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Aptina details 1" sensor for mirrorless, bridge or broadcast-video cameras

By dpreview staff on Oct 8, 2012 at 02:17 GMT

Sensor maker Aptina has released more details of its two most recently-announced chips, including a 10MP, 1"-type sensor that uses its dynamic range-boosting DR-Pix technology. The company, which also makes the 1" sensors used in the Nikon 1 System cameras, is making this new sensor available to the wider market. It has also provided more detail about an 18MP 1/2.3" compact camera sensor that can shoot 1080p video with three different crops at up to 120 frames per second.

Low-res sample image from the AR1820HS 1/2.3" BSI CMOS sensor

The 1" sensor, officially known as AR1011HS, is capable of Quad HD (also called 4K) video that, at 3840 x 2160, is four times the size of 1080 video. This can either be used as a 4K 60p signal for super-high resolution video or four-pixel, RGBG clusters can be demosaiced to produce 1080p output with full color being captured for each output pixel. This is the same technique used on Canon's C300 professional movie camera - Aptina refers to it as 'broadcast quality' as it allows what's known as 4:4:4 output (each output pixel can have full red, green and blue information, rather than undergoing 'chroma sub-sampling').

In addition the AR1011HS uses Aptina's DR-Pix technology that uses one signal path within each pixel at base ISO (to maximize dynamic range) and a different one (to offer reduced noise) at higher ISO settings.

With these two capabilities combined, Aptina is saying the chip is suitable for use in mirrorless cameras, bridge cameras, high-end compacts or for broadcast video and high-end surveillance cameras.

Meanwhile, the 18MP 1/2.3"-type BSI sensor, called AR1820HS, can shoot at 24fps at full resolution and can offer 1080p video at up to 120fps. A second, larger video crop gives 1080p video with a 20% added border that can be used for electronic image stabilization. Alternatively it can offer over-sampled HD footage at 30fps from a 16:9 crop using the full width of the sensor.


Total comments: 25
By RadioGnome (Oct 16, 2012)

Might be just me, but I quite like the picture. At least it does not hide being gritty and not correctly colored. Quite fresh and artistic.

Esa Tuunanen
By Esa Tuunanen (Oct 12, 2012)

"18MP 1/2.3" compact camera sensor"
And amount of real information being half of the pixels because of extreme blurring caused by diffraction, optical aberrations and heavy NR needed by microscopic pixels.

This isn't news, this is marketing BS!

Anyone seen critical journalism?

By citizenlouie (Oct 9, 2012)

Unfortunately, I see Aptina's sensor still has a weird color bias from this example shot. I hope Aptina is listening. When you're a sensor maker, you want to show that your sensor is capable of reproducing accurate, life-like color. The special color mix is for camera maker and photographer to decide. While this photo looks /interesting/, but if I were a camera manufacturer, i would not build my professional level cameras with this sensor. It'll be a major headache to tweak the color profile so it'll look natural. Most people still shoot normal photos, Instagram.

By vFunct (Oct 9, 2012)

DPReview, please stop using the "inch" unit for sensor size, even if the manufacturer sends out press releases with that horrible unit.

The "inch" unit is non-standardized and only roughly related to the sensor format, through some weird function related to vacuum tubes. see:

Please use width x height millimeters instead.

Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (Oct 9, 2012)

Yikes ... we're all pretty used to the "inch" designations, and translating to mm is pretty trivial using lookup tables.

Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Oct 9, 2012)

vFunct - we're fully aware of the source of the names, since that wikipedia page used to use our glossary as one of its primary sources.

Believe me, we don't like the terminology any more than you do. Ultimately, though, '13.2 x 8.8 mm sensor' doesn't trip off the tongue (or fit in headlines) as easily as 1". We try to call them 1"-type wherever possible, to emphasise the fact these are names, not dimensions, but the industry as a whole needs a better naming system.

By vFunct (Oct 9, 2012)

Ultimately you shouldn't need to reference a look-up table to figure out sensor sizes.

If you want a single dimension, just use the diagonal. Or use area. (mm^2).

BTW you are the industry. you get to decide consumer terminology at this point.

1 upvote
By robmanueb (Oct 10, 2012)

mm^2 would be the best, with dimensions in mm alongside. Diagonal measurements in inches is a pain in the butt. I often find my self lingering over that Wiki page scratching my head. I don't want to insult American readers but it is a shrinking minority that haven't switched to metric, come on join the rest of the world. I guess DPreviews audience is mainly State-side, having your measurements in inches will insure that remains so.

1 upvote
By dnral (Oct 10, 2012)

Actually the US and English use the standard system. The rest of Europe are the ones that seem to take issue-get over your littles selves. They attempted to bring the metric system to the US and it was rejected. We use the English system and this is not a lab class.

By VivaLasVegas (Oct 9, 2012)

Like Sony Exmoor, you can also find Aptina sensor in Nikon bodies.

