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Thread: Canon steps up the sensor 'war'

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Canon steps up the sensor 'war'

    Canon are testing a prototype 35mm low light sensor. Capable of capturing firefly's in less than 0.01 lux..and in full HD video mode as well

    http://petapixel.com/2013/09/13/cano...ht-capability/

    Looks like the next leap in sensors will not be more MP, but a huge jump in low light performance. A good move I think!
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    How come everytime I think its time to upgrade the gear a little something great is just around the corner
    Jon

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    Quote Originally Posted by freelancer View Post
    How come everytime I think its time to upgrade the gear a little something great is just around the corner
    Jon
    cause there is always something round the corner...it's called product marketing and upgrading. Apple are the experts at it...make people want the latest and greatest version of something.

    Most people never use the full potential of their current gear.

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    Most of my gear has either stopped working, been flooded or been claimed by my kids
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    It'll be interesting to see when this comes on the market - probably first in the Canon 1D and 5/6/7D series. I think low light (and low noise) capabilities are more important than the number of pixels. With the current sensor sizes of between 18 and 24 Mp we can create images that print well at a size of 30 x 40 cm (@ 240 - 300 dpi) and allow for almost 100% crop when displayed on a monitor. Unless you are in high end commercial shooting this will be enough for most. If not then you'll probably be able to afford a medium format camera....
    And although my 5DIII does fairly well at low light and high ISO it would be nice to be able to shoot hand held at low light at F/8 or F/11 to create more DOF without having to turn the ISO up high.

    BTW.... Canon also announced a medium format camera system.....

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    I find this an interesting concept, Photographing something you can't even see in the first place.
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    Member Hayaku's Avatar
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    I wonder if the 7d mk2 will have a sensor based on this tech.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayaku View Post
    I wonder if the 7d mk2 will have a sensor based on this tech.
    Seeing it is only in prototype now, probably at least 12 months off before we see in a camera.

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    It's almost frightening to think what developments there will be in the next five years.
    Canon 6D
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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    Canon seems to have given more importance and priority to low light aspects (and hopefully, much lower noise) than the MP count. Mongo thinks Canon may have a better course than Nikon in this regard. What Canon is trying to develop is clearly what most photographers want - the MP count is already more than we need for most purposes. We need better quality - not bigger size sensors and hopefully more reasonable prices as technology improves
    Nikon and Pentax user



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    I always wanted to photograph a black cat in a coal bin at midnight.
    Seriously though, if Canon introduce a sensor that can work well at -10EV, won't that affect sales of their flash units?

    It would be great to be able to photograph low-light parties without flash.
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    The problem is, you won't be able to focus on something in such darkness!

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    Ditto to everything Mongo said. this is definitely the direction technology should be heading.

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    Sounds like a good move to me.

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mongo View Post
    Canon seems to have given more importance and priority to low light aspects (and hopefully, much lower noise) than the MP count. Mongo thinks Canon may have a better course than Nikon in this regard. What Canon is trying to develop is clearly what most photographers want - the MP count is already more than we need for most purposes. We need better quality - not bigger size sensors and hopefully more reasonable prices as technology improves
    Not so sure I agree with this observation, Mongo. Not trying to cause a brand war or mine is better than yours argument, as all modern cameras produce exemplary results, but even though Nikon has pursued the higher Mp count it hasn't translated into lesser quality in any way shape or form. The D800/E has 36Mp and the Canon 5D MKIII has 24Mp, yet according to DxO Mark the Nikon outscores it for overall marks, is better for Dynamic Range, at least as good if not better in SNR, as good if not better in Tonal Range and better for Colour Sensitivity. The same basically applies to the APS C cameras like the Nikon D7100 with 24Mp and Canon 70D with 20Mp. So, in reality, I don't see that Canon has given more importance to low light aspects at all, as the current crop of cameras results don't bare this out at all.

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    I think this technology would be great for milkyway timelapses , no more 15 sec shots and taking maybe 1 sec shots would be a lot smoother and sharper focused ? I think lightning timelapses at night would be good too !

