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Sensor size is what matters and the trend is for larger, says Aptina

By Richard Butler on Aug 2, 2013 at 00:00 GMT

Consumers need to think about sensor size rather than pixel count, says Aptina's Sandor Barna, because larger image sensors are likely to appear in all types of devices. Barna, the Vice President and General Manager of sensor maker Aptina's Consumer Camera Business Unit, spoke to us about the challenges facing compact cameras, the niche that will continue to exist for them, and hints that more large sensor compacts are on their way.

Understanding the effect of sensor size is important for customers, he explains: 'The analogy between film and optical format is pretty striking. In the film days, everyone was focused on the size of the film (35mm, 120, etc.) - grain vs. sensitivity (film speed) was a tradeoff decision you made each time you bought some film. In digital, optical format [sensor size] is analogous to film size - pixel count is like the minimum grain size, with a similar sensitivity trade-off. If we applied the old film logic to digital cameras, the optical format would be on the side of the box, not the number of megapixels.'

The image quality benefits brought by larger sensor sizes can help ensure there continues to be a market for compact cameras, he says (though he acknowledges the industry needs a better way of describing sensor size than the current obscure 'inch-type' naming system.)

Aptina's Sandor Barna: 'I believe there's a market for a compact with noticeably better image quality.'

Challenges for compacts

'Smartphones are getting better and your snapshot ability now matches your camera's,' he says. 'Then you think about the constant availability of smartphones and their ability to simply upload to Facebook and you see why compact cameras are declining.' And, he suggests, even the slight sensor size advantage that compacts currently have could soon disappear: 'Some of the less established smartphone makers will try to make a camera with a larger optical format [sensor size]. Mainstream [compact] cameras are susceptible to that because they offer no real advantage.'

But there's still a market for a dedicated camera device, he believes - even for people who don't consider themselves 'photographers.' 'Last time I went on vacation, I wasn't comfortable shooting with my phone, but a current compact wouldn't give me the results I wanted, either - I think there's still a market for people wanting to record planned events - weddings, vacations. I believe there's a market for a compact with noticeably better IQ and features like zoom that smartphones struggle to offer.'

'The places camera makers can differentiate are the areas that you can't introduce those compromises in a phone. Zoom is one of them - smartphone makers don't like the idea of adding this large, moveable, breakable part and their customers won't accept the thicker form factor,' he says: 'there are also system processing constraints in smartphones - the number of processor cycles that can be dedicated to the camera is restricted.'

'So you have to go into spaces that the smartphone can't go,' he says: 'and the main one is optical format [sensor size]'

'But,' he says, 'you have to keep the ease-of-use comparable to that of a smartphone camera - and that's a big challenge. DSLRs aren't for everybody and they're not always convenient. People want a smaller device with that automatic mode they can leave it in. And camera makers need to eliminate the painful process of uploading to a computer, then posting to your favorite website.'

Some smartphone makers are already experimenting with larger sensors (the sensor in Nokia's Lumia 1020 is around 3.5x larger than the ones used in most smartphones)

Go big, or go home

This pressure to offer higher image quality doesn't just affect compacts, he says: 'I think the trend is towards larger format - we've seen an increasing push towards full-frame in the DSLR market and I see everything pushing towards larger formats.' But that still leaves room for something between a smartphone and a DSLR, he says: 'As I said before - I think a 1" sensor represents such a big gap that I don't see that smartphones can go there.'

'For Aptina this trend represents an opportunity to expand - not just with 1" sensors but right up to APS-C,' he explains: 'We've had a lot of interest. In terms of 1", we've been working closely with our current customer base and have been having interest beyond the customer currently using them - we expect to see cameras announced at the beginning of next year.'

'Video is another market opportunity - look at the success GoPro has had,' he says: 'even if you're not using it for action, being able to take a 30 second video clip of your children is very powerful.' However, despite this enthusiasm for video, Barna is not convinced that higher-resolution video is what's going to push the market in the short-term: 'I don't think it'll be 4K yet because I don't think 4K is ready yet - until the point at which people have 4K televisions it'll be a special application. It's really useful for cropping at the moment. Once the monitors are common, you'll start to see it. Home distribution of 4K video will be the breakthrough though - Hollywood is already shooting in 4 - but for user-generated content, 1080 is probably all anyone needs in their pocketable device.'


Aptina designs and produces sensors for a range of products, from smartphones (for which it's just introduced the Clarity+ technology), to consumer cameras such as the Nikon 1 and action cameras, such as the GoPro.

Comments

Total comments: 289
12
lostjr
By lostjr (8 months ago)

OT, but since GoPro is mentioned... GoPro is aimed at the extreme sports crowd. What I would like is a kind of dash cam for a bicycle. Put in a fresh battery, turn it on, and ride. Camera is in loop mode, but with sensors so it saves the loop if the bike goes down. I basically would not mess with it, unless I needed to download a loop with an incident.

More OT: I also would not mind a camera that did panoramas the way some phones do. Just pan across the scene.

0 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (8 months ago)

I prefer a cellphone to remain a cellphone, and a camera to reamin a camera, and if possible without ant wi-fi functions. It will permit me to remain a photographer. To be able to continue my hobby, why do i need a cell phone, a wi-fi connection and even video in a camera. This is crap, useless brainwash. I bought a camera recently for my wife, the first I did was open it and diconnect the wi-fi. If someone wil criticize this now, let it be. You all will understand some day in a near future, why I do this. It has in all times been uselss to try to teach people that are brainwashed and rotten by any religion, and Wi-Fi has become one, one that will kill more people than any religion before did and will.

2 upvotes
Macintosh Sauce
By Macintosh Sauce (8 months ago)

I think you forgot to take your meds today.

6 upvotes
Brentski
By Brentski (6 months ago)

hilarious

0 upvotes
20vanda12
By 20vanda12 (8 months ago)

The only way the compact camera can compete with camera phone, is to have a phone function of the compact camera or at least a friendly connection to share the photos directly to someone's smartphone.

Compact camera is now in the list of endangered technology.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

20vanda12:

So remind us: In 2013 which smartphone camera shoots raw? And how many smartphone cameras have optical zoom?

Answers, none and one.

Then there are smartphones with so called 1inch sensors?

Except for lacking optical zoom, smartphone cameras do indeed equal some compacts, but those would be jpeg only compacts and all of those jpeg compacts have real optical zoom and often decent manual controls.

So until such time as smartphones record raw and have optical zooms, they won’t come close to the image quality of compact digital cameras.

That in some case smartphone cameras are good enough is an entirely different point.

0 upvotes
Richard
By Richard (8 months ago)

The only way a compact camera will compete with a camera phone is.
Higher ISO with lower noise
Faster lens (than the LX5) with better bokeh
Pocketable
4K video, mic input, headphone monitor
Lens little wider than the LX5 and as long as the RX100
Wifi capable and USB to phone or laptop with ez upload social apps built in
Pano, focus stacking, IS
Instant on, fast focus, good FPS
Good built in image editing
Great ez mode and manual mode for focus and exposure
Larger sensor than phone cameras
The standard feature set on current pocket cameras (face recog etc..)
Some new innovative features that separate it from camera phones
$299 price point.

The Galaxy S4 is at $139 with contract. I expect it to be free or $49 on black friday and during Christmas. Pocket cameras need low price and set apart features or it will disappear just like M4/3

Here is an idea, on the LX5, there is a lens bump, how about a removable lens that retracts into the camera, so you switch lens and still be pocket able.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (8 months ago)

I really wish that Nokia would rather have a bigger hump and use that 1" size
Nokia 808 had 1/1.2" and hump was not that big
I do understand that OIS forced Nokia to shrink to 1/1.5"
but I'd rather see 1" and maybe an optional zoom lens on top of that
2014 ?
Hmmm.Pelican Images and 4x4 lens system with 1/4" => 1" total
but with each camera having a smaller lens => flat 1" 'lens' => OIS
Think about 1/4" in 2Mpx Full HD vs 1/2.3" 8Mpx (UHD)
It might work well as a phone camera!

0 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (8 months ago)

Pop quiz:

Why is the 1979, 35mm film, pocket-able, Olympus XA "full-frame" camera, and its lens, sporting a total depth of 13.9 mm THINNER; than the new Fuji X100S, also with it's fixed lens, of (equivalent) focal length?

How much smaller, could the XA, 35mm, f/2.8 lens be; if it only needed to cover the APS-C sensor area of the X100S, instead of full frame?

Also, given a normal, equivalent, focal length (crop on APS-C) of the same, (not hardly protruding) XA type lens (same size, truly pocket-able, depth), then how would thinner, and a often preferable normal focal length (feet wide, feet tele) not be better?

This is partly achieved by a fixed prime. Smaller, and better optimized, is that built in advantage.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (8 months ago)

...However, could we not optimize a smaller, and removable mount for the normal focal (or the equivalent normal, 35mm focal; if not FF), and such; that it could also mount, at least, an acceptable, smallish, fast, portrait, moderate telephoto length prime? 85mm eqiv? Such as a little 55mm prime, on APS-C? What better two lens system, than that? This narrow flange-back, EVF- rangefinder, would also allow for inexpensive adapters for old, manual focus lenses.

