In a recent interview, Panasonic says that it hopes to begin commercializing its organic CMOS sensor “in a few years,” indicating that the sensor first shown in 2013 is still not close to coming to market.
“We are proud that we are in a position that is close to commercialization. We cannot say when it will be possible because we have customers, but the development side wants to commercialize it in a few years,” a company representative says.
When it was first introduced, Panasonic’s organic CMOS boasted several features that would have been game-changing at the time: extreme dynamic range, incredible light sensitivity, and a global shutter. Back in 2013, Panasonic said that the sensor would be able to capture dynamic range 100 times wider than any other available.
Last year, Panasonic added that the sensor would supper 8K resolution while retaining those dynamic range promises and would do so at high framerates. More recently, Panasonic explained that the sensor would also feature what is known as “reduced crosstalk,” which basically means that the red, green, and blue pixels of the sensor collect only their intended color and that light, regardless of type and color cast, and won’t spill across each pixel. This results in better color reproduction.
On paper, Panasonic’s organic CMOS has always sounded exciting, but even with the knowledge that technology research and development is a long process, it has been nearly 10 years since the company first announced it was working on this new sensor and in that time, a lot has changed. The previously exciting low light capabilities have since been realized by other sensors developed by Sony. It is difficult to believe that the sensor will provide anything near 100 times the dynamic range capabilities of modern sensors now either.
8K isn’t even novel anymore, as there are multiple cameras that already boast that resolution at high frame rates. Basically, only the combination of all these features with a global shutter remains elusive. On that end, Atomos has already developed an 8K global shutter sensor capable of high frame rates, and that was ready for mass production last year — and it’s full frame. Panasonic’s sensor is only slated to be a Super35.
Basically, it’s very difficult to get excited about Panasonic’s organic CMOS, and that would be the case even if it was coming to market this year. But it’s not — the company admits it is still years away at best. Nothing tangible has been produced in the last decade and Panasonic hasn’t provided any reason to believe the sensor is ever going to make it to market, let alone be the game-changer it promised so long ago.
Image Credits: Header image is an obscure reference to the Phantom Zone. Photo of the Panasonic sensor via Monoist.