What is keeping Nikon from making 22 megapixel D4?

Started Mar 11, 2013 | Discussions
Joe Tam
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What is keeping Nikon from making 22 megapixel D4?
Mar 11, 2013

What advancements in technology are barring a faster higher-resolution D-series camera being introduced?  Something like a 9-11fps 22-30 megapixel camera.

I've been stuck with D-series cameras that topped out at 12 megapixel since 2005(D2x).  I want to get the D800 but it is too slow for some of the news/sports events I cover.  So was the D2x and D2xs.

There are often times horizontals need to be converted to verticals for page layout.  The 16 megapixel on the D4 make that sort of cropping an issue.

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ScottRH
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Re: What is keeping Nikon from making 22 megapixel D4?
In reply to Joe Tam, Mar 11, 2013

There are many people in your boat.

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Rick Knepper
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Bear in mind
In reply to Joe Tam, Mar 11, 2013

Joe Tam wrote:

What advancements in technology are barring a faster higher-resolution D-series camera being introduced? Something like a 9-11fps 22-30 megapixel camera.

I've been stuck with D-series cameras that topped out at 12 megapixel since 2005(D2x). I want to get the D800 but it is too slow for some of the news/sports events I cover. So was the D2x and D2xs.

There are often times horizontals need to be converted to verticals for page layout. The 16 megapixel on the D4 make that sort of cropping an issue.

Canon couldn't do it either.

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Bostjan Pulko
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Re: Bear in mind
In reply to Rick Knepper, Mar 11, 2013

My guess would be.. D5

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Waterengineer
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Re: Bear in mind
In reply to Rick Knepper, Mar 11, 2013

The only thing holding back a fast frame rate, higher pixel count camera is an affordable computation engine (on-board computer) to handle through-put to the memory card.

I have to believe on the bench in the lab is the camera I describe above because it is not a great technological leap.

However jamming a larger, more robust computer in a reasonable size camera while managing heat and making it affordable are the challenges.

Heat is the enemy of computer chips. If you have ever had a robust desktop or notebook fail you will understand my point.

Let's all remember the EXPEED 3 processor is not all that old, so we are waiting for what I will call the EXPEED 4.

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apaflo
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Re: Bear in mind
In reply to Waterengineer, Mar 11, 2013

Waterengineer wrote:

The only thing holding back a fast frame rate, higher pixel count camera is an affordable computation engine (on-board computer) to handle through-put to the memory card.

The frame rate is virtually unaffected by the write speed of the memory card.

The ability to read the sensor and convert the data from analog to digital and write it to memory is what controls the frame rate.  The size of the memory buffer controls how many consecutive exposures can be made at the maximum frame rate.  The write speed to the memory card is only a factor in how long one must pause between consecutive sequences that fill the memory buffer.

Which is to say that what holds back a higher maximum frame rate is almost certainly the speed of the existing Analog-Digital-Converters.  The faster they process data the lower the Signal to Noise Ratio, and thus the more noise we see in high ISO images. Also the bit-depth restricts speed.  Hence there are always compromises between speed vs bit depth vs high ISO performance.

Someone else has pointed at the next generation from Nikon, the D5, as where we will see higher pixel counts, higher frame rates, and probably more dynamic range too.  We might expect a camera with 12-15 fps, 16-bit depth RAW data, and 15 fstops of dynamic range.  By then we'll probably have XQD version 2 cards, and the actual write speed might exceed 500MB/s, thus allowing very long bursts at maximum frame rates with virtually no chance of actually filling the memory buffer.

I have to believe on the bench in the lab is the camera I describe above because it is not a great technological leap.

However jamming a larger, more robust computer in a reasonable size camera while managing heat and making it affordable are the challenges.

Heat is the enemy of computer chips. If you have ever had a robust desktop or notebook fail you will understand my point.

Let's all remember the EXPEED 3 processor is not all that old, so we are waiting for what I will call the EXPEED 4.

True, but the processor is the easy part.  It could be done today with ease.  The big trick is a 16-bit ADC that is both fast enough and with a high enough SNR.  It doesn't exist today.

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rayman 2
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I´ve fried a Sandisk extreme.... 32 Gig.....!!!
In reply to apaflo, Mar 11, 2013

I´ve fried a Sandisk extreme.... 32 Gig.....!!! in my D4......

If you let the camera run at top speed for as long as it does ... boy that CF card gets hot !

I´ve killed a card alread... but thankfully i just got the data off of the card on time a few minutes later it was dead....

So go figure it wont get any better soon... thats also a reason why the D800 maxes out

at 4 fps for a longer period.... the cards are not made for the throughput.....

In Hasselblads it just takes a picture each second....!!!

Peter

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Canadianguy
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Re: Bear in mind
In reply to apaflo, Mar 11, 2013

Don't forgot that the mirror box and AF system limit frame rates as well - unless they go the Sony route of the Pelican mirror or move to CDAF or some other new tech not envised yet.

