JP2010074243A - Solid-state imaging apparatus, image device - Google Patents

Solid-state imaging apparatus, image device Download PDF

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JP2010074243A
JP2010074243A JP2008236377A JP2008236377A JP2010074243A JP 2010074243 A JP2010074243 A JP 2010074243A JP 2008236377 A JP2008236377 A JP 2008236377A JP 2008236377 A JP2008236377 A JP 2008236377A JP 2010074243 A JP2010074243 A JP 2010074243A
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image
signal
imaging device
pixel
solid
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Makoto Inagaki
誠 稲垣
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Panasonic Corp
パナソニック株式会社
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Abstract

A solid-state imaging device and an imaging device capable of acquiring a ranging image and a display image with good accuracy are provided.
A solid-state imaging device includes a plurality of display image pixels 102-1 and ranging image pixels 102-2 arranged in a two-dimensional manner, a display image pixel 102-1 and ranging image pixels 102. -2 signal signal, the row of the display image pixel 102-1 and the distance measurement image pixel 102-2 are scanned in the column direction, and the display image pixel 102-1 and the distance measurement image are scanned. A display image vertical scanning circuit 103 and a distance measurement image vertical scanning circuit 104 for reading out the signal of the pixel 102-2 to the vertical signal line 106 are provided. The display image vertical scanning circuit 103 acquires a display image. In order to obtain a distance measurement image, the distance measurement image vertical scanning circuit 104 is not scanned by the first scan in order to obtain a distance measurement image. Only for image pixel 102-2 row Performing a second scan to scan.
[Selection] Figure 1

Description

  The present invention relates to a solid-state imaging device capable of outputting information necessary for automatic focus adjustment control and an imaging device using the solid-state imaging device.

  In the following, a method of automatic focus control (Auto Focusing: hereinafter referred to as AF) as a conventional technique disclosed in Patent Document 1, specifically, a display image is read out at a high speed, and there is a surplus with respect to a normal display interval. A method for reading a distance measurement image using the same period will be described with reference to the drawings.

  FIG. 11A is a diagram illustrating an imaging operation of a general CMOS solid-state imaging device (image sensor), and FIG. 11B is a diagram illustrating an imaging operation of the CMOS solid-state imaging device according to Patent Document 1. is there. FIG. 12 is a diagram showing an output operation of the distance measurement image of the CMOS type solid-state imaging device according to Patent Document 1. 11 and 12, the horizontal axis indicates time, and the vertical axis indicates pixel rows from 0 to N. A broken line 3002 indicates the scanning timing of the shutter row (pixel row where the shutter operation is performed), and solid lines 3001 and 5001 indicate the scanning timing of the readout row (pixel row where the reading operation is performed). An interval between the broken line 3002 and the solid line 3001 is an exposure period 3003. One image period 3004 is a period required until a completed display image is output from the CMOS solid-state imaging device.

  Conventionally, particularly in an imaging operation of a CMOS type solid-state imaging device, a two-dimensional pixel array is scanned in units of image rows (or pixel columns) by a so-called rolling shutter (focal plane shutter), and a shutter operation of each pixel is performed. Thereafter, the two-dimensional pixel array is scanned again in units of image rows (or pixel columns) after a certain exposure period, and the signal of each pixel is read out.

  Therefore, in a general CMOS type solid-state imaging device, as shown in FIG. 11A, the shutter operation of each pixel is performed in the shutter row, the signal of each pixel is reset, and then the readout row passes through the exposure period 3003. Thus, the readout operation of each pixel is performed, and the signal of each pixel is read out. Then, in one scanning from pixel row 0 to pixel row N, scanning is performed at a synchronization speed such that exactly one image period 3004 elapses, and a signal output operation for each pixel is performed at a predetermined frame rate. .

  On the other hand, in the CMOS type solid-state imaging device according to Patent Document 1, as shown in FIG. 11B, the readout row and the shutter row are scanned at high speed, and the readout image is temporarily stored in the frame memory. The The inclinations of the broken line 3002 and the solid line 3001 representing the readout row and shutter row of the CMOS solid-state imaging device according to Patent Document 1 are steep compared to the readout row and shutter row of a general CMOS solid-state imaging device. Shows this speedup.

  In the CMOS type solid-state imaging device according to Patent Document 1, an extra period 3005 is generated for a predetermined frame rate with high-speed scanning. Therefore, in the CMOS type solid-state imaging device according to Patent Document 1, as shown in FIG. 12A, a shutter operation and a readout operation are performed in a predetermined pixel row in the surplus period 3005, and a plurality of distance measurement is partially performed. A work image is read out.

As described above, the CMOS-type solid-state imaging device according to Patent Document 1 includes a frame memory for storing images, and temporarily stores display images read at high speed for one normal frame period in the frame memory. The output from the frame memory ensures a period for reading the distance measurement image by reading it at a normal frame rate. As a result, the distance measurement image and the display image can be quickly acquired.
JP 2004-140479 A

  However, the prior art disclosed in Patent Document 1 has the following problems as shown in FIG.

  FIG. 12B shows an example where the broken line 3002 shown in FIG. 12A moves to the left by the period 5002, that is, when a long exposure period is required to acquire a display image. In this case, the timing overlaps with the scanning timing of the readout row of the distance measurement image and the scanning timing of the shutter row of the display image. As a result, the charge accumulation period (exposure period) is shortened for a part of the display image (the pixel row from which the distance measurement image is read), which adversely affects the display image (first problem). . It is conceivable to cope with this problem by limiting the number of times the distance measurement image is read, or by limiting the scanning timing and accumulation period of the shutter row. However, in this case, a decrease in the number of times of distance measurement is performed on a dark subject that requires a long accumulation period, resulting in a decrease in performance that the distance measurement accuracy is lowered. This is a fatal problem for the contrast AF operation in which focus control is performed from image information.

