EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks

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ThePhilips
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to exdeejjjaaaa, 10 months ago

exdeejjjaaaa wrote:

madzazulu wrote:

http://chipworks.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=OLY-E-M1_Pri-Camera

so it is this one... the same as in GH4 = http://www.semicon.panasonic.co.jp/ds8/c3/IS00006AE.pdf

MN34230PL

that is a big surprise in fact... so Sony after all was not able to edge Panasonic out

I think now it is a good time to start comparing on-sensor PDAF of E-M1 with say A7.

Strangely enough I can't find anything on the net about it - except comments about some unreliability of A7's AF. IIRC, successor of A77 also should have the on-sensor PDAF, but not yet released.

Turning that around, if my brief research is right, it appears that Sony's on-sensor PDAF tech is simply not ready yet and Oly decided to go with Panny's sensor.

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Sergey Borachev
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to madzazulu, 10 months ago

I don't know what commercial arrangements there are between Sony/Olympus/Panasonic in regard to the decision in the use of sensors in Olympus cameras. It should be clear there was a problem in the past with getting the best sensor from Panasonic for Olympus cameras. So, this surprising turn of event is a good sign, as it shows more flexibility for Olympus to get what sensors it need or can afford, but not everything is looking good.

What is of concern is the fact that IQ of M43 cameras has not moved at all since the first OMD E-M5 camera was released. That camera uses a Sony sensor. It has been 1.5 years at least and so something is not going well, as technology should have delivered at least some improvement however small. I don't think Sony stopped sensor R&D. Their RX100 sensor is a nice stop forward and an indication that technology does not stop and improvement is possible however little.

Therefore to all the gloating Panasonic fanboys, I say this. If Olympus had used a newer Sony sensor instead in its top model, there most likely would have been an improvement in IQ in the E-M1. Unfortunately, Olympus was to look after its 43 users and concentrate on PDAF and a bigger/heavier camera in the E-M1 and probably did not care so much getting the best IQ when designing it. There may have been other non-technical reasons/arrangements for using a Panasonic sensor, if that is true For example, Olympus cannot afford to have different sensors in each line of cameras, hence the same sensors as the E-M5 used also in the E-PM2 and E-PL5.

I hope however that with the real E-M5 replacement, Olympus would use a Sony sensor and deliver some improvement in IQ when it is released later in the year, about 2 years after E-M5. It is unlikely that Panasonic has any sensor that has better IQ than all the current and old ones, or else it would have used it on the GX7 or GH4. I would still look to Sony for the best sensor and some real improvement in IQ. This particular news if true can also be read as bad news if Olympus could not afford to use the best from Sony. The IQ of the E-M5 was great 1.5 years ago as it compared extremely well or better to those in all other mirrorless cameras then, including the larger APS-C ones. Now, it is not, and Olympus cameras can only distinguish themselves with 5-axis IBIS but not in IQ. Most of us had thought there should be some IQ improvement in the E-M1, but there is none and now we know why - Panasonic's sensors.

Lets pray so that Olympus is not stuck with this Panasonic sensor for all its later cameras.

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Impulses
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Re: Panasonic could be just subcontractor
In reply to Lumixdude, 10 months ago

Does anyone actually care so long as the sensor performs well?

Why is this attitude so pervasive on these forums? It's not like DPR is even a site about photography technique, it's about gear. I don't need to know that Apple licenses the ARM ISA and then designs a fully custom SoC to use a phone to great effect, but articles (like those that Anandtech publishes) about the silicon that goes into current smartphones and tablets are still very illuminating... And yes, they even shape buying decisions.

It's not ALL about the experience, or the performance, or the specs... It's a combination of ALL of it. If you don't care to know how things work and why that's fine, but the condescending attitude towards those that do is wholly unnecessary. I happen to think that the better people understand the tools they use the more they can squeeze out of them AND the more they can demand out of the companies that make said tools.