That mirror has to reset fast enough for the AF system to get light to do its job.

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Joe Tam
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Re: Bear in mind
In reply to Canadianguy, Mar 11, 2013

I'm surprised a $6000 flagship Nikon D4 cannot do 8-10fps at 24 megapixel when the sub-$2000 d600 achieves 5.5 fps at 24megapixel and the 22.3 mp 5d3 does 6 fps.

Our organization only upgrades every 3-4 years so I'm kind of stuck with D4 at 16 megapixel for the long haul.  If I had a choice to buy I would have chosen the D800:  the images look amazing and very flexible for any sort of layout.

I wonder if Canon n Nikon already have 24mp 10 fps cameras and they are holding them back for the product cycle.

Not really impressed with the $6000 4 megapixel upgrade from D3.

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Robin Casady
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Re: Bear in mind
In reply to Joe Tam, Mar 11, 2013

Joe Tam wrote:

I'm surprised a $6000 flagship Nikon D4 cannot do 8-10fps at 24 megapixel when the sub-$2000 d600 achieves 5.5 fps at 24megapixel and the 22.3 mp 5d3 does 6 fps.

Our organization only upgrades every 3-4 years so I'm kind of stuck with D4 at 16 megapixel for the long haul. If I had a choice to buy I would have chosen the D800: the images look amazing and very flexible for any sort of layout.

I wonder if Canon n Nikon already have 24mp 10 fps cameras and they are holding them back for the product cycle.

Not really impressed with the $6000 4 megapixel upgrade from D3.

There are rumors that there will be a higher MP top end body out this year. Might be called the D4x, or something else. Speculation has it at either 36 MP or 54 MP.

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Nikonparrothead
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Re: What is keeping Nikon from making 22 megapixel D4?
In reply to Joe Tam, Mar 11, 2013

Joe Tam wrote:

There are often times horizontals need to be converted to verticals for page layout. The 16 megapixel on the D4 make that sort of cropping an issue.

What publication are you shooting for where that's not possible now?

Then again I'm still trying to figure out why we're not all just shooting square format. The lenses right now would accomodate a square sensor, but we're locked into the old 2x3 format.

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Matti Rajaniemi
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Re: What is keeping Nikon from making 22 megapixel D4?
In reply to Joe Tam, Mar 11, 2013

Some organizations explore alternatives to CMOS technology. One option is to consider graphene. Perhaps the CMOS is not an eternal solution. It is said, for example, carbon can be found everywhere, and I hear that the technology would be cheaper and simpler. Perhaps the solution is already very close or very far away, or somewhere in between.

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Waterengineer
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Re: Bear in mind
In reply to apaflo, Mar 11, 2013

apaflo wrote:

Waterengineer wrote:

The only thing holding back a fast frame rate, higher pixel count camera is an affordable computation engine (on-board computer) to handle through-put to the memory card.

The frame rate is virtually unaffected by the write speed of the memory card.

True, but the processor is the easy part. It could be done today with ease. The big trick is a 16-bit ADC that is both fast enough and with a high enough SNR. It doesn't exist today.

Please go back and read what I wrote.  I believe you misunderstood what I said.

What I said was throughout (through the buffer and processor) TO the memory card.  I made no statement about the memory card.  My assumption was that the camera user would be using a fast enough memory card as to not be the choke point in the system.

Now with that said, you statement about rate being unaffected by memory card write speed is false.  Try using a too slow memory card sometime and you will get the point.

Further, you point about the 16-bit ADC is well taken.  However, I will disagree.

As I discussed in my first post on this thread, we as consumers and perhaps as engineers don't know what is in the labs.  I bet (and we will never know) that the ADC you call for exists, or is close to existing but not for the appropriate cost.  Look at some of the ADC in MF especially on the high MP count sensors.  It is already there - for a cost penalty - downscaling the technology and upscaling the production to bring it to the average consumer is the challenge, not the technology, per se.

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Joe Tam
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Re: Bear in mind
In reply to Robin Casady, Mar 11, 2013

I hope it is not limited to 4-5fps.  Many pros would love a 22-25 megapixel 7-10 fps D-series flagship camera.  16 mp is anemic compared to the d800.  It would be great if verticals cropped from horizontals looked a little sharper.  This is strictly for layout which takes our pictures and often crops to fit the layout.

There are rumors that there will be a higher MP top end body out this year. Might be called the D4x, or something else. Speculation has it at either 36 MP or 54 MP.

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DrGoon
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Re: What is keeping Nikon from making 22 megapixel D4?
In reply to Joe Tam, Mar 11, 2013

Just one thing is preventing Nikon from making such a camera today: a market willing to pay the price that would have to be charged for such a product to remain profitable.

The people buying high end professional cameras are being subsidised by the many more people buying sophisticated consumer cameras derived from similar technology. If the professional technology leaps beyond what can be marketed to a wider audience the price charged must also leap. This has a knock on effect of limiting the market further, which pushes the price up further.

