x PhoneArena is looking for new authors! To view all available positions, click here.
  • Home
  • News
  • Nexus 5 might not feature a MEMS camera after all, just a Sony IMX179 sensor

Nexus 5 might not feature a MEMS camera after all, just a Sony IMX179 sensor

Nexus 5 might not feature a MEMS camera after all, just a Sony IMX179 sensor
Sifting through thousands of lines of Android code and making conclusions from the leaked 4.4 KitKat build is ungrateful task, as you have to analyze and make conclusions from cryptic code strings, which as programmers go, can be referring to anything, including Google's Easter eggs tradition.

We were all excited yesterday when the Italians in possession of a test Nexus with KitKat returned an IMX179 reference in the camera app code, and a quick Google search lists it as part of the DigitalOptics' groundbreaking MEMS camera module. This one promises almost instant autofocus speeds and Lytro camera style post-shot refocusing.

The thing is that in the DigitalOptics PDF brochure about the wonders of its MEMS phone camera module, IMX179 is listed as the sensor only, not the whole module, alongside another sensor alternative we are spotting there - OV8835. A quick search returns that under these codenames we get two 8 MP phone camera sensors - OmniVision's OV8835, and Sony's IMX179.

The moral of the story is that the new Nexus handset might just come equipped with a camera bearing the Sony sensor, but not necessarily the MEMS camera that got everyone so worked up. Given that Sony and OmniVision are perhaps the most widely used sensors in smartphones, that's the theory to go with, though we'd love to be proven wrong here. Here are the sensors in question, with the Nexus shots taken from its alleged FCC certification teardown:


Actually, the whole Nexus phone idea last year was to castrate LG's flagship a bit to keep costs in check, and sell it at, or a little below, cost, for Google's own reasons. There's no indication Google will go all-out with some groundbreaking technology so fast, but rather the opposite - that it will again base the Nexus 5 on this year's LG G2 flagship. Putting an expensive MEMS module in the phone, rather than cutting costs with an 8 MP one doesn't seem very logical at this point. On the other hand, Vic Gundotra did promise "insanely great cameras" in Google's phones, so go figure, we hope he didn't mean the Moto X ClearPixel technology only.

Moreover, while the Galaxy S4 and Note 3 use the DigitalOptics FaceTools (face detection and tracking) technology for their cameras, that's on the algorithm side, while the MEMS module itself is said to be ramped for mass production in Q4, and we are expecting the new Nexus phone to land pretty soon.

Furthermore, LG Innotek makes a few smartphone camera units of its own, with which it equips its handsets - among them is an 8 MP one and a 13 MP one, like the piece found in the G2. It did a great job with the G2 this year, so even if the Nexus 5 comes with a regular 8 MP camera by LG, utilizing Sony's IMX179 sensor, we are still keeping our hopes high for its quality. Last year's 13 MP LG Innotek module in the Optimus G was using Sony's IMX135 sensor, and the results were not very good, whereas this year it might have upgraded its camera units to better Sony sensors, like the new IMX179, and the stellar results are evident with the G2.

This same BSI Sony sensor is already in phones like the Meizu MX3, whose camera samples you can see below, so if Google's Nexus phone 2013 edition ends up like that, it's all good, especially if it's priced like last year.

18 Comments
  • Options
    Close




posted on 03 Oct 2013, 09:42 1

1. boosook (Posts: 775; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


Ok, before commenting consider the price of the Nexus phones compared to the price of the various Z1, G2 etc. An 8mp good sensor would be OK for me, for that price.

posted on 03 Oct 2013, 14:03 2

11. Gigabinzle (Posts: 37; Member since: 30 Aug 2013)


i want ois and 50 mega pickles

posted on 03 Oct 2013, 14:12 1

12. apple4never (Posts: 772; Member since: 08 May 2013)


u like the mega pickles eh

posted on 03 Oct 2013, 16:02 2

15. boosook (Posts: 775; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


Then buy a nokia 1020 and a nokia 920 for the additional 9mp!

posted on 03 Oct 2013, 09:46 3

2. wicpromd (Posts: 266; Member since: 20 Aug 2013)


please no Omnivision, we have already seen stupid Omnivision gimmick sensor on Moto X
Sony's sensor on G2 just rock

posted on 04 Oct 2013, 13:03

18. techfirst101 (Posts: 8; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)


the Moto X actually has a very good cam now after they got the recent OTA update out.