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance B View Post
    ... all modern cameras produce exemplary results, but even though Nikon has pursued the higher Mp count it hasn't translated into lesser quality in any way shape or form. The D800/E has 36Mp and the Canon 5D MKIII has 24Mp, yet according to DxO Mark the Nikon outscores it for overall marks, is better for Dynamic Range, at least as good if not better in SNR, as good if not better in Tonal Range and better for Colour Sensitivity. The same basically applies to the APS C cameras like the Nikon D7100 with 24Mp and Canon 70D with 20Mp. So, in reality, I don't see that Canon has given more importance to low light aspects at all, as the current crop of cameras results don't bare this out at all.
    I'll take issue with your use of the discredited DxO as if it meant anything worth mentioning, Lance, but I agree entirely with your conclusion. As a Canon user, with far too much invested in lenses to change, this concerns me. Canon seems to have stopped developing new photographic products - well, not actually stopped, but slowed to a crawl - while Nikon (certainly) and Pentax and Sony (I'm guessing a bit with these two) have continued working. When I first switched from Nikon to Canon close-on ten years ago, there was no doubt: any objective judge would have recommend Canon for wildlife work, with Nikon a very poor second choice and the rest nowhere. Over time that gap has narrowed significantly and these days you could quite sensibly argue that Nikon is a better choice for this branch of photography. If I was starting out now, I would probably go Nikon because Canon's lack of progress alarms me. Right now, I'm happy to continue with the Canon gear I have - the 1D IV in particular is outstanding - and I don't feel I'm missing anything by not swapping, but Canon really, really needs to land a couple of big fish just to show that they are still interested in the game.

    My suspicion is that Canon management has looked at the camera_market future over (say) the next 5-10 years and concluded that sales will be way, way down as:
    • (a) telephones largely replace P&S cameras and
    • (b) young people turn away from large-format products (like computers and picture books) towards small-format products (telephones and tablets) which don't require or benefit from the higher quality of a real camera, and
    • (c) the proliferation of small, cheapish mirrorless cameras hammers DSLR market share, and
    • (d) "good-enough" cameras (i.e., anything made in the last 5 years or more) stay in use for longer without being replaced by new, "improved" ones 'coz there is little advantage in the new one, and
    • (e) many people who would have taken up photography turn to video instead because video is cheap and easy now (it used to be very expensive and quite difficult to do), and
    • (f) the low end and even mid-market is attacked by new players or existing minor players who can now produce "good enough" cameras even though they don't have the extensive engineering and design facilities of a Canon or a Nikon, and probably do it cheaper too.


    All in all, that adds up to a very gloomy outlook for Canon (and equally so for Nikon and the minor majors) and if I was sitting on the Canikion board looking at proposals from the tech staff to sink lots of money into new photographic products, I'd mostly be saying "no - this isn't going to give us a guaranteed return on our investment, can't you just paint the old one white?"
    Last edited by Tannin; 26-11-2013 at 12:31pm.
    Tony

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    It's scary the change even between my 40D and my other halfs 600 or 650D. She can snap away at ISO1600 with no concerns. I hit anything over 400 on the 40D and I'm doubting it'll even be worth keeping.

    All those astro guys have got to be getting excited over things like this.

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    I'll take issue with your use of the discredited DxO as if it meant anything worth mentioning, Lance, but I agree entirely with your conclusion.
    To be quite honest, I am not such a fan of DXO Mark, especially their overall scoring system which seems to be subjective rather than objective. However, they seem to have gotten a few things right with regards to DR and high ISO ability results as it seems to mirror reality and what other testing sites have achieved.

    As a Canon user, with far too much invested in lenses to change, this concerns me. Canon seems to have stopped developing new photographic products - well, not actually stopped, but slowed to a crawl - while Nikon (certainly) and Pentax and Sony (I'm guessing a bit with these two) have continued working. When I first switched from Nikon to Canon close-on ten years ago, there was no doubt: any objective judge would have recommend Canon for wildlife work, with Nikon a very poor second choice and the rest nowhere. Over time that gap has narrowed significantly and these days you could quite sensibly argue that Nikon is a better choice for this branch of photography. If I was starting out now, I would probably go Nikon because Canon's lack of progress alarms me. Right now, I'm happy to continue with the Canon gear I have - the 1D IV in particular is outstanding - and I don't feel I'm missing anything by not swapping, but Canon really, really needs to land a couple of big fish just to show that they are still interested in the game.
    I think you might be over reacting a little. As you rightly say, it is Nikon that has done all the catching up and Canon has not moved as far forward as Nikon, but that doesn't mean to say they have dropped the ball. The thing is, Nikon needed to catch up as they had further to go and they have done so. As I stated at the outset, both Nikon and Canon produce exemplary results, albeit taking a different path to getting there. I have a good friend that shoots a Canon 5D MKIII and our results are as good as each other and that is borne out by DP Review that has given both the 5D MKIII and the D800/E the same scores. Yes, one may be better in certain areas than the other, but the other makes up for it elsewhere. I really don't think that most could tell the difference between equally priced or similarly specced Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus or Pentax camera. It mainly comes down to the way the camera operates, how easy it is to navigate for the particular person and the features you require.

