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Canon camera rumours and information

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Canon Rumours
+ General camera rumours (any make!)

Our general camera rumours and news page:


Camera related rumours/patents/info.

Specific camera model info can be found on the rumours index page (along with lenses and printers and other makes).

We’re sent all kinds of suggestions – some more believable than others. Rumour accuracy plummets once you are more than a few months from any ‘announcement’. Please do use your common sense when reading these pages, and remember that they are here for entertainment as much as anything else.

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2018 December

12th A bit of curved sensor technology info [ISW] – covers displays and other curved optical components.

curved sensor

Definitely an area a lot of work is going into…

10th A Japanese patent application by Canon shows how to use sensor movement to correct for lens misalignment [HL]

alignment by sensor

 

6th Are Sigma having another go at Foveon? A Japanese patent application [HL] drops the three colours per pixel to two.

2 colour foveon

5th There’s been a flurry of ‘leaked’ Sony sensor specs of late. Assuming these are for real they show nothing more than Sony is working on better sensors in many different areas.

However, as a former electronics designer I’d caution people not to read too much into the peak ‘headline’ specs, such as 480FPS 4k video [EHD]. Remember that a sensor is just a small part of a camera system, which is a always a collection of compromises.  See also Thom Hogan’s take on this [TH]

Yes, sensors are still improving… Oh and the electronics industry wants us to clamour for 8k ;-)

4th If you wondered just how Photokina was going to sell space to exhibitors just 6 months after the recent show, then finally, so have the Photokina organisers… [PK]

It’s no longer May 2019, but May 2020 (Wed. 27th May to Sat. 30th May 2020)

So we move from 2 yearly to 18 months and then annual.

This follows on from the cancellation of CEBIT2019 a few days ago [TSNN]

Yes, trade shows are not what they used to be…

I note some of Thom Hogans more refined analysis [TH] of some of the graphs about full frame camera sales you may have seen.

3rd Interesting – two very different approaches to 50MP

x1d-50c_5Ds

Both 50MP, both roughly the same field of view (unshifted).

Yes, I see the quality in the X1D files, but with the 5Ds I’ve got lens movements… 

From the ‘What else were you expecting” category come the October CIPA figures [CIPA]

Obviously we’ve seen those new mirrorless cameras, but the decline in overall camera shipments continues. I don’t know the full meanings behind all those figures, so I’ll leave more informed comment to the likes of Thom Hogan.

Just the one graph to look pretty this time…

camera shipments

1st There’s an interesting discussion about the upwards drift in sensor performance, and how it matters for future cameras by Thom Hogan [TH]

Once again I’d rather see the thoughts of someone with genuine industry knowledge than the frantic musings of many of the xyzrumors.com brigade ;-)

On the subject of those Sony sensors – I’ve a Hasselblad X1D-50C with the 21/4 lens here for a short test – Not the best time of the year weather wise, but hopefully long enough to get a real feel for using it.

If anyone has any questions, please email me…

November

27th There’s another Photokina interview at DPR . This time it’s some PR for the ‘L Mount Alliance’

20th Whilst 3 DSLR’s are forecast for next year [CR] there’s an interesting suggestion that at least one update has been given the chop in favour of an EOS R model. The 5Ds successor is a natural for this, since if you’re looking at typical 5Ds users (myself included) then if the viewfinder is good enough, it’s the sensor quality that makes the difference.

BTW just turning 50MP into 50MP with DPAF is unlikely to cut it for myself. There needs to be a noticeable increase in performance too (DR and a few more MP). Then again I skipped the 1Ds mk2 (1Ds to 1Ds mk3) and carried on using the 1Ds3 until the 5Ds came out. An RF mount tilt shift lens such as an updated TS-E17 might nudge me along ;-)

BTW if you’re curious about the image quality of my 1Ds/1Ds3/5Ds progression, see the interesting results of a print comparison between the three

16th Updated certification data [Nok] points to upcoming cameras from Canon – note that these have full SKU codes so are likely for early next year.

What are they? I’d suspect an 80D replacement at least, and maybe an xxxD model. A new EOS R mirrorless is likely too, but maybe not in this info?

DS 126751

  • Digital camera (single lens reflex or full size mirrorless)
  • Made in Japan (Oita Plant)
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • SKU: 3380C003AA, 3380C013AA, 3380C023AA
  • Body only and two lens kits?

DS 126761

  • Digital camera (single lens reflex or full size mirrorless)
  • Made in Taiwan or Made in Japan (Oita Plant)
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • SKU: 3454C001AA, 3454C002AA, 3454C003AA, 3458C001AA, 3461C001AA
    Note that this could include kit versions and colours, pointing to a lower end model

A third item could be a new compact

PC 2355

  • Digital camera
  • Made in Japan (Nagasaki Plant)
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed

11th The quality of rumours seems to have plummeted now that the Canon and Nikon mirrorless cameras are actually shipping. There’s nothing of any note other than relative clutching at straws by the assorted “We said it first” rumour sites.

My suspicion is that they are seeing a real fall-off in visitor numbers after the EOS R and Nikon Z announcements and need to drum up clicks for the forthcoming holiday sales/offers season. Yes, I see the fall-off  here too, so it’s why I’m redoubling my efforts on the ‘real’ side of the site (articles/reviews) – more on higher end printers/cameras/lenses to come as and when I can arrange it (we’re simply not not ‘flush’ enough to go for spending thousands of pounds for items just to review).

Even the reliability of the good old Canon timeline is now called into doubt, with the disruption of the EOS R and (I’d suggest) even greater disruption of the move to the RF mount.

Certification data [Nok] does suggest 3 Canon DSLR’s and one FF mirrorless for 2019, but keep an eye out for updates to that data, since it’s from September.

  Crop  2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
            1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Best Full       1Ds 1Ds Mk II 1Ds Mk III 1D X 1DX II
1.3     1D 1D Mk II 1D MkIIn 1D Mk III 1D Mk IV                  
video                             1D C        
High Full                               5Ds/5Dsr
            5D 5D Mk II 5D Mk III 5D Mk IV
1.6                   7D 7D Mk II
'Better'  Full                                               6D 6D 2
1.6 D30 D60 10D 20D 30D 40D 50D 60D 70D 80D
Mid 1.6         300D
Rebel
Kiss
350D
XT
Kiss N
400D
XTi
Kiss X
450
XSi
X2
500
T1i
X3
550
T2i
X4
600
T3i
X5
650
T4i
X6i
700D
T5i
X7i
760D
T6s
77D
        750D
T6i
800D
T7i
Micro 1.6                                 100D SL1 X7 200D SL2
Entry 1.6                   1000D / XS / F 1100D / T3 / X50 1200D T5 X70 1300D T6 2000D
T7
                                    4000D
EOS R
Mirror
-less
Full                               EOS R
EF-M
Mirror
-less
1.6                               M5
                              M50
                            M M2 M3 M6
                              M10 M100

Note: dates start in announcement quarter, not shipping dates. Video capable 4k

Digic | Digic 2 | Digic 3 dual | Digic 4 dual | Digic 5 dual | Digic 6 dual | Digic 7 dual | Digic 8

1st Canon are making a range of their sensors available for industrial use.
Press info: Canon Announces a New CMOS Sensor Business Platform

MELVILLE, N.Y., November 1, 2018 – Image sensors are an important driving force behind many of today’s successful brands, ranging from consumer products to industrial solutions. Today, Canon U.S.A, a leader in digital imaging solutions, announces that it is now offering select CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductors) sensor products for sale to the industrial marketplace. Manufacturers, solutions providers and integrators who are searching for advanced components to create their own unique products and solutions can now utilise Canon’s patented technology to help them create these products and solutions and expand their business potential.

“For several decades, Canon has been a leader in developing and manufacturing advanced CMOS sensors with state-of-the-art technologies, which until now, were for exclusive use in Canon products,” said Kazuto Ogawa, president and chief operating officer, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “It was a natural evolution to expand into a new business platform that leverages our expertise in sensor manufacturing to target the growing market demands for high-quality industrial imaging solutions.”

Launching this new business, Canon will be showcasing its CMOS sensors at VISION, the world’s leading trade fair for machine vision, on Tuesday, November 6 through Thursday, November 8, 2018, in Stuttgart, Germany. Attendees are invited to visit Hall 1 – Stand 1G74 to explore Canon’s CMOS sensor products and the variety of applications that can potentially be enhanced, including machine vision, inspection, surveillance, drones, traffic-monitoring systems and other industrial applications.

Canon sensors on display include:

  • 3U5MGXS CMOS Sensor – with an electronic global shutter, and an all pixel progressive reading at 120fps, the Canon 3U5MGXS CMOS 5MP sensor offers fast image capture with low power consumption. This helps to accurately capture images of subjects moving at high speeds without distortion to meet such industrial needs as medical imaging and inspecting parts during the manufacturing process. The Canon 3U5MGXS is now available.
  • 35MMFHDXSCA CMOS Sensor – featuring an enormous 19um pixel pitch, the 35MMFHDXSCA CMOS sensor is capable of capturing colour images in exceptionally low-light environments where the naked eye struggles to distinguish objects.  Using new pixel and readout circuitry technologies that deliver a 2.76 megapixel resolution, these sensors can support a wide range of applications which require ultra-high sensitivity image capture, including defence, astronomy, surveillance and industrial operations. The Canon 35MMFHDXSCA is now available.
  • 120MXS CMOS Sensor – by incorporating close to the same number of pixels as photoreceptors in the human eye, the Canon 120MXS CMOS sensor delivers ultra-high 120 MP resolution at 9.4fps in a compact APS-H format. This sensor targets the needs of the inspection, aerial mapping, life sciences, digital archiving and transportation industries. The Canon 120MXS is now available.
  • 2U250MRXS CMOS Sensor – with a readout speed of 1.25 billion pixels per second, the prototype 2U250MRXS CMOS sensor, delivers ultra-high 250MP resolution in a compact APS-H format. Through advancements in circuit miniaturisation and enhanced signal processing, this sensor delivers high resolution with incredible sensitivity and low noise.

For more information on Canon sensors, please visit canon-cmos-sensors.com

A Canon US patent application [USPTO] looks at auto exposure options for time-lapse settings

The optics in an EVF are discussed in a US patent application [USPTO]

evf optics

October

25th A Japanese patent application [2018-165756 (P2018-165756A)] covers sensor stabilisation (aka IBIS) [HLibis for canoncanon ibisHL]

19th So it’s 2000, digital is looking, only to some I recall, the way that photography is going. You get a choice in getting some Kodak or Fujifilm shares – the only two big manufacturers of colour film. How will they compare after a few years?

There’s an interesting look at the way the two companies faced the problems [PP] with lots of info I’d not seen before.

