Did You Know Nikon Designs its own Sensors?

Nikon

I didn’t.

Imaging Resource’s Dave Etchells had the rare chance to visit Nikon’s super-secret sensor design laboratory. But, wait, didn’t Sony manufacture the sensors in Nikon cameras?

So what is Nikon exactly doing? Say’s Etchells:

Companies designing chips of whatever sort generally rely on standard processes established by the “foundry” company that does the actual manufacturing. In these cases, the design process is “just” a matter of defining the layout of the devices on the chip. I say “just” though, because it’s far from a routine process to do this. The size and shape of transistors, photodiodes, resistors and capacitors determines their electrical characteristics, and there are loads of tradeoffs involved in balancing light-gathering efficiency, noise levels, readout speeds, on and on. A big trick is designing the pixels and readout circuitry so there’s as little “dead” (non-light-sensitive) area as possible, while maintaining readout speeds and minimizing power consumption.

Nikon designs its sensors and Sony manufactures them. The surprising thing here is how deep into details Nikon’s sensor design goes, let alone all the simulations and the testing. The reason Nikon is doing this, has to do

with being able to optimize the camera system as a whole, in ways that you can’t if you’re just using off-the shelf parts

In other words: Nikon wants their sensors to be optimised for their lenses and to work at best with Nikon’s also in-house designed EXPEED image processing engine. The sensors featured in the Nikon D850 and Nikon D5 are an example of Nikon’s testing, simulation and overall sensor design.

To learn more about imaging sensors in general and about Nikon’s super-secret sensor design laboratory head over to Imaging Resource.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II vs Nikon D5 (video)

Eos-1d X Mark Ii

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II: Amazon USA, Amazon CA, B&H Photo, Adorama, Digitalrev, KEH Camera, eBay US, Canon USA, Canon CA, BestBuy

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II at a glance:

  • 20.2MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • Dual DIGIC 6+ Image Processors
  • 14 fps Shooting, 16 fps in Live View
  • DCI 4K Video at 60 fps, 8.8MP Still Grab
  • 61-Point High Density Reticular AF II
  • 3.2 inch (1.62m) Touchscreen LCD Monitor
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF and Movie Servo AF
  • ISO 100-51200 (Expanded to 409600)
  • Built-In GPS
  • CFast & CF Card Slots

11 minutes video by Tony & Chelsea Northrup, Canon EOS-1D X Mark II vs Nikon D5. Two flagships for sport and wildlife photography (and obviously much more).

The 4 years old Canon EOS-1D C does 4K better than Nikon’s brand new D5

EOS-1D C

Among all the discussion about 4K, EOSHD’s Andrew Reid posted an interesting article where he compares the Canon EOS-1D C with the Nikon D5. The EOS-1D C was released 4 years ago, the Nikon D5 a few weeks ago.

Well, It appears the EOS-1D C does 4K better than the Nikon D5. Writes Reid:

This time it’s a win for Canon. Although it was released nearly 4 years ago in 2012 the Canon 1D C remains superior to the current Nikon D5 flagship for 4K, which I find puzzling because technology goes a very long way in 4 years. Read the review…

I always said that Canon knows how to implement 4K on a DSLR, and that they did it right. Sony does also, but you have to deal with overheating and consequent sudden shutdowns of the camera. I didn’t expect Nikon to implement 4K worse than Canon did 4 years ago. 4 years are a long time in technology.

I expect the EOS-1D X Mark II to feature 4K, as well as the EOS 5D Mark IV (or whatever it will be named). I think it is now no more a matter of rumors but just a matter of common sense. Both the EOS-1D X Mark II and the EOS 5D Mark IV simply can’t go to market without having 4K. As conservative as Canon may be, they can no longer afford to release both cameras without 4K. Don’t forget that it was here on Canon Watch where it first leaked that the EOS 5D Mark IV may feature 4K.

Nikon D5