  Furthermore, the prior art disclosed in Patent Document 1 also has the following problems (second and third problems).

  That is, since the prior art disclosed in Patent Document 1 requires a frame memory, the number of parts increases and the manufacturing cost increases (second problem).

  In the prior art disclosed in Patent Document 1, the accumulation period of the pixel rows constituting the distance measurement image is very short (in the case of the previous example, 1/10 or less of the display image), and distance measurement control is performed. There is little signal amount to use for. For this reason, it is impossible to acquire a highly accurate ranging image, and it is difficult to perform accurate focus control (third problem).

  In view of the above problems, it is a first object of the present invention to provide a solid-state imaging device and an imaging device capable of acquiring a distance measurement image and a display image with good accuracy.

  It is a second object of the present invention to provide a solid-state imaging device and an imaging device that are inexpensive and have a simple structure.

  In order to achieve the above object, a solid-state imaging device of the present invention scans a plurality of pixels arranged in a two-dimensional shape, a signal line for transmitting a signal of the pixel, and a row of the pixel in a column direction, A scanning circuit that selects a row of the pixels from which a signal is read out to the signal line, and the scanning circuit scans over one or more rows of the pixels in order to obtain a display image. One scan is performed, and a second scan is performed in which only the row of pixels that are not scanned in the first scan is scanned in order to obtain a distance measurement image.

  As a result, since the display image and the distance measurement image are composed of signals of different pixels, the scanning timing of the readout row of the distance measurement image and the scanning timing of the shutter row of the display image overlap. However, the charge accumulation period of the display image is not shortened, and the display image is not adversely affected. As a result, it is possible to acquire a distance measurement image and a display image with good accuracy.

  Here, the scanning circuit may perform the second scan while performing the first scan.

  Thereby, the reading of the display image and the reading of the distance measurement image can be performed simultaneously. Therefore, it is not necessary to secure a period for reading the distance measurement image, and it is not necessary to store the display image in the frame memory. As a result, a frame memory becomes unnecessary, and an inexpensive and simple structure solid-state imaging device can be realized.

  The scanning circuit may be configured such that a period during which signals for one image are read out to the signal lines by the first scanning is longer than a period during which signals for a plurality of images are read out to the signal lines by the second scanning. The first scan and the second scan may be performed.

  As a result, a plurality of ranging images can be output while one display image is output, and the accuracy of focus control can be improved.

  The scanning circuit may be configured to read a signal for one image to the signal line by the second scan after signals for a plurality of images are read to the signal line by the first scan. One scan and second scan may be performed.

  As a result, the accumulation period of the distance measurement image can be lengthened to increase the signal amount of the distance measurement image, so that the accuracy of focus control can be improved.

  In the present invention, a plurality of pixels arranged two-dimensionally, a signal line for transmitting a signal of the pixel, a row of the pixel are scanned in a column direction, and a signal is read out to the signal line. A solid-state imaging device including a scanning circuit that selects a row of the pixels, and an optical lens is controlled based on a distance measurement image output from the solid-state imaging device, and a focal point of the optical lens is formed on the pixel. Focus control means for adjusting the focus of the optical lens as described above, and the scanning circuit performs a first scan that skips over one or more rows of the pixels to obtain a display image, In order to acquire the distance measurement image, the imaging apparatus may perform a second scan that scans only the row of pixels that are not scanned in the first scan.

  As a result, an imaging device capable of accurate focus control can be realized.

  According to the present invention, a display image is configured by interlaced scanning of some pixel rows, and a distance measurement image is configured by scanning pixel rows other than the pixel rows used in the display image. Therefore, the obtained distance measurement image and display image can be handled in time series or at the same time. Therefore, it is possible to acquire the display image without waiting for the time for reading or processing the distance measurement image, and the AF operation can be speeded up.

  Further, no frame memory is required, and the shutter time can be arbitrarily determined for each of the display image and the distance measurement image. Therefore, the accumulation time of the display image does not affect the readout time of the distance measurement image, and the accumulation time of the distance measurement image and the gain at the time of output can be set separately from the display image. Therefore, it is possible to increase the signal amount of the distance measurement image and perform accurate focus control.

  Therefore, it is possible to improve the speed of auto focus control and further improve the accuracy of auto focus control, and obtain characteristics superior to general contrast detection methods and phase difference detection methods as camera auto focus control. I can do it. As a result, it is possible to provide a solid-state imaging device and an imaging device capable of high-speed imaging and high-precision focus control, and the practical value is extremely high.

  Hereinafter, a solid-state imaging device and an imaging device according to embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.

(First embodiment)
FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating a schematic configuration of a solid-state imaging apparatus according to the present embodiment. The configuration and operation of the solid-state imaging device according to this embodiment will be described with reference to FIG.

  The solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment outputs a display image and a distance measurement image in a time-sharing manner, and includes an imaging unit 101, a display image vertical scanning circuit 103, and a distance measurement image vertical. A scanning circuit 104, a column amplifier 107, a column ADC 108, a horizontal scanning circuit 109, and a digital output line 110 are provided.

  The imaging unit 101 includes a plurality of display image pixels 102-1 and ranging image pixels 102-2 that are two-dimensionally arranged, a plurality of first vertical control lines 105-1, and a plurality of second vertical controls. It comprises a line 105-2 and a plurality of vertical signal lines 106. The display image pixel 102-1 and the ranging image pixel 102-2 are not structurally distinguished. The first vertical control line 105-1 collectively controls the row of the display image pixels 102-1. The second vertical control line 105-2 collectively controls the row of the ranging image pixels 102-2. The vertical signal line 106 is an example of the signal line of the present invention, and the signal of each pixel obtained as a result of the control of the first vertical control line 105-1 and the second vertical control line 105-2 is displayed in the column direction (vertical). Direction). Each row of display image pixels 102-1 is arranged with two rows of ranging image pixels 102-2 in the column direction.

