Canon expands pixel size on FF sensors for more dynamic range & low light performance, white papers

Canon Expands Pixel Size On FF Sensors For More Dynamic Range & Low Light Performance, White Papers

Two interesting white papers published by Canon’s research engineers show how the company is working to build 35mm equivalent, full-frame sensors with increased dynamic range and low light sensitivity. Both articles where presented at the Hollywood Professional Alliance (HPA) Tech Retreat in Palm Springs on February 19, 2016.

The papers, spotted by Image Sensors World, discuss the challenges to fit 19um large photodiodes on a FF sensor. The white papers refer to the sensor featured in Canon’s ME20F-SH multi-purpose camera, a low-light champion.

The image sensor design sought optimization of three key attributes of the photo site:

  1. Sensitivity – determined by the quantum efficiency of the photosite
  2. Saturated charge quantity (sometimes termed full well capacity) – that determines dynamic range
  3. Efficiency of the charge transfer (sometimes termed conversion gain) – the goal being to transfer all electrons during each reset period to ensure full sensitivity

The larger the active photosite within the individual pixel the greater the capacity for capturing photons during the normal charge period. This is the primary factor defining the sensitivity of the photosite. However, the efficiency of accumulating and transferring these electrons to the pixel output during the readout period are equally important. The total charge accumulated must then be converted to a voltage that constitutes the output of that individual pixel. The pixel size of the ME20F-SH is approximately 19um square – and the photosite is a little smaller because of associated circuitry. The quantum efficiency of the photosite is defined by the percentage of incident light photons that are converted to electrons. Figure 3 shows the spectral characteristics of the image sensor. The effective monochrome Quantum Efficiency of the ME20F-SH photosite output is 70% at 500 nm.

ME20F-SHAbstracts on Canon’s Digital Learning Center state:

This presentation will review two technical innovations in CMOS image sensors and their associated digital processing that have significantly enhanced motion image origination. Details of the relevant technologies will be discussed.

The first technology is a new Super 35mm CMOS image sensor specifically developed to support origination of High Dynamic Range (HDR) motion imagery. The deployment of two separate photodiodes within each photosite is central to achieving the 15-stop dynamic range. The dual photodiode also supports a unique in-sensor phase detection strategy that is followed by powerful data processing that closes a focus control loop around the cine lens. Alternatively, for those who prefer manual focus operation, a separate data processing provides a Focus Guide in the form of signaling in the viewfinder achievement of precision focus.

The second technology exploits the large size of the 35mm Full Frame CMOS image sensor with the modest spatial sampling of 1920 (H) x 1080 (V) to realize a uniquely large photosite of 19 um x 19um. This facilitated development of an HD camera having unprecedented sensitivity. The final operational specification of a maximum ISO 4,000,000 setting has produced an HD camera that opens a broad spectrum of truly innovative image capture. This includes nighttime wildlife productions (many species are nocturnal) and deep underwater imaging that require no lighting whatever, certain astronomical shooting, unique documentary productions, and many forms of surveillance imaging.

Advances in further developing Canon’s own Dual Pixel Auto-Focus technology are also discussed:

Second Generation Dual Pixel CMOS Image Sensor – 15-Stop DR

The C300 Mark II employs a new generation Super 35mm CMOS sensor which is based on the same dual photodiode per photosite. Additional innovations within the photodiode design in combination with new on-chip noise cancellation technology have simultaneously lowered the noise floor and further elevated the saturation level of the charge well. In addition, a totally new microlens design heightens the efficiency of light direction onto the two individual photodiodes while also improving the separation between the two photodiode outputs.

The Canon ME20F-SH is not for anyone everyone, it’s a specialised camera and it sells for $20,000 at B&H Photo and Adorama.

This is how image stabilisation works on the new Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS

This Is How Image Stabilisation Works On The New Canon EF 85mm F/1.4L IS

 

Pre-orders are available at $1,599 at Adorama | B&H Photo | Amazon

Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS at a glance:

  • EF-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/1.4 to f/32
  • One GMo Aspherical Element
  • Air Sphere and Fluorine Coatings
  • Ring-Type Ultrasonic Motor AF System
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • Dust- and Water-Resistant Construction
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm

Canon did good with the new Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS lens. Not only it is a lens many photographers were waiting for, it also comes to a pretty reasonable price ($1,599) for what it delivers.

