IMX477 Full Report – Datasheet, Specs, Technologies and Camera Modules

If you are considering the Sony IMX477 or IMX477R, then this is for you.

We are interested in it, and have built packages and camera modules on it.

In this full report, I’ll tell you everything we know about this image sensor.

Let’s get started.

IMX477 Datasheet

In case the datasheet is all you’re here for, we put it in the beginning.

If not, scroll down from beside the doc, and we’ll get to the introduction.

You can also download the IMX477 Datasheet.

What are IMX477 and IMX477R?

The IMX477 is a 12.3MP Type 1/2.3” Sony Exmor RS CMOS image sensor, mainly designed for consumer cameras, especially for consumer-use camcorders.

About the “Exmor RS

In the Exmor product line, the R suffix means back-illuminated, and the S suffix means stacked image sensor.

What is IMX477R then?

Of the whole Sony semiconductor site, there is no such thing as IMX477R. ​

no imx477r in the sony website
See? There is no IMX477R in the whole Sony semiconductor website.

In Google Trends, there is no search of IMX477R before the release of the Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera (Apr 30, 2020).

Therefore, IMX477R is IMX477 rebranded by the Raspberry Pi.

What are their positions in the market?

Sony image sensors mainly serve 5 markets:

  • Automotive
  • Industry
  • Security/Surveillance
  • Consumer Camera
  • Mobile
sony imx477 consumer camera
Sony mainly designed the IMX477 for consumer cameras (1 of the 5 major markets).

In Sony image sensors for consumers cameras, there are also many others. Here is where the IMX477 locates on this lineup (click on the image to enlarge).

sony imx477 image sensor in consumer camera
CMOS Image sensor for consumer cameras. Source: Sony.
  • From Sony’s product lineup strategy, the IMX477 is placed in consumer cameras. 
  • In the IMX477 datasheet, they elaborate on this position and claim that the best use-case is in consumer use camcorders.

However, that does not mean you can’t use it in other applications. It still offers nice specs and features to outperform many others.

So let’s get into the key specs and the Sony technologies used.

Key Specs

IMX477 Specs

Resolution4056 (H) x 3040 (V)
Megapixels12.3MP
Supply Voltage1.05 V (Digital), 1.8 V (Interface), 2.8 V (Analog)
ChromaColor, RGB
Shutter TypeRolling Shutter Only
Frame Rate15 to 240 fps, depending on the video mode
ADC resolution10-bit, 12-bit
Pixel Size1.55 µm (H) x 1.55 µm (V)
InterfaceMIPI 2-lane/4-lane, D-PHY V1.2
Data RateMax. 2.1Gbps/lane
Clock Frequency6-27 MHz
Package92 pin LGA Ceramic
Optical Diagonal7.857 mm
Image Sensor FormatType 1/2.3″
Sensor Dimensions7.564 (H) x 5.476 (V) mm
Output Video FormatRAW12/10/8, COMP8

IMX477 Basic Video Drive Mode

Note

This is the drive mode of the image sensor. The actual performance varies from different embedded systems and MIPI lanes.

Drive ModeNumber of active pixelsMaximum frame rate [frames/s]Output InterfaceADC [bit]
Full (4:3) [Normal]4056(H) × 3040(V) 12.3MP60CSI-210
Full (4:3) [Normal]4056(H) × 3040(V) 12.3MP40CSI-212
Full (4:3) [DOL-HDR]4056(H) × 3040(V) 12.3MP30/15 (DOL 2/DOL 3)CSI-210
Full (16:9) 4K2K [Normal]4056(H) × 2288(V) 9.3MP79CSI-210
Full (16:9) 4K2K [DOL-HDR]4056(H) × 2288(V) 9.3MP39/19 (DOL 2/DOL 3)CSI-210
Full (4:3) Binning [Normal]2028(H) × 1520(V) 3.1MP179CSI-210
Full (16:9) Binning 1080P [Normal]2028(H) × 1128(V) 2.3MP240CSI-210
Full (16:9) Binning 720P [Normal]1348(H) × 750(V) 1MP240CSI-210
Full (16:9) Scaling 1080P [Normal]2024(H) × 1142(V) 2.3MP79CSI-210
Full (16:9) Scaling 720P [Normal]1348(H) × 762(V) 1MP79CSI-210