  The display image vertical scanning circuit 103 and the distance measurement image vertical scanning circuit 104 are arranged on the left and right sides of the imaging unit 101, scan pixels in the column direction, and read out signals to the vertical signal line 106. Select a row. Specifically, the display image vertical scanning circuit 103 applies a voltage to the first vertical control line 105-1, and scans the row of the display image pixels 102-1 as the first scan of the present invention. The ranging image vertical scanning circuit 104 applies a voltage to the second vertical control line 105-2, and scans the row of ranging image pixels 102-2 as the second scanning of the present invention.

  The column amplifier 107 amplifies the signal of each pixel row that appears on the vertical signal line 106.

  The column ADC 108 digitizes the signal amplified by the column amplifier 107.

  The horizontal scanning circuit 109 outputs the digital signal generated by the column amplifier 107 to the digital output line 110 in units of pixel columns.

  The digital output line 110 is an example of the signal line of the present invention, and transmits the digital signal output from the column ADC 108 in the row direction (horizontal direction).

  Next, the display image output operation of the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment will be described.

  First, in order to acquire a display image, the display image vertical scanning circuit 103 scans the display image pixels 102-1 in the column direction in units of rows, and the selected display image pixels 102-1 are driven. . Specifically, a voltage is selectively supplied to the pixel row selected from the display image vertical scanning circuit 103 via the first vertical control line 105-1, and the signal of the display image pixel 102-1 is a vertical signal. Read to line 106. At this time, the display image vertical scanning circuit 103 scans in the column direction by skipping the rows of the ranging image pixels 102-2. Note that the number of interlaced lines (interlace distance) of scanning by the display image vertical scanning circuit 103 is not particularly limited to two.

  Next, the signal of the display image pixel 102-1 selected by the display image vertical scanning circuit 103 is read as a voltage signal to the vertical signal line 106 in units of pixel rows, and is amplified by the column amplifier 107. Thereafter, the display image pixel 102-1 is scanned in units of columns by the horizontal scanning circuit 109, and signals digitally converted by the column ADC 108 of the selected pixel column are sequentially output to the digital output line 110.

  With the above operation, a two-dimensional display image is output.

  Next, the output operation of the distance measurement image of the solid-state imaging device of the present embodiment will be described.

  First, in order to acquire a distance measurement image, the distance measurement image pixel 102-2 is scanned in the column direction by the distance measurement image vertical scanning circuit 104 in the column direction, and the selected distance measurement image pixel 102-2 is selected. Is driven. Specifically, a voltage is selectively supplied to the pixel row selected from the distance measurement image vertical scanning circuit 104 via the second vertical control line 105-2, and the signal of the distance measurement image pixel 102-2 is output. Read out to the vertical signal line 106. At this time, the distance measurement image vertical scanning circuit 104 skips the rows of the display image pixels 102-1 in the column direction, and only the pixel rows that are not scanned by the display image vertical scanning circuit 103 are scanned. In the scanning by the distance measuring image vertical scanning circuit 104, not all of the pixel rows that are not scanned by the display image vertical scanning circuit 103 but part of the pixel rows that are not scanned by the display image vertical scanning circuit 103 are partially. It may be selected.

  Next, the signal of the ranging image pixel 102-2 selected by the ranging image vertical scanning circuit 104 is read out as a voltage signal to the vertical signal line 106 in units of pixel rows, and is amplified by the column amplifier 107. Thereafter, the distance scanning image pixels 102-2 are scanned in units of columns by the horizontal scanning circuit 109, and signals digitally converted by the column ADC 108 of the selected pixel column are sequentially output to the digital output line 110.

  With the above operation, a two-dimensional ranging image is output.

  FIG. 2A to FIG. 2C are diagrams for explaining how the signals of the pixel rows constituting the display image and the distance measurement image are output over time in the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment. 2A to 2C, the horizontal axis indicates time, and the vertical axis indicates pixel rows from 0 to N (the number of pixel rows of the imaging unit 101). In the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment, the distance measurement image is configured by pixel rows other than the pixel rows constituting the display image, and the pixel row of the display image and the pixel row of the distance measurement image are not in the same row. Absent. However, in FIGS. 2A to 2C, the pixel rows of the display image and the pixel rows of the distance measurement image are shown in a simplified manner without being distinguished from each other. Note that the range of the start row and the end row of scanning of the ranging image pixel 102-2 is not limited to FIGS. 2A to 2C.

  In any of the signal outputs shown in FIGS. 2A to 2C, the display image readout operation and the distance measurement image readout operation are performed in a time-sharing manner. Accordingly, after the pixel row is scanned by the display image vertical scanning circuit 103, the pixel row is scanned by the distance measuring image vertical scanning circuit 104, or the pixel row is scanned by the distance measuring image vertical scanning circuit 104. After the scanning is performed, scanning of pixel rows is performed by the display image vertical scanning circuit 103. As a result, the distance measurement image is output after the display image is output, or the display image is output after the distance measurement image is output.

  In the signal output shown in FIG. 2A, the display image and the ranging image are output in one image period. However, in this case, the distance measurement image is output in the signal processing period and the focal length control period and is not displayed.

  In the signal output shown in FIG. 2B, the display image and the distance measurement image are read at high speed, and the display image and the distance measurement image are output together within one image period.

  In the signal output shown in FIG. 2C, the interval of one image period is unequal, and one image period is secured for the output of the display image, but the distance measurement image is read out at a high speed. It is done in the period or less. This is effective for shortening the interval at which display images are output and improving continuous shooting performance.

  As described above, according to the solid-state imaging device and the driving method thereof according to this embodiment, the ranging image pixel 102-2 constituting the ranging image is the display image pixel 102-1 constituting the display image. The distance measuring image pixel 102-2 and the display image pixel 102-1 are independently driven. Therefore, even if the scanning timing of the readout row of the distance measurement image and the scanning timing of the shutter row of the display image overlap, the charge accumulation period for the display image is not shortened, and the display image is adversely affected. Never given. As a result, it is possible to acquire a distance measurement image and a display image with good accuracy.