“In reality, Kodak failed for the same reason that Fujifilm succeeded: diversification. But for Kodak, it was the lack of diversification that condemned this firm to fade. Unlike Fujifilm which recognized early on that photography was a doomed business and tackled new markets with a completely different portfolio, Kodak made a wrong analysis and persisted in the decaying photo industry.”

5th An interesting (technical) scientific paper [SCI] about using Charge density wave (CDW) as a mechanism for a photo detector.  Covers the range from visible, through Infra-red, to terahertz with one sensor. Not coming to a camera near you very soon, but could be very useful in many other fields. [via ISW]

4th Canon is working on stacked image sensors – there have been plenty appearing in patent applications of late. This diagram from a new one [USPTO] shows some of the different ways layers talk to each other.

stacked design

How long it will be until such sensors appear in a Canon camera is unknown…

September

29th As Photokina winds up, it’s worth looking at what’s been announced and what hasn’t.

I’ve only followed announcements in brief, since once again PK coincided with our family holiday – at least next year it’s in the spring and becomes annual.

Olympus announced nothing, and just emphasise it Panasonic just happened to mention Olympus’s lack of interest in full frame and the L mount [43]

Thom Hogan has a good overview of things, noting that Sony was in full FUD mode, and that there was relatively little announced that you could actually get someone for Christmas. [TH]

The ‘2019’ Panasonic Lumix S1R [DPR] looks to be a genuinely interesting development, even if the products and lenses are mostly in the ‘jam tomorrow’ category.

I’ve always had a soft spot for anything with the Zenit name, since my first SLR back in the mid 70’s was a Zenith ES (Zenith Photosniper kit).  That said, the New Zenit-M does look rather a lot like the old Leica M (240) [DPR]

The Zeiss ZX1 in an Android phone that’s actually a camera with a full frame sensor and 35mm lens: [DPR]

It comes with a 37.4MP full-frame image sensor, fixed 35mm Distagon F2 lens and a huge 4.3″ touchscreen with a resolution of 1280×720 pixels to augment its physical controls. Zeiss has also teamed up with Adobe to offer full Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC capability in the camera itself. It’s designed to allow you to shoot, edit and share on the fly.”

zeiss zx1

It’s rather nice – even if 24mm would be my choice for a fixed focus lens.

I suspect I’m really not in the target market, since its ability to ‘edit and share on the fly’  has minimal interest for me ~ that and I dislike Lightroom ;-)

27th Today marks 15 years of having pages with rumour information on the Northlight site.

The first item was actually the Epson SP4000 printer, where the announcement was published in September 2003, a week or two early in a (print) magazine.

Not knowing how long it would run for, early rumours were rather disorganised on the site – a lot was tidied up in 2015 when I completely re-wrote the site. Camera rumours started in earnest with the 1Ds mk2 in June 2004. If you’re curious, there are links to all I could find during the re-write on the main rumour page (click on the archive tab). You might note that rumours were more plentiful, but no more accurate.

In September 2004, as now, photokina occurred whilst I was away. The difference being that then I was updating HTML via a dial-up connection from motels in Oregon and Washington, whilst today I’m using a VPN to type directly on my desktop office computer, using my laptop in Cornwall just a few miles from where Marconi sent the first transatlantic radio transmission in 1901.

Back in 2003 you could get a good argument going on DPReview as to when/if digital would ever surpass film, and whilst I’d started my photo business with the Canon 1Ds, Nikon were saying that full frame was simply not needed ;-)  That’s why I’ve always covered Canon stuff a lot more than Nikon. I’ve always liked wide angle – just as well since…

A less welcome link to then is that’s when I got my EF70-200 F2.8L IS, the one I dropped yesterday. It works but IS is no more. Since I really can’t afford to replace it, it’s back to bright light and fast shutter speeds :-(

The ‘real’ camera market has surged and declined in the meantime. I remember the site getting over 200k visits on the day of the 5D mk2 announcement. Today 15k for an article/review on one day is good.  I will keep the rumour pages (and archives) going although there’s never going to be the interest/activity levels of the past 15 years – just as well I always preferred to be known for the articles/reviews on the site!

An appeal – If you’ve enjoyed the site over the years, please consider buying something (anything counts – even a frying pan) going via our Amazon links – it won’t cost any less I’m afraid, but with dropping the 70-200, and current family circumstances, it’s the only way I’m likely to be able to afford to replace it.

Looking out to sea from Porthleven, Cornwall. The next land in this direction is South America ~4000 miles away.

TS-E24mm up/down stitch (click to enlarge)

Looking out to sea from Porthleven

Rather more solidly built Cannons than my 70-200 :-)

19th canon sx70 HSThe long awaited Canon SX70 HS details appear. [Nok]

  • 21 million pixel 1 / 2.3 type sensor
  • 65x optical zoom (21mm-1365mm equiv.)
  • DIGIC 8
  • 4K video
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Size: 127.1 × 90.9 × 116.6 mm
  • Weight: 610 g

 

canon sx70 HS top

16th Over in Korea, there seems to be discussion about Samsung getting into sensor development and links to Fuji and Pentax. Info via MR

14th An update to regulatory filings [Nok] suggests we will see 80D and 7D2 replacements, and an M5 mk2 is there too.

So, not just the EOS M5 Mark II, EOS 7D Mark III and EOS 90D in 2019 but something for the EOS R line too

K433 (Next ‘R’?)

  • Mirror-less camera | FF
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Maximum image size of test machine: 6240 x 4160
  • Probably will be released within 1 year

K435

  • SLR | APS-C
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Battery level indication is displayed in 4 levels (same as 9000 D etc.)
  • Maximum image size of test machine: 6000 × 4000
  • Probably released in 2019

K436 (EOS 90D?)

  • SLR | APS-C
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Battery level indication is displayed in 4 levels (same as 9000 D etc.)
  • Maximum image size of test machine: 6000 × 4000
  • Probably released in 2019

K437 (EOS 7D Mark3 ?)

  • SLR | APS-C
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Battery level indicator is displayed in six levels (same as 5D Mark IV etc.)
  • Maximum image size of test machine: 6960 × 4640
  • Probably released in 2019 or later

EC804 (PowerShot G7X III?)

  • Compact digital camera | Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Powershot G series

EC 805

  • Compact digital camera | Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed

EC808

  • Compact digital camera
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Powershot G series

EC 811 (EOS M5 Mark II?)

  • Mirrorless camera | APS-C
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Maximum image size of test machine: 6000 × 4000
  • Probably released in 2019

EC 812 (another EOS-M?)

  • Mirrorless camera | APS-C
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Maximum image size of test machine: 6000 × 4000
  • Probably released in 2019 or later

13th The latest EOS systems disk for the EOS R (and other cameras) and the EOS R manual [PDF]  are available from Canon HK

6th Using IS for panning assistance is discussed in a Canon US patent application [USPTO]

panning-assist

Note the lack of reflex mirror – this needs the higher data rates of the RF mount I’d suggest ;-)

A second patent application [USPTO] looks at refinements of panning assistance when there are vibrations present and how body based sensors can work with others (such as in the lens).

4th There’s been some discussion about the potential long term changes and short term problems about Canon’s RF mount and what it means for the EF-M system  (oh, and EF and EF-S too).

I’ve written up some thoughts about this in a short article about Canon’s lens mount history and the challenges faced

3rd Canon new small EL-100 flash is confirmed [Nok] it was listed as ds401221 in certification info.

Canon Speedlite EL-100 Specifications:

  • Size: 64.6mm (2.54 “) x 91.7mm (3.61 “) x 71mm (2.79”)
  • Weight: 190g  (w/o battery)
  • Announcement date: not known

August

31st Enough info now to warrant s specific Canon EOS-R camera system rumour page.

A US Canon patent application shows a pixel design that incorporates an organic (or quantum dot) photoelectric conversion layer and a silicon one below it.

combined pixel design

Advantages are that you can have your dual (or quad) photosite pixels for AF whilst extracting additional colour information for each pixel.

So for example a green sensitive organic layer [204], would let by red and blue light for the silicon based detector below [202].

28th And then it was back on again [CR], or maybe not – I’ve still not seen anything beyond what fall into the plausible guess style of specs, but it could be Canon’s best kept announcement secret for a long time…

27th Nothing to see – move along…

It seems that no major announcements are on the way from Canon in the run-up too Photokina. We’ve been sent various stuff, but nothing at all with that element of substance that the Nikon mirrorless rumours took on in the run up to the Z6/7 launch.

Some Canon lenses will appear, but it seems that Canon is happy to let Nikon have its Z series make the running for this show.

I am curious to see how the full frame mirrorless hype plays out once real people start using shipping versions of the Z6/7.  Perhaps I’m not the best to look at this market as a photographer, since for my work I’m more and more using fully manual settings and manual focus lenses ;-) 

23rd A US patent application [USPTO] looks at implementing focus stacking and the problems of matching images shot with the focus at different distances.

focus stacking

16th Ways of adding level information to a live view image are discussed in a Canon US patent application [USPTO]

show-level-information

A Canon US patent application looks at a magnetic layer associated with a sensor, so as to reduce noise [USPTO]

magnetic-layer

By introducing a thin ferrite layer, electromagnetic interference between different layers in a stacked sensor design is reduced. With the sizes of current pixels it doesn’t take much to influence electrons moving around in unwanted ways.

Another Canon US patent application looks at aspects of stacked sensor design [USPTO]

sensor-stacking

The key element of this application is addressing the problems of sealing the bonded layers from contamination, such as water ingress. It really wouldn’t take much water to get in to damage the sensor chip.

stacked-sensor-cross-section

I still get asked for prints from images taken on my old Canon 1Ds, which at 11MP means some careful processing is needed if someone wants a big print. Well, I’ve been testing Topaz A.I. Gigapixel, a new software package with a new approach to upscaling that is rather good.

There’s a 30day working demo available, and I’ve written up a review

Here’s a section of an image magnified to 600% [click to enlarge]

50MP-x600-at-100percent

15th There is some updated model info [Nok] doing the rounds. These model numbers come from regulatory filings for wireless features. All the info comes from the Nokishita site, so any explanations you might see are mostly guesswork. It can also be quite some time between any regulatory filing and products appearing.

DS126721

  • Interchangeable lens camera | Made in Japan
  • SKU: 3075C003AA, 3075C013AA, 3075C023AA
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Battery: LP-E6/LP-E6N (or equivalent)
  • The same radio parts as KissM

PC2357

  • Digital camera
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Battery: LP-E6/LP-E6N (or equivalent)
  • The same radio parts as KissM

Interchangeable lens (5)

  • SKU: 2439C005AA, 2959C005AA, 2963C005AA, 2972C005AA, 3045C005AA

Production: Japan

Interchangeable lens (3)

  • SKU: 2965C005AA, 2973C005AA, 3329C005AA

Production: Taiwan or Japan

DS401221

  • Speedlight | SKU: 3249C003AA

10th A Japanese Canon patent application looks at an optical design for EVF optics with a deep eye-relief [HL]

eye-relief optics design

5th There’s been plenty of mirrorless talk of late, but Canon isn’t going to get out of the DSLR game for a long while. Whilst we’ve recently heard that the 90D will be available in November (caution – no specs, no real info either) it does leave the way for a series of high end announcements in 2019, as well as some more low end stuff to keep the range moving.

