Good article, and your work is appreciated. One correction, however: diffraction does depend on the f-number (f/16 will have the "same" diffraction softening at any focal length), but also on sensor size (diffraction softening is magnified on smaller sensors, since they must be magnified more than larger sensors). Small pixels are not "more prone" to diffraction. Pixel size has no bearing on diffraction whatsoever.
vadims: I think it's about time for ISO to introduce another, logarithmic scale for measuring sensor sensitivity. The fact that the numbers look crazy does not mean that the sensitivity per se is "crazy" -- it's still far cry from the capabilities of the human eye.
BTW, "who needs more than ISO 6,400" sounds to me suspiciously similar to "640 kilobytes should be enough for everyone".
ISO DOES have a logarithmic scale (based on the DIN scale), it's just usually left out. Perhaps it'd be a good time to start using it.
Simon97: What are the advantages of the larger sensor? Some I can think of:
Larger Pixels for low noise. The old 645D wasn't that impressive at high ISOs, but this new sensor sounds very interesting.
Smaller DOF for artistic effects. Hopefully Pentax designed the new lenses carefully concerning Bokeh quality.
Smaller apertures before diffraction blurring is noticeable.
Probably others I'm not thinking of.
Pixel size tells you little about a sensor's performance. Sensor size and how the pixels are designed matter more. After all, what good is a big pixel if its noise is proportionately more than a smaller pixel?
And if you check out comparable 35mm lens apertures, the medium format lenses don't really offer any shallow DOF advantage.
But in addition to the diffraction advantage, you also get better performance overall from lenses, as defects aren't "magnified" so much.
plevyadophy: This is a stupid move for a medium format cam maker. Whilst CMOS sensors offer higher ISO settings, CCD sensors are BY FAR superior in image quality at low to moderate ISO settings and medium format should be about quality and NOT bragging rights on a spec sheet.
Hassy would have been better employed commissioning Sony to use their talents to design an improved CCD sensor.
First Hassy buy discontinued Sony cams and pimp them up and sell them at silly prices and now this CMOS thing. It's really sad to see what Hassy is becoming .................. a shadow of its former self.
I hope Phase One ignore this spec sheet CMOS bragging rights nonsense and stick to CCD sensors
Medium format technology has never been THE best. Their large size has been able to mask their shortcomings, but their technology has always been lagging behind the smaller formats. And any advantage CCD used to have over CMOS is no longer valid; whether a sensor is CCD or CMOS tells you nothing about its quality.
Demonstration from the applet at:http://webphysics.davidson.edu/applets/optics/intro.html
fibonacci1618: This is frankly almost too good to be true, in that it offers ultra wide angle at one end, and ultra tele at the other end. Really wonder if the lens ends up making too much of a compromise at the wide end, or at the long end.. Will have to wait & see the sample results.
16mp on a 1/2.3" really is pushing it. If the sensor has been further optimized so that the photosites more effectively capture light, & it ends up achieving the same quality results as an existing 12mp sensor, then fine. But I'm already sensing (pun intended) that 12mp is already pushing it in current sensors & ideally it should be 10mp for this small sensor size. Oh well.
I'm hoping that 16mp is an indication that Panny has designed the 1200mm end of the zoom to have high enough resolving power & quality... That would be an amazing feat in itself. And at f/5.9 to boot. Really not bad...
I wouldn't say 16mp is pushing it. With current technology, they've been able to get great results with pixel sizes under 2 microns, and sensor designers seem optimistic that technology will continue to improve.
JJ Rodin: Sadly, I do not even consider a 1/2.3" sensor camera if it has more than 12mp.
Strange that 'need more cam sells' companies do not realize that their 'magic processing' really does not make up for itty-bitty photosites, 12mp is more than enough for these camera types, R U listening ???
Untill a new 'physics' is created, cell sites need 'rooom' to suck in those photons, no magic DSP makes up for physics!!
Not sure why all the complaining about the megapixel count. Cameras with smaller pixel counts DO NOT provide better images. It's been shown again and again.And do you really think the difference between the pixel sizes pf 12MP and 16MP are that extreme?
Roland Karlsson: So simple, yet so ingenious, The Bayer CFA pattern. No matter how you think, you cannot find a more economic pattern. Many people have tried. There are variants, like the ones Fuji dreams up now and then. But, its only variants, in some way better, bit overall less efficient.
Not many people have made an invention that have had such an impact.
Now, we really want a real three layer RGB sensor. But ... its very hard to make one. The Foveon is a good try. It works. And it has some merits. But, it still dont beat the Bayer CFA in economy. Eventually someone will make a three layer sensor that do beat the Bayer CFA solution. But, it will take several years from now.
My thoughts go to Bruce Bayer´s family and friends. May they find some comfort in that Bruce Bayer was one of the more influential persons on this planet.
I don't see a three-layer sensor outperforming a Bayer sensor. It's less sensitive by design (among other issues). I think the fact that Bayer's design is still the top-performing one 36 years later says a lot about the brilliance in his solution.
Even if the hype were all true, I think the samples show pretty well how pointless this technology except in the case of missed focus, which is the exception, not the rule.