Canon Can Produce 128MP Sensor So Why Can't they......

Started May 1, 2012 | Discussions thread
kb2zuz
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Re: Canon Can Produce 128MP Sensor So Why Can't they......
In reply to technic, May 4, 2012

technic wrote:

kb2zuz wrote:

Canon and Nikon are not interested in a camera design unless it will net them several million dollars profit. I know someone who used to work for different technology that is roughly the size of Canon, if an idea wasn't going to generate over $10million it wasn't even going to be looked at, it wasn't worth it to go after small niches.

They DO have niche products that make little money, just think of the astro versions of some of the Canon Dxx cameras. I doubt versions generate $10M extra in profit. Admittedly, these don't require huge investments either (just a bit more than offering a D800E in addition to a D800) but still ...

This is apples and oranges. This is taking an existing line, making one minor change (removing the hot mirror and replacing it with glass), and selling additional units. Because of the field they're marketing it to they don't even need to to much additional testing and calibration, as they expect their clients will be better suited to do so. Every so often (once every couple months maybe) they'll have to stop the 60D line for a few hours, switch out the bin of IR filters the workers normally install with glass, replace the bin of "60D" decals with "60Da" decals, and bring in a pallet of "60Da" boxes and package materials, run for a while to make enough cameras to last for a few months, then switch back to 60D production. The cost is negligable to make this "new" camera, and they end up selling a few thousand extra units with an additional $600 profit padded into the price. The D800E is basically the exact same, only instead of replacing an IR filter with optical glass, they're replacing the AA pack, which actually is every so slightly more complex, the advantage is Nikon is pretty sure they'll sell more D800E's than Canon will sell 60Da's (so $200 padding is good enough for them).

To make a full frame sensor with unprecedented pixel pitch (for a full frame sensor) requires a lot of R&D time and money before they spend millions and millions of dollars on making the foundry line. There are other areas where Canon does Niche products... look at the new C-500 cinema camera. Technologically speaking, the equipment used in it, is not much more expensive than that used in the 5D Mk III (4K does take a bit of processing power, but so does processing 22MP RAW files a second, it has an EVF that costs more but they removed the complex moving mirror and AF so they save money there.... doesn't cost much. I'm certain they plan on selling tens or hundreds of thousands of units... the cost is $30,000. I feel the number of people who would buy a 128MP camera today are about the same as those who would buy the C-500, maybe even less. If canon made this camera for $30,000, would you buy it?

Maybe in future we will see DSLR sensors with very high pixel resolution (technology a la Nokia 808), where the pixel output and processing options (CA, distortion, camera-shake removal etc.) are tailored to the market and price segment where the camera is sold. Obviously, one would need a faster camera to handle all the pixels and get the best processing with acceptable speed. Even if some consumers might get around the artificial limitations, this might be profitable compared to making several different sensors.

Yes, in the future we may well see much higher resolutions. But I think that's going to be more of a niche market. That's a lot of processing power a computer needs, and with more people moving to tablets and iPads... I think fewer and fewer people are going to want 30+MP RAW files. I do see cell phones going this route, not to give you 38MP images, but the way Nokia is marketing it, allowing digital zoom to actually work well, and the user always gets a 5MP image which is good enough for them, maybe even some consumer cameras (still and/or video) might try this, but they seem to be a dying breed. Yes there's a market for high resolution cameras, I work with them. If enough people wanted them they'd be significantly cheaper, but right now they cost $50,000-60,000.
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~K

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