It is currently used in many of Sony α DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Image processing in the camera converts the raw image data from a CCD or CMOS image sensor into the format that is stored on the memory card. This processing is one of the bottlenecks in digital camera speed, so manufacturers put much effort into making, and marketing, the fastest processors for this step that they can.
Sony designs the circuitry of the processor in-house, and outsources the manufacturing to semiconductor foundries such as MegaChips and (mostly) GlobalFoundries, as they currently do not own any fabrication plant capable of producing System on a chip. Sony also sources DRAM chips from various manufacturers namely Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron Technology.
BIONZ utilizes two chips in its design. The first chip is a SoC (System-on-a-chip) that manages overall functionality of the camera such as SD card storage management, wired connection such as USB and HDMI, and wireless protocols such as Wi-Fi and NFC that are increasingly common on modern Sony α cameras. The BIONZ SoC can be identified by its part number "CXD900xx". The second chip is the ISP (image signal processor). It handles the data directly from the CMOS image sensor, and it is directly responsible for the camera's high-ISO noise characteristics in a low-light environment. The ISP can be identified by the part number "CXD4xxx". However, this part number may be difficult to see.
History of BIONZ chips in Sony cameras
BIONZ – MegaChips MA07170 and MA07171
Similar MegaChips processors had been used in the DSLR-A100 (MA07169) as well as in the Konica Minolta 5D (MA07168) and 7D (MA07168), implementing Konica Minolta's CxProcess III running under MiSPO's NORTi/MIPS, an RTOS following the µITRON standard.
BIONZ – Sony CXD4115 ISP
The first BIONZ processor to fully designed in-house by Sony utilized the Sony image processor in . The revised CXD4115-1 was used in the DSLR-A560, DSLR-A580, SLT-A33, SLT-A35, SLT-A55 / SLT-A55V, NEX-5C, NEX-C3, and NEX-VG10.
- CXD4115 ISP - DSLR-A450, DSLR-A500, DSLR-A550
- CXD9974GG SoC with CXD4115-1 ISP - NEX-3 / NEX-3C, NEX-5
BIONZ – Sony CXD4132 ISP + CXD90016GF SoC
The following camera models utilize a Sony CXD4132 series chip as multicore BIONZ processor: SLT-A37, SLT-A57, SLT-A58, SLT-A65 / SLT-A65V, SLT-A77 / SLT-A77V, SLT-A99 / SLT-A99V / HV, NEX-F3, NEX-3N, NEX-5N,
- CXD90016GF SoC with CXD4132 ISP - NEX-5R, NEX-5T, NEX-6, NEX-7 / Lunar
- Unidentified - NEX-VG20, NEX-VG30, NEX-VG900, NEX-FS100, DSC-RX1 / DSC-RX1R, DSC-RX100 / Stellar, DSC-RX100M2
BIONZ X – Sony CXD4236 ISP + CXD90027GF SoC
Sony has introduced their next-generation image processor dubbed the BIONZ X with introduction of ILCE-7 / ILCE-7R in 2013. BIONZ X uses Sony CXD4236 series ISP along with CXD90027GF SoC. The latter is based on a quad-core ARM Cortex-A5 architecture, and is utilized to run Android apps on top of the Linux kernel.
It features, among other things, detail reproduction technology and diffraction-reducing technology, area-specific noise reduction and 16-bit image processing + 14-bit raw output. It can process up to 20 frames per second and features Lock-on AF and object tracking.
- CXD90027GF SoC with unidentified ISP (Stacked DRAM) - α7, α7R, α7 II, α6000, α6500, α99, α7 III
- CXD90027GF SoC with CXD4236-1GG ISP - α7S, α7S II, RX100 IV, Sony FDR-AX33
- CXD90027GF SoC with Dual CXD4236-1GG ISP - α7R II, α7R III
- Unidentified - ILCE-5000, DSC-RX10, ILCA-77M2, DSC-RX100 III and DSC-RX0
- "生産拠点一覧｜会社案内｜ソニーセミコンダクタマニュファクチャリング株式会社". www.sony-semiconductor.co.jp. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
- "Sony a7R II Teardown". iFixit. 2015-08-19. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
- "A Teardown of the New Sony a7R III". petapixel.com. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
- Sony (2009). https://web.archive.org/web/20100814135911/http://www.sony.com.sg/microsite/dslr/technologies/bionz.html