Just knowing that Olympus is STILL using Panasonic sensors (regardless of which and on what camera) is kinda huge IMO... It means there's either a very good technical reason for it or they don't get quite as much of a bulk discount of Sony sensors as some would assume. If the latter is true it can make Panasonic's lower end models with older sensors look just a little more half hearted, etc (and I'm happy with my humble GF btw, and I don't use an iPhone).

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dethis2
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to exdeejjjaaaa, 10 months ago

exdeejjjaaaa wrote:

joeletx wrote:

The color come out of E-M1 does not look Pansonic

you might order a specific CFA to be laid on top of your silicone, and then if you consider for example ACR/LR - there are quite different profiles for E-M1 vs E-M5( and the rest of Oly cameras based on Sony 16mp m43 sensor )... so CFA were changed and not the same as before..

And if you look at the color matrix in exif.maker data you will see that E-M5 and E-M10 use almost the same matrix while E-M1 is far off .. it should be a Sony in E-M10 ..

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D200_4me
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Whatever it is...
In reply to madzazulu, 10 months ago

It seems to work well http://www.openbloom.com/CAMERAGEAR/Olympus-OMD-EM1-Gallery/

Anyway, if it's true that it's a Panasonic sesnor, that might explain why to my eyes, the E-M1 handles light differently than my old E-M5.  I don't know how to explain it, but to me it just seems to handle things differently than my E-M5 used to, especially in high contrast/harsh light situations.

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exdeejjjaaaa
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to dethis2, 10 months ago

dethis2 wrote:

exdeejjjaaaa wrote:

joeletx wrote:

The color come out of E-M1 does not look Pansonic

you might order a specific CFA to be laid on top of your silicone, and then if you consider for example ACR/LR - there are quite different profiles for E-M1 vs E-M5( and the rest of Oly cameras based on Sony 16mp m43 sensor )... so CFA were changed and not the same as before..

And if you look at the color matrix in exif.maker data you will see that E-M5 and E-M10 use almost the same matrix while E-M1 is far off ..

indeed, one more indicator of different CFA between E-M1s and the rest

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Impulses
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to Sergey Borachev, 10 months ago

I don't know what commercial arrangements there are between Sony/Olympus/Panasonic in regard to the decision in the use of sensors in Olympus cameras. It should be clear there was a problem in the past with getting the best sensor from Panasonic for Olympus cameras. So, this surprising turn of event is a good sign, as it shows more flexibility for Olympus to get what sensors it need or can afford, but not everything is looking good.

What is of concern is the fact that IQ of M43 cameras has not moved at all since the first OMD E-M5 camera was released. That camera uses a Sony sensor. It has been 1.5 years at least and so something is not going well, as technology should have delivered at least some improvement however small. I don't think Sony stopped sensor R&D. Their RX100 sensor is a nice stop forward and an indication that technology does not stop and improvement is possible however little.

Therefore to all the gloating Panasonic fanboys, I say this. If Olympus had used a newer Sony sensor instead in its top model, there most likely would have been an improvement in IQ in the E-M1. Unfortunately, Olympus was to look after its 43 users and concentrate on PDAF and a bigger/heavier camera in the E-M1 and probably did not care so much getting the best IQ when designing it. There may have been other non-technical reasons/arrangements for using a Panasonic sensor, if that is true For example, Olympus cannot afford to have different sensors in each line of cameras, hence the same sensors as the E-M5 used also in the E-PM2 and E-PL5.

I hope however that with the real E-M5 replacement, Olympus would use a Sony sensor and deliver some improvement in IQ when it is released later in the year, about 2 years after E-M5. It is unlikely that Panasonic has any sensor that has better IQ than all the current and old ones, or else it would have used it on the GX7 or GH4. I would still look to Sony for the best sensor and some real improvement in IQ. This particular news if true can also be read as bad news if Olympus could not afford to use the best from Sony. The IQ of the E-M5 was great 1.5 years ago as it compared extremely well or better to those in all other mirrorless cameras then, including the larger APS-C ones. Now, it is not, and Olympus cameras can only distinguish themselves with 5-axis IBIS but not in IQ. Most of us had thought there should be some IQ improvement in the E-M1, but there is none and now we know why - Panasonic's sensors.

