A 20MP Four Thirds sensor, a high-speed APS-C sensor, and a Stacked CMOS design for enthusiast compacts are likely to be just three of the sensors we can expect to see in cameras over the coming months. Sony's semiconductor division has made these products public with the creation of a new website, which lists some of the chips it offers to potential buyers. Alongside many familiar-sounding sensors are examples we've yet to see in any cameras. Read more
Stories tagged with technology
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Columbia University researchers have created a self-powered video camera featuring a sensor that both captures images and powers the device. Although it can only record low-resolution 30x40 pixel images at 1fps, the photodiodes on the camera's sensor can switch between being photoconductive, and photovoltaic. In the latter mode - given enough light - the photodiodes supply enough power to a built-in supercapacitor to keep the camera operating indefinitely. Click through for more information
A team at Harvard School of Engineering has developed a method for making flat lenses that could dramatically reduce the size and weight of camera lenses in the future. The method employs tiny silicon antennas positioned on flat glass components to redirect light when it reaches the surface of the lens instead of relying on refraction and the thickness of glass to bend light in a particular direction. Learn more
We're at CP+ in Yokohama, Japan, where Canon is showing off a prototype ultra high-resolution 120MP CMOS sensor. Canon is claiming it has a pixel count equivalent to the number of photoreceptors in a human eye. Its surface area is halfway between APS-C and full-frame, and it appears to be mostly directed at video applications, capable of recording at approximately 60x the resolution of Full HD. Click through to have a look
The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, more commonly referred to as the LSST, will take ultra-high-resolution images of the universe around us in the relatively near future thanks to recent construction approval from the US Department of Energy. This will pave the way for the telescope's completion for its anticipated 2022 completion date. Read more
There's no doubt that JPEG is the web's go-to image format, offering both widespread compatibility and small file sizes, but it's far from perfect. Alternative image formats have been developed that provide higher-quality compression, but nothing yet has come close to toppling JPEG thanks to its ubiquity. BPG is the latest new format to challenge it. Read more
Google is working on an image identification technology at its Research Labs in Mountain View, California. The latest complex algorithm from the search engine giant is able to systematically 'produce captions to accurately describe images the first time it sees them', creating coherent sentences rather than individual tags. Read more
Sony has unveiled a new stacked CMOS image sensor for use in smartphones. Called the IMX230, it features 21 effective megapixels, on-chip phase detection AF and 4K video recording. The chip is a 1/2.4-inch type with square pixels measuring 1.12um x 1.12um each. Video of up to 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution is available with HDR function (also available in stills mode). Read more
Lytro has opened its doors to outside companies with a Lytro Development Kit (LDK), giving the likes of NASA and the Department of Defense - two of its first customers - access to its light field technology hardware and software. This is part of its Lytro Platform, and it starts at $20,000 USD. Read more
Reports from Japan's Display Innovation 2014 exhibition highlight a number of advancements and prototypes in camera LCDs. Included are a high-pixel-density 3.2" display using WhiteMagic technology, a high-resolution touch screen with in-cell touch sensors and a 31" cinema 4K wide-gamut display with 99.5% AdobeRGB coverage from LG. Learn more
It's not uncommon for a company to patent technologies that might be incorporated into products at some point, though the company might not have any plans to use it in the immediate future. Such a business move appears to be the case with a recent Canon patent, which details the use of variable lens elements in combination with traditional glass elements. Read more
German startup Panono has announced availability and pricing for its ball-shaped Panono Camera. The device shoots spherical panorama images and will cost $549/€549 when it ships worldwide in the spring of 2015. The first to receive the camera will be the backers of the crowd-funding project the company used to get started before the camera goes on general release. Learn more
Sony has introduced a new CMOS sensor, calling it the highest sensitivity sensor of its kind. Developed for automotive use, the new chip can capture color images in light conditions down to 0.005 lux. The sensor is 1/3-inch type with 1.27 effective megapixels, and supports a Wide Dynamic Range system that uses extended exposure times rather than using multiple exposures. Read more