To shoot D800 resolution images at 1.5x D4 speeds, you need a four times more powerful processor, correspondingly fast DSPs, a very wide buffer memory architecture and a means to keep the heat generated off the sensor. The chips used are custom designs based off special SOCs sourced from Fujitsu. Fujitsu can absolutely make a 64 bit imaging SOC that can be modified by Nikon for such a camera, but you'd have to send them a rather large amount of Yen to make that happen. Nikon can't afford to do that on its own, so it must wait for the imaging industry to move forward together.

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Robin Casady
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Re: Bear in mind
In reply to Joe Tam, Mar 11, 2013

Joe Tam wrote:

I hope it is not limited to 4-5fps. Many pros would love a 22-25 megapixel 7-10 fps D-series flagship camera. 16 mp is anemic compared to the d800. It would be great if verticals cropped from horizontals looked a little sharper. This is strictly for layout which takes our pictures and often crops to fit the layout.

I would expect it to have a higher fps rate than the D800.

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SergioSpain
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Re: What is keeping Nikon from making 22 megapixel D4?
In reply to Joe Tam, Mar 12, 2013

when you consider that Canon can do 12 fps with 18 MP, you gotta figure Nikon can do better than 10 fps with 16 MP. But I still got the D4 instead of being in that eternal "waiting for the next best thing" mode, seeing as the D4S wont be out till next year and the D4X isn't what I need

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apaflo
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Re: Bear in mind
In reply to Waterengineer, Mar 12, 2013

Waterengineer wrote:

apaflo wrote:

Waterengineer wrote:

The only thing holding back a fast frame rate, higher pixel count camera is an affordable computation engine (on-board computer) to handle through-put to the memory card.

The frame rate is virtually unaffected by the write speed of the memory card.

True, but the processor is the easy part. It could be done today with ease. The big trick is a 16-bit ADC that is both fast enough and with a high enough SNR. It doesn't exist today.

Please go back and read what I wrote. I believe you misunderstood what I said.

What I said was throughout (through the buffer and processor) TO the memory card. I made no statement about the memory card. My assumption was that the camera user would be using a fast enough memory card as to not be the choke point in the system.

What you said was not correct.

Now with that said, you statement about rate being unaffected by memory card write speed is false. Try using a too slow memory card sometime and you will get the point.

It is precisely correct.  I have a D4, and you can rest assure that it shoots at the exact same frame rate with the XQD card or with an old 4 GB CF card.

The difference is not the frame rate, but how many shots until the memory buffer is full and only then is the camera unable to continue until space is created in the buffer by writing it slowly to the card.

Further, you point about the 16-bit ADC is well taken. However, I will disagree.

As I discussed in my first post on this thread, we as consumers and perhaps as engineers don't know what is in the labs. I bet (and we will never know) that the ADC you call for exists, or is close to existing but not for the appropriate cost. Look at some of the ADC in MF especially on the high MP count sensors. It is already there - for a cost penalty - downscaling the technology and upscaling the production to bring it to the average consumer is the challenge, not the technology, per se.

The ADC I call for simply does not yet exist.  It isn't just a fast ADC, nor one with a high SNR that I have said is required.  It has to be one that can also be mass produced on the same chip as the sensor with both a small enough physical size to allow thousands of them, but also with a price small enough to be affordable when thousands of them exist on the chip.

No such ADC exists today.  Note, for example, that all of the MF cameras are still using off the shelf discrete components, not on chip unit per sensor line ADC's.

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RudivanS
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Re: What is keeping Nikon from making 22 megapixel D4?
In reply to Joe Tam, Mar 12, 2013

Joe Tam wrote:

What advancements in technology are barring a faster higher-resolution D-series camera being introduced? Something like a 9-11fps 22-30 megapixel camera.

I've been stuck with D-series cameras that topped out at 12 megapixel since 2005(D2x). I want to get the D800 but it is too slow for some of the news/sports events I cover. So was the D2x and D2xs.

There are often times horizontals need to be converted to verticals for page layout. The 16 megapixel on the D4 make that sort of cropping an issue.

D4 16MB is a enough to crop. LR4 resize works well. Try it..

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ScottRH
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Re: Bear in mind
In reply to Joe Tam, Mar 12, 2013

Joe Tam wrote:

I hope it is not limited to 4-5fps. Many pros would love a 22-25 megapixel 7-10 fps D-series flagship camera. 16 mp is anemic compared to the d800. It would be great if verticals cropped from horizontals looked a little sharper. This is strictly for layout which takes our pictures and often crops to fit the layout.

There are rumors that there will be a higher MP top end body out this year. Might be called the D4x, or something else. Speculation has it at either 36 MP or 54 MP.

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Robin Casady
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."
— Bertrand Russell

> Many pros would love a 22-25 megapixel 7-10 fps D-series flagship camera

Yes we would.

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