What Are the Sony Technologies Used in This Sensor

Back-illuminated​

sony image sensor back illuminated and front illuminated 22
Source: Sony

For a sensor with a front-illuminated structure, the components are layered in the following order:

  1. On-chip microlens
  2. Color filters
  3. Metal wiring
  4. Light receiving surface
  5. Photodiodes

The back-illuminated sensors have the structure with the same layers, but in a different order. The light receiving surface and photodiodes have been moved above the metal wiring.

  1. On-chip microlens
  2. Color filters
  3. Light receiving surface
  4. Photodiodes
  5. Metal wiring

Now that metal wiring and transistors have been moved to the back of the silicon substrate, degradation due to optical angle response is minimized, while the amount of light that enters each pixel has increased.

Source: Sony YouTube Channel

It reduces dark current and defect pixels compared to the conventional Front-illuminated structure to achieve higher sensitivity and a lower random noise without light. 

Moreover, Sony’s advanced technologies for ensuring high-precision alignment have addressed any color mixture difficulties.

If a Sony Exmor Image sensor has a back-illuminated structure, it will have an “R” suffix. For Example, the Sony Exmor R IX219.

Stacked Image Sensor

Stacked CMOS Image Sensor is a Sony’s CMOS image sensor that adopts a unique ‘stacked structure.’ This structure layers the pixel section, containing formations of back-illuminated pixels over the chip affixed with mounted circuits for signal processing, in place of conventional supporting substrates used for back-illuminated CMOS image sensors.

Stacked back illuminated image sensor sony
Source: Sony

Conventional CMOS image sensors mount the pixel section and analog logic circuit on top of the same chip, which require numerous constraints when wishing to mount the large-scale circuits such as measures to counter the circuit scale and chip size, measures to suppress noise caused by the layout of the pixel and circuit sections, and optimizing the characteristics of pixels and circuit transistors.

Sony has succeeded in establishing a structure that layers the pixel section containing formations of back-illuminated structure pixels over the chip affixed with mounted circuits for signal processing, which is in place of supporting substrates used for conventional back-illuminated CMOS image sensors.

With this stacked structure, large-scale circuits can now be mounted keeping a small chip size. Furthermore, as the pixel section and circuit section are formed as independent chips, a manufacturing process can be adopted, enabling the pixel section to be specialized for higher image quality while the circuit section can be specialized for higher functionality, thus simultaneously achieving higher image quality, superior functionality and more compact size. In addition, faster signal processing and lower power consumption can also be achieved through the use of a leading process for the chip containing the circuits. 

If a back-illuminated Sony Image Sensor has a stacked structure, it will have another “S” suffix after the “R.” For example, the Sony Exmor RS IMX477.

DOL-HDR

The DOL-HDR is a special form of image processing with the subject in high contrast. It combines different exposures into a single image so the brightest and darkest parts can both be seen in the image.

As a result, brilliant colors are captured even when pictures are shot in strong light conditions for both video imaging and still imaging.

Note

This feature relies on driver support. Currently, the HDR feature is not supported on Raspberry Pi, Jetson Nano, and Jetson Xavier NX MIPI cameras.

Dol hdr image sony imx477
Source: Sony

Column parallel A/D converter

products camera technology11 a d parallel conversion
Source: Sony

Parallel signal processing is key to improving the speed of Sony’s CMOS Image Sensor.

CMOS sensor circuits have analog-digital (A/D) conversion that converts analog pixel signals into digital signals.

By arranging thousands of these circuits in a horizontal manner, and utilizing them simultaneously, speed is maximized.