Lets pray so that Olympus is not stuck with this Panasonic sensor for all its later cameras.

You're assuming that Sony thought there was a demand for a better M43 sensor AND actually invested money in developing one already... I would think they're spread pretty thin between APS-C, M43, and FF right now but I'm pretty ignorant of how much development they can repurpose across different sensor sizes and how independent the sensor division really is... I know they're pretty huge in smartphones as well but maybe that's yet another division or w/e.

I think it's kinda odd the inner workings of camera manufactures are obscured to such a degree that you need Chipworks scans just to find out some basic info on a sensor... Maybe it's because the vast majority of customers don't care what's inside or whatever, but it sorta gives a lot of undue freedom to the manufacturers. Other industries behave vastly different in this regard, not sure whether it's due to the basic nature of the customers or the more technical underpinnings of the business.

A sports car manufacturer could never be as vague about the engine used as camera makers are about sensors, even car electronics are better understood... Never mind markets like smartphones & PCs where OEMs (or Intel/AMD) are constantly pressured to reveal more about their architectures (even a company as secretive as Apple only gets so far in purposely obscuring these things). Those markets are just different I guess, but the breadth of info available shapes not only buying decisions but market investment decisions.

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Sergey Borachev
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to Impulses, 10 months ago

Impulses wrote:

I think it's kinda odd the inner workings of camera manufactures are obscured to such a degree that you need Chipworks scans just to find out some basic info on a sensor... Maybe it's because the vast majority of customers don't care what's inside or whatever, but it sorta gives a lot of undue freedom to the manufacturers. Other industries behave vastly different in this regard, not sure whether it's due to the basic nature of the customers or the more technical underpinnings of the business.

A sports car manufacturer could never be as vague about the engine used as camera makers are about sensors, even car electronics are better understood... Never mind markets like smartphones & PCs where OEMs (or Intel/AMD) are constantly pressured to reveal more about their architectures (even a company as secretive as Apple only gets so far in purposely obscuring these things). Those markets are just different I guess, but the breadth of info available shapes not only buying decisions but market investment decisions.

Camera manufacturing is still very "backward" in this sense.  I can understand the need for secrecy during development, but after release they still seem to have this sort of secrecy code among the various suppliers.  I think it has more to do with the camera manufacturers.  They probably do not want to have their sensors clearly identified as consumers will then be able to judge/compare the IQ of cameras too easily, i.e. no more hype and marketing trickery or big mark-ups, say, if sensor models are all made known like PC CPUs, or laptop LCD panels.  Particularly for the bigger manufacturer with deep marketing pockets, they can then continue to sell boring old sensor cameras to dumb consumers and make good profits.    I don't know why manufacturers like Olympus need to hide this information if they are using a high performance sensor.

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Impulses
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to Sergey Borachev, 10 months ago

What other consumer electronics market still behaves that way tho? I guess commodity stuff like DVRs or house phones or something like that (altho there's still an enthusiast community around Tivo or HTPCs)... Maybe it's the dual personality of cameras as hobbyist/pro tools, maybe not. I know more about even the drivers used on most of my headphones (some used for pro music production) or the emitters on my flashlights than I know about the insides of my cameras.

Even in the borderline snake oil world of high end audio gear the internal components are usually more openly discussed... In fact, it's widely recognized that the actual implementation is still very important, you can have all the hot chips and still design a perfectly mediocre $1,000 amplifier or DAC.

That's always gonna be true of cameras, the UI and other external factors play such a large role that the secrecy over the tech seems even more unnecessary. I'd say there's a golden opportunity here for some combination of manufacturer + blogger/tech journalist to buck the trend here... Specially amongst the smaller players.

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Joe Pa
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to Impulses, 10 months ago

It just goes to show how our brand loyalty can mask what our eyes see.  Many people that like the EM-1 had convinced themselves the camera was superior (to Panasonic) because it used a Sony sensor.  Now that it's been shown the EM-1 uses a Panasonic sensor and everyone is claiming victory, it's the Panasonic sensor, it's the Oly camera.