The 7D3 / 5Ds mk2 / 1D X mk3 would all be in the ‘because we can’ category for Canon. With the Olympics in 2020 in Japan, the 1D X update may be later in the year (or even Jan 2020) but all three current models are Digic 6 powered and could reasonably jump to Digic 8 (I’ll be curious to see if it makes it into the 90D).

Anyway, take a look at the current timeline and place your bets…

  Crop  2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
            1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Best Full       1Ds 1Ds Mk II 1Ds Mk III 1D X 1DX II
1.3     1D 1D Mk II 1D MkIIn 1D Mk III 1D Mk IV                  
video                             1D C        
High Full                               5Ds/5Dsr
            5D 5D Mk II 5D Mk III 5D Mk IV
1.6                   7D 7D Mk II
'Better'  Full                                               6D 6D 2
1.6 D30 D60 10D 20D 30D 40D 50D 60D 70D 80D
Mid 1.6         300D
Rebel
Kiss
350D
XT
Kiss N
400D
XTi
Kiss X
450
XSi
X2
500
T1i
X3
550
T2i
X4
600
T3i
X5
650
T4i
X6i
700D
T5i
X7i
760D
T6s
77D
        750D
T6i
800D
T7i
Micro 1.6                                 100D SL1 X7 200D SL2
Entry 1.6                   1000D / XS / F 1100D / T3 / X50 1200D T5 X70 1300D T6 2000D
T7
                                    4000D
EOS R
Mirror
-less
Full                               EOS R
EF-M
Mirror
-less
1.6                               M5
                              M50
                            M M2 M3 M6
                              M10 M100

Note: dates start in announcement quarter, not shipping dates. Video capable 4k

Digic | Digic 2 | Digic 3 dual | Digic 4 dual | Digic 5 dual | Digic 6 dual | Digic 7 dual | Digic 8

July

28th TowerJazz is a semiconductor company you may never have heard of, but they are big in sensor design and with 49% ownership by Panasonic are likely in some of their cameras – it’s also been rumoured that they are working with Nikon…

From an earnings call note [ISW]

“For mid to long-term accretive market growth, we are progressing well with a leading DSLR camera supplier and have as well begun a second project with this customer, using state-of-the-art stacked wafer technology on 300-millimeter wafers. For this DSLR supplier, the first front side illumination project is progressing according to plan, expecting to ramp the volume production in 2020, while the second stacked wafer based project with industry leading alignment accuracy and associated performance benefits is expected to ramp to volume production a year after.”

26th Canon’s Q2 2018 results are out and they are claiming the #1 spot in mirrorless sales for the first half of 2018.

A Canon patent application [USPTO] looks at improving image stabilisation, especially for wider lenses.

image stabilisation

It includes lens IS and electronic stabilisation.

There are however references to sensor stabilisation (IBIS)

“Note that the second image stabilization is not limited to electronic image stabilization, and may be, for example, image stabilization performed by controlling a mechanical movement of the image capturing device, or image stabilization performed by controlling a movable optical element in the camera body”

So, whilst we’re not (yet) seeing actual patent applications, Canon isn’t ruling out IBIS…

Some unreleased camera model info for Canon [Nok]

Canon’s unreleased camera “DS126721” is made in Japan (Oita factory). Three kinds of SKU are 3075C003AA, 3075C013AA, 3075C023AA  (body only and two kit lenses)

I’d note that the 7D2 and 80D are made in Japan, so all you can say is that it’s one of Canon’s ‘better’ cameras.

19th A Canon US patent application [USPTO] looks at how better to allow for chromatic aberration in sensor phase based AF systems.

18th An interesting article about Nikon’s sensor design process [IR]. Actually at quite a detailed level and a good introduction to modern sensor design.

17th I see that Thom Hogan has been reading the Photokina tealeaves, pointing out what you might guess from the various media events just before the show [TH].

Nikon continue their clear out with KeyMission cameras moving to the discontinued bin [NR].

Sometimes searching out the rumour info just mildly irritates/depresses me and makes me wonder what to photograph? What to do when the inspiration wanders off? Whether it’s the hot UK weather (which I dislike) or time of the year, I’ve had several photographers recently mention just this to me. Anyway, I’ve written up some of my thoughts about the issue and things I do when it happens (and I don’t have the direction of a paid commercial job to nudge me).

Now what? What to photograph next

15th The Powershot SX740 HS is due soon [Nok]

12th A date (1st week September) is suggested [CR] for Canon’s pre-photokina announcements.

June

30th It’s difficult to work out details from the camera model numbers found in regulatory filings, but a recent list [Nok] gives options for all the usual suspects.

I see two FF mirrorless at the start. It’s an interesting collection of info with only a FF mirrorless and EOS M5 mk2 for this year. I’d note however that there is a surfeit of events next year, with Photokina 2019 taking place from May 8th-11th, as it becomes an annual spring show.

Do note that this translated info is all there is – watch out for the fan-rumor sites conflating it into more than it is ;-)
*All camera model names are just guesses at the moment*

K424

  • Mirror-less camera
  • Full frame
  • Wi-Fi | Bluetooth installed 
  • Not compatible with smartphone’s Bluetooth remote control function
  • Maximum size of test image: 6720 × 4480 (~30MP)
  • Release in late 2018 to early 2019

K433

  • Mirror-less camera
  • Probably full frame (not APS-C)
  • Wi-Fi | Bluetooth installed
  • Compatible with smartphone’s Bluetooth remote control function
  • Probably released in 2019

EC 811

  • Mirror-less camera [M5 mk2 maybe for Photokina 2018]
  • APS-C
  • Wi-Fi | Bluetooth installed
  • Compatible with smartphone’s Bluetooth remote control function

K436

  • Single-lens reflex camera [80D or xxxD model]
  • APS-C
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Battery level indication is displayed in 4 levels (same as 800D etc.)
  • Compatible with smartphone’s Bluetooth remote control function
  • Probably released in 2019 or later

K437

  • Single-lens reflex camera [80D or 7D mk3]
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Battery level indicator is displayed in six levels (same as 5D Mark IV etc.)
  • Compatible with smartphone’s Bluetooth remote control function
  • Probably released in 2019 or later

Three smaller compact cameras of the PowerShot type

EC801

  • Compact digital camera
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Compatible with smartphone’s Bluetooth remote control function

EC804

  • Compact digital camera
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Powershot G series
  • Compatible with smartphone’s Bluetooth remote control function

EC 805

  • Compact digital camera
  • Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • Compatible with smartphone’s Bluetooth remote control function

 

28th A Canon US patent application [USPTO] looks at using the metering sensor and lighting flicker detection to improve the sensing of movement in the frame. Quite a complex one…

metering sensor motion detect

A Canon US patent application [USPTO] looks at adaptive variable tonal processing for captured scenes.

Using multiple exposures and making use of split pixel sensor options the application discusses different ways of processing scenes with the aim of better representing changes in brightness, contrast and even white balance.

variable-processing

A Canon US patent application (one of several in this area) looks at split live view options [USPTO | #2, | #3 ]

split live view

Enough detail to suggest it will be appearing in a real camera some time…

Just as I’ve been testing the ProGrade Digital USB 3.1 reader and 128GB SDXC card, the SD Association announced the SDXC format that takes the maximum capacity to 128TB.

Like many working photographers I know, I’ve been guilty of keeping older cards – it really was time I updated my workflow ;-)

24th It’s not easy to get useful info from wireless regulatory filings, but they do tend to presage new cameras by a few months, often before any real leaked info (which tends to pick up in the month or so before an announcement). This is via [Nok], so translated.

A new Canon camera ‘DS126721′  has been registered. Test numbers “K436” “K437” are DSLR, “K424” “K433” “EC 811” are mirrorless. It is suggested that K436 is an xxxD level camera (LP-E17 battery), whilst the K437 is xD or xxD (LP-E6N battery).

So, some cameras are coming… Obviously the 7D2 and 80D are getting on, whilst the 77D/800D would be due an iteration by the end of the year. See the Canon timeline below for more.

22nd Is not having an AA filter worth the extra cost, for the 5Ds R? A quick 5Ds/5Ds R test suggests the answer for my own use of the camera – YMMV ;-)

In a sensor with millions of pixels you’re going to get defective ones. With split pixel AF, half a pair makes the pixels useless for AF but not necessarily for imaging. A new Canon patent application [USPTO] looks at dealing with this and also includes quad pixel units,

quad pixel

Improvements to timelapse control algorithms feature in a Canon patent application [USPTO] looking at where the length of exposure limits interval rate and other limitations.

18th Some more info from Canon about a 20cm square sensor [via ISW]

Canon 20cm sensor

14th Canon is still working on mirror mechanisms [USPTO] – this time lead screws…

mirror mechanism

A long requested ‘feature’ for Canon DSLRs (since 2004 for myself) is ETTR metering – well this isn’t quite it, but a Canon US patent application [USPTO] looks at dealing with halation (light spillover) from bright to dark areas, such as backlit photos of people, by dynamically altering the sensitivity of different parts of the sensor.

The workings of an eye sensor for an external EVF are described [USPTO]

evf design

Back to sensor design… a patent application [USPTO] looks at some of the manufacturing problems of stacking sensor elements. In particular the problem of the connection pad materials affecting sensor performance.  (Patent is more for those interested in chip manufacturing)

stack sensor

 

12th What’s on the way from Canon in the run up to Photokina? Speculation abounds, mostly stuff it’s hard to argue against ;-)

A look at the Canon camera timeline suggests the 90D and a 7D3 some time.

Better video and ‘better specs’ are suggested [CR] as part of Canon’s desire to start ‘taking the lead’ a bit more, with respect to competitors.

