The one aspect of digital photography that stands out over the past few years ... has been the advancing pace of the higher quality capability of elevated ISO values, almost across the entire digital camera board.
I remember even only just a few years back when the likes of a MFT sized sensor really produced very ordinary ISO800 images in terms of noise, and now those same sized sensors in the current gen Fuji cameras are producing profession quality images now at ISO6400!
So what was once the pixel race, finally changed lanes and became the quality race, or more specifically .. the high ISO race. Even tho other cameras also had enormous impact with ever increasing high ISO qualities, I reckon it was the D3 that turned the game from a Mp focused marketing ploy to one that provided much better image quality across into lower light level areas.
In some ways this can actually be seen as a negative in terms of photographic advancement .. but that's not really a point to consider in this thread.
What is a point to consider though, is THIS new announcement on what appears to make perfectly good sense in some ways.
Basically, the announcement is that of a new image sensor design, with a utterly simple idea. We all know that a digital sensor has an RGB layout for it's sensor design, where alternating pixels on the sensor are coloured either Red, Green, Blue,(with twice as many green pixels as either of the other two colours) .. and hence the Green pixels are the luminance reference data.
So with this sensor that replaces green with clear pixels, they obviously use software to interpret the colour green in the image.
Using clear pixels is not a new concept for digital imaging, Fuji had used it for a while on their S series pro cameras S3, S5 .. etc .. but their designs(as per the later Sony types) still used Green pixels in the normal manner, but used clear pixels as well. In the case of some of the Fuji cameras, the clear pixels were only used in a very limited and specific manner .. and that was to protect highlight data from the sensor only, not really for better low light/high ISO quality.
But now what this Aptina mob are saying is that you can imitate green in the image artificially, and because the dye is removed from those pixels(ie. half the pixels on the sensor) less amplification is required of the signal data, and hence better SNR is achieved. We simply know this as improved ISO quality, more specifically as better high ISO image quality.
Makes you wonder where it will all end..... at some point in time they will have exhausted all major advancement capability for the Bayer filter design and improvements in ISO quality with each new model will not be as great a leap as it once was with the D3.
If this newly announced advancement is truly what they say it is, then most manufacturer's would surely turn the proposed advantage(of 1Ev better quality) into at least 2Ev better quality before they introduce it to market .... which means that at current technology levels, we'll be seeing ISO102K at pretty high quality in a couple of years time.
My interest is to see which(if any) manufacturer in the current list of big producers will be first to use this sort of idea in their cameras?
The downside to the tech of course is the need to artificially process the colour green into the image, and of course processing is costly in terms of power usage ... so battery life, and probably speed of image creation(ie. fps/buffer fill rates/card write times) will all be impacted in some way, where they otherwise wouldn't be.
Just curious as to what others think ... if this sort of technology is interesting both in terms of reading about it, and wanting it available(cheaply obviously!!) as another option ... a camera with the ability to capture images at something silly like ISO51K or ISO102K, with the same ability as we have now at ISO6400-25K with current gen cameras.