I got some hints that Canon may implement a new sensor technology in their future pro-level DSLRs. The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II was also mentioned to possibly get a new sensor tech.
Thanks to reader Richard, we know that there is a slew of patents referring to column parallel sensors, a technology Sony is using on their EXMOR sensors. Quoting one of Canon’s patent applications, a column-parallel A/D converter is…:
a method for improving precision in analog-digital conversion […] of pixel signals. The A/D converter includes a first A/D converter (first processing unit) and a second A/D converter (second processing unit), and the first processing unit performs A/D conversion to generate higher-order bits of digital signals and then the second processing unit performs A/D conversion to generate lower-order bits. The first processing unit performs the first A/D conversion by comparing an analog signal to be converted and a reference voltage. The second processing unit starts charging a capacitor by a constant current source according to the result of the comparison performed by the first processing unit, and ends the charging in response to an edge of a clock signal (a rising edge) supplied immediately thereafter. Then, the second processing unit maintains the voltage for the capacitor and performs the second A/D conversion.
According to information passed over to me, Canon filed not less than seven (7) patents referring to column parallel sensor technology. A bit too much to believe Canon does not have some (big?) plans with such a sensor technology. Therefore, suggestions stating the Canon EOS-1D X may feature a new technology sensor may point in the right direction.
One of the patents is US2015/0341577. It refers to a column parallel sensor, and it seems to describe a method to get more dynamic range from shadows.
I am currently studying the other patents and will disclose them soon. Stay tuned…