(Second Embodiment)
FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating a schematic configuration of the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment. The configuration and operation of the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment will be described with reference to FIG.

  The solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment reads out a distance measurement image simultaneously with the output of a display image, and includes an imaging unit 201, a display image vertical scanning circuit 203, and a distance measurement image vertical. The scanning circuit 204, the first column amplifier 207-1, the second column amplifier 207-2, the first column ADC 208-1, the second column ADC 208-2, the first horizontal scanning circuit 209-1, 2 horizontal scanning circuit 209-2, a first digital output line 210-1, and a second digital output line 210-2.

  The imaging unit 201 includes a plurality of display image pixels 202-1 and ranging image pixels 202-2 that are arranged two-dimensionally, a plurality of first vertical control lines 205-1 and a plurality of second vertical controls. The line 205-2 includes a plurality of first vertical signal lines 206-1 and second vertical signal lines 206-2. The display image pixel 202-1 and the ranging image pixel 202-2 are not structurally distinguished from each other. The first vertical control line 205-1 collectively controls the rows of the display image pixels 202-1. The second vertical control line 205-2 collectively controls the rows of the ranging image pixels 202-2. The first vertical signal line 206-1 is an example of the signal line of the present invention, and transmits a signal of each display image pixel 202-1 obtained as a result of the control of the first vertical control line 205-1. The second vertical signal line 206-2 is an example of the signal line of the present invention, and transmits a signal of each ranging image pixel 202-2 obtained as a result of the control of the second vertical control line 205-2. . Each row of display image pixels 202-1 is arranged with two rows of ranging image pixels 202-2 in the column direction.

  The display image vertical scanning circuit 203 and the distance measuring image vertical scanning circuit 204 are arranged on the left and right sides of the imaging unit 201, scan the row of pixels in the column direction, and the first vertical signal line 206-1 and the second vertical signal. A row of pixels from which a signal is read out to the line 206-2 is selected. Specifically, the display image vertical scanning circuit 203 applies a voltage to the first vertical control line 205-1 to scan the row of the display image pixels 202-1 as the first scan of the present invention. The ranging image vertical scanning circuit 204 applies a voltage to the second vertical control line 205-2, and scans the row of the ranging image pixel 202-2 as the second scanning of the present invention.

  The first column amplifier 207-1 amplifies the signal of the row of each display image pixel 202-1 that appears on the first vertical signal line 206-1. Similarly, the second column amplifier 207-2 amplifies the signal of the row of each ranging image pixel 202-2 that appears on the second vertical signal line 206-2.

  The first column ADC 208-1 digitizes the signal amplified by the first column amplifier 207-1. Similarly, the second column ADC 208-2 digitizes the signal amplified by the second column amplifier 207-2.

  The first horizontal scanning circuit 209-1 outputs the digital signal generated by the first column ADC 208-1 to the first digital output line 210-1 in units of pixel columns. Similarly, the second horizontal scanning circuit 209-2 causes the digital signal generated by the second column ADC 208-2 to be output to the second digital output line 210-2 in units of pixel columns.

  The first digital output line 210-1 is an example of the signal line of the present invention, and transmits the digital signal output from the first column ADC 208-1 in the row direction. Similarly, the second digital output line 210-2 is an example of the signal line of the present invention, and transmits the digital signal output from the second column ADC 208-2 in the row direction.

  Note that the display image and the distance measurement image are output via the upper and lower two output paths, but the output direction and the number of output paths are not limited thereto.

  Next, the display image output operation of the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment will be described.

  First, in order to acquire a display image, the display image pixel 202-1 is scanned in the column direction by the display image vertical scanning circuit 203 in units of rows, and the selected display image pixel 202-1 is driven. . Specifically, a voltage is selectively supplied to the pixel row selected from the display image vertical scanning circuit 203 via the first vertical control line 205-1, and the signal of the display image pixel 202-1 is the first. Read out to the vertical signal line 206-1. At this time, the display image vertical scanning circuit 203 scans in the column direction by skipping the rows of the distance measurement image pixels 202-2. Note that the number of interlaced lines (interlace distance) of scanning by the display image vertical scanning circuit 103 is not particularly limited to two.

  Next, the signal of the display image pixel 202-1 selected by the display image vertical scanning circuit 203 is read out as a voltage signal to the first vertical signal line 206-1 on a pixel row basis, and the first column amplifier 207- Amplified by 1. Thereafter, the display image pixel 202-1 is scanned by the first horizontal scanning circuit 209-1 in units of columns, and the signal digitally converted by the first column ADC 208-1 of the selected pixel column is the first digital signal line. The data are sequentially output to 210-1.

  With the above operation, a two-dimensional display image is output.

  Next, the output operation of the distance measurement image of the solid-state imaging device of the present embodiment will be described.

  First, in order to acquire a distance measurement image, the distance measurement image pixel 202-2 is scanned in the column direction by the distance measurement image vertical scanning circuit 204 in the column direction, and the selected distance measurement image pixel 202-2 is selected. Is driven. Specifically, a voltage is selectively supplied to the pixel row selected from the ranging image vertical scanning circuit 204 via the second vertical control line 205-2, and the signal of the ranging image pixel 202-2 is output. Read out to the second vertical signal line 206-2. At this time, the distance measurement image vertical scanning circuit 204 skips the rows of the display image pixels 202-1 in the column direction, and only the pixel rows that are not scanned by the display image vertical scanning circuit 203 are scanned. In the scanning by the distance measuring image vertical scanning circuit 204, not all of the pixel rows that are not scanned by the display image vertical scanning circuit 203 but part of the pixel rows that are not scanned by the display image vertical scanning circuit 203 are partially. It may be selected.