The video below gives a 1 minute overview on how image stabilisation woks on the EF 85mm f/1.4L IS.

History and Science of lenses in a 25 minutes video

What’s behind the technology we put in front of our cameras, optical technology and engineering, and how did it evolve? If you have 25 minutes to spare then have a look at this educational video by Filmmaker IQ.

Learn the history of the lens and its optical design and science from the early beginning as a tool to light up a fire to the multitude and advanced technology of modern lens designs.

[via Mirrorless Rumors]

Canon EOS 6D Mark II seems to have less dynamic range than EOS 80D and EOS 6D

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Seems To Have Less Dynamic Range Than EOS 80D And EOS 6D

This might stir more disappointment than the ridicolous and boring discussion abut the lack of 4K in the Canon EOS 6D Mark II.

A user of the Fred Miranda forum posted some test results he did on raw files shot with the EOS 6D Mark II. According to this figures the EOS 6D Mark II has less dynamic range than the EOS 5D Mark II, EOS 1D X Mark II and even less than the APS-C sized EOS 80D and the EOS 6D.

User cgarcia writes:

At the pixel level, the ISO 100 […] image (IMG_9106.CR2) reaches 11.04 EV at 26MP (11.89 normalized to 8MP) compared with my 6D which reached 11.53 EV at 20MP (12.19 EV normalized to 8MP). The measured read noise is 7.53556 DN (compared to about 4.68699 DN in my 6D). The new sensor uses a 512 blackpoint at ISO 100 instead of 2048 (just like the new crowd of sensors). But unfortunately doesn’t achieves their dynamic range performance. The measured white point is 16383, which could point to a preproduction camera (my 6D doesn’t seem to top there at ISO 100) so the real dynamic range could be even half a bit less.

Instruction to replicate the tests are provided in the discussion thread.

Pre-orders USA:

Pre-orders UK:

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Canon Batteries and all you may want to know about explained in this CPN article

canon rumorsCanon Professional Network published an article where they explain all you may want to know about Canon batteries. There are 4 main types:

  • NP series large, high capacity for the professional series cameras
  • BP series for the consumer and semi-professional range
  • NB series smaller and lighter than the BP series, for the lightweight consumer cameras
  • LP series the new professional range – lighter and higher capacity than the previous NP range

Read the rest at Canon Professional Network.

All that glitters is not gold: Sony A9 not ISO-invariant and sacrifices dynamic range for speed

All That Glitters Is Not Gold: Sony A9 Not ISO-invariant And Sacrifices Dynamic Range For Speed

Sony a9 at a glance:

  • 24.2MP Full-Frame Stacked CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor & Front-End LSI
  • 693-Point AF System & 20 fps Shooting
  • Blackout-Free Quad-VGA 3.7m-Dot OLED EVF
  • Internal UHD 4K Video Recording
  • 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization
  • 3.0″ 1.44m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
  • ISO 204,800, Silent Electronic Shutter
  • Built-In Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, Dual SD Slots
  • Integrated LAN and PC Sync Terminals

There is no free lunch and anything comes at a price. This appears to be true especially for Sony gear, always hyped and most of the time only because of the specifications sheets.

DPReview wanted to know better. They put the Sony a9 on their test bench, and found some interesting things. So, how does the powerhouse a9 perform when it comes to ISO-invariance (what is it?) and dynamic range.

DPReview found out that the Sony a9 is not ISO-invariant, and that “the camera is adding a fair amount of read noise that results in noisy shadows, limiting dynamic range at base ISO“. They also found that the Sony A9 sensor “was likely optimized for speed at the expense of low ISO dynamic range“.

What does all this mean? According to DPReview “this limits the exposure latitude of a9 Raws, so you’ll have some limited ability to expose high contrast scenes for the highlights, then tonemap (raise) shadows in post“.

All that glitters is not gold. Read DPReview’s in-depth analysis.