Graham Rowan of Hertfordshire, UK has created a small camera dubbed the "fps1000", and as its name suggests, it is designed solely to record high-frame-rate videos. The goal is to open up high-speed shooting to a wider market by offering a relatively inexpensive product that is highly portable. Learn more
Got a few minutes to spare? You've got enough time on your hands to help a group of researchers tackle a massive problem. Cities at Night is a project aiming to recruit help from ordinary citizens in classifying images of Earth at night taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. An effort of Universidad Complutense de Madrid staff and students, their main goal is to better understand and reduce light pollution. See how you can help
The European Space Agency's ATV-5 supply vessel docked a couple of days ago with the International Space Station. Not just loaded with cargo for the ISS, the ATV-5 is also carrying newly developed camera technology which will record the final moments of ATV-5's breakup on re-entering Earth's atmosphere. The Break-Up Camera was designed in only nine months and will relay images from the last 20 seconds of the vessel's life to a capsule that can survive the extreme heat of reentry. Learn more
UPDATE: Sony has released an image taken with its curved sensor, and provided more details on what we might expect from its curved sensor technology. We've updated our previous story with this image and details. Read more
Equivalence, at its most simple, is a way of comparing different formats (sensor sizes) on a common basis. Sounds straightforward enough, but the concept is still somewhat controversial and not always clearly understood. We thought it was about time we explained - and demonstrated - what equivalence means and what it doesn't. Learn more
The A7S is Sony's newest entry in its full-frame mirrorless lineup. But where the 'R' in A7R stood for resolution, the 'S' in the 12MP A7S stands for sensitivity. We've recently received a Sony A7S and wasted no time putting it up against the A7R and Canon EOS 5D Mark III to see how it compares.
The sensors inside digital cameras are - generally - flat. But curved sensors promise greater sensitivity, better image quality, and provide scope for simpler lenses. Recently, Sony showed off some examples of curved image sensors, including (tantalizingly) a full-frame chip. Device manager Kazuichiro Itonaga claims: "The team has made somewhere in the vicinity of 100 full-size sensors with their bending machine. We are ready." Read on to learn more about this exciting new tech, how it imitates the human eye, and how it may find its way into consumer products.
Nikon has patented a technology that can adjust a camera's low-pass (AA) filter based on the situation. By using an electronically controlled liquid crystal panel, the AA filter can either be turned on and off, or set to 'normal' or 'high' intensity. The first design would allow for a D800 that become a D800E at the push of a button. The second design would have a mild anti-aliasing effect for stills, and a stronger effect to reduce moiré in movies. More details on this exciting development after the link.
In the early days of digital photography a small American company, Imagek, started developing a digital sensor module that could be installed in film SLRs. The idea still generates excitement today, more than ten years after the company (by then named Silicon Film) failed. Photographer and blogger Olivier Duong has taken a look back at the promise and disappointment of the Silicon Film dream.
Engineers at Tokyo University's Ishikawa Oku Laboratory have come up with new technology to track extremely fast motion. Their new system - which uses 'Saccade Mirrors' for pitch and tilt, a 'pupil shift system', and very fast image processing - is able to keep even the quickest subject in the center of the frame at all times. According to engineers, the initial application for this system could be to capture video at sporting events. They expect it to be market-ready in about two years. Follow the link for a video demonstration of this intriguing new technology.
Sensor maker Aptina has given more details of its Clarity+ technology that it claims will offer a 1EV improvement in sensitivity over conventional sensors. The company believes it has found a way to use clear pixels to capture more light while retaining the image quality of a standard Bayer sensor. Although initially intended for smartphone sized sensors, the company says it could have applications in larger formats. Find out more over at connect.dpreview.com
Scientists at Bell Labs have built a prototype camera that uses no lens and a single-pixel sensor. This idea is based around a grid of small apertures that each direct light rays from different parts of the scene to the sensor, and can be opened and closed independently. The sensor makes a series of measurements with different combinations of open apertures, and uses this data to reconstruct the scene in front of the camera. No lens to focus the resultant image means infinite depth of field and low cost. Click through for more details and a link to the original research.