Every manaufacturer tunes their cameras to produce an JPG image that's in line with their engineers vision of how the images should look.  Canon images look different from Nikon, Panasonic look different from Oly.

If we took RAW images from an Oly and Panasonic I doubt anyone could tell the difference.  Who cares who makes the sensor?

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exdeejjjaaaa
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to Impulses, 10 months ago

Impulses wrote:

I think it's kinda odd the inner workings of camera manufactures are obscured to such a degree that you need Chipworks scans just to find out some basic info on a sensor.

no, Panasonic openly published spec of the sensor several month ago = http://www.semicon.panasonic.co.jp/ds8/c3/IS00006AE.pdf (that is unlike Sony, which doesn't)... they simply did not say that it was used in E-M1.

PS: note that referred to "D-SLR" in the document :-), not D-SLM - that's a disconnect between sensor folks and camera folks.

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micksh6
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to exdeejjjaaaa, 10 months ago

exdeejjjaaaa wrote:

Impulses wrote:

I think it's kinda odd the inner workings of camera manufactures are obscured to such a degree that you need Chipworks scans just to find out some basic info on a sensor.

no, Panasonic openly published spec of the sensor several month ago = http://www.semicon.panasonic.co.jp/ds8/c3/IS00006AE.pdf (that is unlike Sony, which doesn't)... they simply did not say that it was used in E-M1.

PDAF or not, I'm simply curious why Olympus got it several (could be many) months earlier in E-M1 than Panasonic in GH4 if it's a Panasonic sensor.

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dgrogers
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to Sergey Borachev, 10 months ago

Sergey Borachev wrote:

Therefore to all the gloating Panasonic fanboys, I say this. If Olympus had used a newer Sony sensor instead in its top model, there most likely would have been an improvement in IQ in the E-M1. Unfortunately, Olympus was to look after its 43 users and concentrate on PDAF and a bigger/heavier camera in the E-M1 and probably did not care so much getting the best IQ when designing it. There may have been other non-technical reasons/arrangements for using a Panasonic sensor, if that is true For example, Olympus cannot afford to have different sensors in each line of cameras, hence the same sensors as the E-M5 used also in the E-PM2 and E-PL5.

The compatibility with the original 4/3 lenses was the increase in IQ.  A decent increase too.

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mchnz
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to Sergey Borachev, 10 months ago

Sergey Borachev wrote:

...

What is of concern is the fact that IQ of M43 cameras has not moved at all since the first OMD E-M5 camera was released. That camera uses a Sony sensor. It has been 1.5 years at least and so something is not going well, as technology should have delivered at least some improvement however small

....

It may be that at the current point in the product life cycle it makes no sense to put out a camera with a better sensor.   If the competition isn't upping the ante, or their efforts are not leaving you with unsold inventory or unused production capacity, then it makes sense to stay put.  Instead you can tweak your existing design investment and extend its product life by introducing variations - models at different price points, models with special features, accessories (lenses).   When you reach the peak of the product life cycle curve, then introduce a new sensor and repeat the whole process.

I suspect that's pretty much what Nikon and Canon are doing.  What makes Olympus, Panasonic and Sony interesting is that they are hungry -  they may be willing to prematurely terminate an existing product life cycle and change strategy in order to win share and get into the black.  This is the wild card that might see new sensors brought to market earlier than expected - on the other hand, if everyone is selling everything they can make, then maybe not.

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exdeejjjaaaa
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to micksh6, 10 months ago

micksh6 wrote:

exdeejjjaaaa wrote:

Impulses wrote:

I think it's kinda odd the inner workings of camera manufactures are obscured to such a degree that you need Chipworks scans just to find out some basic info on a sensor.

no, Panasonic openly published spec of the sensor several month ago = http://www.semicon.panasonic.co.jp/ds8/c3/IS00006AE.pdf (that is unlike Sony, which doesn't)... they simply did not say that it was used in E-M1.