Now, this sort of stuff plays well on forums and with the fan-base, but how it appears in products, or is of use to people actually taking photos, I wait to see…

  Crop  2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
            1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Best Full       1Ds 1Ds Mk II 1Ds Mk III 1D X 1DX II
1.3     1D 1D Mk II 1D MkIIn 1D Mk III 1D Mk IV                  
video                             1D C        
High Full                               5Ds/5Dsr
            5D 5D Mk II 5D Mk III 5D Mk IV
1.6                   7D 7D Mk II
'Better'  Full                                               6D 6D 2
1.6 D30 D60 10D 20D 30D 40D 50D 60D 70D 80D
Mid 1.6         300D
Rebel
Kiss
350D
XT
Kiss N
400D
XTi
Kiss X
450
XSi
X2
500
T1i
X3
550
T2i
X4
600
T3i
X5
650
T4i
X6i
700D
T5i
X7i
760D
T6s
77D
        750D
T6i
800D
T7i
Micro 1.6                                 100D SL1 X7 200D SL2
Entry 1.6                   1000D / XS / F 1100D / T3 / X50 1200D T5 X70 1300D T6 2000D
T7
                                    4000D
EOS R
Mirror
-less
Full                               EOS R
EF-M
Mirror
-less
1.6                               M5
                              M50
                            M M2 M3 M6
                              M10 M100

Note: dates start in announcement quarter, not shipping dates. Video capable 4k

Digic | Digic 2 | Digic 3 dual | Digic 4 dual | Digic 5 dual | Digic 6 dual | Digic 7 dual | Digic 8

May

31st Canon have quite a few sensor related US patent application out, but they are all quite detailed, relating to specific aspects of sensor design or performance. There’s nothing that said to me ‘This is really significant’ – of course, patent applications are never written for clarity. For those of you at work with really too much time to spare.. #1 #2 #3 #4 #5

30th At last, I’ve completed the third of my reviews for the new Canon TS-E lenses – another long one I’m afraid ;-)

Review: Canon TS-E90mm F2.8L Macro (includes some comparisons with my old TS-E90).

The Canon EOS 1V is officially discontinued [Canon] but service support will run until 2025 (subject to parts availability).
Production of the EOS-1V ended in 2010, [San] so stock has taken a while to dwindle

28th I’ve been trying out various mirrorless camera options for a few years now (not enough for reviews as yet), and always it’s the viewfinder that disappoints. The mirrorless makers know this and are pushing hard to improve EVF technology – latest specs are for a new Sony EVF chip that manages 1600×1200 resolution and up to 240 fps [Sony]

22nd An interesting set of presentations from Sony at an Investor Relations event show their  (public) image sensor business strategy.

CMOS image sensors are key component devices in growth industries such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and more. Sony’s competitive strength in this area is based on its wealth of technological expertise in analog semiconductors, cultivated over many years from the charge-coupled device (CCD) era. Sony aims to maintain its global number one position in imaging and in the longer term become the number one in sensing applications. To this end, Sony will extend its development of sensing applications beyond the area of smartphones, into new domains such as automotive use.

This slide is from a Sony [PDF]  – seems they want to be serious in the camera biz…  ;-)

via [ISW]

sony as top camera company

19th Can’t wait for more megapixels?  Canon will sell you their 120MP APS-H sensor if you feel like making your own camera [P1]. You can even go for the monochrome version of the chip.

17th Two Canon patents look at getting larger amounts of data out of a sensor in parallel [USPTO] and faster processing of multiple RAW images [USPTO]

In-camera time lapse control is discussed in a Canon patent application [USPTO], that looks at minimising power usage.

More about making stacked sensors in a Canon  US patent application [USPTO]

stacked sensor design

There’s a noticeable increase in such patents (from many companies), suggesting we may well be seeing more complex sensors over the next few years.  This increase in complexity is also being applied to other image processing elements, such as this multi stacked device [USPTO]

multi layer device

BTW, after years of ‘not quite getting round to it’ we’re setting up a newsletter for the articles/news/reviews on the site. It should be no more than 2-3 times a month, and for rumour fans will have a brief note about any significant stuff we hear. That said it’s mainly about my more serious (useful!) stuff on the site. It will not be ‘yet another list of deals’ – Newsletter signup

13th Canon discuss some of their change in marketing direction in a Marketing Week article [via CN]

10th A Canon patent application [USPTO] looks at the use of light tubes in pixel design, along with optically opaque shielding elements that reduce noise from extraneous light.

The example also shows offset pixel optics (microlenses), allowing for better light collection towards the edge of the sensor.

Note that like with many patent applications, a lot is left out, so these could be split pixels or more. The patent also expands on previous global shutter related ones. 

pixels offset

A much more practical sensor design patent application [USPTO] discusses stacked sensor construction and details of making connections to such devices.

stacked sensor construction

Once again, just a few specific areas of design. If you’re browsing this stuff, then do look at the prior work mentioned and the preamble to the description.

Stacked sensor design considerations for the different layers are discussed in a Canon patent application [USPTO]

More sensor packaging info can be found in an application [USPTO] looking at WLCSP technology (Wafer Level Chip Size Package)

5th More suggestions (without detail of course) that we’re getting ‘something big’ from Canon for Photokina.

With all these Nikon and Canon ‘mirrorless’ rumours doing the rounds, look for that distinct step up in detail and closer specifications that occur some six weeks or so before a product launch, as more people have to be involved in the process. Of course Canon and/or Nikon could tighten up information security, but expect a few placed ‘leaks’ to stoke up interest ;-)

Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to answer some of the questions I get from people wanting to ‘turn pro’ in photography. Can you start your photography business?

Is Ice Cream and Photography a good business plan?

photography and ice cream van

3rd A Canon sensor patent application [USPTO] looks at aspects of stable black levels, opaque layers, light pipes and a global shutter function in a sensor.

sensor design aspects

Included for the sensor design aficionados. Remember that all kinds of features get patented – even if not used in a production sensor. 

April

29th Canon has updated their DPP and EOS utility software. Details on our Canon software install page.

Of real interest is Canon’s new support for old DSLRS in DPP V4

  • Newly supported EOS D2000 *, EOS D6000 *, EOS D30, EOS D60, EOS 10D, EOS Kiss Digital / EOS Digital REBEL / EOS 300D Digital.
    *: Can now handle CR2 files converted with the CR2 Converter.
  • Added Partial adjustments functions.

The EOS D30 featured a 3MP CMOS sensor (at $3k) – see the review at DPR for what we thought of cameras like this at the time.  If you want to go back even further the ($15k) Kodak/Canon DCS520 is now supported.

The DPR DCS520 review is well worth a read:

“The Kodak Professional DCS 520 (referred to as the DCS 520 from now onwards) lives up there in the dream world of professional digital cameras.”

and

“There are just so many features in this camera I’m sure I’ve not done it complete justice in this review, I could write a book on what you can do with this camera, anyone who knows what you can do with a quality SLR will realise what you get when you combine one of the best SLR’s (Canon EOS-1n) with the CCD, electronics and photography experience of Kodak. True pedigree.

Kodak go on, producing the highest quality digital camera in the world, trying to ignore the price this camera not only produces but is a work of art.

Most, Hugely, Very, Highly recommended.”

Whilst looking up some old DSLR info I noticed the 2001 PMA show report  and this about Kodak’s presence:

“As we’d expect the Kodak stand was HUGE, dominating the center of the show and immediately in front of you as you walk in.”

This is two years before I decided to take up photography professionally and switch to digital

26th Probably far more about the intricacies of hybrid phase/contrast AF in a US Canon patent application than you really wanted to know [USPTO]

Hybrid phase/contrast AF

A US Canon patent application looks at control and operation of rear tilting screens, such as when to invert the image shown. Covers the use of magnets and detectors to know where you’ve positioned the screen [USPTO]

flip-out screen

A Canon motorised camera flash, includes storing previous flash positions. From a US patent application [USPTO]

motorised headflash-unit

The shakeout in the camera market continues with Casio leaving the room. [DPR]

24th An interesting note from Thom Hogan about the somewhat skewed PED (Price Elasticity of Demand) curve in Nikon’s range of cameras (and others) [TH]

Ricoh have released several Pentax related software updates

20th It’s time of the year for that masterpiece of marketing hokum, the TIPA Awards (aka ‘who’s turn is it this year’)

Anyway, here they are… ;-)

DSLR Cameras

  • Best DSLR Enthusiast – Canon EOS 200D / SL2
  • Best APS-C DSLR Expert – Nikon D7500
  • Best Fullframe Expert DSLR – Canon 6D Mark II
  • Best Professional DSLR – Nikon D850

Cameras Lens

  • Best DSLR Wide Angle Zoom Lens – Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM ART
  • Best DSLR Standard Zoom – Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Art
  • Best DSLR Telephoto – Tamron 70-210mm F4 Di VC USD
  • Best DSLR Super Zoom Lens – Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD
  • Best DSLR Prime Lens – Canon EF 85mm F1.4L IS USM
  • Best Professional Lens – Nikon AF-S 180-400mm F4E TC1.4L ED VR

Mirrorless Camera

  • Best Mirrorless Enthusiast – Canon EOS M50
  • Best Mirrorless Expert – Panasonic G9
  • Best Mirrorless Fullframe – Sony A7 III
  • Best Mirrorless Professional High Res – Sony A7R III

Mirrorless Lens

  • Best Mirrorless Standard Zoom Lens – Sony FE 24-105mm F4G OSS
  • Best Mirrorless Telephoto Zoom Lens – Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS
  • Best Mirrorless Prime Lens – Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE

Compact Cameras [yes this one is still going]

  • Best Expert Compact Camera – Panasonic ZS200 / TZ200
  • Best Super Zoom Camera – Sony RX10 IV
  • Best Professional Compact – Canon G1X Mark III
  • Best Rugged Camera – Nikon W300
  • Best Professional Photo / Video Camera – Panasonic GH5s

19th A Canon patent application looks at multilayer sensor with organic photosensitive layers [USPTO]

There’s a Canon mirrorless lens adapter patent application – see the mirrorless page for info.

Canon is still looking at lightfield imaging, with a new patent application [USPTO]

lightfield sensor

18th Reports of Canon not being at Photokina this autumn would seem to be premature, since they appear on the list of exhibitors [PK]

16th A paper about the benefits and pitfalls of putting three cameras into your smartphone design [Core Photonics – PDF]

Interesting read, even for me, with my old iPhone 3Gs ;-)

14th A panning assist mode for IS is described in a Canon patent application [USPTO]

The idea is to use the IS system to compensate for panning errors as well as camera shake. This needs movement vectors calculating for the whole image area.

panning IS movement detection

Compensating for lighting flicker is probably a lot more complex than you thought…

A new Canon patent application [USPTO] expands on flicker detection and ways of compensating for it.

As part of my testing the new ‘Jupiter release’ of Luminar yesterday, I picked out some of my old Canon 1Ds Raw files to try.

Some of my shots of a sunset at Cape Kiwanda on the Oregon coast have long been one of my critical rests for how RAW converters handle noise and blown highlights. The good news for Luminar users is that the new version is much faster and does a really good job with basic conversions.

pacific sunset

However I also tested the images with DxO PhotoLab and ACR (I still use CS6 so that’s the newest I have).  DxO is now the slowest to open – an effect only really noticeable with my 50MP 5Ds files. However, in terms of image quality it still gets my vote as the image processor of choice when making large single prints (where workflow efficiency is pretty irrelevant).

