I'm wanting to create a basic digital camera, I have most of it figured out... except for the image sensor itself. Looking in the normal places (digikey, mouser), I'm finding some very basic, low resolution, poor performance sensors from Omnivision. Realistically, I'd like the camera to be able to take somewhat decent photos, and I don't have much experience with optics, so I'm looking more for an integrated solution, much like a camera module from a smartphone.
Am I going to be able to order small quantities for prototypes from companies like Sony (who to my knowledge have done the past iPhone cameras)?
Does anyone know where I would get started reverse engineering the iPhone 5s's camera module? It's relatively inexpensive (40 dollars or so from iFixit), I'm just not sure how I could even go about starting to understand how to talk to it, seeing as I wouldn't be able to get a datasheet. Would it be possible to find a cable with the correct connector to bridge the connection between a dummy iPhone and the camera module probe the communication (are the tiny connectors available, or are they proprietary?).
Lastly, is this the right direction to go with this anyway? If I develop something useful and would like to sell/mass produce it in the future, am I going to be able to ask sony for a camera module that's compatible with the work I've done?
Thanks guys! I couldn't find much information in this space, other than what Mike Harrison (from mikeselectricstuff) has done with the iPod nano camera. Thanks for your help.