(BUSINESS WIRE)-Aptina, a global provider of CMOS imaging solutions enabling Imaging Everywhere™, announced today the release of the AR1011HS digital camera image sensor. The new 1-inch optical format sensor is ideal for enabling high quality bridge and mirrorless cameras and targets Tier-1 camera OEMs. The sensor provides 10-megapixel (MP) resolution, 3.4-micron pixels, with Aptina's DR-Pix™ technology, delivering uncompromised low light and bright light scene image quality. The AR1011HS high-speed sensor architecture is capable of reading full 10MP resolution at 60fps, and enables a variety of video modes, including broadcast quality quad high definition (HD), oversampled 1080p for True HD resolution, 1080p video at 120 frames per second, and additional high frame rate modes for slow motion playback.

"The AR1011HS image sensor is a great match for the performance-oriented bridge and mirrorless camera market," said Sandor Barna, Vice President and General Manager of Aptina's Consumer Camera business. "Image quality and speed are the two things this market cannot compromise on. Tier-1 OEMs competing in this market are looking for increasingly versatile solutions to meet the demand for speed and performance, and this sensor provides both."

Integrating Aptina's DR-Pix™ technology, the AR1011HS delivers both high-pixel sensitivity for low-light imaging, and high-pixel capacity for bright outdoor scenes. The combination of this outstanding pixel performance and high-speed readout technologies enables fast, vivid broadcast quality video and high-end still image capture quality in a single sensor solution.

The AR1011HS uses Aptina's advanced 24-lane HiSPi™ High Speed Serial Pixel Interface for fast data transfer. HiSPi is an open access, scalable technology that enables 1080p/120 fps performance (and beyond) and has been adopted by many of Aptina's business partners to meet the challenges of high-speed, low-power consumption data transfer.


Aptina's AR1011HS image sensor is currently sampling in limited volumes and will be in mass production in Q1CY13.

The AR1011HS image sensor will be available for customers to view, by invitation only, during the 2012 Photokina show in Cologne, Germany, September 18-23, 2012.

About DR-Pix Technology

DR-Pix technology combines two modes of operation in one pixel design – low conversion gain mode for large charge handling capacity in bright scenes and a high conversion gain mode with increased sensitivity and low read noise for low-light scenes. The result is a sensor that offers the best possible noise performance over all ISO speed conditions.