1 upvote
Neodp
By Neodp (8 months ago)

Can we optimize a smaller, removable mount for the equivalent normal, 35mm focal; that it could also mount, at least, an acceptable, smallish, fast, portrait, moderate, telephoto length prime? 85mm eqiv? Such as a little 55mm f/1.8 prime, on APS-C? What better two lens (SMALL) system, than that? This narrow flange-back, EVF, rangefinder, would also allow for inexpensive adapters; for old, manual focus lenses.

Fixed, may be better (including cost), and due to some design restrictions; but a new, and optimized mount, just covering (optimized for) the 35mm(and or 23mm), and 55mm focal lengths (on APS-C, state of the art sensors) could be a very viable 2nd preference choice. The challenge would be making a mount that did not add any depth, over the fixed lens solution. While this would put limits on ultra wide, and ultra tele system lens fittings, who cares? What couldn't we do, with a normal, and a portrait primes, and use a sweep panorama, for the occasional wide shot?

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Neodp
By Neodp (8 months ago)

Given this would be a higher working Mpx, micro APS-C system, you would have a greater crop-ability, across the better sensor, to affect better landscapes, and tele-photo equivalent center crops, as well.

Here we have not compromised either the sensor (much, and APS-C can be clean to ISO 3200 today) and neither have we compromised superior (prime) lens qualities (first, and paramount). We are simply using other cameras, for the not, as needed, extreme wide angles, or extreme telephoto. All in a pocket-able size (with the 35mm lens). Plus, we can still sweep pano, and crop-out more, for telephoto reach; when we can't just use our feet.

How is this not, the best of all worlds, and balanced? This must include a lower price, and which it's prime lens design, and the fixed (normal focal) version, also allows.

The same idea could be full-frame, and still fit right into your pocket. APS-C is just smaller, cheaper, and yet, still showing good(ish) sensor.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

The simple answer is that with flat sensors made of silicon and micro wires, the light needs to hit the sensor nearly straight on to be most effective. This affine lighting requirement is nowhere near as important with photo film.

This is the reason that vignetting is more of a problem with FF DLSRs than with FF film SLRs using the exact same lenses.

Olympus redid its lens designs so the light hits the sensors at 90 degrees to the plane. Panasonic may have done a bit of this too. Also Leica with the S2 system. Leica uses a curved microlens array in the M9 to compensate for this problem. I believe Leica is the only company to do this for cameras that can take legacy lenses. It started with the M8.

0 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (8 months ago)

Interesting.

Wouldn't a fixed lens design (lower costs and optimized) be able to use a curved microlens array? Custom to it's fix prime? Conceding, down to an APS-C, at this point in time (the current sensitivity), wouldn't that be less of an issue, as a crop of the FF. Like the X100S; but smaller(depth).
Therefore, on several counts, the lens could be smaller. Smaller than on the XA, and barley a hump, of a lens, and a real, pocket sized camera.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
clicstudio
By clicstudio (8 months ago)

I love going to Live Rock concerts.
I am extremely happy with my canon Powershot sx280 hs
http://m.dpreview.com/products/canon/compacts/canon_sx280hs
Sometimes I am close to the stage and sometimes I'm not that lucky.
The 20x zoom and the very usable ISO 3200 on this camera lets me capture amazing photos which I can instantly transfer to my iPhone 5 and upload to Facebook thanks to the built wi-fi.
All of this for $299. An entry level DSLR with a 28-500 lens would be huge and over $1000 and would probably give me just a little better quality.
I own a canon 1D X but of course I can't put it in my pocket.
Sensor size is important, only if you are going to need it for printing.
Most pocket cameras are more than sufficient for anything. And convenient too.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

Okay, that's impressive for a small camera, though given that the maximum ISO is 6400 and this is a jpeg only camera, I'm betting (don't have samples) that those ISO 3200 pics are noisy and lack dynamic range.

I suspect the only useable through ISO 1600 Panasonic LX7 or the Sony RX100 would be better--both have larger sensors than the Canon and shoot raw.

There's more to taking pictures (including pictures of rock concerts) than posting to FBook. And the Aptina guy's point remains incredibly valid.

0 upvotes
MarsObserver
By MarsObserver (8 months ago)

Here are some sample concert photos taken with the Nikon1 V1 (1" type sensor):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mars_observer/9415621872/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mars_observer/9405874505/

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (8 months ago)

"very usable ISO 3200" - let me guess - Canon employee? Cause noone reasonable would say such thing.

1 upvote
atlien991
By atlien991 (8 months ago)

I must agree with Plastek's remark on ISO 3200 via the Powershot. Only to simply say I grabbed the image. Nothing more.

0 upvotes
julio2013dp
By julio2013dp (8 months ago)

Desde a época do filme, sabemos que quanto maior o filme maior a qualidade de imagem, portanto isso não seria tão diferente com imagem digital. Até que se prove contrario, os programas (softwares) ajudaram muito para a melhoria da imagem digital. Sendo assim as objetivas não precisam ser diferentes em tamanho, mas aperfeiçoadas nos elementos (lentes) e aperfeiçoar o próprio sensor. Logicamente que a quantidade de pixel é totalmente importante. Agora uma coisa nova que os sensores menores nos mostraram, é que com eles conseguimos melhor profundidade de campo. Assim sendo espero que os sensores melhorem e as objetivas também, pois para o fotografo profissional a qualidade não têm fim.

0 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (8 months ago)

Well, bigger film does help; and so does bigger sensors, with today’s technology. However, photo cells are not a film emulsion, and the two do not always follow.

I like that you may be saying, and that's smaller sensors need to improve. they used to say physics will stop us; but we proved that wrong (hello OM-D). We worked around them. But this is progressing far to slowly, and we have to somewhat deal with current reality/technology limits.

It's not anti-progressive to say, we are not even putting together what has been developed, and proved, today. Why? Because they are only hinting at a benefit balance, in $5000 cameras. The price, and the weight is not part of that good balance.

Once again, we are doing the same thing over again, and expecting a change. Once you leave out one, or so foundational balances, that whole camera is sorely wanting. It's blindsides; in cameras, of all things. Where's the vision?

B A L A N C E. That's excellence; not unattainable perfection.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (8 months ago)

Everyone should know by now, "ultra" telephoto comes at to high a price (for your main camera). Either it's too big to carry, or causes sensor quality "shrinkage". (Isn't this why we don't take steroids? LOL).

ENLARGE your pixel. ;) Do you really want "shrinkage"?

Also, while more (MEGA) pixels can be good, and mainly for landscapes, and those micro details, to many of those pixels, per a given sensor size, and it's very bad. It's common knowledge today; that camera makers stuffed-in to many, to soon, on the smaller sensors. Low light matters. Shadows count. You know?

Now, with digital, we get a clean-ish ISO 800; but that was then, and it's ISO 3200, that needs to clean-up its act, today. Really clean. Not just less bad.

The real benefits is not just low noise; but better dynamic range (less blown highlights, and shadow details), better color tone sensitivity (looks), and so overall a better look. It's all about image quality, carry weight/size, various speeds, and value.

Comment edited 6 times, last edit 15 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (8 months ago)

The RX1 with a huge 24x36mm sensor is a fabulous camera for sure and is $2800. But, the sensor is SO big, that the lens is large. That's why they do not make it with a zoom lens: the camera/lens combination would be too large/heavy and expensive. That would make the camera unattractive to most buyers. I don't think we need sensors this large in a camera with integral lens.

I am testing the 20.2 megapixel Sony RX 100 II now, and it uses a moderately large 1" sensor: 13.2x8.8mm. So even with a zoom lens, it is not a large/hefty package and it's relatively affordable ($750) . I am impressed with the image quality! The pixels are moderately large. **If this were a 16 MP camera (plenty of resolution for most uses) the pixels would be even larger.***

With the current technology, the 1-inch sensor size seems like the ideal compromise in my mind.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

And when the RX100ii is fully zoomed it has a slow and not great lens. That's the trade off, the lens gets slower faster because of the larger sensor. I like larger sensors, but don't like to see them compromised. Sony is also guilty of using too many pixels.

The RX100 is an impressive camera. Hope Sony figures out that there are those who'd pay for a faster lens and fewer pixels. Nikon seems to get this with the 1 system.

Note, Olympus+Samsung+Panasonic haven't quite made this mistake yet. Those companies all have good compact cameras that have fastish lenses even when zoomed, albeit because of the somewhat smaller sensors.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (8 months ago)

You can split the difference with a G1X. Everybody hates it because it's slow but the sensor is large, the camera is reasonably small and the lens is excellent.

0 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (8 months ago)

With DXOmark's data, they scored the RX100 with a 6MP rating for resolution which is pretty good since APSC cameras with kit lens has similar performance.
If we're going with a camera that I like such as the Ricoh GR with a similar price as the RX100 II, only losing the zoom, I get better resolution (scored at 13MP), DR, and ISO performance despite using an old sensor. I could crop the image in a Ricoh GR and probably get a usable 3x or more zoom, depending on personal taste.

Despite lusting for FF gear, I reckon that it is APS has that balanced compromise in terms of a photography tool and that excludes its capability as an ILC. Acceptable Bokeh and market is for PROs and newbies at the same time.

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (8 months ago)

IMHO the perfect photo gear is something along these lines:
1" or 4/3 zoom-lens compact
APS-C prime lens compact
Full Frame or larger sensor DSLR.
That pretty-much covers everything - serious gear for serious work when you got space, and two versatile yet small and (unlike mirrorless) really portable compacts for travel photography.