  Next, the signal of the distance measurement image pixel 202-2 selected by the distance measurement image vertical scanning circuit 204 is read out as a voltage signal to the second vertical signal line 206-2 in units of pixel rows, and the second column amplifier. Amplified at 207-2. Thereafter, the distance image pixel 202-2 is scanned in units of columns by the second horizontal scanning circuit 209-2, and the signal digitally converted by the second column ADC 208-2 of the selected pixel column is the second digital signal. The signals are sequentially output to the line 210-2.

  With the above operation, a two-dimensional ranging image is output.

  In the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment, the distance between the display image pixel 202-1 and the first vertical signal line 206-1, and the distance measurement image pixel 202-2 and the second vertical signal line 206-2. Each of the switches is provided between the display image pixels 20 and externally controlled to control whether or not a signal is read from the display image pixel 202-1 to the first vertical signal line 206-1, and the distance measurement image pixel 202 is controlled. Whether to read a signal from -2 to the second vertical signal line 206-2 may be controlled.

  FIG. 4A and FIG. 4B are diagrams for explaining how the signals of the pixel rows constituting the display image and the distance measurement image are output with time in the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment. In FIG. 4, the horizontal axis indicates time, and the vertical axis indicates the number of pixels from 0 to N (number of pixel rows of the imaging unit 201). In the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment, the distance measurement image is configured by pixel rows other than the pixel rows constituting the display image, and the pixel row of the display image and the pixel row of the distance measurement image are not in the same row. Absent. However, in FIG. 4A and FIG. 4B, the pixel row of the display image and the pixel row of the distance measurement image are shown in a simplified manner without being distinguished from each other. Note that the range of the start row and the end row of the distance measurement image pixel 202-2, the number of times the distance measurement image is output, and the change in the pixel area and the pixel area are not limited to FIGS. 4A and 4B.

  In any of the signal outputs shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B, the display image readout operation and the distance measurement image readout operation are performed in parallel. Accordingly, while the pixel row is scanned by the display image vertical scanning circuit 203, the pixel row is scanned by the distance measuring image vertical scanning circuit 204.

  In the signal output shown in FIG. 4A, the signal constituting the display image and the signal constituting the distance measuring image are signals in the same pixel area, and the display image vertical scanning circuit 203 performs one scan of the pixel row. While being performed, scanning of the pixel row by the distance measuring image vertical scanning circuit 204 is performed once. As a result, the display image and the distance measurement image are output one by one at the same time.

  In the signal output shown in FIG. 4B, the signal constituting the display image and the signal constituting the distance measurement image are signals of different pixel areas, and the signal for one image is scanned by the display image vertical scanning circuit 203. Is read by the first vertical signal line 206-1 is longer than the period by which signals for a plurality of images are read by the second vertical signal line 206-2 by scanning by the distance measuring image vertical scanning circuit 204. As a result, a plurality of ranging images are output in one image period in which one display image is output.

  Note that in the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment, a signal of a different pixel region is output as a signal constituting a distance measurement image for each image period, that is, a range (pixel row) of distance measurement image pixels for which a signal is output. ), And a signal is output from the distance measuring image pixel on the upper side of the imaging unit 201 in a predetermined one image period, and the distance measuring image pixel on the lower side of the imaging unit 201 in another one image period. For example, a region where focus control is required can be changed.

  In the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment, a plurality of ranging images output within one image period are configured by signals of the same pixel area. However, a plurality of ranging images output within one image period may be composed of signals from different pixel areas. In this case, it is not particularly necessary that the pixel areas to be output are continuous areas.

  As described above, according to the solid-state imaging device and the driving method thereof according to the present embodiment, the distance measurement image is configured by pixel rows other than the pixel rows that configure the display image, and the display image is read out. The distance measurement image is read out simultaneously, and the distance measurement image is read out together with the output of the display image. As a result, by outputting a plurality of ranging images and changing the area, the accuracy of the focus control is improved, and a state in which multiple areas of focus control are performed in parallel is realized. Can do.

  Further, according to the solid-state imaging device and the driving method thereof according to the present embodiment, reading of the display image and reading of the distance measurement image are performed simultaneously. Therefore, it is not necessary to secure a period for reading the distance measurement image, and it is not necessary to store the display image in the frame memory. As a result, a frame memory becomes unnecessary, and an inexpensive and simple structure solid-state imaging device can be realized.

(Third embodiment)
FIG. 5 is a diagram illustrating a schematic configuration of the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment. The following description will focus on differences from the solid-state imaging device of the first embodiment.

  In the solid-state imaging device of the present embodiment, the distance measurement image readout area 320 is set, and the gain for amplifying the signal of the distance measurement image pixel 102-2 in the distance measurement image readout area 320 is selectively changed to perform measurement. It differs from the solid-state imaging device of the first embodiment in that it has a configuration capable of increasing only the gain of the distance image.

  Specifically, the solid-state imaging device of the present embodiment is connected to the column amplifier 107 or the column ADC 108 provided corresponding to the pixel column of the distance measurement image readout region 320, and gain is applied to the column amplifier 107 or the column ADC 108. The difference is that a signal line 321 for supplying a switching signal is newly provided. The column amplifier 107 or the column ADC 108 changes the column amplifier gain or the digital gain according to the input of the gain switching signal.

  Furthermore, the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment also has a configuration in which the horizontal scanning circuit 309 can selectively output only the signal of the pixel column in the distance measurement image readout region 320 to the digital output line 110. Different.

  As described above, according to the solid-state imaging device and the driving method thereof according to the present embodiment, it is possible to selectively increase the signal amount of the ranging image reading area 320 that defines the pixels constituting the ranging image. , Focus control accuracy can be improved.

(Fourth embodiment)
In the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment, the display image vertical scanning circuit 103 and the ranging image vertical scanning circuit 104 output a plurality of display images (at least two) and then output one ranging image. It differs from the solid-state imaging device of the first embodiment in that it has a configuration.

