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Pixel Matrix Nomenclature

The number of pixel locations in available area sensors can be anywhere in the range of tens of thousands to tens of millions. At least one sensor with over 100 million locations is now available. The frame rate required and the number of pixel locations determines the volume of data that must be processed in each image. This product must further be multiplied if stacked photodiode sensors or multisensor prism assemblies are used for color or multispectral applications. While there is no reason why any particular number of locations is better or worse for fabrication, some sizes show up repeatedly, mostly for historical or other non-technical reasons. The table shows common pixel matrix sizes. These arrays can be made to match sensor sizes shown in the sensor size table within the constraints of manufacturable pixel pitch. As smaller and smaller pixel pitches become more feasible, the number of locations in any particular sensor size increases. Care must be taken to assure that the resolution spatial resolution requirement at the array does not exceed the resolution capabilities of the optics. Here are explanations of a few terms in the table:

  • Name. Most of these array sizes correspond to designators for video display resolution.       These need to be used with care because in displays, the names refer to displayable white points, usually implemented with RGB triads. This means that the number of addressable elements in color displays is actually three times the stated matrix count. This is not the case with CFA sensors, where the matrix stated is the total number of photosites which are partitioned into colors. Stacked diode sensors and RGB prism assemblies are categorized according the matrix size of a single photosite plane; however, the total data rate must take into account the multiple photosite planes.
  • H count and V count. These are the number of active matrix locations in the horizontal and vertical directions. All of these are nominal because even the display manufacturers are not perfectly consistent and the display standards allow a range for many of the designators.
  • Matrix aspect ratio. Originally, television images had an aspect ratio of 4:3 and computer displays followed suit. Later, widescreen displays were added to both television and computers but with different shapes. All along, some displays have had unique characteristics. Some of these decisions still affect compatibility of software and hardware in imaging systems.
  • Point aspect ratio. While most displays and sensors now are arranged with equal horizontal and vertical pitch, those based on television standard are not symmetric due to the original accommodation of the unequal horizontal and vertical resolution of the eye. Arrays with non-square point aspect ratios will be squeezed in one direction when viewed on equal-pitch displays.

Matrices are listed in order of increasing horizontal count.

Name

H Count

V Count

Matrix AR

Point AR

Notes

SQCIF

128

96

4:3

11:9

 

QQVGA

160

120

4:3

1:1

 

QCIF

176

144

4:3

11:9

 

QVGA

320

240

4:3

1:1

Also called SIF

CIF

352

288

4:3

11:9

 

HVGA

480

320

4:3

1:1

 

CGA

640

200

4:3

1:1

 

EGA

640

350

4:3

1:1

 

4QCIF

704

576

4:3

11:9

 

CCIR

720

576

4:3

8:9

ITU R-601

NTSC

768

480

4:3

5:6

ITU R-601, also 480i, SDTV

480p

768

480

4:3

5:6

Also EDTV

VGA

640

480

4:3

1:1

 

SVGA

800

600

4:3

1:1

 

XGA

1024

768

4:3

1:1

 

XGA+

1152

864

4:3

1:1

 

HD720

1280

720

16:9

1:1

HDTV-720p

WXGA

1280

800

8:5

1:1

 

SXVGA

1280

960

4:3

1:1

 

SXGA

1280

1024

5:4

1:1

 

WXGA

1366

768

~16:9

1:1

Also several other matrices

SXGA+

1400

1050

4:3

1:1

 

16CIF

1408

1152

4:3

11:9

 

WXGA+

1440

900

16:10

1:1

 

UXGA

1600

1200

4:3

1:1

 

WSXGA+

1680

1050

16:10

1:1

 

HD1080

1920

1080

16:9

1:1

HDTV-1080p, also 1080i

WUXGA

1920

1200

16:10

1:1

 

2K

2048

1080

1.896:1

1:1

Digital cinema

QXGA

2048

1536

4:3

1:1

 

WQXGA

2560

1600

16:10

1:1

 

QSXGA

2560

2048

5:4

1:1

 

QSXGA+

2800

2100

4:3

1:1

 

QUXGA

3200

2400

4:3

1:1

 

Academy 4k

3656

2664

1.37:1

1:1

Digital cinema

WQUXGA

3820

2400

16:10

1:1

 

QHFD

3840

2160

16:9

1:1

Quad 1080 HDTV (2k4k)

DC Aperture 4K

3996

2160

1.85:1

1:1

Digital cinema

Dig Cinema 4K

4096

1714

2.39:1

1:1

Digital cinema

HXGA

4096

3072

4:3

1:1

 

DC Full Aper. 4k

4096

3112

1.32:1

1:1

Digital cinema

WHXGA

5120

3200

16:10

1:1

 

HSXGA

5120

4096

5:4

1:1

 

WHSXGA

6400

4096

25:16

1:1

 

HUXGA

6400

4800

4:3

1:1

 

UHDTV

7680

4320

16:9

1:1

Super Hi-Vision, 16x 1080p

WHUXGA

7680

4800

16:10

1:1

 

8K

8192

4320

1.896:1

1:1

Digital cinema