You might wonder why I test 2004 Canon 1Ds images? Well I still get asked for prints every so often and wanted to see how much RAW processing had come on (a lot)

12th A stacked sensor design in a Canon US patent application includes a frame buffer. Info looks at resizing pixel output for different video resolutions [USPTO]

stacked sensor

10th Suggestions that Canon won’t be at Photokina in September [CR]. Given that PK switches from September every other year to every May for 2019, it does make you wonder how PK will weather the change. I know that Canon’s business units (and everyone else in the industry I’ve talked to) are facing much greater ‘value for money’ pressures on attending trade events.  They just are not so important as they once were.

“photokina 2019 will take place from May 8th to 11th. Hereby, the change to a yearly cycle and the new date in May comes into effect. For the last time in 2018, the world’s leading trade fair for photo, video and imaging will take place in September, gathering foto, video and imaging enthusiasts in Cologne from September 26th to 29th.” [PK from last July]

It’s interesting to see new patents showing Canon sensor technologies, but don’t forget that a lot of money and effort is going into sensors for phone cameras (a huge market). Three layer stacked designs are shown [ISW] from people who slice chips up to see what makes them tick. Another area to keep an eye on for sensor developments is the automotive sector, where low light sensitivity and dynamic range really matters [ISW]

9th Whilst noting the rather thin flow of rumours of late, I recalled a post I’d made back in the heyday of rumours, about ‘Rumour Post Bingo‘ or how new camera rumours used to be received on the forums.

6th It seems Fuji share some of my views (further below) about film ;-)

An announcement [Fuji] confirms that Neopan Acros and a load of B&W papers are on their way out.

neopan acros film

Translated info from Fuji

film and paper end dates

The 5×4 and 8×10 versions of Neopan 100 Acros were already listed as discontinued from May 2018.

Canon Japan have a patent application [CN] showing that we’re likely to see stacked chip sensor designs much more widely in future high performance sensors.

sensor chip stacking

I was on a job recently and someone in the office started talking about photography and asked if I did film based photography for my personal work, since it was becoming a ‘big thing’. Well it isn’t, but I was able to point them to what I’d written last year when I found a big pile of film kit in a drawer in the office – Moving back to film photography

Here’s a shot from when I moved from film to digital in 2003

OM-2 and Canon 1Ds

5th USB charging in Canon cameras? A US patent application [USPTO] looks at aspects of USB charging

3rd A quick look [DPR] at Canon’s new .CR3 raw format (in the M50) shows that until you start pushing things, it’s very difficult to spot differences between the lossless compressed (as you get with current .CR2 files)and lossy compressed full resolution files.

Camera shipment numbers make their regular appearance – some thoughts at [CN and DPR]

As ever, take such figures for interest only. They are very prone to distortions from inventory dumping and new model releases, but I did note the continuing fall in compact cameras.

1st Canon white paper and specs for the APS-H 120MP sensor

“The 120MXS is an ultra-high resolution CMOS sensor with 13280 x 9184 effective pixels (approx. 60x the resolution of Full HD). It has a size equivalent to APS-H (29.22mm x 20.20mm), and a square pixel arrangement of 2.2μm x 2.2μm with 122 million effective pixels. All pixel progressive reading of 9.4 fps is made possible by 28 digital signal output channels.”

I note that the paper about the sensor dates from 2016

For similar info about the 5MP global shutter CMOS sensor and HD video 19um pixel sensor, see the Canon showcase page.

March

31st Another film stock bites the dust? – Fujifilm Acros 100 is to go in October [CP]

“Canon celebrates 15th consecutive year of No. 1 share of global interchangeable-lens digital camera market”

[CanonPR]

29th Video samples with Canon’s 120MP APS-H sensor.

Yes – I would like to see 100+MP in a 5Ds – files too big for you? Buy a different camera ;-)

27th Good to see the lack of solid camera rumours is firing up people’s creativity, but if you’re going to convince us, you need to dial it back a bit from a Canon smartphone with APS-C image sensor and EF-S mount or Canon mirrorless with MF sensors…

As ever we appreciate tips, but try and keep the imagination in check ;-)

A number of Canon wireless regulatory submissions suggest two new mirrorless cameras and two DSLRs [Nok]

  • K424 | Interchangeable lens camera | Full size
    Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
    It is described as mirrorless image size (6720 × 4480) in the test data (since the detail column is filled with almost the same data as 5D Mark IV [K349], the image size may be a dummy possibility)
  • K433 | Interchangeable lens camera | Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
    It is described as mirrorless full size in the test data (it is the same as the data of K424, so it is possible that the initial setting data was diverted for testing)
  • K436 | Lens interchangeable camera (probably single lens reflex)
    Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • K437 | Lens interchangeable camera (probably single lens reflex)
    Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • EC801 | Compact digital camera
    Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • EC804 | Compact digital camera
    Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed | More functions than EC 801 and EC 805 (probably G series)
  • EC 805 | Compact digital camera
    Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed
  • EC 811 | Mirror-less camera
    Wi-Fi · Bluetooth installed

22nd A few US Canon patent applications of interest (mainly for visitors at work, looking for something better to do…)

  • Details of pixel design for AF purposes [USPTO]
  • Automating focus stacking and the problem of camera shake  [USPTO]
  • Using DP pixels in image re-focusing [USPTO]
  • Aspects of global shutter performance for sensors [USPTO]

For more, see some Japanese Canon patent applications at [CN]

21st Technologies that were too soon? Suggestions that Lytro is being sold on the cheap to Google (or others, take your pick) [ISW]

CERN have published a rather interesting overview (58 page PDF) covering recent progress in image sensor design.

wafer bonding

via ISW

20th At the Photography Show (Birmingham, UK) yesterday I got to try out an awful lot of kit, much of it just to get a few new ‘first impressions’ and ideas for things to write about and review…

One camera I was interested to look at was the Sony A7R III. partly to get a ‘feel’ for it and partly to see how much EVFs have come on. Unfortunately someone had set this one to a sepia look with focus peaking turned on. Rather than mess with a camera I don’t know, I asked one of Sony’s experts to revert the VF to ‘normal’ mode.

After several minutes of looking through menus and pressing buttons, he handed me the camera – with it asking for the date on its display. Seems he’d given up on finding out VF display modes and had completely reset the camera…

My first impression (in the large exhibition hall) was that I can clearly see flicker from the room lighting – was this due to a need to configure the display? I was reminded of a comment in the DPR Canon interview

“But if you look at the enthusiast and high-end product class, in terms of both autofocus and viewfinder [experience], we still believe there’s some work to be done before we can achieve the level of satisfaction that our users are looking for before they could confidently move from DSLR to mirrorless.”

No more than a very quick personal observation (and my eyesight is distinctly prone to seeing flicker) but enough to make me wonder.

I’ve always looked for the best tools for my work, no matter who makes them and I’d love a chance to give a serious look at the Sony kit, but requests have as yet gone unanswered ;-)

I’ve used MPB.com  for 2nd hand camera equipment (and some new stuff too) since they were formed in 2011, so it’s good to see them thriving with UK and US offices, with new investments expanding what they do in the US and Germany. [Press info]

18th A CP+ show interview with Canon is published at [DPR].

What to make of these notoriously opaque publications? I note that Canon may not be averse to the idea of another big lens shake-up like the FD->EF change in the 1980s but pointedly mention the legacy of the EF mount. I also note their mention of the Olympics in 2020 and having something ‘top-end’ available. This could suggest a mirrorless ‘pro’ camera won’t be here until late 2019 or early 2020 – I’m still, on balance, thinking it will use the EF mount. Canon’s big pro customers will not like the idea of two different mounts for their stock of cameras (although the impact of a flood of top quality EF lenses hitting the 2nd hand market would be interesting).

“In 1987, the shift was from a mechanical interface to an electronic interface. That [precluded cross-compatibility]. Despite that shift, the change provided significantly more value for our customers, which is why we went ahead. If it turns out that [the introduction of mirrorless] will create a similar situation, this might be a decision that we would take [again]. But we’re not sure yet.
Because we’re already using an electronic interface, the shift will be more gradual [than it was in 1987] so [we would better able to] maintain compatibility.”

Interesting times…

16th Theres are four Canon Japanese patent applications at [CN] – an eclectic mix including linking your camera to a wearable display device if you thought that didn’t look ridiculous enough on its own…

14th A firmware fix is on its way for a problem discovered when using remote control and ‘High frame rate movie’ mode [CR]

13th It’s ‘Canon Corporate Strategy Conference’ time and Canon have published some of their plans [Canon-PDF]

Once I’d got over memories of my own days in corporate world, and wariness of anything from management that discusses ‘exciting opportunities’, it’s worth a quick look just to see how wide Canon’s business is. Of course, the bit that will get picked up in camera world is this about Canon’s plan for market share in cameras…

Canon market share

There are of course a lot of upward trending arrows, except when they mention cost, so need to go downwards.

For more entertainment, try the slides annotated with the CEO’s remarks [PDF]

Automation gets a mention for camera making, with Canon making its own manufacturing kit and expanding its own software development. The amount devoted to R&D looks static (so effectively a cut) with increasing sales reducing the R&D expense ratio. This is driven by an ominous phrase (to anyone who’s worked in R&D) “Improve development efficiency through selection and focus”.

…Meanwhile, it’s my birthday and Canon have just sent me a TS-E 50mm F2.8L Macro to test (but only a loan). I’ll have a review in a few weeks.

8th Sigma’s CEO was interviewed for a French website Mizuwari [Google xlt] In a fairly open piece for a Japanese camera company CEO he covers quite a few topics such as the use of plastic for lens elements (poor thermal performance), curved sensors (good for phones), Foveon chips for others (it depends) and possible MF from Sigma (too expensive).

More attention to the design of split AF pixels in a new Canon US patent application [USPTO]

pdaf pixel

4th Hardly surprising given market conditions, but comments via Canon in Japan [NAR] confirms Canon’s intention to push harder in the mirrorless market – just usual non-committal stuff on higher end cameras though.

Ever since the first EF-M lenses, there has been the question as to whether the mount would work with the larger 36x24mm ‘full frame’ sensor? It was obviously designed for APS-C, a point reinforced (~5 yrs ago) in this interview (translated) [DCW] about half way through.

I’ve had it suggested several times that Canon’s full frame mirrorless would be EF mount, given their desire to make for a clear transition for their higher end market with a large investment in Canon glass. One driver for this was the avoidance of adapters.