The A/D conversion processes Sony uses in their CMOS sensors have important capabilities, including the reduced size of analog circuits where noise is created, and automatic noise cancellation.

Both noise reduction and enhanced speed can be achieved at the same time by this circuit design.

Buy IMX477 – I want to use IMX477 in my projects

Buy IMX477 Image Sensor Packages

ccd cmos sony imx

Arducam offers IMX477 image sensor packages, contact our sales representative if you need to place an order.

Buy IMX477 Camera for Raspberry Pi, Jetson Nano, and Jetson Xavier NX

Arducam offers an array of IMX477 based camera modules, also know as High Quality camera modules for the Raspberry Pi and Jetson Platform.

The Arducam IMX477 camera modules on the Raspberry Pi platform is natively working just like the official High Quality Camera, and we’ve provided options like high quality camera case, compact camera board form factor in M12 lens, motorized focus and motorized IR-cut filter.

On the Jetson Platform, our camera modules can be used both on the Jetson Nano and the Jetson Xavier NX, and we have provided IMX477 camera drivers for them. It will support the NVIDIA Argus Camera plugin for H264 encoding, JPEG snapshots, as well as gain, exposure, framerate, and group, hold control.

ModelsPlatformLens MountForm FactorIR sensitivityFocus MethodISP supportResolutionInterfaceType
B0240RPi A/B/ZerosCS38mm Board cameraVisible Light OnlyManual FocusYES12MP IMX477MIPICamera Module
B0241RPi A/B/ZerosCSMetal Housing with HDMI extensionVisible Light OnlyManual FocusYES12MP IMX477MIPICamera Module
B0249Nano/NXCS38mm Board cameraVisible Light OnlyManual FocusYES12MP IMX477MIPICamera Module
B0250Nano/NXCSMetal Housing with HDMI extensionVisible Light OnlyManual FocusYES12MP IMX477MIPICamera Module
B0251Nano/NXM12(S)24mm Board CameraVisible Light OnlyManual FocusYES12MP IMX477MIPICamera Module
B0262RPi A/B/ZerosM12(S)24mm Board CameraVisible Light OnlyManual FocusYES12MP IMX477MIPICamera Module
B0265RRPi A/B/ZerosCS38mm Board cameraVisible Light OnlyManual FocusYES12MP 2*IMX477 Stereo BundleMIPICamera Module
B0265NNano/NXCS38mm Board cameraVisible Light OnlyManual FocusYES12MP 2*IMX477 Stereo BundleMIPICamera Module
B0270RPi A/B/ZerosCS38mm Board cameraSwtichabl IR-cut FilterManual FocusYES12MP IMX477MIPICamera Module
B0271RPi CMsM12(S)24mm Board CameraVisible Light OnlyManual FocusYES12MP IMX477MIPICamera Module
B0272RPi A/B/ZerosM12(S)38mm Board cameraVisible Light OnlySoftware MotorizedYES12MP IMX477MIPICamera Module
B0273Nano/NXM12(S)38mm Board cameraVisible Light OnlySoftware MotorizedYES12MP IMX477MIPICamera Module
B0274Nano/NXCS38mm Board cameraSwtichabl IR-cut FilterManual FocusYES12MP IMX477MIPICamera Module
B0278USB webcam adapterYESUSBCamera Adapter

Request Customization from Arducam

Arducam also offers a turnkey design solution for cameras. If you need Arducam to build a product for you based on the IMX477 image sensor, please check our customization service.

1 Comment

John Smith · October 15, 2021 at 6:41 am

I find it hard to believe that SONY publishes that load of crap. Second page diagram shows vertically flipped ‘F’ image on the sensor. This is wrong, it should be 180 degrees rotated i.e. both vertically and horizontally flipped. So the readout direction is also depicted wrong. Someone writes a datasheet for an image sensor and is clueless about elementary optics. What an embarrassment.

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