posted on 03 Oct 2013, 09:50 12

3. THE.DARK.KNIGHT (banned) (Posts: 269; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


Nexus 5 will be a great phone anyway. I respect the nexus line because it's more apple-like as in Google has control over the hardware and software and will never overload it with junk like what samsung has done with touch wiz.

posted on 03 Oct 2013, 10:00 2

6. kabhijeet.16 (Posts: 560; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


Agreed.. If samsung removes touchwiz & sticks to stock android, the specs would make even its midrangers a beast in performance....

posted on 03 Oct 2013, 13:18 1

9. THE.DARK.KNIGHT (banned) (Posts: 269; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


Exactly and my galaxy s3 would be running flawlessly. I know people will tell me I can flash cm10.2 but the cm team hardly releases any stable builds. My experience with cm10.1 was beyond terrible. Even after 5 months they never released a stable build.

posted on 03 Oct 2013, 13:30

10. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Stable c m10.1.3 is available. I run the 10.2 nightly on my T-Mobile s3.

posted on 03 Oct 2013, 14:42 1

13. McLTE (Posts: 620; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


CM isn't the only ROM out there. In fact, it's far from my favorite. I haven't used CM EVER on my Note 2.

As for Touchwiz, Kabhijeet, have you even used the latest iteration? I used to be a die hard pure Andoroid guy until I got used to my Note 2.

There are many nice features that are in Touchwiz that aren't in vanilla Android. My ultimate favorite is smart stay - the screen stays on while you are looking at your phone. Get used to that feature and you can't go back!

posted on 04 Oct 2013, 10:37

16. kabhijeet.16 (Posts: 560; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


I know there are several awesome/useful features in Touchwiz. But the only issue I have is that it is the heaviest custom skin & consumes lot of RAM.. Because of that I face issues of "Touchwiz lag" lot of times. As soon as I install a custom launcher-APEX, the phone works flawlessly (RAM-520MB). I have tested this on My Galaxy S2 (old touchwiz which was very light & smooth), then updated to new Touchwiz Nature UX on my phone & can see a lot of difference. (the RAM consumption has increased from 365MB/1GB to 590MB/1GB in new touchwiz - just turned on the device).
I have seen the same touchwiz issue on my friend's Galaxy S3 & my Boss's Galaxy S4.
I do like touchwiz but Samsung ought to make is a bit lighter so that RAM consumption is not more than 450MB/1GB. Bottom line I want my device to work smooth even if I had to lose some of Touchwiz features..

posted on 04 Oct 2013, 10:41

17. kabhijeet.16 (Posts: 560; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


If you remember, We used to think HTC Sense is a heavy skin & can cause lags. Now Touchwiz is heaviest & HTC sense has become very light & smooth skin...

posted on 03 Oct 2013, 09:53 4

4. Shatter (Posts: 1766; Member since: 29 May 2013)


13MP sensors are not expensive there are Chinese phones with the same Sony sensor the s4 has that cost $150-$200. I got a zopo for $250 and it takes better pictures than my nexus 4.

posted on 03 Oct 2013, 09:57 1

5. _Bone_ (Posts: 2061; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Check out these MX3 samples, the IMX179 matches the iPhone's Sony variant, probably outdoes them in low light. It's an excellent 8MP sensor though much depends on the lens, aperture, the processing chip and post-processing, the Nexus 5 may cut corners there.

http://www.abload.de/img/0003564201u5q.jpg
http://www.abload.de/img/0003568448us3.jpg
http://www.abload.de/img/000357051yux4.jpg
http://www.abload.de/img/keithyim_4_meizu-_e12ovu1f.jpg
http://www.abload.de/img/meizu_mx3_camera_sampkiuhi.jpg
http://www.abload.de/img/meizu-mx3-15c9urd.jpg

posted on 03 Oct 2013, 12:27 3

7. LionStone (Posts: 435; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)


..."that got everyone so worked up"!? Well, with headlines like,

"Nexus 5 to be first smartphone with MEMS camera: fastest on a phone, Lytro like functionality"

Jumped the gun there just a little bit PA...

posted on 03 Oct 2013, 14:44 1

14. McLTE (Posts: 620; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


PA jump the gun??? NO WAY! They neeeeevvvvveeerrrr do that!! (sarcasm)

if you're looking for journalistic integrity (verifying stories, unbiased opinion), then you'll have to look elsewhere.

posted on 03 Oct 2013, 12:37

8. Finest (Posts: 68; Member since: 16 Aug 2013)


It's no "just" a sony camera
It's a Sony camera.

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Latest stories