I really wish though someone would start making sub-3000$ cameras with sensor that's larger than Full Frame (doesn't really have to be medium format right away - 36x36 with versatile crops (horizontal-square30x30-vertical) would do for a start)...

0 upvotes
Clint009
By Clint009 (8 months ago)

"Graphene Sensor Boosts Camera Performance"
Published June 13, 2013 | By Brian Albright
- See more at: http://www.engineeringontheedge.com/2013/06/graphene-sensor-boosts-camera-performance/#sthash.lKj7Ku0J.dpuf

"Future Cameras Could Mimic Human Eye"
Researchers Develop Curved Image Sensor
http://cameras.about.com/od/technologies/a/human_eye_camer.htm

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

that graphene link is lacking details--like the big one about how the graphene is made sensitive to light.

if, as claimed, the kept current manufacturing techniques in mind a brief summary of how it works should be there too.

graphene "trapping" light for longer doesn't explain how the signal gets to the camera's computer.

Did you read the further linked Nature Communications article? I can't without paying, or possibly being in an academic library and logging on from there.

0 upvotes
BJL
By BJL (8 months ago)

That graphene sensor story is very misleading, started by a puff piece from an ill-informed university PR office, and has been debunked many times in these forums. The actual claim is a 1000x improvement over previous _graphene_ sensors, which had pathetically low sensitivity, _not_ a comparison to current silicon sensor technology. The new sensor is not better than current sensors -- which by the way are at over 50% QE (apart from light loss to color filters, which graphene sensors would also need in order to record color) so there is very little room for further improvement in sensitivity, whatever the sensor is made of.

1 upvote
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (8 months ago)

For me, the future seems to contain a lot of smallish, big sensor cameras (FF and up), with compact lenses (an inch-thick 24-70/2.0 would suit me fine - even a prime around that length), and CX-sensored cameras with long zoom lenses (my Nikon 1 is more or less glued to my AF-S VR 70-300).

I have a FF camera, and a CX camera, and they have totally replaced my DX/APS-C cameras (I have a few), and that's not their fault. All brilliant in their own way, and their own time. One was famous as video camera, one had the best dynamic range among APS-Cs, and a very friendly price as well!

Less than three years on, and they are relics of a gone era! No matter that they were ground-breaking then!

I do get far more out of the FF and the CX, as both have better AF, faster startup, and quicker/quieter shutters. In short: Much fewer missed shots! And that is important to me.

0 upvotes
BJL
By BJL (8 months ago)

How do you make that lens, one stop faster than any current 24-70mm zoom, "compact"? New sensor technology does nothing to reduce the sizes of the lenses needed with larger formats to get even a modest amount of telephoto reach, which is why all the compact digital cameras with larger sensors are limited to rather short focal lengths.

There were compact 35mm film cameras reaching focal lengths like 70mm to 100mm, but they kept the lens compact by having very small front elements inside telescoping designs, and so high minimum f-stop towards the long end, so that ISO 400 or 800 film became the standard for them. That was OK with film because 35mm film and processing was as cheap as smaller film formats (print costs dominated over film and development), but doing that with an expensive 35mm format sensor cancels out the low-light and shallow DOF advantage over using a smaller format with a shorter but brighter (lower minimum f-stop) lens and inherently less expensive sensor.

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (8 months ago)

The current pixel size is what determines the possible sensor size. But the history teaches us that soon someone will come up with new technology which works entirely different, and then all the discussions like this end.
Maybe the progress is in ultra-miniaturization, and pixels get incredibly small, work on lower voltage, become impervious to noise, etc...
And maybe the image acquisition itself will not require singular electric receptors at all, and will use some new principle, like EM field or LC charge readout?
Remember the internal combustion engines, and how everyone knew all there is to it? And then someone comes up with Wankel.
Remember the magnetic memory cores of the first computers? See what happened to those in the short timespan.
Inevitably, also the camera basics and things we know will become obsolete.
We already know there are more ways to bend the light than through the glass of off the mirrors. It's only the industry politics that pace the progress.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
JordanAT
By JordanAT (8 months ago)

"But the history teaches us that soon someone will come up with new technology which works entirely different, and then all the discussions like this end."

Except that you're still counting photons. Given that breakthroughs tend to ripple through the market and get adopted by all players, sensor size will still always matter. Wankel engines, as a case in point, are incredibly efficient per pound of engine, but inefficient in fuel consumption. In that case you're still fighting against the hard limit of Carnot efficiency.

Absolute sensor size may not stay the same, but relative size will still make a difference when comparing similar light-gathering technology.

3 upvotes
Clint009
By Clint009 (8 months ago)

@OldArrow, I agree. the new techno is moving fast and the competition is huge and ferocious.
By the way, Mazda is looking to improve the Wankel Motor. (of course with new technologies. :) )

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

sensor size doesn't mean much but pixel size will go infinitely small, a small fraction of wavelength of light. in ideal each pixel catches only one photon, measures its color, and reports as a 2 bit number (none, R, G, B). the number of pixels may be > 2.5e+12, or < 0.02um pitch for 35mm format, and this is about the finest silver halide grain that I know of.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (8 months ago)

@Clint009 ... One advancement to Wankel has been done by Mazda already, the gaskets were removed and the lubrication was achieved by adequate metal pairing (e.g., like steel and brass self-lubricating action). This removed the main inefficiencies in fuel consumption. But it also showed something else: simplifying things regularly proves to be an advancement in itself.
It is sure to happen with cameras as well. Digital technology has already removed the basic "- obscura" (dark) from the principle, and soon the "camera -" (room, box, container) will also go. But this, I presume, will happen because of some radically new approach to light-registering principle.
What's really frightening is, I may even be around when it happens... these things happen in giant steps. Let's hope... :)

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

OldArrow--

Has Mazada announced a car with that modified Wankle? And I read a Wankle article several years ago that talked about the metal pairing you're described.

For available tech, the Chevy Volt is the most promising for efficiency. BMW is about to ship the i3s which can beset up to to run in a similar fashion.

(No hybrids like the Prius or Insight aren't particularly efficient at highway speeds.)

Then there are things not generally available, like the very efficient engine running from a cylinder in a continuous loop--like a torus. That's been well demonstrated.

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (8 months ago)

I think the change happened right after Mazda took the engine from NSU (RO-80, if I remember exactly), and I presume that the further modifications were the results of superior building technology (CAD-CAM), and also measurements which optimized the relations.
In the meantime I've heard about ship engines that employ the principle, but no more revolutionary news... except some rumors of ceramic versions.
As related to cameras... every time something saturates the market, a new thing appears. It's IMHO more the urge to sell, and not necessarily to give the folks something radically better.
Applying, say, Origami optics, could make a camera in the credit card volume... the question is, woud it do what the camera does good enough to sell.
The solar cells were once large, heavy glassware... nowadays it is a printed plastic sheet, to be cut and plied as one wants...
In short, quien sabe? ;)

1 upvote
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (8 months ago)

< 0.02um pitch
doesn't work...think about it...compare to light "size"

0 upvotes
sportyaccordy
By sportyaccordy (8 months ago)

I think a fixed lens APS-C would be fine. Camera phones have been doing well with a ~35mm equivalent FL for years now. Likewise general purpose film cameras made do with similar FLs. I don't think it's reasonable to demand that a cameraphone have the versatility of a DSLR with 30-40 years of glass. It would be better to address cameraphone's weaknesses in the context of their general audience & purpose than to make them something they're not. Make the lens fast for more dramatic portraits and low light shooting; trade resolution for sensitivity (both in color depth and high ISO performance); it will be perfect. Folks who need to do shooting of the moon and birds can make do with DSLRs.

0 upvotes
Ishatix
By Ishatix (8 months ago)

"Make do"??? I'm guessing you don't count yourself among such folk. As Mr. Barna quite rightly points out in the above; "DSLRs aren't for everybody and they're not always convenient."

I've been waiting a long time for a reasonably compact camera with a sensor size >1/2.3" and the sort of zoom range you could get on the first compact travel zooms (~10x). I think there is a lot of latent demand for a broadly useful and convenient camera with better IQ than the current crop of compact super zooms which appear to consider IQ as their very lowest priority.

1 upvote
tecnoworld
By tecnoworld (8 months ago)

a clarity+ sensor aps-c sized could be very interesting indeed.

1 upvote
john reiff williams
By john reiff williams (8 months ago)

Glad you mentioned the RX-1R Neodp, The reason to spend the money, beside sensor size is the bit depth. A bit depth of 12 isn't going to cut it, hence that is why the Sony Nex or the Hasselblad version of the 7 contain only 1/4 the native color information of the RX-1(R) (14). If you push images pretty hard in PS or the compositing vein, more native color info means less potential color banding. Lessening amount of Interpolative color info is at least as important as sensor size. So Dear Mr Barna, please add this into your equation for better image quality, as in theory it fits into your formula although it isn't expressed and DPreview needs to include the bit depth info into the standard line item details about every camera they post. Having to call the manufacturer for this info is kind of pathetic and most of the time these folks haven't a clue what i am talking about and before you know it you have a case number. Don't need to go there, Do you?
Peace, John

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

an ideal sensor may have a bit depth of 2.

0 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (8 months ago)

Full frame ("35mm") sensors, itty-bitty living space. Example, the Sony RX1(-R).