When it comes down to it though, there have been no significant leaks of anything full-frame related…

1st If you wanted to know more about lens aberration correction, a new Canon patent application [USPTO] goes into it in the sort of detail you appreciate if stuck at work watching the clock.

spatial frequency gain

February

26th A number of interesting Canon products launched today: M50 / 2000D/4000D / 470EX-AI flash

The M50 looks like Canon has been doing quite a bit of work on what Canon users want, but I expect longer standing mirrorless fans to whinge as usual ;-)
It makes me a bit more interested in what Canon will do for full frame – Nikon? any mirrorless plans??
The flash looks a very neat bit of kit, but I’ll wait and see how it works on real jobs…

The 4000D looks to be a great example of  ‘what can we remove for this market’ – I suspect that once it’s been out for a bit, the price will drop very low

– no eyepiece adjustment
– plastic (?) lens mount
– text on body not buttons

4000D

 

22nd A Canon US patent application looks at variable density ND filters (in-lens and in-body)

variable ND

The filters are a sandwich structure with transparent electrodes.

One of the issues is that the spectral transmission is rarely even – this is covered in the patent looking at the chemical involved in the lectrochromic element.

A Nikon patent application looks at multiple sequential reads from pixels as needed to allow for higher dynamic range.

A Nikon patent application stacks pixels with differing colour sensitivities. Whilst concentrating on using pixels for AF, adding CMY and RGB sensitivities allow for improvements in efficiency and raises colour resolution.

nikon multi-layer sensor

Encoding moving images from a Bayer style sensor is covered in a Canon US patent application

Canon shutter design is covered in a US patent application, looking at how a motorised mechanism opens and closes the shutter blades.

shutter design

The patent goes into considerable mechanical detail – enough to suggest this is likely close to what we’ll see in actual cameras.

The Pentax K-1 MkII is announced ($2000) and in what is an interesting development, they are offering a $550 upgrade path for K-1 owners

21st Some EOS 4000D pictures appear, and some specs [Nok]

Canon EOS4000D DSLR

  • 18 million APS-C
  • DIGIC 4+
  • Full HD video
  • 2.7 type liquid crystal
  • ISO: 100-6400
  • Wi-Fi installed
  • Size: 129.0 × 101.6 × 77.1 mm
  • Weight: 436 g
  • DS 126701

Canon-EOS-4000D rear

Canon-EOS-4000D top

20th A picture and specs for the M50 appear [mirrorless page] 24MP, EVF, 4k video and Digic 8

I note in particular, the first appearance of Digic 8. This what I’d expect to see in the 7D mk3 and 5Ds mk2, but maybe not a 90D

A quick look at the timeline makes me wonder where the M50 fits – I’m inclined to think another row between M5 and M6?

  Crop  2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
            1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Best Full       1Ds 1Ds Mk II 1Ds Mk III 1D X 1DX II
1.3     1D 1D Mk II 1D MkIIn 1D Mk III 1D Mk IV                  
video                             1D C        
High Full                               5Ds/5Dsr
            5D 5D Mk II 5D Mk III 5D Mk IV
1.6                   7D 7D Mk II
'Better'  Full                                               6D 6D 2
1.6 D30 D60 10D 20D 30D 40D 50D 60D 70D 80D
Mid 1.6         300D
Rebel
Kiss
350D
XT
Kiss N
400D
XTi
Kiss X
450
XSi
X2
500
T1i
X3
550
T2i
X4
600
T3i
X5
650
T4i
X6i
700D
T5i
X7i
760D
T6s
77D
        750D
T6i
800D
T7i
Micro 1.6                                 100D SL1 X7 200D SL2
Entry 1.6                   1000D / XS / F 1100D / T3 / X50 1200D T5 X70 1300D T6 2000D
T7
                                    4000D
EOS R
Mirror
-less
Full                               EOS R
EF-M
Mirror
-less
1.6                               M5
                              M50
                            M M2 M3 M6
                              M10 M100

Note: dates start in announcement quarter, not shipping dates. Video capable 4k

Digic | Digic 2 | Digic 3 dual | Digic 4 dual | Digic 5 dual | Digic 6 dual | Digic 7 dual | Digic 8

Also at [Nok] a Speedlight 470 EX-AI is shown

18th Full specs for the Pentax K1 Mk2 appear  [PxR]

36MP and ISO to 819k amongst the goodies…

15th Dual/split pixel sensor design is covered in a US patent application [USPTO], looking at the manufacturing aspects of the sensor.

dual pixel design

There are a number of interesting elements to this, such as differing sizes of the sub pixels to allow for sensor light fall off towards the edge of sensors.  One to read if you didn’t realise just how many steps are involved in making a sensor (or any modern semiconductor component for that matter).

Improving the amount of light reaching the photosensitive part of a sensor pixel is addressed in a US patent app looking at manufacturing processes [USPTO]. Not as complex as the previous example.

pixel light well

The advent of dual pixel AF using phase detection offers ways of introducing new improved AF options. A Canon US patent application discusses aspects of this. [USPTO]

af system

14th Another interesting sensor development, this time from Panasonic:
‘8K High-Resolution, High-Performance Global Shutter Technology using Organic-Photoconductive-Film CMOS Image Sensor’

panasonic 8k sensor

From Panasonic

The new technology has the following advantages.

  • 8K resolution, 60fps frame rate, 450k saturation electrons and global shutter function are realised simultaneously.
  • Switching between high sensitivity mode and high saturation mode is possible using gain switching function.
  • The ND filter function can be realised steplessly by controlling the voltage applied to the OPF.

This Development is based on the following technologies.

  • “OPF CMOS image sensor design technology”, in that, the photoelectric-conversion part and the circuit part can be designed independently.
  • “In-pixel capacitive coupled noise cancellation technique” which can suppress pixel reset noise at high speed even at high resolution
  • “In-pixel gain switching technology” that can achieve high saturation characteristics
  • “Voltage controlled sensitivity modulation technology” that can adjust the sensitivity by changing the voltage applied to the OPF.

13th An interesting Sony press release [Sony] shows an actual sample sensor with two chips bonded together, where the bottom chip does the Analogue->Digital conversion all at once, giving a true global shutter.

dual chip

Key technologies mentioned:

  • Low-current, compact pixel-parallel A/D converter
    In order to curtail power consumption, the new converter uses comparators that operate with sub-threshold currents, resulting in the industry’s best-performing, low current, compact 14-bit A/D converter. This overcomes the issue of the increased demand for current due to the inclusion of nearly 1,000 times as many A/D converters in comparison with the traditional column A/D conversion method.
  • Cu-Cu (copper-copper) connection
    To achieve the parallel A/D conversion for all pixels, Sony has developed a technology which makes it possible to include approximately three million Cu-Cu (copper-copper) connections in one sensor. The Cu-Cu connection provides electrical continuity between the pixel and logic substrate, while securing space for implementing as many as 1.46 million A/D converters, the same number as the effective megapixels, as well as the digital memory.
  • High-speed data transfer construction
    Sony has developed a new readout circuit to support the massively parallel digital signal transfer required in the A/D conversion process using 1.46 million A/D converters, making it possible to read and write all the pixel signals at high speed.

I’ve seen Canon patents looking at this too, so it’s pretty certain we’ll eventually see products featuring this.

11th 5D4 RAW files can contain dual pixel info that can be used to extend DR by a stop [FastRawViewer]

10th A lens based IS patent application [USPTO] includes stabilisation for macro. Note the movement sensors inside the camera.

Canon IS patent app

Creating rough surfaces with a random element to the roughness is covered in Canon patent application [USPTO]

So…?

Such surfaces can be used for focusing screens, and in the example below. a diffuser with very specific properties for a type of anti-aliasing (AA or OLPF) filter. Despite many criticisms (rarely informed ones IMHO) OLP filters do have a place in sensor design, but conventional ones work best at high incidence angles and fixed apertures. One potential use for the ‘random roughness’ style of diffuser could be mirrorless systems which can have a much wider range of light incidence angles.

random roughness

NB Maths warning if you decide to check the patent application ;-)

9th Multi-axis sensor stabilisation is covered in a Canon patent application [USPTO]

sensor stabilisation

5th Some patents… (remember that granted patents are older stuff than the patent applications – maybe several years)

US patent for a stacked sensor [USPTO] – covers bonding and interconnecting layers.

A split pixel sensor design that is shown taking two shots at the same time [USPTO] at different settings in a camera curiously shown with flight attachment (#162)

flying

Covers synchronising the shots and an ongoing sequence (video)

Canon drones anyone… ;-)

Stacked sensor heat control/management – Japanese patent appl. [CN]

More about curved sensors [CN]

2nd Long live the mirror box…

For those of a mechanical bent, a new Canon patent application [USPTO] for a mirror drive device for a DSLR. Faster and less bounce.

Canon mirror box

These things have to be assembled. All those parts and assembly time are the main reason companies want to go mirrorless and get rid of the shutter.  …but not just yet.

January

28th Today’s top patent application [USPTO]  Fingerprint ID for your camera body and lenses.

Lets you assign custom functions (AF/IS/lighting etc.) to different fingers and even offers multiple users and security lockout functionality.

fingerprint activation

Remember – real photographer don’t need gloves!  ;-)

26th Time for an updated Pentax K1 Mark II DSLR? [PR]

Several rumours are going round about a new shape of camera from Canon [CR] – this could be their mirrorless design or just a new camcorder.

Given the recent fake G7X III, I can see a distinct rise in plausible rumours/leaks on the way (bring it on – too many people treat this stuff too seriously! ;-)

And in our ‘serious’ stuff… I just had a look at a nice LED ringlight from Kaiser.

25th Three Canon US patent applications expand on the data transfer capabilities for Camera<->Lens communications.  This is the sort of thing we might see in a new range of cameras, and used to lock out third party manufacturers – or not ;-)

The Canon EF lens communication protocols date back quite a way, to a time a lot less went on in lenses and camera bodies. Note that these are definitely not written to be easy to read. I’ve more information about the EF mount (inc. electrical aspects) at EFLens.com

#1 | #2 | #3

A very detailed patent application (i.e. closer to being realised) in Japan [CN] shows many more details of producing a stacked sensor (see last years archived posts for many more patents).

stacked sensor

22nd Japanese patent application info for using organic photo detecting elements in sensors [CN]

Note, in the US application below there is an option for organic compounds. Canon (and others) are putting a lot of work into this aspect of sensor design – as to when we see it in a product, that’s a different matter.
In news to some photographers whinging about sensor DR, it won’t be their concerns that drive technology here, but more the need for automotive imaging to work under the same lighting conditions that our visual system does.

20th You may have seen a number of ‘leaked’ Canon G7 X III images  – I’m inclined to think they are very good fakes (see comments at CR)

More HDR pixel design info [ISW]

19th A very interesting US patent application [USPTO] for a multi level sensor pixel design the includes a photo-luminescent component.

I had to read this a few times – part of a photo sensor that emits light?

Lets look at this first example (annotations are mine – remember too that patent drawings are simplified, so no microlenses)

multi-sensor-1

Light comes in through a conventional colour filter and reaches the first conversion layer, where some of it is converted to electrons. Some light goes clean through and reaches a PL (photo-luminescent) layer where some is absorbed and re-emitted (at a different colour). This re-emitted light is detected by a second conversion layer.

