Samsung has developed what the company claims is the world’s first CMOS sensor that can capture both RGB and range images at the same time. Microsoft’s Kinect has received a good deal of attention as of late for its depth-sensing capabilities, but it uses separate sensors for RGB images and range images. Samsung’s new solution combines both functions into a single image sensor by introducing “z-pixels” alongside the standard red, blue, and green pixels. This allows the sensor to capture 480×360 depth images while 1920×720 photos are being exposed. One of the big trends in the next decade may be depth-aware devices, and this new development certainly goes a long way towards making that a reality.
(via Tech-On! via Gizmodo)
Here’s a great diagram by Mobot that shows how the 41-megapixel sensor inside Nokia’s new 808 PureView phone stacks up against other popular sensor sizes. It’s pretty clear that they didn’t just milk a small sensor for more megapixels as a simply marketing ploy, but instead came up with a sensor that’s significantly larger than those found in other smartphones. Engadget also has a photo showing a comparison of sensor sizes, while Digital Trends has published an article on five reasons why the 41-megapixels isn’t a gimmick.
(via Mobot via PhotographyBLOG)
Devin Coldewey of TechCrunch created this helpful diagram showing the relative sizes of various sensors, including the one found inside the Lytro light field camera (a camera that lets you focus after shots are taken). The FCC published photos of the Lytro camera’s guts last week, revealing that the sensor inside is roughly 6.5×4.5mm (smaller than our previous estimate). This means that it’s slightly larger than the iPhone sensor and slightly smaller than the one in most point-and-shoot cameras.
Another interesting finding is that the chip inside supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The company says that they’re working on wireless connectivity, but doesn’t have it enabled in the initial Lytro camera.
Lytro Teardown Shows Potential Wireless Capability, Smallish Sensor [TechCrunch]
Ever wonder why camera manufacturers these days are describing often sensor sizes with fractions instead of millimeters? Roger Cicala of LensRentals explains:
[...] then we get into all of these fractional-inch-type-measurements for the smaller sensors. That measurement system originated in ancient times (the 1950s to 1980s) when vacuum tubes were used instead of CCD or CMOS sensors in video and television cameras. The image sensor was, in those days, referred to in terms of the outside diameter of the vacuum tube that contained it.
Why do manufacturers keep using such an archaic measurement? Because it helps them lie to you, of course. If you do the math 1/2.7 equals 0.37 inches, which equals 9.39 mm. But if you look at the chart above you’ll see that a 1/2.7″ sensor actually has a diagonal of 6.7 mm. Why? Because, of course, a thick glass tube used to surround the sensors. So they calculate the sensor size as if the glass tube was still included. Makes perfect sense to a marketing person who wants to make their sensor seem larger than it is. What sounds better: 1/2.7″ or ‘less than 10% the size of a full frame sensor’?
If you have a few minutes, give his entire post on sensor sizes a read — it’s quite illuminating.
Sensor Size Matters [LensRentals Blog]
Image credits: Photograph by Sphl
This photo published by Chinese site xjrumo may be the first to show the APS-C sensor found in Fujifilm’s upcoming sleek mirrorless camera. The sensor is rumored to be a revolutionary organic sensor that will allow its performance to rival that of larger full frame sensors.
Fuji Sensor APS-C (via Photo Rumors)
If you’re a fan of Fujifilm’s X100 and X10, then you might want to brace yourself: the company’s next camera might be the one mirrorless camera to rule them all. Fujifilm’s upcoming mirrorless camera will likely have the same sleek styling as the X100, but with one colossal difference: a revolutionary new “organic sensor”. Fuji has been developing the technology for years now, and the new camera — supposedly named the Fujifilm LX — is rumored to be the first to pack the sensor.
Here’s a helpful video that attempts to demystify the concept of DSLR sensor sizes. If you’ve never been able to understand how sensor size (and its crop factor) affects resulting photographs, this video will help.
Nikon says the megapixel race ended years ago, but its upcoming camera is rumored to be a 36MP beast. Canon, on the other hand, actually took a step backward in terms of megapixels, dropping from 21 in the 1Ds Mark III to 18 in the new 1D X. However, the company states that camera’s resolution is by no means worse than the 1Ds Mark III, despite what marketers want you to believe. A representative recently spoke to Amateur Photographer, saying:
We have designed the Canon CMOS sensor for the EOS 1DX so that it is much thinner than before and so that the photodiodes are closer to the surface of the sensor. This way the pixels collect more light and produce a better, clearer, signal.
With less noise, and our new improved processing algorithms, the camera is able to reproduce more detail. While using MFT is perhaps not the best way to measure the resolution of the camera, if you did use this method the results for the EOS-1D X and EOS-1 Ds Mark III would be very similar.
The 1D X also has a mirror that utilizes mechanical movement both ways rather than gravity, allowing for faster frame rates while at the same time reducing mirror bounce.
Canon EOS-1D X Equals ’21MP’ DSLR, Claims Firm [Amateur Photographer]
Here’s a photograph by the The Bangkok Post showing Sony’s sensor manufacturing plant in Thailand submerged under flood waters roughly 3 meters (~10ft) high. The shutdown of the 502,000 square foot, 3,300 employee plant doesn’t just affect Sony, as other companies — including Nikon and Apple (in the iPhone 4S) — rely on Sony image sensors as well.
(via Bangkok Post via Nikon Rumors)
Image credit: Photograph by Pattarachai Preechapanich/The Bangkok Post
Engadget has published a lengthy review on the Pentax Q that confirms what many people have assumed since the camera was announced: that using a tiny sensor just to make an interchangeable camera system small isn’t a good idea:
Pentax really has managed to design the world’s smallest interchangeable lens camera — and yes, it does work. But there’s no magic at play here. The Q is small because all of its components were downsized — Pentax took everything from the lens to the image sensor to the mode dial and shutter release and gave them the shrink ray treatment. [...] The result is an attractive, pocketable ILC that doesn’t quite follow its powerful pedigree.
[...] If money is no object and you’re not keen on capturing incredible images and video footage, then perhaps you’ll still consider picking up a Q. As for the rest of us — we’re perfectly happy with our larger, much more capable ILCs, and wouldn’t dare consider making such a sacrifice just to carry a bit less weight on our shoulder.
There’s a ton of competition in the mirrorless camera market now, and one of the big selling points is having a DSLR-caliber sensor in a compact camera body. Lose the sensor quality, and there isn’t too much of an advantage over all the other options out there.
Pentax Q interchangeable lens camera review [Engadget]