4/3 and SA delimma

Started Dec 11, 2005 | Discussions thread
Joseph S Wisniewski Forum Pro • Posts: 34,157
Why would Foveon decrease the size of their sensor?

JohnClif wrote:

The 'story' that Sigma is going to drop their SA mount and go to a
4/3 sensor-based system is just silly.

Why would Foveon decrease the size of their sensor?

Maybe because they said they were going to, in an interview with Dr. Merril last year. The future of Foveon is in smaller sensors (not an exact quote, but pretty close).

What would they
gain? Would they gain density (MPs)? Nope. How about high ISO
performance? Nope.

Sure. Don't think about "high ISO performance", that's the wrong way of looking at the problem. Think about "low light performance", the product of lens light gathering power and sensitivity. The 4/3 sensor has about 0.72x the area of the SD10 sensor. But there are two f2.0 zooms in Oly's 4/3 line, and a 50mm f2.0 macro. Those are all two full stops faster than the corresponding SD zooms or macros. So, assuming your high ISO noise limit scales with area (not a perfectly accurate assumption, but useful), you arrive at a 1.45x edge to the 4/3 camera in low light situations.

How about more customers? Nope, no one's beating
the door down to build new 4/3 camera systems.

Actually, they are, but we'll get to that in a moment...

Right now, Oly's fastest selling DSLR, the E-500, is selling at over 6x the rate of Sigma DSLRs. Checking serial numbers, we find that each of Oly's DSLRs (E-1, E-300, E-500) has outsold SD9 and SD10 put together.

And I had the opportunity to play with a particularly cool 4/3 camera recently: electronic shutter, EVF (possibly the nicest I've seen on anything except the Panavision Genesis), small, and virtually silent.

Moore's Law seems to apply to image sensors, too. They're getting
cheaper and cheaper per megapixel. I expect this will hold true for
Foveon also, if their engineering is good enough.

I would hope so. But smaller still equates to cheaper.

Keep your SA lenses, and keep your shirt on. IF Sigma comes out
with a successor to the SD10, it will use the SA mount. If they
don't... what difference does it make?

And if they do both, a 4/3 body and a new SD?

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