  FIG. 6 is a diagram for explaining how the signals of the pixel rows constituting the display image and the distance measurement image are output with time in the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment. In FIG. 6, the horizontal axis represents time, and the vertical axis represents the number of pixels from 0 to N (number of image pickup unit rows). In the solid-state imaging device according to the present embodiment, the distance measurement image is configured by pixel rows other than the pixel rows constituting the display image, and the pixel row of the display image and the pixel row of the distance measurement image are not in the same row. Absent. However, in FIG. 6, the pixel row of the display image and the pixel row of the distance measurement image are shown in a simplified manner without being distinguished from each other.

  In the signal output shown in FIG. 6, the signal constituting the display image and the signal constituting the distance measurement image are signals of different pixel areas, and a plurality of images are obtained by scanning the pixel row by the display image vertical scanning circuit 203. After signals for at least two images are read onto the vertical signal line 106, signals for one image are read onto the vertical signal line 106 by scanning the pixel rows by the distance measurement image vertical scanning circuit 204. As a result, after a plurality of display images (at least two) are output, one ranging image is output.

  As described above, according to the solid-state imaging device and the driving method thereof according to the present embodiment, the signal amount of the distance measurement image is increased by doubling the distance measurement image accumulation period (in this example). Therefore, the accuracy of focus control can be improved.

(Fifth embodiment)
FIG. 7 is a diagram illustrating a configuration of a camera system (imaging device) according to the present embodiment.

  The camera system of this embodiment includes a lens system 1001 such as an optical lens, the solid-state imaging device 1002 of the first to fourth embodiments, an image signal processing circuit 1003, a focus control motor 1005, and a motor drive circuit 1006. A recording medium 1007.

  In the camera system of this embodiment, the subject image condensed by the lens system 1001 is formed on the solid-state imaging device 1002. The solid-state imaging device 1002 is driven by a driving pulse from a solid-state imaging device driving circuit, and signals for forming a display image and a distance measurement image obtained from the solid-state imaging device 1002 are input to an image signal processing circuit 1003. The image signal processing circuit 1003 separates a signal for forming a display image and a signal for forming a distance measurement image, and forms a display image and a distance measurement image.

  The image signal processing circuit 1003 performs image processing suitable for the display image, such as color temperature conversion and defect correction, on the display image, and transfers and records it on the recording medium 1007. Further, the image signal processing circuit 1003 controls the lens system 1001 based on the distance measurement image output from the solid-state imaging device 1002 so that the focal point of the lens system 1001 is formed on the pixel of the solid-state imaging device 1002. The focus of the lens system 1001 is adjusted. Specifically, the image signal processing circuit 1003 recognizes an object to be focused based on the distance measurement image, performs contour extraction and edge frequency extraction on the object, and performs focus recognition. The image signal processing circuit 1003 outputs a signal to the motor drive circuit 1006 so as to change the focus of the lens system 1001 in accordance with the result of focus recognition. The motor drive circuit 1006 receives the signal from the image signal processing circuit 1003 and transmits the control signal to the focus control motor 1005 to adjust the focus of the lens system 1001.

  When the solid-state imaging device 1002 is according to the third and fourth embodiments, the image signal processing circuit 1003 further performs an analysis of the distance measurement image. As a result of the analysis, when it is determined that the focus control accuracy needs to be improved, the solid-state imaging device 1002 is driven according to the driving method according to the third and fourth embodiments. The drive circuit is controlled. The analysis of the distance measurement image by the image signal processing circuit 1003 is performed by determining whether or not the accuracy of the distance measurement image is obtained based on the luminance information, the voltage amplitude, the image contrast, and the like.

  As described above, according to the camera system of the present embodiment, since the solid-state imaging device capable of acquiring a distance measurement image and a display image with good accuracy is provided, accurate focus control can be realized. it can.

(Sixth embodiment)
FIG. 8 is a diagram showing the configuration of the camera system according to the present embodiment. The following description will focus on differences from the camera system of the fifth embodiment.

  The camera system of this embodiment includes a lens system 1001, the solid-state imaging device 1002 of the first to fourth embodiments, an image signal processing circuit 2003, a focus recognition processing circuit 2004, a focus control motor 1005, and a motor drive. A circuit 1006 and a recording medium 1007 are provided. Note that the focus recognition processing circuit 2004 may be integrated with the image signal processing circuit 2003.

  In the camera system of this embodiment, a signal for forming a display image obtained from the solid-state imaging device 1002 is input to the image signal processing circuit 2003, and the image signal processing circuit 1003 forms a display image. The image signal processing circuit 2003 performs image processing suitable for the display image on the display image, for example, color temperature conversion and defect correction, and transfers and records the image on the recording medium 1007.

  On the other hand, a signal for forming a distance measurement image obtained from the solid-state imaging device 1002 is input to the focus recognition processing circuit 2004. The focus recognition processing circuit 2004 controls the lens system 1001 based on the distance measurement image output from the solid-state imaging device 1002, and the lens system so that the focal point of the lens system 1001 is formed on the pixels of the solid-state imaging device 1002. The focus adjustment of 1001 is performed. Specifically, the focus recognition processing circuit 2004 recognizes an object to be focused based on the distance measurement image, performs contour extraction and edge frequency extraction on the object, and performs focus recognition. The focus recognition processing circuit 2004 outputs a signal to the motor drive circuit 1006 so as to change the focus according to the result of focus recognition.

  As described above, according to the camera system of the present embodiment, the display image and the distance measurement image are simultaneously output from the solid-state imaging device 1002 and are displayed on the image signal processing circuit 2003 and the focus recognition processing circuit 2004, respectively. An image and a distance measurement image are individually input. Therefore, since focus control can be performed independently, focus control can be performed at high speed without being affected by image signal processing.

  As described above, the solid-state imaging device, the driving method thereof, and the camera system according to the first to sixth embodiments have the following effects.