A. Make it with a (less flange back) fixed lens (f/2 or better), covering full frame, smaller(less protruding) total camera size. The ole' Oly, film XA has that; now didn't it? The XA lens (f/2.8) is an stellar example, of a 35mm (focal) lens, and that, was a tiny bump/hump! It was a, really, and truly, a pocket-able, full-frame camera! Not, just called pocket-able. It's only criticism was minor barrel distortion, and we can correct that, in the camera processing (or in post, automatically), now can't we? For proof: See MFT lenses, with barrel, or pincushion, auto-correct; etc...

B. Make another version, with a mount for pancakes (and a great pancake), and also a, "modest", 135mm (actual) telephoto, for special carry occasions. Sell them together (body, pancake normal, and tele lens), for under $500, for those who want that flexibility.

1 upvote
Neodp
By Neodp (8 months ago)

You could also make a version(s), with a left swing articulating screen, and one without, just for a thinner body. That's an easy two choice preference, that all designers should be doing. That's four cameras(option/idea), and certainly not, out of the question; considering the market, camera sales numbers. Personally, I would buy the fixed screen, fixed lens, smallest one, and do telephoto(over-rated), with another camera.

Now, if you got the one with normal, and tele primes (f/2 both); what couldn't you do with those? Plus, while it's not ideal, or better quality, one could use a cheap wide angle, or tele converter, for rare occasions. Wide angle, and ultra tele addicts would have other options, and not infect the core focal ranges. It's too much; to try to add utlra wide, or ultra tele, in the same core camera. That's where the second/third camera is best separated.

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Neodp
By Neodp (8 months ago)

...This way, a separate(specialty) ultra-tele cam, could (SHOULD) use MFT crop sensors/lens, and a special ultra wide-angle, could use medium format, sized sensors(or full frame).

That way, the 3 separate, ultra wide cams, core range cams, and also the separate ultra-tele cams would have a far better, "sensor to lens", matching. Including using (lower cost, lower weight, faster speed) primes, like f/2, f/1.8?, and even fixed lens, instead of system lenses, to save size, and AF mismatches. They'd be far better optimized, and this would do what desperately needs to be done. The combo, of better sensor, *and* better lens IQ performance.

1 upvote
Neodp
By Neodp (8 months ago)

I can not edit now; to add...

Clarification: The SONY RX1 is of course unfinished, and WAY overpriced. It's just serves; as an indisputable example of full frame, smaller camera, actually produced, reality.

1 upvote
Neodp
By Neodp (8 months ago)

Of course, if any other major balance is overlooked, that affects the goodness, of any other wonderful benefit. That, right there, is what we are missing; the most. Balance what we have already attained. Those are not fiction, and those are not breaking, any "laws of physics"! Let's it step up.

A camera is about balance; the total, benefits, balance. Not price-tier limits. Not, "good enough", theories, and this applies equally to $100 cameras; just as well as it does to $1000 sets. Rather, at least it should.

You see, if you have a camera with 10 balanced, wonderful, new combined benefits, and yet just one other aspects is sorely lacking, then all the other (major) benefits get nullified. It doesn't matter how people do differ, on some preferences(that's fine), the core benefits simply have to be there. It's not phones, that's the competition, it's better cameras! Even a novice can see the IQ, and notice the usage experience. Therefore, this includes all buyers, and all cameras.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Keith Harrison
By Keith Harrison (8 months ago)

In reality photos are either posted low quality to social site or printed postcard size. Unless you are printing or displaying high quality the size of the sensor is not relevant. 90% of people are happy with happy snaps.

3 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

Better lowlight performance matters even for posting to FBook. And even a decent sized monitor will show all sorts of colour and noise problems in a photo from a smartphone in all but bright daylight. So you have a very limited point which has a big lowlight hole in it. Skipped the raw thing too.

Look in the days of film developed at the 1hour place, most prints were never bigger than 4X6 and you didn't notice grain, but if you wanted an 8X12, and paid for it, then you could often start to see problems. Now in digital a way around some of these bigger print problems is to use a camera with a bigger sensor. That's the point Aptina is making here. And it's a big reason people seek out APSC and FF sensored cameras.

That these things aren't important to you is not the point. In other news MP3s don't sound very good, WAV files sound much better and records in decent condition sound richer than both.

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

watch on a 4K TV larger than 52" in livingroom.
a 8K (33MP) one 7 years later around 2020,
maybe a 16K (133MP) one some years after that.

so if you take photos of your kids and want to show at their wedding, D800 is the only choice at the moment.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (8 months ago)

It's a myth, that downsizing (different cameras) affects the same, lower resolution quality. It doesn't. Better quality survives it. Such as better DR, color sensitivity, and most, better, lens attributes. Not to mention various taking speeds(lens, AF, drive), that can effect shots you never got.

Also, the best might be better, as time goes by(and it might not), but is a far overpriced, non-value. That's another balance, that we must strike. An anything goes price, isn't the answer. Simply because, the most expensive, comes with stark cons; beside the cost. It's a myth; that inexpensive cameras can't be balanced, and do generally, very well. Manufactures just aren't motivated to make better, low cost cameras. People still think cash, makes them good photographers. Really, that's up to your choices. You need to think about how you can send them, the best, effective message. Vote with your wallet. That includes keeping it closed to BS. No acquisition syndrome!

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Neodp
By Neodp (8 months ago)

A camera (system) does not consist of what you do and don't understand, about photography. It about more than the specs.

That necessitates my saying, while is mainly your brain, its a myth that the box doesn't matter. It's both. Both. The camera does matter. As does your personal preference. Yet, varying opinions, does not change the basic, universal, combined, real world, core benefits; that a modern camera absolutely requires. Otherwise, it's unbalanced, and good for nothing (much).

1 upvote
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (8 months ago)

Nikon D800(A)
and maybe Lumia 1020 as a snapper?

1 upvote
ChrisKramer1
By ChrisKramer1 (8 months ago)

But the future is here already: Sony NEX series!

0 upvotes
Caleido
By Caleido (8 months ago)

Never heard of that smartphone.

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

I think both EF-M and NEX will have future.
but not now. at present m4/3" is the best,
but I don't think it will have future.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Photato
By Photato (8 months ago)

More Pixels=More Resolution.
Larger Pixels=More Sensitivity and Color accuracy.
Larger Sensor Area=allows to fit Bigger Pixels and More of them.

Additional benefits of Larger Sensors is relation to Optics= Better Micro-Contrast and Better DOF control.

Thats all in a nut shell.

More than 5 Megapixels is overkill for mobile devices, if not most of consumer applications. Better sensitivity is needed though (aka larger pixels)

4K video is a joke, a marketing push for TV sales, but perhaps needed for digital cinema with big theater size screens and big budget productions.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

more pixels means more resolution,
others are not relevant.

the bottomline is human vision.
no camera is overkill
before they can beat the eyes of young adults.

0 upvotes
BJL
By BJL (8 months ago)

How many times does this need to be said:
- increased low-light sensitivity (also) requires a larger _lens_, with larger front elements to get a large effective aperture diameter, while
- to keep a camera compact, larger, heavier lens elements are not really an option.

Just putting a larger sensor in front of a lens that is no larger gains nothing in sensitivity, because the longer focal length used to cover the same FOV means that the minimum f-stop is higher (f-stop = effective aperture diameter divided by focal length), balancing out the higher usable ISO speed.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

@BJL:

Quote: “Just putting a larger sensor in front of a lens that is no[t] larger gains nothing in sensitivity,” do you mean that of course the lenses need to be able to get light to the whole sensor? No argument there.

But you seem to have said that there’s no advantage in lowlight when using a slow lens with a bigger sensor. When of course there is, just not as much as there’d be with a faster lens. So in fact bigger sensors, as long as light gets to the whole sensor, are in fact better in low light than smaller sensors, and this is true at any aperture. A faster lens allows for lower ISO settings or higher shutter speed settings.

Remember as a general rule bigger sensors mean that there are bigger photon receptors on the sensor. That's the reason that as general rule bigger sensors are better in lowlight. It's also the reason bigger sensors generally have better dynamic range.

Example below:

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

BJL:

E.g, the Samsung NX system has a very good small slow 20mm-50mm kit zoom, which is plenty good in lowlight because the sensors are good in low light, but then Samsung has the even better in lowlight 30mm F2.0 lens, but the only reason the 30mm is better is that it can use a bigger aperture, set at similar apertures both still work well in lowlight.

Aptina makes the sensors for the Nikon 1 system, and that system is better in low light than the Sony RX100 even though the Sony has a sensor about the same size. And the reason is the larger photo receptors in the Nikon system.

5 upvotes
BJL
By BJL (8 months ago)

@howaboutRAW: yes I am saying that increasing sensor size with lenses of the same maximum effective aperture diameter does not improve performance at equal shutter speed in equal light, because the higher minimum f-stop forces the ISO speed to be increased enough to cancel the advantage seen in comparisons at equal ISO sped: the photons gathered per unit time stays the same.

I do not understand the relevance of comparing two sensors of different brands and designs at the same size, since the subject here is sensor size. It seems you are making the usual mistake of comparing at 100% pixels or looking at per pixel noise measurements, so that the image from the sensor of lower resolution (bigger pixels) is effectively being viewed at lower magnification, making noise less visible. Compare at equal displayed image sizes to see the real story.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

@BJL:

I pointed out that the greater pixel density of the Sony RX100 reduces it’s usefulness at higher ISOs. The RX100 has a sensor of basically the same size as the Nikon 1 system.

