What is keeping Nikon from making 22 megapixel D4?

Started Mar 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
apaflo Veteran Member • Posts: 3,854
Re: Bear in mind

Waterengineer wrote:

The only thing holding back a fast frame rate, higher pixel count camera is an affordable computation engine (on-board computer) to handle through-put to the memory card.

The frame rate is virtually unaffected by the write speed of the memory card.

The ability to read the sensor and convert the data from analog to digital and write it to memory is what controls the frame rate.  The size of the memory buffer controls how many consecutive exposures can be made at the maximum frame rate.  The write speed to the memory card is only a factor in how long one must pause between consecutive sequences that fill the memory buffer.

Which is to say that what holds back a higher maximum frame rate is almost certainly the speed of the existing Analog-Digital-Converters.  The faster they process data the lower the Signal to Noise Ratio, and thus the more noise we see in high ISO images. Also the bit-depth restricts speed.  Hence there are always compromises between speed vs bit depth vs high ISO performance.

Someone else has pointed at the next generation from Nikon, the D5, as where we will see higher pixel counts, higher frame rates, and probably more dynamic range too.  We might expect a camera with 12-15 fps, 16-bit depth RAW data, and 15 fstops of dynamic range.  By then we'll probably have XQD version 2 cards, and the actual write speed might exceed 500MB/s, thus allowing very long bursts at maximum frame rates with virtually no chance of actually filling the memory buffer.

I have to believe on the bench in the lab is the camera I describe above because it is not a great technological leap.

However jamming a larger, more robust computer in a reasonable size camera while managing heat and making it affordable are the challenges.

Heat is the enemy of computer chips. If you have ever had a robust desktop or notebook fail you will understand my point.

Let's all remember the EXPEED 3 processor is not all that old, so we are waiting for what I will call the EXPEED 4.

True, but the processor is the easy part.  It could be done today with ease.  The big trick is a 16-bit ADC that is both fast enough and with a high enough SNR.  It doesn't exist today.

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