  First, in general, automatic focusing control (hereinafter referred to as AF) of a camera system includes a contrast detection method and a phase difference detection method.

  Here, the contrast detection method will be described with reference to FIGS. 9A, 9B, and 9C, and the phase difference detection method will be described with reference to FIG.

  FIG. 9A is a diagram illustrating the relationship among the subject 400, the lens 401, and the camera 402. FIG. 9B is a diagram illustrating how the frequency of the contour component of the image of the subject 400 in the camera 402 changes as the position of the lens 401 changes. FIG. 9C is a diagram illustrating how the contour component of the image of the subject 400 in the camera 402 changes as the position of the lens 401 changes. FIG. 10 is a diagram illustrating a relationship among the subject, the lens, the focus image, the AF sensor, and the output of the AF sensor.

  9C (a) shows the contour component of the image of the camera 402 when the lens position is at the position indicated by a in FIG. 9B, and FIG. 9C (b) shows the lens position at the position indicated by b in FIG. 9B. FIG. 9C (c) is a contour component of the image of the camera 402 when the lens position is at the position indicated by c in FIG. 9B, and FIG. 9C (d) 9B is a contour component of the image of the camera 402 when the lens position is at the position indicated by d, and FIG. 9C (e) is an image of the camera 402 when the lens position is at the position indicated by d in FIG. 9B. Are contour components.

  A method called a contrast detection method is a method for extracting the contour of an image obtained from a solid-state imaging device and controlling the optical system so that the point at which the frequency component of the contour information is the highest is in focus. As shown in FIGS. 9A, 9B, and 9C, a distance measurement image (including designating an arbitrary region of the image) is acquired, and a frequency component having the maximum contour of the object in the region to be focused is obtained. To control the optical system. For example, the lens position is changed to a predetermined direction until the focal point is passed (FIGS. 9C (a) to 9C (d)), and then the operation of returning the lens position to the direction opposite to the predetermined direction is performed. The lens position is determined (FIG. 9C (e)).

  Also, in a method called a phase difference detection method, as shown in FIG. 10, a dedicated sensor (hereinafter referred to as AF sensors A and B) different from the solid-state imaging device is provided, and light obtained from the optical system is divided into two parts. The focus position is detected by the difference distance from the expected position of the input subject image, and is input to the AF sensors A and B, and the optical system is controlled so that the difference distance becomes zero. In this method, the focus (FIG. 10A), the front pin (FIG. 10B), and the rear pin (FIG. 10C) can be immediately determined at the focal position with respect to the reference point of the subject image. However, both systems have the following advantages and disadvantages.

  That is, the contrast AF method has an advantage that it is suitable for miniaturization because it is not necessary to arrange an AF sensor. However, since the focus determination is performed based on the image information from the solid-state imaging device, there is a problem that time is required for image processing and a relatively long time is required for focusing. Furthermore, since the initial state of the focus information of the optical system cannot be detected, it is necessary to change the focus position back and forth, and there is a problem that it takes a relatively long time for focusing.

  In the phase difference detection method, since the initial state of the focus information of the optical system can be detected, it can be instantaneously determined whether the focus position should be moved forward or backward. For this reason, there is an advantage that the time required for focusing is relatively short. However, on the other hand, it is necessary to arrange the AF sensor separately from the solid-state imaging device, and there is a problem that it is relatively difficult to reduce the size.

  On the other hand, in the solid-state imaging device of the above-described embodiment, by using a signal having the same accumulation period as a signal for forming a display image as a signal for forming a distance measurement image, Since distance measurement information at the same time can be obtained, ultimate real-time focus control is possible.

  In the solid-state imaging device of the above embodiment, the storage time of the display image and the storage time of the distance measurement image can be controlled independently, so that the output of the distance measurement image affects the display image. Can be prevented.

  In the solid-state imaging device according to the above-described embodiment, the signals of both images can be output in a time-sharing manner so that the signal for ranging image is output after the display image is composed from the signal for display image. Therefore, both image signals can be output using the same output path in the solid-state imaging device, and the circuit area in the solid-state imaging device can be reduced.

  Further, in the solid-state imaging device of the above embodiment, the processing system of the signal output from the solid-state imaging device can also use the same output path for the display image signal and the distance measurement image signal. Therefore, it is possible to achieve both miniaturization of the camera system.

  In the solid-state imaging device according to the above-described embodiment, the signal for ranging image is read at the same time as the signal for display image is read out, and the signal is output so that each image configuration can be performed at the same time. Therefore, real-time focus control with very high accuracy can be performed, and focus control for acquiring a display image can be performed in the shortest time.

  Further, in the solid-state imaging device of the above-described embodiment, a distance measurement image signal for a plurality of images is output during a period in which a display image signal for one sheet is output, and only a signal for the distance measurement image is amplified. It can be configured to change the rate. When high-precision focus control is required to acquire a plurality of ranging images while acquiring one display image, the accumulation time of the ranging image signal is shorter than that of the display image, In some cases, the signal of the distance measurement image becomes small and the accuracy of focus control decreases. However, in the solid-state imaging device of the above embodiment, the accuracy of focus control can be improved by changing the amplification factor of the output system only in the distance measurement signal readout portion.

  Further, in the solid-state imaging device according to the above-described embodiment, it is possible to output one ranging image during a period in which a plurality of display images are output, and to increase the accumulation time of the ranging image signal. The signal amount of the distance measurement image signal can be increased, and the focus control accuracy can be improved.

  In the solid-state imaging device of the above-described embodiment, automatic focus control for acquiring a display image is performed using a signal of a distance measurement image obtained from the solid-state imaging device. Therefore, it is possible to obtain a camera system that can improve the speed of automatic focus control and further improve the accuracy of automatic focus control.

  As described above, the solid-state imaging device and the imaging device of the present invention have been described based on the embodiment. However, the present invention is not limited to this embodiment. The present invention includes various modifications made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the present invention.

