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New Camera Chips Bring HD To The Masses

Las Vegas — High-definition video recording will be a prominent feature in 2008 digital cameras based on several imaging chips introduced at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) show.

Several solutions for camera manufacturers were announced at the show that will bring HD video capture, quicker burst modes and improved light sensitivity, as vendors look beyond resolution to entice repeat buyers.

Texas Instruments announced a DaVinci-based reference design that the company claims will bring HD recording to consumer cameras as low as $99. It can also deliver “digital SLR-like” burst modes, the company said.

The design uses Micron’s 8-megapixel CMOS sensor and can record 720p video at 30 fps.

Cameras incorporating the design and sensor can snap off full resolution images at 5 fps, which TI claims is roughly double what conventional CCD camera burst modes can achieve.

The design also incorporates video stabilization, face tracking at 30 fps and red-eye removal in less than one-half second. A noise filter can process a 10-megapixel image in one second for reduced noise when shooting at light sensitivities as high as ISO 10,000.

For its part, Micron introduced two new CMOS sensors for both digital cameras and camcorders.

The first is a 5-megapixel HD sensor designed for hybrid cameras that features 720p recording at 60fps with a 15-shot burst mode.

For video cameras, the company introduced a sensor capable of capturing 720p video at 60 fps with support for long zoom lenses, image stabilization and low-light recording.

Zoran demonstrated the 10th iteration of its COACH processor. The new processor supports full resolution photography at ISO 6,400, still and video image stabilization and HD recording in the new H.264 codec. The processor also supports HDMI output and standard-definition video capture in the MPEG-4/DiVX format.