1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Oct 9, 2012)

From what firm, and when, will we see a camera with the 1" sensor that shoots 4k video? Sony, JVC, and Samsung are introducing 80' 4k displays priced at $20k. Expensive indeed. But, even as prices fall, there won't be much incentive to buy without more 4k content. Hence, it is only logical that the major firms all introduce 4k video capture, which would feed interest in 4k displays and impose a need to upgrade PCs and graphics cards.

Superfluous? On small screens, yes. However, Apple promotes tiny "retina" iPad displays with higher resolution than most people can see, without anyone bawling or hooting. Skeptics would also have to concede that 4k video would permit a still photography option video has never had: cropping. Widespread use of 4k displays may be 5 or more years away. Later on 8k may become a benchmark, but even young people will see their best years past before that era arrives, so you make do with what there is.

Still photo progress is "retro": older is better?

1 upvote
By briarwoodsman (Oct 11, 2012)

This sensor is not one for "4K video" because it Bayer's for color info. It's what the industry calls "True 2K" meaning it give true color info for 1/2 the pixel count by interpolation.

By worldcup1982 (Oct 9, 2012)

Here comes the V2...with minor improvements, too into photos, not, you will stay behind competition....mirrorless all over the place, and nikon worried about not hurting their APS-C sales....

By schaki (Oct 9, 2012)

"nikon worried about not hurting their APS-C sales...."

That's exactly what they'll do by not respond properly to mirrorless camera systems like Fuji X-mount, Sony Nex, Samsung NX and also to some extent m4/3.
Many new buyers or existing is going to make the switch to mirrorless aps-c with short flange back distance sooner or later. More bulk is not what most of them want so they'll probably not look a lot at aps c dslrs.

Thanatham Piriyakarnjanakul

Behind? You are so funny. I'm using Nikon 1, the quality is ok for most people and it can do a professional work. The Nikon 1 lens are so small. (except the 10-100VR) And when you use 70-200 2.8 it's turn that lens to 189-540 2.8, no one like this.

1 upvote
Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (Oct 9, 2012)

They have little to be ashamed of with image quality. For a 1" sensor it is simply stellar. But ... it cannot replace your compact because the lenses are a bit too big, and it cannot replace you dSLR because the the sensor is too small ... so Nikon still have a problem. But their marketing strategy is not meant to satisfy those requirements, is it ... so maybe they are doing exactly what they want to.

By schaki (Oct 9, 2012)

The image in this 'news' are taken with from the 1/2.3" AR1820HS.
Not the 1"AR1011HS.
It is especially the DR-Pix Technology in the 10mp 1" AR1011HS which I find to be the interesting feature with that sensor.
"adjustable pixel response optimized for best noise-performance in all scene conditions"
Sounds good. But remain to be witnessed how well it actually works.
Problem is that most manufacturers are in bed with Sony when it comes to sensors and not willing to even test something new or different for their compact cameras.

Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (Oct 9, 2012)

The 4;4:4 is pretty useful for Video ; that said, we still need a platform that actually employ the feature and deliver the data. The problem I see with this 1' sensor is that its got too low a base ISO for the need. And as a still photographic sensor. it does not seems to offer anything really exciting about

By xtoph (Oct 9, 2012)

i can't see why anyone would supply *that* as a sample, unless it is either a 100% crop of a small section, or shot at 12k iso, or both. weird.

it is also unclear because of dpr's layout that the sample comes from the tiny sensor, not the 1" model primarily discussed. but even so, it looks worse than the 3.2mp digicam i used 8 years ago.

fuzziness aside, however, it does seem to have the sort of color purity and grain structure characteristic of the nikon 1 cameras. really intriguing capabilities they are suggesting.

1 upvote
By le_alain (Oct 9, 2012)

Low-res sample image from the AR1820HS 1/2.3" BSI CMOS sensor

need 18Mpx to do such a bad low-res image ???
hope it's a 100% crop ...

happy for the news on the 1" sensor, and 10Mpx with low noise and high DR is fine ! :)

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
By migus (Oct 9, 2012)

I'm glad they've kept the AR1011HS down at 10Mp and targeted low noise high DR (limit seems 66dB), in stead of the Mpix race. The 4K video, or 4:4:4 1080p is also interesting, though arguably less so in the consumer space today; those who want these features also want APS or FF cams.

By Rachotilko (Oct 9, 2012)

Yes !!!

Bridgecam with 1" sensor, quality optics 28-300eq f2.8-4.5, manual zoom.

Will it come true ? Panasonic: are you listening ?

By Michael_13 (Oct 9, 2012)

You would probably not want to carry this monster.

1 upvote
By FriendlyWalkabout (Oct 11, 2012)

+1 But for me 24-200mm f2.8-4.5 would be more useful

By bluevaping (Oct 12, 2012)

I agree Bridge Camera! It doesn't have to be a huge zoom camera. They put the same sensor size in RX100. They could find a decent useable range. OLED viewfinder would be nice.

Total comments: 25