  For example, in the above-described embodiment, the scanning circuit that selects a row of pixels from which signals are read out to the vertical signal line is composed of two display image vertical scanning circuits and ranging image vertical scanning circuits. . However, only one scanning circuit may be provided in the solid-state imaging device, and one scanning circuit may be provided with a function that can select each of the row of ranging image pixels and the display image pixels.

  The present invention can be used for a solid-state imaging device and an imaging device, and in particular, can be used for a digital still camera, a movie, a surveillance camera, a surveillance system, and a camera and an imaging device for medical use, aerial photography, and space photography.

1 is a diagram illustrating a schematic configuration of a solid-state imaging device according to a first embodiment of the present invention. It is a figure for demonstrating a mode that the signal of a pixel row is output with progress of time in the solid-state imaging device which concerns on the 1st Embodiment of this invention. It is a figure for demonstrating a mode that the signal of a pixel row is output with progress of time in the solid-state imaging device which concerns on the 1st Embodiment of this invention. It is a figure for demonstrating a mode that the signal of a pixel row is output with progress of time in the solid-state imaging device which concerns on the 1st Embodiment of this invention. It is a figure which shows schematic structure of the solid-state imaging device which concerns on the 2nd Embodiment of this invention. It is a figure for demonstrating a mode that the signal of a pixel row is output with progress of time in the solid-state imaging device which concerns on the 2nd Embodiment of this invention. It is a figure for demonstrating a mode that the signal of a pixel row is output with progress of time in the solid-state imaging device which concerns on the 2nd Embodiment of this invention. It is a figure which shows schematic structure of the solid-state imaging device which concerns on the 3rd Embodiment of this invention. It is a figure for demonstrating a mode that the signal of a pixel row is output with progress of time in the solid-state imaging device which concerns on the 4th Embodiment of this invention. It is a figure which shows the structure of the camera system which concerns on the 5th Embodiment of this invention. It is a figure which shows the structure of the camera system which concerns on the 6th Embodiment of this invention. It is a figure which shows the relationship between a to-be-photographed object, a lens, and a camera. In a contrast detection method, it is a figure which shows a mode that the frequency of the contour component of the image of the to-be-photographed object in a camera changes with the change of a lens position. In a contrast detection method, it is a figure which shows a mode that the outline component of the image of the to-be-photographed object in a camera changes with the change of a lens position. In a phase difference detection system, it is a figure which shows the relationship between a to-be-photographed object, a lens, a focus image, AF sensor, and AF sensor output. It is the schematic which shows the imaging operation of the conventional CMOS type solid-state imaging device (image sensor). It is a figure which shows the output operation | movement of the image for ranging of the CMOS type solid-state imaging device concerning patent document 1. FIG.

Explanation of symbols

101, 201 Imaging unit 102-1, 202-1 Display image pixel 102-2, 202-2 Distance image pixel 103, 203 Display image vertical scanning circuit 104, 204 Distance image vertical scanning circuit 105-1 , 205-1 first vertical control line 105-2, 205-2 second vertical control line 106 vertical signal line 107 column amplifier 108 column ADC
109, 309 Horizontal scanning circuit 110 Digital output line 206-1 First vertical signal line 206-2 Second vertical signal line 207-1 First column amplifier 207-1 Second column amplifier 208-1 First column ADC
208-2 second row ADC
209-1 first horizontal scanning circuit 209-2 second horizontal scanning circuit 210-1 first digital output line 210-2 second digital output line 320 image reading area for distance measurement 321 signal line 400 subject 401 lens 402 camera 1001 lens System 1002 Solid-state imaging device 1003, 2003 Image signal processing circuit 1005 Focus control motor 1006 Motor drive circuit 1007 Recording medium 2004 Focus recognition processing circuit 3001, 5001 Solid line 3002 Broken line 3003 Exposure period 3004 One image period 3005 Extra period 5002 period

Claims (7)

  1. A plurality of pixels arranged two-dimensionally;
    A signal line for transmitting a signal of the pixel;
    A scanning circuit that scans a row of the pixels in a column direction and selects a row of the pixels that reads a signal to the signal line;
    The scanning circuit performs a first scan that skips over one or more rows of the pixels to obtain a display image, and the pixels that are not scanned in the first scan to obtain a distance measurement image A solid-state imaging device that performs a second scan that scans only the first row.
  2. The solid-state imaging device according to claim 1, wherein the scanning circuit performs the second scanning after performing the first scanning.
  3. The solid-state imaging device according to claim 1, wherein the scanning circuit performs the second scanning while performing the first scanning.
  4. The scanning circuit is configured so that a period during which signals for one image are read out to the signal lines by the first scan is longer than a period during which signals for a plurality of images are read out to the signal lines by the second scanning. The solid-state imaging device according to claim 3, wherein one scan and a second scan are performed.
  5. The scanning circuit performs the first scanning so that a signal for one image is read to the signal line by the second scan after signals for a plurality of images are read to the signal line by the first scanning. The solid-state imaging device according to claim 1, wherein the second scanning is performed.
  6. The solid-state imaging device according to claim 1, wherein the scanning circuit includes a display image scanning circuit that performs the first scanning and a ranging image scanning circuit that performs the second scanning.
  7. A plurality of pixels arranged in a two-dimensional manner, a signal line for transmitting a signal of the pixel, a row of the pixel is scanned in a column direction, and a row of the pixel from which a signal is read out to the signal line is selected. A solid-state imaging device comprising a scanning circuit for
    A focus control unit that controls the optical lens based on the distance measurement image output from the solid-state imaging device and adjusts the focus of the optical lens so that the focus of the optical lens is formed on the pixel. ,
    The scanning circuit performs a first scan that skips one or more rows of the pixels to obtain a display image, and is not scanned by the first scan to obtain the ranging image. An imaging device that performs a second scan that scans only a row of pixels.
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