At first you appear to be agreeing with me, but then seem to miss the general rule that bigger sensors have bigger pixels (there are of course exceptions) and do better in lowlight no matter the aperture, provided of course that the lens distributes the light correctly. I almost never do pixel density math nor really ever look at DXO sensor scores.

I’ll repeat this again in somewhat different terms. Take the 20-50 Samsung NX lens set at it’s smallest aperture zoomed to 30mm, then take the Samsung 30mm and set it at the same aperture. Take lowlight photos with both lenses on the same NX camera, at the same ISO and shutter speed and there will be next to no IQ difference. However both will have much better IQ than a small sensored compact camera shooting at similar settings.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

an imaging sensor have zero capability to gather light.
though it does have some capability to waste light.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
BJL
By BJL (8 months ago)

@HowaboutRAW, let me explain one more time.
We agree that larger photo-sites give better SNR _per pixel_ at _equal ISO speed_, but

1) with equal sized sensors, downsizng the image from a higher resolution sensor to that of the lower resolution sensor improves the per pixel SNR due to the mathematics of noise averaging, roughly cancelling out the difference in visible noise levels. Even printing at the same size and so at higher PPI from the higher resolution sensor reduces its visible noise level. That is why comparisons at equal print size or equal size on-screen are far more relevant.

2) if the larger sensor is limited to a lens of the same (front element) size and same FOV, it will have a -higher minimum f-stop_, so a higher ISO speed is needed for equal shutter speed. Your replies repeatedly ignore this, as if you are comparing always at equal ISO speed, which is not relevant in this "equal total camera size" comparison.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Neodp
By Neodp (8 months ago)

This can go on forever, and there's good points, and preferences. However, we greatly underestimate what we are letting the manufactures get away with; when we pay more, for less(or even far more, for not much more).

Step back, and communicate to the manufactures, that we expect these good balances to be stuck; at much lower costs. It's not like they are getting profit crunched. At this point, it's more akin to highway robbery. Why? Because we pay it. Slow down. Enjoy taking; more than paying. Expensive is not better photography. I know, more buys more; but it's out-of-whack. Exercise your prerogative, as a collective buyer, to affect prices. Be more patient. Cameras are not crack. LOL! Though, I freely admit; my own lust for them. I just don't call that, a good thing.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

BJL:

Quote: “2) if the larger sensor is limited to a lens of the same (front element) size and same FOV, it will have a -higher minimum f-stop_, so a higher ISO speed is needed”

Right that’s where you already agreed with me.

Point 1, however, is nowhere near a rule to live by, that downsizing trick does not always reduce noise and does absolutely nothing to improve colour. What can reduce noise is printing beyond 300 dots per inch (or the equivalent in dots per cm) so that’s downsizing at the printer. As a general rule it is better to start with the lower noise lower pixel density sensor and work from there, provided high resolution is not needed for some other reason. This is one of the reasons for higher image quality (starting with a good lens) at high ISOs from the Nikon 4 than from the Nikon D800. And many would argue that the Nikon D3s beats the D.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

I think 1" sensor maybe a good answer to 8K video with superzoom lenses like 30x, 60x, or 120x ones. the real resolution at 20MP level (consumer lens + single sensor) should be good enough for home and higher quality lens + 3-sensor cameras for professional/broadcasting.

most people won't need still if they have 8K video.

1 upvote
Amamba
By Amamba (8 months ago)

I think in a long term - which may not be all that long - we are going to see wearable multitask computing with flexible screens, perhaps implanted computers (there already was an article on "computing skin"), integrated cameras with low light capability exceeding modern DSLR, and software based lens effects like bokeh. Heck, even mind control of computers is already a reality, at least in the lab. At that time, a proper camera will become a relatively rare, pro's tool. If you look at where we were just 20-30 years ago, this may not be a distant future.

Now, though, a lot of things will have to happen until phones can take over my camera.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

one day NSA will put a chip in head of each of us running Windows 13 and Google Friday.

1 upvote
JEROME NOLAS
By JEROME NOLAS (8 months ago)

Aptina=Nikon1, hardly a good deal....try harder Aptina, we need sensors with GREAT dynamic range!!!

3 upvotes
MasterOfGoingFaster
By MasterOfGoingFaster (8 months ago)

I suspect you don't own a Nikon 1. I have a V1 and despite several limitations (most dictated by physics) I find it a very enjoyable camera to shoot.

If I need lots of pixels and/or dynamic range, I'll use a Nikon D800. But when size and weight matter more, the V1 really delivers. Frankly, I expected it get a lot of shelf time, but now carry it almost everywhere. It fills a need.

6 upvotes
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (8 months ago)

I've had my V1 for over a year now, and it has made me abandon APS-C cameras totally! Instead I complemented the V1 with a D600, sharing a lot of lenses, in the process.

My D3200, NEX-5N, K-5, & K-x have all found new homes, or been buried deep. All excellent cameras, each in its own way, but the D600 takes care of the wide shots, while the rest is up to the V1, which it does excellently!

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (8 months ago)

Guess you never needed a DSLR if V1 is good enough for you.

0 upvotes
Kirppu
By Kirppu (8 months ago)

Well this summarises the situtation in my opinion:
-phones integrated camera quality is only get better (of course)
--phones are always there in your pocket or purse
--There is no hasle with moving pictures to computer first

-Dedicated camera offers better shooting experience and ergonimics for users
-Sensor size is gonne be bigger than phones camera sensor
--(if no manufacturer isn't stupid enough to make ICL phone with large sensor or camera with full smart phone experience. Then were a not talking bout "mobile phone anymore :)
-Net connectivity of cameras have get and will get betters because people has the need to share their every day moments in 'peeping' media.
-And of course cheap small sensor camera market is fading as Sandor said "Smartphones are getting better and your snapshot ability now matches your camera's,'"

1 upvote
TrapperJohn
By TrapperJohn (8 months ago)

He is correct in that larger than cell phone sensor does make a noticable difference in the quality of the result. Whether that extends to a 24x36 sensor, and the correspondingly large lenses, is a matter of some debate.

I see the cell phone cam as positive news. It has killed the P&S for sure, but it will introduce a lot of people to photography who might not otherwise have bothered, simply because it's there and convenient. Those that do acquire the interest will want something better, so in the end we may see an increased interest in enthusiast cameras. How that will play out is another matter entirely.

0 upvotes
RRJackson
By RRJackson (8 months ago)

Pixel density will drive things towards larger sensors. The D800 is already up above 36 megapixels. Even with a 135 sensor you're still working the glass pretty hard at resolutions like that. Stepping up to 645 will add a decade to the high end. It's been kind of a slog to get there because it's been really hard to make larger sensors, but things keep moving along.

Mitchell Feinberg had a 10 megapixel 8" x 10" back built to replace the Polaroids he used to shoot when setting up. In time I think we'll see large format backs that don't have to rely on scanning. Of course, sensors aren't flat like film so there may be severe limits to the range of the movements.

Personally, I'm still waiting for a digital 6x9 folder that doesn't weigh any more than the pocketable beasties of days gone by. Hopefully I'll still have some of my vision left by the time they roll out. ;-)

1 upvote
Tom May
By Tom May (8 months ago)

There are already surveillance imagers that are pushing gigapixels albeit not single die. But single die, large format imagers will happen, eventually, if history is any indication. Curious if latency issues with imagers that large might mean a matrix of A/D convertors on a substrate layer to boost fps.

http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/28/darpa-builds-a-1-8-gigapixel-camera-that-can-spot-six-inch-targets-from-20000-feet/

1 upvote
mathew crow
By mathew crow (8 months ago)

News of the obvious. Consumers in general are sheep; they'll buy whatever the marketing dept tells them too.

8 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (8 months ago)

It's not like he was not going to say : "that thing we make is a bad choice ..."

0 upvotes
iShootWideOpen
By iShootWideOpen (8 months ago)

The 1" Aptina in my Nikon V1 was not very impressive. I know it's only 1" but the Sony RX100 has done a better job with the same size sensor.

2 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

In terms of pure IQ and DR, the Sony sensor is better. In terms of PDAF on sensor which give the V1 class leading AF performance, and the ability move data extremely quickly resulting in 60 fps, the Aptina sensor is much more impressive and innovative.

3 upvotes
AnHund
By AnHund (8 months ago)

Having owned both I like the V1/J1 output better than the RX100. The Nikon 1 is also a system camera with much better lenses available than the the fixed lens on the RX100.

2 upvotes
aris14
By aris14 (8 months ago)

We need cheaper equipment of top quality.
That said IMO right now is the 4/3 format that allows us to have top IQ and glasses with reasonable cost. I think that current technology suggests that today we can have at least equal with top 24 x 36 mm sensors a couple of years ago.
The 24 x 36 sensors may remain for special projects and demands along with larger ones.
In less than 5-6 years a sensor of let's say 12 x 18 should deliver the same IQ in every aspect with today's top guns...
The rest is marketing...

3 upvotes
sfphotoarts
By sfphotoarts (8 months ago)

"The rest is marketing..."

