Why doesn't Nikon use 2 processors to achieve higher fps?

Started Jan 30, 2013 | Questions thread
kb2zuz
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Re: Why doesn't Nikon use 2 processors to achieve higher fps?
In reply to ralittle2, Jan 31, 2013

The processor might well be the 2nd most expensive part of the camera following main imaging sensor, plus if the goal is to increase FPS you'd need to increase the buffer as well so it might add an extra $250 cost to nikon which means an extra $400-600 cost once distributer and retail markup goes into account, which means fewer people are going to buy the camera, which means they need to make more profit per unit, so after all is said and done, it could add $1000 to the sticker price. The sensor also takes up an non-negligable footprint inside the camera, meaning you need a slightly bigger camera. It also draws quite a bit of battery power, which means doubling either drastically drop the battery life or you need a bigger battery, increasing the size of the camera even more drastically. Also adding a 2nd processor does not lead to a direct doubling of speed. I can increase the speed but the operations need to be very carefully written to take advantage of the threads, and if done wrong it can be disastrous like if you have a very specific set of setting on the camera you end up with corrupted files. Also the chip is only one part, not all sensors can deliver all pixels at 14bit depth that quickly, not all memory buffers can handle that much data coming in that quickly.

It's worth pointing out the current Expeed 3 chip can do 11fps with 16.2MP 14bit images on the D4 which is just under 2500mbit/sec but that is with the AF and AE locked (which mostly seems to be for the mirror up but the processor does also handle the AF and AE so Nikon might be doing some magic to steal some processing power to speed things up in 11fps mode) at 10fps it's about 2250mbit/sec. The D800 with 36MP files at 4fps is just over 2000mbit/sec. The D600's 5.5fps 24MP comes in at just under 1850mbit/sec. So the D600 could probably have been faster with the processor it has. It was more likely the shutter/mirrorbox that was the limitation on that camera (and they may well be pushing that to the limit already with the oil/dust problem with oil coming off the mirror mechanism).

My speculation says maybe they could make a D800 quality camera with a 24MP sensor that could do 6-6.5 FPS with just the one processor, and if a lot of people wanted it, they could probably make it for about the same cost as the D800.

If they made a bigger camera with a bigger battery to handle two processors, and a bigger memory buffer it would cost nikon a few hundred more to make than the D800, and when you factor in that that few hundred equates to over $1000 after distribution and retail means that even fewer people are going to buy a $4000+ camera they'll have to drastically increase the price. So with the higher price and bigger body, you don't end up with a D750, you end up with a D5.

More reasonable approach would be to make a D750 based of the 16MP chip in the D4 and just limit it to 8fps. Or they can wait 2-3 years til they have the 4th gen processors and then they'll give you a true D900 that might really blow the doors off of the D700 (24-36MP, 10fps, maybe even 16bit RAW).

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\~K

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