In addition to analyzing the use of Sony sensors in Nikon DSLRs, Chipworks has also published an article that explores Canon’s full frame sensors. It’s quite technical, but the main points can be grasped without understanding the terms being thrown around:
On the process side, the 1D X is remarkable in that Canon continues to stay with the 0.5 µm process generation it has used for every APS-C and FF device analyzed. While the use of a mature fab likely gives Canon a competitive edge via lower manufacturing costs, it may also weigh heavily in its product development [...] Given the geometric constraints of 0.5 µm design rules, Canon seems content to hang around the 21 Mp resolution for recent FF sensors through the use of shared pixels [...]
So, back to the rumors of Canon allegedly readying a high resolution competitor to the Nikon D800. Will Canon finally move off that 0.5 µm generation? It is worth noting that September 2012 marked the 10 year anniversary of Canon’s announcement of the world’s first CMOS FF sensor, the EOS 1Ds [...] every Canon FF sensor analyzed since has used the same 0.5 µm design rules. It is a credit to Canon that it has remained competitive by continuing to optimize its pixels fabricated in a relatively mature process.
What they’re saying is: if Canon wants to continue fighting in the megapixel wars with Nikon and Sony, it’s going to need to shake things up a bit in its sensor department.
Canon stays the course [Chipworks via CanonWatch]
P.S. If you’re into comparing the technical aspects of camera sensors, check out Digital Camera Database. It has a sensor comparison tool designed for you.
Electronics reverse-engineering company Chipworks has published an article that discusses and reviews Nikon’s use of Sony CMOS sensors in certain DSLRs:
The recent high profile Apple vs. Samsung patent infringement case further emphasizes the incestuous nature of the supply chain for components in consumer electronics. Apple has traditionally sourced a great many components for its smartphones and tablets from its competitor Samsung. An analogous relationship exists in the DSLR world where Nikon both designs its own CMOS image sensors (CIS) to be fabricated by a foundry partner, and sometimes uses CIS components from its camera competitor Sony [...] What is somewhat interesting is that after a run of Nikon-designed CIS devices in Nikon FF and APS-C cameras, Sony has muscled its way back in for the FF format D800 [...]
Sony supplies the CIS for the D800, a camera with the resolution (36.3 Mp) and performance that approaches the performance of medium format cameras for some applications [...] While there are certainly those who groan at the prospect of cranking up the resolution of a FF sensor, the D800 appears to be a disruptive event in the FF camera segment – one that Canon is rumored to likely respond to.
Chipworks notes that the D800 has the smallest pixel size of any full frame sensor it has examined so far. Canon is reportedly hard at work testing tiny pixels of its own.
Full Frame DSLR Cameras – Nikon vs Sony [Chipworks via Image Sensors World]
It has only been a month since Sony announced its latest flagship full-frame camera, the A99, but rumors are already beginning to emerge regarding the company’s next top-of-the-line offering. sonyalpharumors writes that Sony has reportedly marked sometime between May and June 2013 as a tentative release date for its next high-end full-frame:
The camera will be more “photographer” oriented. There are currently a couple of different prototypes. One we heard of has a 36 Megapixel sensor (same as Nikon D800) and built-in vertical grip. Priced well above the current Sony A99. A second prototype has a new 50 Megapixel sensor which goal is to go as close as possible to a “medium format” quality.
The new camera wouldn’t be intended to replace the A99, but would instead become the flag-bearer by creating an entirely new tier in the Sony lineup. If the latest rumors pan out, then 50 megapixels may soon become the new standard resolution for flagship DSLRs; Canon is reportedly working on its own high-res (46MP) camera.
Update: Reader Scott Hutchison reminds us that back in May, there was a rumor that working on a “A1S” camera with a full-frame 36x36mm square sensor. Hmm…
A number of publications have begun receiving hands-on time with the new Sony RX1 full-frame compact camera. It seems that Sony is doing something right, as initial commentators and testers are saying some pretty positive things about the $2,800 shooter.
How do you stuff a full frame sensor into a compact camera body? The answer: with great difficulty. It appears that Sony is running into a few technical hurdles after announcing its groundbreaking RX1 full frame compact camera. The company announced today that the camera will be shipping with a couple of last minute modifications made to the design and to the specs.
Sony made huge ripples in the camera industry earlier this month by announcing a compact camera with a full frame sensor: the RX1. The camera features a bokehlicious 35mm f/2 Carl Zeiss lens, a super compact size, and a price tag of $2,800 that broke many a photographer’s heart.
For those of you who are wondering how the fusion of compact and full frame performs, Sony has uploaded a number of full-resolution sample photographs. Pixel-peepers, prepare to gawk in amazement at the quality that’s now possible with fixed lens compact cameras.
Nikon’s new entry level full frame DSLR, the Nikon D600, is supposed to be a lightweight camera with heavyweight image quality. DxOMark confirms it to be true. The camera equipment measurement company has announced its sensor quality results for the D600, and the score is sure to put a big smile on the faces of Nikonians around the world. Rated at an overall score of “94″, the camera received the third highest score ever, and falls in third place behind the D800 and D800E — cameras that cost roughly $1,000 more.
There are currently two interchangeable-lens rangefinder-esque cameras in Fujifilm’s X-Series lineup: the X-Pro1 and the X-E1, both of which contain APS-C sensors. Owners are gushing over the cameras, which are actually quite similar aside from the viewfinders (hybrid vs. electronic only). They feature sleek, retro designs that are very similar to Leica’s classic M-line of rangefinders. A common sentiment that I’ve heard is that the X-Series would be absolutely perfect if the company simply introduced a full frame body.
That time might not be too far off.
Immediately after handling the Canon 6D, we also got a chance to play around with the new Nikon D600. Unlike the 6D, Nikon’s cameras were locked down to the display booth, making it more difficult to get a feel for the weight. However, based on the announced specs alone, we know that the Nikon camera is even lighter than the already-light 6D (760g vs 770g), though it is a bit chunkier in its dimensions. Despite being so light, the D600 also feels quite sturdy. It’s cheap in its price but not in its build quality.
The leaked photos were authentic and the specs were spot on: Canon announced its new 6D DSLR this morning, the smallest, lightest, and cheapest full-frame camera in its lineup. At 690g, it’s 20% lighter than the 5D Mark III. The camera is Canon’s entry in the emerging “affordable full-frame” DSLR segment, which Nikon entered last week with its similarly named and similarly priced D600.
The Canon 6D features a 20.2 megapixel full frame sensor, an ISO range of 100-25600 (expandable to 50-102400), an 11-point AF system with a high-precision center cross-type point, 63-zone metering, 1080p HD video recording, 4.5fps continuous shooting, vibration-based dust removal, a shutter rated to 100K actuations, and a 3-inch LCD screen.