PDAF or not, I'm simply curious why Olympus got it several (could be many) months earlier in E-M1 than Panasonic in GH4 if it's a Panasonic sensor.

you are not surprised why Sony Imaging got 36mp sensor years after Nikon ? probably because Panasonic division making cameras were late with GH4 design and Panasonic division making sensors wanted $$$ now at that time... who knows... ChipWorks shows that it is Panasonic sensor, that's it...

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duartix
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to Sergey Borachev, 10 months ago

Sergey Borachev wrote:

It is unlikely that Panasonic has any sensor that has better IQ than all the current and old ones, or else it would have used it on the GX7 or GH4.

You haven't read the news this week, have you?

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Landscapephoto99
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Re: What difference does it make?
In reply to madzazulu, 10 months ago

It was subcontracted by Olympus to Panasonic, but it is Olympus' design.  It has better high ISO than the E-M5 according to dpreview and others, it has better DR, slightly higher resolution, color and great AF.  Competition does wonderful things.  Maybe next time Olympus will contract out with Fuji or Toshiba for their sensors.

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Sergey Borachev
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to duartix, 10 months ago

duartix wrote:

Sergey Borachev wrote:

It is unlikely that Panasonic has any sensor that has better IQ than all the current and old ones, or else it would have used it on the GX7 or GH4.

You haven't read the news this week, have you?

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Duarte Bruno

I have and the IQ of the new GH4 is said to be the same as the E-M1 and E-M5's, ie. also the same as the GX7 or the E-M10, E-PM2... give and take a tiny bit due to imrpoved processor speed and tweaking. There is very little in it, whatever Panasonic tries to tell us in any IQ improvement. They have also tried to tell us about such improvements in the G6 (compared to the IQ of the same sensor on the GH2 and G5). The fact is, there is no evidence yet of any real improvement that is worth mentioning so far in any of the M43 cameras since the E-M5 1.5 years ago. All the tweaking, better processor/processing, weaker or removal of the AA filter, etc all did just about nothing that is worth mentioning. We still need to read the reviews of the GH4 but there is almost certainly no real IQ improvement.

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amtberg
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Re: What difference does it make?
In reply to Landscapephoto99, 10 months ago

Landscapephoto99 wrote:

It was subcontracted by Olympus to Panasonic, but it is Olympus' design. It has better high ISO than the E-M5 according to dpreview and others, it has better DR, slightly higher resolution, color and great AF. Competition does wonderful things. Maybe next time Olympus will contract out with Fuji or Toshiba for their sensors.

How it performs is the only thing that matters, but I don't think that Olympus actually designs any sensors.  They spec'd Panasonic's top sensor, arranged with them to have PADF added, and then they did their usual great job with the image processing components and software.

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amtberg
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Re: EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks
In reply to exdeejjjaaaa, 10 months ago

exdeejjjaaaa wrote:

micksh6 wrote:

exdeejjjaaaa wrote:

Impulses wrote:

I think it's kinda odd the inner workings of camera manufactures are obscured to such a degree that you need Chipworks scans just to find out some basic info on a sensor.

no, Panasonic openly published spec of the sensor several month ago = http://www.semicon.panasonic.co.jp/ds8/c3/IS00006AE.pdf (that is unlike Sony, which doesn't)... they simply did not say that it was used in E-M1.

PDAF or not, I'm simply curious why Olympus got it several (could be many) months earlier in E-M1 than Panasonic in GH4 if it's a Panasonic sensor.

you are not surprised why Sony Imaging got 36mp sensor years after Nikon ? probably because Panasonic division making cameras were late with GH4 design and Panasonic division making sensors wanted $$$ now at that time... who knows... ChipWorks shows that it is Panasonic sensor, that's it...

I suspect it has a lot to do with Olympus' decision to use Sony sensors in the E-M5, E-P5, etc.!

Previously Panasonic held back it's best sensors which gave them a competitive advantage. Olympus showed them that they weren't the only game in town and told them that Panasonic could sell them their top-of-the-line sensor or else go pound sand and Olympus would stick with Sony.

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