    My suspicion is that Canon management has looked at the camera_market future over (say) the next 5-10 years and concluded that sales will be way, way down as:
    • (a) telephones largely replace P&S cameras and
    • (b) young people turn away from large-format products (like computers and picture books) towards small-format products (telephones and tablets) which don't require or benefit from the higher quality of a real camera, and
    • (c) the proliferation of small, cheapish mirrorless cameras hammers DSLR market share, and
    • (d) "good-enough" cameras (i.e., anything made in the last 5 years or more) stay in use for longer without being replaced by new, "improved" ones 'coz there is little advantage in the new one, and
    • (e) many people who would have taken up photography turn to video instead because video is cheap and easy now (it used to be very expensive and quite difficult to do), and
    • (f) the low end and even mid-market is attacked by new players or existing minor players who can now produce "good enough" cameras even though they don't have the extensive engineering and design facilities of a Canon or a Nikon, and probably do it cheaper too.


    All in all, that adds up to a very gloomy outlook for Canon (and equally so for Nikon and the minor majors) and if I was sitting on the Canikion board looking at proposals from the tech staff to sink lots of money into new photographic products, I'd mostly be saying "no - this isn't going to give us a guaranteed return on our investment, can't you just paint the old one white?"
    There are certainly many things nipping at the heels of Canikony as far as DSLR's are concerned, like those you have pointed out above. However, most that settle for camera phones etc, were unlikely to buy a DSLR anyway. A few years back, it could have been argued that P&S didn't do it for these people either and some migrated to DSLR and as it isn't really what they wanted they left them in the cupboard to gather dust. I think there are 4 basic types of photographer:

    1) those who just takes photos with anything as long as it is small and does the job. These people settle for the cheap P&S (previously) and now settle for the camera phone.
    2) Those that are a little interested in photography and want something better than the standard phone camera. They may step up to the bridge camera or a mirrorless or a cheap small DSLR. Most probably stick to a superzoom on any of the affore mentioned cameras. They dabble.
    3) Those that are heavily into photography as a hobby, like most on this forum, and buy a good quality DSLR and many lenses.
    4) Pro's, inclusing Sports, Wedding, Jourmalist, Nature and Wildlife photographers. Can you see anyof these with anything less than a top spec DSLR?

    The last two in this group will always want a DSLR and I can't see mirrorless taking over this segment in it's current form as it needs major improvement in order to displace a DSLR. The last group especially won't be using mirrorless. I also see a resurgence of the FF camera, Nikon and Canon both introducing cheaper FF DSLR's in this segment and many getting on board that were using high end APS C versions. A few years back I actually predicted this would happen once sensor prices for FF came down to a reasonable price to allow for cheaper FF. Once the price of a FF DSLR could be made to be near the high end APS C DSLR, then we would see many jump over to FF. FF was the realm of professionals who needed professional build quality and features and once the sensor prices came down enough for them to make a camera that could compete with the top end APS C DSLR, then they made them less pro spec and therefore could compete with APS C. Whilst the sensors were still expensive they wouldn't bother "speccing them down" for the general populace and therefore stayed the realm of pros, but that has now since changed. What I am trying to say is that one couldn't happen without the other, ie the sensor price needed to come down but they then needed to make a consumer spec FF to go with it.

    So, my belief is that whilst there is a need for pro photographers, semi pros, well heeled amateurs and serious hobbiests, then the DSLR will still be around, or maybe it will be mirrorless, but I believe mirrorless has a looong way to go before it can seriously compete with a current DSLR. Don't forget, whilst mirrorless advances, so does a DSLR. The other thing to remember is that glass is very expensive and this is where Canon and Nikon have it so good as they already have the glass and the systems that pro's require and thus will stick with them. It is hugely expensive to set up and manufacture a set of lenses that are the quality of the Canon and Nikon offerings. Hey, this is part of the reason I jumped from Pentax to Nikon, simply because of the pro specced cameras and the pro specced glass and the system.

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