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bmpress
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Ultimate Sensor Performance
« on: December 23, 2012, 06:45:22 AM »

Since it is almost New Year, it is time to make predictions about the future, and so I am predicting that Canon will look at how Sony/Nikon sensors do a better job of extracting cleaner images from the dark areas (using smaller pixels) and will come out with their next sensors having about the same pixel density as with Canon's current sensors, but with better dynamic range. Better than the current Sony/Nikon ones.
And that is what I am waiting for...No purchasing of any new camera bodies until this happens.

Comments???
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Johnny
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Re: Ultimate Sensor Performance
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2012, 06:07:38 AM »

If you want more dynamic range you should probably buy the Nikon D800/D7000 or some of the latest Sony`s.

Pure speculation: If Canon are interested in offering a camera with dynamic range similar to the D800 they need a completely new sensor and probably a new fabrication line. It will probably be a huge investment and Canon will have to study the market to see what they will get back in terms of money. I am sure this will happen at some point but when, that is the question to be answered.

It is not that Canon does not understand what it takes to offer a camera with 14.4EV of dynamic range, it is all about money and keeping their customers ( and as equally important; shareholders ) satisfied.

More pure speculation: It is not going to happen anytime soon. I should probably get myself a D800 for landscape work. It is on sale right now! :-)

Interesting read about pixel technology and Canon`s possible future roadmap when it comes to fab lines and sensor strategy: http://www.chipworks.com/blog/technologyblog/2012/10/24/full-frame-dslr-cameras-canon-stays-the-course/
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Bob Atkins
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Re: Ultimate Sensor Performance
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2012, 09:28:40 AM »

I think Johnny is right. If Canoin want to compete with the best that Sony and Nikon can offer they are going to have to go through a lot of changes. It's not just a matter of chip design, it's also a matter of fabrication technology. Either that or buy sensors from Sony and that's not something that would come easy to Canon who have a history of doing everything "in-house" when it comes to DSLR sensors.

There are rumors of a high MP Canon sensor under development and maybe even prototyped. If they are true then it's likely that Canon have updated their fabrication technology since I'm not sure they could do it without that. If that's true then other performance issues might be addressed at the same time and all the improvements could trickle down into their consumer and pro-sumer grade cameras.

I'm sure development costs are or have been holding things back. Given the state of the global economy and declining profits for just about everyone it's not exactly the easiest time to sink money into developing new technologies, but I suspect Canon are going to have to do it to stay fully competitive.

BTW it's not just the D800. The D600 also shows better low ISO DR than the 6D and the other canon DSLRs, plus they undercut Canon's price significantly. Canon's answer in the 6D was to cram in other technology (GPS and WiFi), which in part may be their short terms answer to older sensor technology. If you can't give the consumer a class leading sensor, give them something else that you can give them.

It's not that the current Canon sensors aren't excellent because they are, but they must be approaching the end of their development by now. To move on to the next generation they probably need to reduce the size of the fabrication technology they use in their DSLR sensors and play other games at the pixel level. Whether they will do it in 2013 remains to be seen.
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bmpress
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Re: Ultimate Sensor Performance
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2012, 09:42:58 AM »

Interesting link, Johnny. But I personally am not interested in more resolution, just more dynamic range. Does it seem reasonable that this would be possible for Canon to do this by just replacing the a/d converters?
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Johnny
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Re: Ultimate Sensor Performance
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2012, 05:36:42 AM »

I do not mind more resolution if I can also get more dynamic range :-)

You are right - Canon need new sensor architecture if they want dynamic range as good as or better than the Sony sensors. Putting the ADC directly on the sensor like Sony does would be a great solution but Sony has patented it. Canon seems to have several patents which can give improved dynamic range so there is hope.

An interesting, but lengthy, discussion about this topic: http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=10545.0

Some are waiting for the next version of the 7D thinking it will have a sensor with dynamic range similar to the latest Sony `s but personally I am not convinced. I think Canon will reuse the new sensor developed for the 1DX/5DIII/6D together with bells and whistles like WiFi, GPS, DIGIC 5/DIGIC 5+ and so on. Most people will be happy with the performance. Only the enthusiasts like you and me ( and Bob! ) will wish for more DR. :-)
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