Fujifilm is looking to bring down the cost of touch-screen technology by harnessing materials and manufacturing expertise used in creating film emulsions. Touch-screens are quickly becoming the standard interface of nearly every piece of mobile technology. Currently these screens utilize the fairly rare metal, indium. Due to its rarity, indium is responsible for a significant portion in the cost of current touch-screen displays. Fujifilm hopes to use its long history with silver to bring down the cost of these displays and grab a piece of the ever expanding touch-screen market.(via Bloomberg)
US technology company Rambus has unveiled 'Binary Pixel' sensor technology, promising greatly expanded dynamic range for the small sensors used in devices such as smartphones. Current image sensors are unable to record light above a specific saturation point, which results in clipped highlights. Binary Pixel technology gets around this by recording when a pixel has received a certain amount of light, then resetting it and in effect restarting the exposure. The result is significantly expanded dynamic range from a single exposure.
The Adobe Camera Raw 7.4 and Lightroom 4.4 release candidates include a much-anticipated re-working of raw support for Fujifilm X-Trans sensor cameras the X-Pro1, X-E1, X100S, and X20. Find out if these changes offer the quality improvements users have been waiting for.
The Fujifilm X100S is the latest in a recent rush of cameras to include phase-detection elements on its imaging sensor, giving an AF system that is a hybrid of contrast and phase-detection methods. However, Fujifilm also uses this system to provide a unique and incredibly clever manual focus aid - which could finally allow digital cameras to offer the speed and convenience enjoyed by manual-focus SLR and rangefinder users. Fujifilm UK has posted a video showing 'Digital Split Image' focusing and Japanese camera site DCWatch has published details that allow us to show how it works.
Not long after samples of the Fujifilm X10 became available reports started surfacing of 'white orbs' appearing in images. Fujifilm subsequently released a firmware update that promises to address the issue. So does firmware version 1.03 banish the dreaded 'white orbs' for good?
Fujifilm has been granted a patent for an innovative organic-hybrid sensor technology. However, while interesting, it may not offer a compelling advantage over existing designs, according to sensor technologist Professor Eric Fossum. The company has recently been granted a patent for its work on a sensor that uses an organic (carbon-chemistry-based) material on top of silicon circuitry. Speculation about Fujifilm's forthcoming mirrorless camera has latched onto a technical paper the company published in late 2009, but both Fossum and the company say the work shows more promise for small-scale sensors.
Sensitivity (ISO) in digital imaging is the subject of quite a lot of confusion - it's becoming common to hear talk of manufacturers 'cheating with ISO.' Here we look at why sensitivity can be hard to pin down, why we use the definition we do and how it's really as complicated as it can seem.
With the announcement of the Fujifilm F300 EXR and Z800 EXR coming on a day that also saw four other cameras being launched, it would be easy to overlook their most radical feature. Because, with the latest version of its EXR sensor, Fujifilm has achieved something that's been hoped for but not previously brought to market - through-the-lens phase detection autofocus on a compact camera. The company is claiming the system enables focus times as fast as 0.158 sec. We got some more details of the system from Hitoshi Yamashita, manager of the company's Technical Support Group.
Technology developer InVisage Technologies has announced sensors it says can offer four times better performance than conventional CCD and CMOS sensors. The company's 'QuantumFilm' technology uses the unique electronic behavior of quantum dots (precisely-sized nano-scale crystals trapped in a polymer film) to replace conventional silicon photodiodes. The company says the quantum dots themselves are twice as sensitive to light as conventional photodiodes and that their placement on the sensor surface offers a further doubling of sensitivity over front-illuminated CMOS designs. The film can be positioned on conventional circuitry, allowing the chips to be produced more cheaply than CMOS or CCD designs. The first application will be in mobile phones sensors later this year.
Dynamic range and the various ways of trying to capture and represent it are the topic of many a heated discussion on the forums. We spoke to Apical, a company working on this challenge whose technologies are incorporated in cameras from the biggest brands, to find out what it is doing to address the matter. We think this interview with managing director Michael Tusch will help shine a little light on this shadowy corner of image processing.
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