This so naive. And you obviously have no clue about sensors. The size of the sensor effects many things, from depth of field, to tonal range, to low light sensitivity to resolution. I'm sure in 5 years a 12x18mm sensor will look just fine, but it wont come close to a "full frame" sensor (which in itself is tiny)

2 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (8 months ago)

You don't seem to understand the laws of physics involved. The current m4/3 sensors won't deliver the same SNR as the current FF sensors no matter how many years you're going to wait. With current QE there is little room for improvement left. SNR is lens limited, and since there are practical limits on lens construction the only way of increasing IQ is transitioning to larger sensors. Here is a simple math for equivalent systems: it's easy to make a good quality FF 50mm f/1.4, it's hard to make APS-C 35mm f/1.0, it's probably impossible to make m4/3 25mm f/0.7, it's definitely impossible to make a compact P&S with 10mm f/0.28. And that's only one factor - noise, but there is also resolution, manufacturing tolerances, cost of production, etc. -- all that in favor of larger sensors.

5 upvotes
aris14
By aris14 (8 months ago)

The main problem with sensors is temperature and only temperature. The technology to reduce noise (mainly produced because of temperature) is rather accessible yet some expensive. I didn't say that bigger formats are/will be obsolete. I am saying that at least the 90% of pictures taken for any reason can be taken with cams which have to be affordable and offering more than satisfying IQ to the 99% of users.
I am not referring to special projects for which, we have to admit it, only a bunch of pro photographers can deliver.
After all photography is something you see in printed form.
Something we usually overlook.

0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (8 months ago)

You forget about photonic shot noise, which is a property of the light, and thus completely independent of the temperature of the sensor.

2 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (8 months ago)

It is down to marketing.
'Better' technology has rarely won.

Better/Clever marketing combined with convenience wins practically all of the time.

It's why we've got iPods with crappy audio instead of bit perfect reproductions of music.
It's why we've got mp3 instead of FLAC
It's why the world has accepted jpegs as an image standard at all.

It's why many people rely on their mobile phones for pictures.

0 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (8 months ago)

That's been mentioned many times on the forums that the only game left to increase IQ is increasing sensor size, and given time, the FF prices will go down and virtually all compact cameras will be FF.
For some reason this simple fact provokes knee jerk reaction from people with small sensors. Must be a Napoleon complex.

2 upvotes
BJL
By BJL (8 months ago)

The massive shift from compacts to phones shows that the mainstream compact users are mostly satisfied with the IQ they are getting, and want it in ever smaller cameras, which for one thing means smaller focal lengths, and thus smaller sensors and pixels to get adequate telephoto reach.

3 upvotes
ptox
By ptox (8 months ago)

You must really value your own opinion, since you post this one in pretty much every forum and/or news item on this site.

The capabilities of all sensor sizes 4/3 and up are *already* beyond the abilities of most casual shooters to exploit. Why would they give up zoom lenses and true compactness just to acquire a sensor of arbitrary largeness that confers benefits they can't even realize?

This is an especially silly prediction when you consider that the performance of smaller sensors will continue to improve--likely to the point where compact cameras can produce images on par with today's DSLRs.

(Excepting, of course, The Most Important Feature In The Universe: the DoF control of a 35mm sensor--but no larger! No larger!)

Have you considered that the "knee jerk reactions" you provoke are more to do with your grating certitude, extreme lack of humility and penchant for tedious repetition in the face of considered arguments disputing your unrealistic fantasies?

7 upvotes
sfphotoarts
By sfphotoarts (8 months ago)

compact cameras wont all go FF because it dramatically increases the cost of lenses, this isn't something that electronic miniaturization can address.

I don't think this is any kind of knee jerk reaction at all, I just think you don't get the issue properly.

1 upvote
forpetessake
By forpetessake (8 months ago)

Wow, a new record, a kneejerk reaction in under 30 min :-)

1 upvote
forpetessake
By forpetessake (8 months ago)

@sfphotoarts: "compact cameras wont all go FF because it dramatically increases the cost of lenses"
Talk about "don't get the issue properly." The fact is, it's just the opposite. The equivalent FF lenses are cheaper and easier to manufacture to the same standards. Check how much Panasonic 12-35/2.8 cost and how much an FF equivalent 24-70/5.6 would have cost? Nobody, of course, manufacturing such FF lens, because it's of little interest to anybody using FF cameras, but maybe one day for a cheap FF compacts they will manufacture it and sell for some $100.

0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (8 months ago)

One type of compact camera that probably will live on is the travel zoom/super zoom, because it offers something that smartphones don't. Are you suggesting that those too will go full frame, and that they will still be pocketable?

0 upvotes
Dr_Jon
By Dr_Jon (8 months ago)

Actually 35mm is a good size compromise and so will keep going for some time. It does depend on how many pixels people want in their sensor (partly for crop-to-zoom, partly specmanship, partly printing large).

The bigger the sensor the more light you can collect for sensible f-stop lenses (remember a FF f2 lens collects 4x the light of a m43 f2 lens) plus, for a set number of pixels, the further you can stop down before diffraction nukes the image sharpness (diffraction depending basically just on pixel size and aperture).

If you want to shoot at f22 you don't want m43, for example. (Yes, m43 gets extra DoF at lower f-stop, but less light gathered at faster f-stop, all a trade-off.)

3 upvotes
BJL
By BJL (8 months ago)

36x24mm format is good for some high end uses like fast action (if paired with big, large aperture lenses), but is oversized, overweight, overpriced overkill for mainstream usage now that a sensor in a far smaller format can mostly outperform what with film needed 35mm format. Kits with smaller lenses and sensors are where the mainstream is and will stay.

0 upvotes
RonHendriks
By RonHendriks (8 months ago)

Could they make an APS-H sized sensor and convince Pentax that it is the right sensor!

4 upvotes
Simon Says
By Simon Says (8 months ago)

Anyone who follows the tech industry knows that history suggests that any sort of "medium", be it floppy in the very distance past, discs, CF/SD, etc. shrinks over time, while the performance of next generation but smaller medium initially doesn't perform as well, will catch up and surpass the standard of yesteryears.
(For details on this subject: check out "innovator's dilemma")

Sensor is just another example of a medium for light, and there is no exception.

We are already experiencing this trend from Medium format -> FF -> APS-C -> 3/4 -> ?

Trust me, at some point smaller sensors will be technologically advanced enough to be just as good as bigger ones of the past.

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
AmateurSnaps
By AmateurSnaps (8 months ago)

Yes obviously new small sensors will be as good as older large sensors at some point. Not certain what relevance your statement has though?

When that happens the larger sensors will be even further developed.

The best thing about sensor size at the moment is the willingness to put larger sensors in smaller cameras.

4 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (8 months ago)

It does not work that way for sensors. There are some tedious physics laws that sets limits.

But ... if you are prepared to lower your standards ... so why not smaller sensors.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

Simon:

One also has to account for lenses and depth of field issues. For the foreseeable future, there are real reasons for FF and APSC sized sensors. (There could be some radical new understanding of the science of optics, but that's not going to suddenly mean new lens tech in say 3 years, perhaps 50.)

1 upvote
Voff
By Voff (8 months ago)

For film it was the smallest format that delivered adequate results that won. I believe we will see the same for digital. If anything, better sensors will make smaller sensors more viable....

3 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (8 months ago)

Tell it to people, who build telescopes. They must be all fools and don't understand how technology works, because they are building bigger and bigger telescopes.

1 upvote
tabloid
By tabloid (8 months ago)

Problem is that a FF sensor is (i think) over twice as big as a APS-C sensor....so the FF sensor will always be better quality in all respects.(against a APS-C sensor).

2 upvotes
pavi1
By pavi1 (8 months ago)

Who told you medium format was dead? It is expensive, but certainly not dead.

7 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (8 months ago)

Medium Format is dead.

10 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

dead or not what value can medium format provide?

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

Medium format is far from dead. It may seem that way to amateurs but it's anything but dead to tons of professional photographers. For example, all the high end automobile photography seen in advertising and glossy magazines is mostly done with Phase One MF cameras and huge banks of light.

6 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

By the way, even in film days, MF was never a mainstream format that sold to millions of amateurs the way 135 did. So to conclude that MF is dead because it's not a mainstream amateur format in the digital age doesn't make a ton of sense. All of the formats above 135 have traditionally been mostly the domain of professional photographers (and small numbers of advanced or rich amateurs).

4 upvotes
Kali108
By Kali108 (8 months ago)

MF dead? Non-sense. marike6 is spot on. It's almost required in some arenas of photography. On a personal note, I'll be shooting some MF film on my RZ67 proII this weekend. Still has a "look" I love. Within a year, I'm sure I'll grab a digital back for it as well.

2 upvotes
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (8 months ago)

MF is pretty dead itused to be the work horse of pros all the way down to wedding and portrait shooters. its now only used in very high end specialized work that only makes up a tiny percetage of professional photography. its hard to see how these manufacturers are going to keep going with such a small base of customers.

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (8 months ago)

...what still makes it far from being dead. Especially when new gear for MF gets released every year. Heck: I would argue that even large format is far from death.

0 upvotes
Waterengineer
By Waterengineer (8 months ago)

If sensor size maters then why is the medium format (MF) camera industry basically dead? Why isn't there a consumer MF camera if sensor size matters?

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

Because I don't think anyone is saying 'bigger is always better, without any limit or other consideration.'

I wouldn't expect size and price to scale in a linear manner, so presumably there's some point at which the cost/capability balance tips too far in one direction. Full frame is just as much a compromise (?), balance (?) as any other format.

There are other factors, of course - look at the players involved in full frame development - large consumer companies that can apply the benefits of their full frame work down to mass-market models (and the mass market convenience up to pro level), and you can see how their products have got pretty competitive, compared to a small, pro-only niche without the luxury of those R&D budgets.