OK, so I’ve got two output signals for each pixel – what advantage does this give? By careful choice of the compounds used (organic and inorganic) for photon detection and photon emission layers it is possible to significantly increase the dynamic range of the pixel as a whole.

dr improvement

In the example above, the PL layer is separate, however the PL compound can be included in the photo-conversion layer itself.

This gives this design for a high DR  multi-layer RGB sensor – six outputs per pixel

multi-sensor-2

As ever, patent applications are not products, but I like the smart design of this one.

18th It seems a long while ago now, but I reviewed a couple of Ricoh cameras (GX100, GX200) and they were rather nice.  Move forward and there are persistent rumours about Ricoh getting out of cameras and selling Pentax. [PR]

14th In yesterday’s list, I forgot about the mentions [Nok] in the wireless approvals a while ago…

  • 2000D – Possibly a CP+ follow on from the 1300D. The 1300D still uses Digic 4, a chip that first appeared in the 2008 50D. Perhaps Canon’s stocks are running low ;-)
  • M50 – also in the wireless listings

13th As  an antidote to some of the more breathless fan/rumour sites, have a good read of Thom Hogan’s views [TH] of what the camera business needs.
It’s not more of the same

Several people suggested I was a bit out in pushing the 7D3 and 5Ds mk2 back to 2019, so lets look at a model by model list

  • 1DX3 – definitely before the 2020 Olympics, so not 2018, with maybe an announcement late 2019, but early 2020 more likely.
  • 5Ds mk2 – possibly 2018 if the Nikon/Sony are seen as a big enough threat, and Canon has the technology to produce a 5Ds2 that is ‘noticeably better’. Personally the 5Ds works an absolute treat, but I guess some people use it in more diverse situations than I do (in which case get a 5D4) I’m still more inclined to expect it early 2019. An update this year is far more likely to be one I skip.
  • 7D mk3 – This reminds me of the continuous, ‘surely they must update it soon’ talk about the long lived 7D. The 7D2 price is holding steady.
  • 90D – Ok, the 80D is two years old, and prices are starting to drift down. In many ways it needs some more differentiation from the 77D. The 60D lasted three years, the 70D two. An update to Digic7 would be in order. How does this fit in with a 7D3?
  • Mirrorless – the mutterings seem to suggest that Canon’s big thing for Photokina (the last of the September biennial ones) will be mirrorless full frame. If so I’m expecting a few ‘leaks’ to appear by July, to build up interest/speculation. That said, a lot of the full frame mirrorless talk for Canon and Nikon has little to back it up, other than it seems like what they ‘ought to be doing’…

On balance, a 90D would be a relatively simple update to bring along early this year, leaving more ‘innovative’ models for later. Of course what people wish to take as ‘innovative’ in this area is another question all together ;-)

12th Time for a New Year’s look at the Canon Timeline.

Both 7D2 and 5Ds could last into 2019 before updates?

  Crop  2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
            1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Best Full       1Ds 1Ds Mk II 1Ds Mk III 1D X 1DX II
1.3     1D 1D Mk II 1D MkIIn 1D Mk III 1D Mk IV                  
video                             1D C        
High Full                               5Ds/5Dsr
            5D 5D Mk II 5D Mk III 5D Mk IV
1.6                   7D 7D Mk II
'Better'  Full                                               6D 6D 2
1.6 D30 D60 10D 20D 30D 40D 50D 60D 70D 80D
Mid 1.6         300D
Rebel
Kiss
350D
XT
Kiss N
400D
XTi
Kiss X
450
XSi
X2
500
T1i
X3
550
T2i
X4
600
T3i
X5
650
T4i
X6i
700D
T5i
X7i
760D
T6s
77D
        750D
T6i
800D
T7i
Micro 1.6                                 100D SL1 X7 200D SL2
Entry 1.6                   1000D / XS / F 1100D / T3 / X50 1200D T5 X70 1300D T6 2000D
T7
                                    4000D
EOS R
Mirror
-less
Full                               EOS R
EF-M
Mirror
-less
1.6                               M5
                              M50
                            M M2 M3 M6
                              M10 M100

Note: dates start in announcement quarter, not shipping dates. Video capable 4k

Digic | Digic 2 | Digic 3 dual | Digic 4 dual | Digic 5 dual | Digic 6 dual | Digic 7 dual | Digic 8

The only reason the 1Dx2/6D2 /200D are extended through the year ar that I’m pretty certain they are not for update – that and it makes the table layout work better.

A Canon US patent [USPTO] shows a design for a three layer back illuminated sensor. There have been quite a few related patents in the past. Note though that patent does not equal product…

three-layer sensor

11th Something to improve the light quality of white LEDs. A new red phosphor [Nik] means we could see much better CRI LED lighting.

9th If I’m going somewhere wet/dirty (think mines or a foundry), I’m still inclined to take my Canon 1Ds mk3 rather than my 5Ds. That said, any camera I’ve got with me is protected by my own aversion to getting wet…

What about newer cameras – well at IR they got to hose some down, and the only ‘pro’ level one to show any problems was the Sony A7RIII

DxOMark and DxO now different companies? [ISW]

I’ve always found the DxOMark figures interesting, but widely mis-interpreted. This is one of the reasons my own reviews are rarely quantitative. Lots of figures and measurements make for glib inaccurate conclusions without lengthy background explanations of what the numbers signify. Given many readers just want the quick numbers, you can see the potential conflicts. See why I never recommend the best for more on this.

6th Ah, the vagueness of the corporate interview  [Nikk via CR] – Canon announce they want to do better and be innovative. Be suitably wary if you see anything much being read into this stuff on some sites… ;-)

“…
Q: What is the biggest issue currently facing Canon?
A: Our primary management goal this year is to raise our antennas high toward cutting-edge technology. It is on this point where we lag behind other companies. We will open up a research and development center in the U.S.’s Silicon Valley, where we will actively adopt new technology.

Q: What do you believe is imperative for today’s corporation?
A: To read the trends of an era. Innovation is steadily advancing, and it has become difficult to put out products that are ahead of the competition, even if by just a little. This is now an era when latecomer manufacturers stand to gain. Compared with the past, even I feel mounting tensions.

To stay on top of and not lose against generational innovations, it is important to strengthen the financial structure. I believe that, as a manufacturer, it is essential to always maintain a strong financial house, creating conditions where you can invest in new things.

2nd Making a sensor with millions of pixels – how do they fail? [Aph] A quick guide to many of the forms of dead (or just very poorly) pixels.
[Expanded version at ISW which currently also has a lot of links to LiDAR papers, if you’re interested in that sort of stuff]

1st Happy New Year to anyone visiting!

In the spirit of New Year Resolutions, I’ve just written up a book review of “The photography exercise book” It’s something I’d happily suggest for photographers who cling a bit too tightly to the technical side of photography and find the ‘creative’ side a bit too artsy and vague ;-)

Whilst we have the consumer CES show coming up soon (CES Jan 9-12), the Japanese CP+ show isn’t until the start of March this year.

2018 February

21st Some EOS 4000D pictures appear, and some specs [PR]

Canon EOS4000D DSLR

  • 18 million APS-C
  • DIGIC 4+
  • Full HD video
  • 2.7 type liquid crystal
  • ISO: 100-6400
  • Wi-Fi installed
  • Size: 129.0 × 101.6 × 77.1 mm
  • Weight: 436 g
  • DS 126701

20th A picture and specs for the M50 appear [mirrorless page] 24MP, EVF, 4k video and Digic 8

I note in particular, the first appearance of Digic 8. This what I’d expect to see in the 7D mk3 and 5Ds mk2, but maybe not a 90D

A quick look at the timeline makes me wonder where the M50 fits – I’m inclined to think another row between M5 and M6?

  Crop  2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
            1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Best Full       1Ds 1Ds Mk II 1Ds Mk III 1D X 1DX II
1.3     1D 1D Mk II 1D MkIIn 1D Mk III 1D Mk IV                  
video                             1D C        
High Full                               5Ds/5Dsr
            5D 5D Mk II 5D Mk III 5D Mk IV
1.6                   7D 7D Mk II
'Better'  Full                                               6D 6D 2
1.6 D30 D60 10D 20D 30D 40D 50D 60D 70D 80D
Mid 1.6         300D
Rebel
Kiss
350D
XT
Kiss N
400D
XTi
Kiss X
450
XSi
X2
500
T1i
X3
550
T2i
X4
600
T3i
X5
650
T4i
X6i
700D
T5i
X7i
760D
T6s
77D
        750D
T6i
800D
T7i
Micro 1.6                                 100D SL1 X7 200D SL2
Entry 1.6                   1000D / XS / F 1100D / T3 / X50 1200D T5 X70 1300D T6 2000D
T7
                                    4000D
EOS R
Mirror
-less
Full                               EOS R
EF-M
Mirror
-less
1.6                               M5
                              M50
                            M M2 M3 M6
                              M10 M100

Note: dates start in announcement quarter, not shipping dates. Video capable 4k

Digic | Digic 2 | Digic 3 dual | Digic 4 dual | Digic 5 dual | Digic 6 dual | Digic 7 dual | Digic 8

Also at [Nok] a Speedlight 470 EX-AI is shown

18th Full specs for the Pentax K1 Mk2 appear  [PxR]

36MP and ISO to 819k amongst the goodies…

15th Dual/split pixel sensor design is covered in a US patent application [USPTO], looking at the manufacturing aspects of the sensor.

dual pixel design

There are a number of interesting elements to this, such as differing sizes of the sub pixels to allow for sensor light fall off towards the edge of sensors.  One to read if you didn’t realise just how many steps are involved in making a sensor (or any modern semiconductor component for that matter).

Improving the amount of light reaching the photosensitive part of a sensor pixel is addressed in a US patent app looking at manufacturing processes [USPTO]. Not as complex as the previous example.

pixel light well

The advent of dual pixel AF using phase detection offers ways of introducing new improved AF options. A Canon US patent application discusses aspects of this. [USPTO]

af system

14th Another interesting sensor development, this time from Panasonic:
‘8K High-Resolution, High-Performance Global Shutter Technology using Organic-Photoconductive-Film CMOS Image Sensor’

panasonic 8k sensor

From Panasonic

The new technology has the following advantages.

  • 8K resolution, 60fps frame rate, 450k saturation electrons and global shutter function are realised simultaneously.
  • Switching between high sensitivity mode and high saturation mode is possible using gain switching function.
  • The ND filter function can be realised steplessly by controlling the voltage applied to the OPF.

This Development is based on the following technologies.

