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120 megapixel sensors

2010-08-24 22:04:49.551226+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

Why I don't read /. any more. Went there today, one of the stories is a link to this reprinted press- release about Canon claiming a 120 megapixel sensor.

There's a lot of speculation that could happen in the slashdot discussion thread for the article, but rather than the possible insight that one used to be able to find in some of the +5 articles, it's poorly informed fanboy statements and whining about how that many megapixels don't mean anything without better lenses (never mind the physics!).

So, here's some speculation: If you abandoned the standard Bayer pattern and started throwing in some pixels with ND filters, you could improve the dynamic range of the sensor immensely.

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comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-31 15:44:50.287226+00 by: jeff

Here's another upgrade: World's Largest Image Sensor

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-29 15:15:11.979226+00 by: jeff

Canon just recently announced upgrades to some of their L-series professional lenses.

Let's see... the 300mm f/2.8L went from $4500 to $7000 and the 400mm f/2.8L went from about $7500 to $11,000. I think I'll stick with my legacy 400mm f/5.6L for now.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-28 15:54:14.071226+00 by: Dan Lyke

And due to limitations of physics and lenses, higher resolution without a bigger sensor doesn't buy anything. But once you've got all those pixels and can lay a filter pattern over 'em...

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-28 12:05:46.643226+00 by: jeff [edit history]

Equally impressive is the 9.5 fps throughput claimed for sensor readout and the ability to dynamically crop HD video throughout various positions in the frame.

I don't need to make 40' x 60' enlargements, so increasing pixel density beyond current levels does very little for me, other than for cropping flexibility and extended "effective reach" when shooting subjects which require longer focal lengths (such as wildlife). The 21mp in my 5Dmk2 is quite enough, thank you Canon.

I too would rather see more emphasis placed on "real" photographic challenges, such as better handling of dynamic range.

In-camera on-sensor HDR represents a real opportunity with higher density sensors, IMHO. I wrote about the possibilities of in-camera HDR in 1982 in my cover letter to Kodak when I was applying for a summer intern position with them in Rochester.