7 upvotes
EOSHD
By EOSHD (8 months ago)

Interesting comments from Aptina. Aptina's best selling CMOS is a 1" sensor, and he claims smart-phones won't go near it. Well PureView 808 already has... I believe the sensor in that is 1" and the new one in the 1020 is only slightly smaller (both made by Toshiba).

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

The 808 had a 1/1.2" sensor, so not quite 1", the 1020's is 1/1.5.

And if that sentence isn't a reason to adopt a better naming convention, I don't know what is.

14 upvotes
nikonuser72
By nikonuser72 (8 months ago)

Because manufacturers still don't have the technology to mass produce MF sensors.
Once they achieve that, they will somehow persuade you to buy one.

5 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (8 months ago)

Is the MF camera industry basically dead?

How did you work that out?

Because your neighbours' kids are not playing with them in their backyards?

3 upvotes
Kevin Purcell
By Kevin Purcell (8 months ago)

Because no one makes MF CMOS image sensors. All availible MF image sensors are CCD make with big old design rules.

The APS-C size (roughly) is the biggest sensor you can make in a single "step" (with a single masking for each later).

To make full frame you need perhaps 4 steps per sensor layer. Each of those steps has to align with the other steps to at worst tens of nanometers. Plus those steps are "vertical" so you can do whole columns in one step.

For an MF sensor (e.g. 645) you'll need at least 20 steps per layer. And you need to get them to within hundreds of nanometers over 6cm distance.

No one does it (yet). The yield will be poor with such big chips. And the price will be huge. Perhaps for astro or military/intelligence imaging.

Full frame is the new MF. APS is the new "minature".

4 upvotes
EOSHD
By EOSHD (8 months ago)

Agree the naming system is daft. They should just give the horizontal and vertical dimensions like 35x24 for full frame or just the horizontal. 35mm. Simple.

0 upvotes
Dr_Jon
By Dr_Jon (8 months ago)

It's not dead, a number of firms make good money out of it. It's just the cameras are physically too big for it to be a volume business, and as volumes go down prices go up (any low-volume car maker would be an example). This isn't an issue with 35mm sensors and down, as people have shown they are prepared to carry them around in great numbers for a number of decades. The sensor manufacturing issues could be fixed if the demand was there, but it isn't.

P.S. 35mm is 36x24, I assume a simple typo... or two... I'm not going with Horizontal tho, suddenly all sensors would be native 16:9...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

Dr_Jon:

Remember of course that the body of the Leica S2, without the extra battery pack, is smaller than that of the Nikon D4.

That's an extraordinary camera one can carry around, and it's plenty good through ISO 640. It sells out at more than 20,000usd a body. Now imagine what will happen once it's readily useable ISO 3200. This started out as a point about DSLR bodysize and went somewhere else I realize. Anyhow, there's a big reason to hope that camera gets a CMOS sensor. And it would sell out.

1 upvote
naththo
By naththo (8 months ago)

Larger sensor will gather more light and has more sensitivity to light than smaller sensor. And larger sensor is producing less noise than small sensor. And the best part is full frame 35mm DSLR will have best picture quality match up with high quality lens that will blow away smaller sensor DSLR pretty much so but it is much more expensive than the smaller sensor DSLR. The small sensor with the lens will give you cropped and multiplication which is a problem and you won't get native focal length from it. Full frame gives you native focal length to compare. Although, these are not the only one. There are another problem is the image chipset engine that has to render image to give you final image can have impact on quality of image. So every manufacturer has their own different invention of image chipset engine inside DSLR will have different kind of way it process colours, light sensitivity, noise ratio etc. DSLR will never be perfect anyway. But best stick with Bayer sensor.

1 upvote
AshMills
By AshMills (8 months ago)

Not hard to guess what format you prefer. ;-)

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

small or large, a sensor has zero capability to gather any light other than passed through a lens.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
BJL
By BJL (8 months ago)

A larger sensor behind a lens of the same aperture size and FOV gathers light at the same rate: the longer focal length means a higher minimum f-stop in the larger format.
So bigger sensors paired with bigger, heavier lenses gather light faster, but compact camera buyers are understandably moving towards smaller, lighter lenses as sensors improve, not to bigger ones, ans so mainstream compact camera formats will not get bigger.

1 upvote
BJL
By BJL (8 months ago)

A larger sensor behind a lens of the same aperture size and FOV gathers light at the same rate: the longer focal length means a higher minimum f-stop in the larger format.
So bigger sensors paired with bigger, heavier lenses gather light faster, but compact camera buyers are understandably moving towards smaller, lighter lenses as sensors improve, not to bigger ones, ans so mainstream compact camera formats will not get bigger.

0 upvotes
Northgrove
By Northgrove (8 months ago)

I think the opposite will happen. The RX100 is a good example on how even 1" sensors are now where APS-C were some years ago. Of course not when speaking shallow depth of field, but when this becomes the one feature separating the sensors, you'll likely not find people caring to pile on extra weight and size more than ever before...

I think history is a good tutor here. Just look where Hasselblad is today, designing frickin RX100's...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Clint009
By Clint009 (8 months ago)

Larger sensor for better image? I think it is a temporary good answer because sensor maker they don't know how to get better pictures the the size --- for now!
But why not having a double or tripple coating, same a with Blue Ray DVD from DVD? We could have a smaller but super picture quality from a tiny sensor.

The technologies is only warming -up for the future.

1 upvote
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (8 months ago)

With current technology, you cannot collect more light then there are photons hitting the sensor.

3 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (8 months ago)

Yep. And that problem is solved by larger sensors.
Only problem right now is that MF manufacturers don't have resources to release up-to-date MF sensors (still I have a hope that new deal between Hassel and Sony will end up with releasing modern MF CMOS sensors using best of Sony's cutting-edge technology - this would be a huge thing on a market).

1 upvote
tjbates
By tjbates (8 months ago)

Gotta laugh. Remember not that long ago when we though tiny mobile phones were cool. We've given that all up for large colour screens and terrible battery life. Are we now being told that larger sensors belong in mobile phones. Would that really work? They'll try anything to sell stuff.

1 upvote
tabloid
By tabloid (8 months ago)

Of course they will try to sell 'stuff'.....thats the nature of any business.

1 upvote
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (8 months ago)

Anyone who has used a 12 megapixel D700 knows this to be true. But how it will play out, who knows.

2 upvotes
sean000
By sean000 (8 months ago)

In other words... we can market only one technical specification number at a time to non-enthusiast consumers. After years of telling consumers that it's all about the megapixel count, we now want them to know that it's about the sensor size.

The larger issue that these companies face is that the market has reached a point when the current technology is good enough for most consumers, so it will be tougher to sell them on future upgrades. Enthusiasts will continue to get excited about what's new, but the general consumer market is much greater in number. For many of them, the image quality is already good enough... especially when you're just going to dirty it up with an Instagram filter and share it on Facebook. The biggest complaint my non-enthusiast friends have about their phones or P&S cameras is that they aren't responsive enough. They care more about getting the shot quickly (and in focus) than they care about the image quality.

5 upvotes
sean000
By sean000 (8 months ago)

The enthusiast end of the market is another matter, because know there is more to consider than just sensor size or megapixel count. Of course we know those are important factors to consider, but that there are trade-offs. We are more likely to own multiple cameras with multiple sensor sizes anyway.

The camera industry has doene well selling entry-level APS-C (and even FF) DSLR cameras to consumers, but I know a lot of people who buy them and discover that they are more camera than they wanted. They don't understand most of the features, they rarely change lenses (if ever) and they often leave the camera at home because of the size, weight, and complexity. They would be better off completely ignoring megapixels and sensor size, and focusing on getting a responsive and versatile camera that they will enjoy carrying and using.

2 upvotes
AndyGM
By AndyGM (8 months ago)

"They care more about getting the shot quickly (and in focus) than they care about the image quality."

I'm sure this is why entry level APS-C DSLRs sell so well, and very rarely get used with any lens other than the kit lens. I'm sure these customers are not in the least interested in an interchangeable lens camera. They've only both the DSLR because it focuses so fast, tracks what you focus on, and has a good burst rate (so they can "spray and pray"). If one of the camera companies come up with a "compact" camera that can focus that fast, puts WiFi on it so you can get your shots onto Facebook, and then market the hell out of it, they'll have a hit on their hands.

0 upvotes
sean000
By sean000 (8 months ago)

@AndyGM: I think you're right... if you want to sell cameras to people who are usually fine using their camera phone, you have to sell them an experience that is familiar, convenient, and social. I know a lot of people who say they rarely use their "nice" camera anymore because they never get around to downloading the pictures to their computer so they can upload them to their favorite social networking site. They want a way to apply fliters and upload to social networking sites in camera. The EyeFi and Flashair cards help... but they can be too fiddly for many consumers. Just running Android OS would be better... especially if you have a phone that can provide Internet over Wifi to it.

0 upvotes
jjl
By jjl (8 months ago)

I think he's spot-on, and good to hear his opinions. I know Aptina is a hardware company, but I think the biggest challenge compacts have is software. The main advantage of phone cameras is that they're easy to use & handy.

I think there is a big potential for "companion cameras" made by the big phone makers (Apple, Samsung, etc). These would have much better image quality, and an OS that sync'd seemlessly with the phone in your pocket. So, take a photo with the companion camera, and it's instantly on your phone (transmitted wirelessly by wifi or bluetooth or some proprietary format). So, if you're taking images you care about - on vacation, or out with the family - you use the companion camera (which is still fairly small), and get much better images, with the same ability to share/post with your phone.

You'd still have the camera phone for times that you didn't want to carry the companion camera...

2 upvotes
jjl
By jjl (8 months ago)

You could even have an app on the phone to do basic RAW editing of white balance, exposure, and contrast - very quickly... like a "tweak" option in the photo viewer in your phone.

I also think even these companion cameras don't need a lot of MP - better to have good image quality. Something like 6-8MP is more than enough, as most people never use more than 1MP - they post their images online, or e-mail them, and that's pretty much it.

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (8 months ago)

You could? You can have it now. There's quite a few on iOS.

0 upvotes
E Dinkla
By E Dinkla (8 months ago)

Mr Barna sees that the phone replaces the compact camera and generalizes that larger sensors are needed. It may be only true for two segments of the market. Check the medium format market and the sensor sizes there (including the Leica S sensor size) and then count the number of MF backs sold versus 35mm FF sensors. There will be a compression of camera sensor sizes roughly between the 645 size and Micro4/3. Any sensor size smaller will be in a phone, goggles or a watch. It will be difficult to fold the optical path of larger lenses required for larger sensors in phones etc. Bigger cameras that can be used as a phone is not going to happen. The range of film formats was 60x76cm down to less than 1cm square. Sizes shrink in time. It will not be different now, the D800 had an impact on MF backs, the Pentax K5 sensor showed that it did have to be an FF camera for everyone. Grey hair population increases and the eyes age too so more resolution at the same print size is not needed either.

3 upvotes
GURL
By GURL (8 months ago)

Only Burma, Liberia and the United States have not adopted the International System of Units units as their official system of weights and measures.

In the United States metric units are not commonly used outside of science, medicine and the government. The United Kingdom has officially adopted a partial metrication policy, with no intention of replacing imperial units entirely. (from Wikipedia)

As a result, since Germany is no more the leading camera manufacturer, we can't relate image sizes (expressed in "video camera tube inverted inches") and lenses (which focal length is expressed in milimeters because German lens manufacturers are still highly praised.)

This helped Japanese manufacturers to sell point and shoot cameras fitted with microscopic sensors but proportionaly very large front lens elements. That this will not help them explain why images from cameraphones are not good enough could be seen as a revenge of said International System of Units...

:-) Yes, I'm French...

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (8 months ago)

Did somebody ask you if your are French?

Or you are just very happy to be one?

3 upvotes
comet suisei
By comet suisei (8 months ago)

.... Japanese manufacturers selling point and shoot cameras is true, same as other makers of other countries. But Japanese do also invent the next standards for broadcasting and photographic systems, 4K is Made in Japan, 90% of broadcasters worldwide are using Japanese components (cameras, lenses, Content Management, Recording and so on) A Fujinon 4K prime lens cost fast 90'000 $, what i wanna say: The Japanese didn't start to produce microscopic sensors but they produced what the market was demanding for. And if the European's and American's were not so slow for adapting a new TV system then we could soon have 4K, at least Japanese manufacturers are ready and Japanese broadcasters too

1 upvote
comet suisei
By comet suisei (8 months ago)

forgot to mention, some of the Canon, Panasonic, Sony or Fujinon glasses / cameras in broadcasting are on a high-levels where a Hasselblad, Leica or Zeiss system would look like toys compared to them,
I just don't know what you wanna say with "Germany is no more leading market" and "Japanese manufacturers selling point and shoot" If i misunderstood something then i'am sorry for the post

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

comet suisei:

4K TVs are a dumb idea without vastly improved data rate flows. In the US, cable TV is showing compressed HD TV--irony broadcast has a higher data rate than digital cable systems.

Better contrast ratios and faster refresh rates are much more important than higher resolution. Look at the Samsung and even Texas Instruments DLP systems for an idea of what looks good. Then there's AMOLED coming up. All of which are better ideas than slowing down the cable systems.

1 upvote
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (8 months ago)

4K movies on a triple layer Blue-Ray ius the best movie experience ever
BUT I understand that when you use net or satellite or antenna/cable the 1080p is more reasonable

1 upvote
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (8 months ago)

A sensor company which wants to expand business into larger sensors, says larger sensors are the way to go. News at 11.

6 upvotes
dmanthree
By dmanthree (8 months ago)

Yes, we finally have proof that size matters. So a 5" x 5" sensor with 25 photosites is the way to go. sure. No problem.

0 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (8 months ago)

and the new compact lenses are only 1' in size
I mean the radius is just 6"
Naturally you need a back pack to carry and a tripod to shoot, but think about the ISO 6553600 which you can use!!

0 upvotes
taktak91
By taktak91 (8 months ago)

Sensor size matters to those who prioritize sensor size. There are of course other factors some people consider when choosing photographic devices.

4 upvotes
vroger1
By vroger1 (8 months ago)

Absolutely right- but we are losing sight of the fact that the seduction of the public by larger sensors must be justified. I would love my FZ200 to have the sensor size of my G1X (Canon)- but it really doesn't need it- If I get any more sharpness people will be insulted. As it is, I soften some images. I have had 20X24 razor sharp prints made from a 4 mp Pentax S4i where i raised the "image size" on PS.- Larger sensors may be coming, but are absolutely unnecessary for the general public or even semi-pros. More than full size sensors? In my opinion a waste.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

vroger1:

Why are you bringing up prints from a 4PM sensor? That's about pixel count, not about sensor size. Did that Pentax have a particularly big sensor? Also those razor sharp 4MP prints were probably shot in bright daylight at the base ISO, I know I have the same thing from the Canon G2.

Except for cropping reasons pixel count doesn't really have the meaning it did in say the year 2001. Photo receptor sized does matter.

0 upvotes
Dave Ingraham
By Dave Ingraham (8 months ago)

"though he acknowledges the industry needs a better way of describing sensor size than the current obscure 'inch-type' naming system."

You think? 1"? Four Thirds? APS-C? Full frame? None of these make any sense to the average person. What would be so hard about simply describing them by their mm dimensions? So a 1" sensor is 13.2 x 8.8mm, but calling it a 13x9 sensor makes a hell of a lot more sense than 1".

4 upvotes
krane
By krane (8 months ago)

Or even better - just use the actual area for one simple, easy to-compare number. Sure aspect ratio can make a direct comparison a bit unfair, but that's a detail that can be put in parenthesis in the product details for those of us that care to look.

1 upvote
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (8 months ago)

Giving the actual dimensions would make comparison too easy, in the way that 18 megapixels is 6 more than 12 megapixels. Also, giving actual dimensions would illustrate how small some sensors are.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

That's true, but 16MP and 18MP are easier numbers to remember than 6.0 x 4.6 and 23.5 x 15.6, or whatever.

How about sensor area, in square mm, but expressed without units - 70's muscle car style. Thus a 1/2.3" becomes roughly a 28, whereas a D7100 has a 367 under the 'hood.

3 upvotes
Kevin Purcell
By Kevin Purcell (8 months ago)

Pretty much all sensor parameter scale with linear measure of sensor size (just like film).

Use a linear measure of one side (like film) or diagonal.

Don't use areas: that gives the impression that a sensor with doubled the dimensions is four times better. It isn't. It just helps reduce midtone SNR by 6dB.

0 upvotes
BJL
By BJL (8 months ago)

I like using both dimensions, and in Europe it is common to use "36x24" to describe the so-called 35mm format accurately. But one number is all that most people can handle, and a length is easier for focal length comparisons, so I vote for using image diagonal in mm.

APS-C becomes about 26 to 28mm, 4/3" is 22mm, 1" is about 16mm, etc.

0 upvotes
edu T
By edu T (8 months ago)

I vote "diagonal" as the most telling measure. Besides being an easily visualized single figure that can be nicely rounded to 2 significant digits (7.7mm for most P&Ss, 16mm for 1", 43mm for FF), its immediate relationship to crop factor and equivalent FLs comes in pretty handy.
Ooops it's not a poll...

2 upvotes
mrdancer
By mrdancer (8 months ago)

But mfrs have spent the last decade brainwashing consumers that megapixel ratings were the be-all, end-all. Now they have to un-brainwash people to let them know that sensor size is really where it's at.

I'd like to see a 1" sensor in the Panny FZ250, but how much will that knock the zoom down to where the lens is still manageable?

1 upvote
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (8 months ago)

The difficult part is not cramming a large sensor into a phone. The hard part is putting a large aperture lens that would work with a larger sensor into a phone.

The sensor will fit. The lens won't. If you put a larger sensor in with a smaller aperture lens you really haven't changed anything for lower light shots.

Comment edited 56 seconds after posting
9 upvotes
Wally626
By Wally626 (8 months ago)

Apple had an interesting patent that provides at least some solutions to small cellphone cameras. Given the thickness of cell phones there is a limit to the focal length of the lenses and the sensor sizes. Apple's patent makes use of multiple cameras then digitally combines the images. One sensor can be B&W, others for various colors, this allows for sensors with not only better efficiency they can also provide a larger total sensor area. The patent had to do with how to treat the background differences from the slight changes in view angle. It would take more area in a phone but not more thickness.

4 upvotes
Sergey Kostrov
By Sergey Kostrov (8 months ago)

I regret to see that so high level person uses a Non Scientific term like "... the optical format...". It doesn't make sense at all in terms of Optics or Digital Imaging.

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 289
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