  • “OPF CMOS image sensor design technology”, in that, the photoelectric-conversion part and the circuit part can be designed independently.
  • “In-pixel capacitive coupled noise cancellation technique” which can suppress pixel reset noise at high speed even at high resolution
  • “In-pixel gain switching technology” that can achieve high saturation characteristics
  • “Voltage controlled sensitivity modulation technology” that can adjust the sensitivity by changing the voltage applied to the OPF.

13th An interesting Sony press release [Sony] shows an actual sample sensor with two chips bonded together, where the bottom chip does the Analogue->Digital conversion all at once, giving a true global shutter.

dual chip

Key technologies mentioned:

  • Low-current, compact pixel-parallel A/D converter
    In order to curtail power consumption, the new converter uses comparators that operate with sub-threshold currents, resulting in the industry’s best-performing, low current, compact 14-bit A/D converter. This overcomes the issue of the increased demand for current due to the inclusion of nearly 1,000 times as many A/D converters in comparison with the traditional column A/D conversion method.
  • Cu-Cu (copper-copper) connection
    To achieve the parallel A/D conversion for all pixels, Sony has developed a technology which makes it possible to include approximately three million Cu-Cu (copper-copper) connections in one sensor. The Cu-Cu connection provides electrical continuity between the pixel and logic substrate, while securing space for implementing as many as 1.46 million A/D converters, the same number as the effective megapixels, as well as the digital memory.
  • High-speed data transfer construction
    Sony has developed a new readout circuit to support the massively parallel digital signal transfer required in the A/D conversion process using 1.46 million A/D converters, making it possible to read and write all the pixel signals at high speed.

I’ve seen Canon patents looking at this too, so it’s pretty certain we’ll eventually see products featuring this.

11th 5D4 RAW files can contain dual pixel info that can be used to extend DR by a stop [FastRawViewer]

10th A lens based IS patent application [USPTO] includes stabilisation for macro. Note the movement sensors inside the camera.

Canon IS patent app

Creating rough surfaces with a random element to the roughness is covered in Canon patent application [USPTO]

So…?

Such surfaces can be used for focusing screens, and in the example below. a diffuser with very specific properties for a type of anti-aliasing (AA or OLPF) filter. Despite many criticisms (rarely informed ones IMHO) OLP filters do have a place in sensor design, but conventional ones work best at high incidence angles and fixed apertures. One potential use for the ‘random roughness’ style of diffuser could be mirrorless systems which can have a much wider range of light incidence angles.

random roughness

NB Maths warning if you decide to check the patent application ;-)

9th Multi-axis sensor stabilisation is covered in a Canon patent application [USPTO]

sensor stabilisation

5th Some patents… (remember that granted patents are older stuff than the patent applications – maybe several years)

US patent for a stacked sensor [USPTO] – covers bonding and interconnecting layers.

A split pixel sensor design that is shown taking two shots at the same time [USPTO] at different settings in a camera curiously shown with flight attachment (#162)

flying

Covers synchronising the shots and an ongoing sequence (video)

Canon drones anyone… ;-)

Stacked sensor heat control/management – Japanese patent appl. [CN]

More about curved sensors [CN]

2nd Long live the mirror box…

For those of a mechanical bent, a new Canon patent application [USPTO] for a mirror drive device for a DSLR. Faster and less bounce.

Canon mirror box

These things have to be assembled. All those parts and assembly time are the main reason companies want to go mirrorless and get rid of the shutter.  …but not just yet.

January

28th Today’s top patent application [USPTO]  Fingerprint ID for your camera body and lenses.

Lets you assign custom functions (AF/IS/lighting etc.) to different fingers and even offers multiple users and security lockout functionality.

fingerprint activation

Remember – real photographer don’t need gloves!  ;-)

26th Time for an updated Pentax K1 Mark II DSLR? [PR]

Several rumours are going round about a new shape of camera from Canon [CR] – this could be their mirrorless design or just a new camcorder.

Given the recent fake G7X III, I can see a distinct rise in plausible rumours/leaks on the way (bring it on – too many people treat this stuff too seriously! ;-)

And in our ‘serious’ stuff… I just had a look at a nice LED ringlight from Kaiser.

25th Three Canon US patent applications expand on the data transfer capabilities for Camera<->Lens communications.  This is the sort of thing we might see in a new range of cameras, and used to lock out third party manufacturers – or not ;-)

The Canon EF lens communication protocols date back quite a way, to a time a lot less went on in lenses and camera bodies. Note that these are definitely not written to be easy to read. I’ve more information about the EF mount (inc. electrical aspects) at EFLens.com

#1 | #2 | #3

A very detailed patent application (i.e. closer to being realised) in Japan [CN] shows many more details of producing a stacked sensor (see last years archived posts for many more patents).

stacked sensor

22nd Japanese patent application info for using organic photo detecting elements in sensors [CN]

Note, in the US application below there is an option for organic compounds. Canon (and others) are putting a lot of work into this aspect of sensor design – as to when we see it in a product, that’s a different matter.
In news to some photographers whinging about sensor DR, it won’t be their concerns that drive technology here, but more the need for automotive imaging to work under the same lighting conditions that our visual system does.

20th You may have seen a number of ‘leaked’ Canon G7 X III images  – I’m inclined to think they are very good fakes (see comments at CR)

More HDR pixel design info [ISW]

19th A very interesting US patent application [USPTO] for a multi level sensor pixel design the includes a photo-luminescent component.

I had to read this a few times – part of a photo sensor that emits light?

Lets look at this first example (annotations are mine – remember too that patent drawings are simplified, so no microlenses)

multi-sensor-1

Light comes in through a conventional colour filter and reaches the first conversion layer, where some of it is converted to electrons. Some light goes clean through and reaches a PL (photo-luminescent) layer where some is absorbed and re-emitted (at a different colour). This re-emitted light is detected by a second conversion layer.

OK, so I’ve got two output signals for each pixel – what advantage does this give? By careful choice of the compounds used (organic and inorganic) for photon detection and photon emission layers it is possible to significantly increase the dynamic range of the pixel as a whole.

dr improvement

In the example above, the PL layer is separate, however the PL compound can be included in the photo-conversion layer itself.

This gives this design for a high DR  multi-layer RGB sensor – six outputs per pixel

multi-sensor-2

As ever, patent applications are not products, but I like the smart design of this one.

18th It seems a long while ago now, but I reviewed a couple of Ricoh cameras (GX100, GX200) and they were rather nice.  Move forward and there are persistent rumours about Ricoh getting out of cameras and selling Pentax. [PR]

14th In yesterday’s list, I forgot about the mentions [Nok] in the wireless approvals a while ago…

  • 2000D – Possibly a CP+ follow on from the 1300D. The 1300D still uses Digic 4, a chip that first appeared in the 2008 50D. Perhaps Canon’s stocks are running low ;-)
  • M50 – also in the wireless listings

13th As  an antidote to some of the more breathless fan/rumour sites, have a good read of Thom Hogan’s views [TH] of what the camera business needs.
It’s not more of the same

Several people suggested I was a bit out in pushing the 7D3 and 5Ds mk2 back to 2019, so lets look at a model by model list

  • 1DX3 – definitely before the 2020 Olympics, so not 2018, with maybe an announcement late 2019, but early 2020 more likely.
  • 5Ds mk2 – possibly 2018 if the Nikon/Sony are seen as a big enough threat, and Canon has the technology to produce a 5Ds2 that is ‘noticeably better’. Personally the 5Ds works an absolute treat, but I guess some people use it in more diverse situations than I do (in which case get a 5D4) I’m still more inclined to expect it early 2019. An update this year is far more likely to be one I skip.
  • 7D mk3 – This reminds me of the continuous, ‘surely they must update it soon’ talk about the long lived 7D. The 7D2 price is holding steady.
  • 90D – Ok, the 80D is two years old, and prices are starting to drift down. In many ways it needs some more differentiation from the 77D. The 60D lasted three years, the 70D two. An update to Digic7 would be in order. How does this fit in with a 7D3?
  • Mirrorless – the mutterings seem to suggest that Canon’s big thing for Photokina (the last of the September biennial ones) will be mirrorless full frame. If so I’m expecting a few ‘leaks’ to appear by July, to build up interest/speculation. That said, a lot of the full frame mirrorless talk for Canon and Nikon has little to back it up, other than it seems like what they ‘ought to be doing’…

On balance, a 90D would be a relatively simple update to bring along early this year, leaving more ‘innovative’ models for later. Of course what people wish to take as ‘innovative’ in this area is another question all together ;-)

12th Time for a New Year’s look at the Canon Timeline.

Both 7D2 and 5Ds could last into 2019 before updates?

  Crop  2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
            1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Best Full       1Ds 1Ds Mk II 1Ds Mk III 1D X 1DX II
1.3     1D 1D Mk II 1D MkIIn 1D Mk III 1D Mk IV                  
video                             1D C        
High Full                               5Ds/5Dsr
            5D 5D Mk II 5D Mk III 5D Mk IV
1.6                   7D 7D Mk II
'Better'  Full                                               6D 6D 2
1.6 D30 D60 10D 20D 30D 40D 50D 60D 70D 80D
Mid 1.6         300D
Rebel
Kiss
350D
XT
Kiss N
400D
XTi
Kiss X
450
XSi
X2
500
T1i
X3
550
T2i
X4
600
T3i
X5
650
T4i
X6i
700D
T5i
X7i
760D
T6s
77D
        750D
T6i
800D
T7i
Micro 1.6                                 100D SL1 X7 200D SL2
Entry 1.6                   1000D / XS / F 1100D / T3 / X50 1200D T5 X70 1300D T6 2000D
T7
                                    4000D
EOS R
Mirror
-less
Full                               EOS R
EF-M
Mirror
-less
1.6                               M5
                              M50
                            M M2 M3 M6
                              M10 M100

Note: dates start in announcement quarter, not shipping dates. Video capable 4k

Digic | Digic 2 | Digic 3 dual | Digic 4 dual | Digic 5 dual | Digic 6 dual | Digic 7 dual | Digic 8

The only reason the 1Dx2/6D2 /200D are extended through the year ar that I’m pretty certain they are not for update – that and it makes the table layout work better.

A Canon US patent [USPTO] shows a design for a three layer back illuminated sensor. There have been quite a few related patents in the past. Note though that patent does not equal product…

three-layer sensor

11th Something to improve the light quality of white LEDs. A new red phosphor [Nik] means we could see much better CRI LED lighting.

9th If I’m going somewhere wet/dirty (think mines or a foundry), I’m still inclined to take my Canon 1Ds mk3 rather than my 5Ds. That said, any camera I’ve got with me is protected by my own aversion to getting wet…

What about newer cameras – well at IR they got to hose some down, and the only ‘pro’ level one to show any problems was the Sony A7RIII

DxOMark and DxO now different companies? [ISW]

I’ve always found the DxOMark figures interesting, but widely mis-interpreted. This is one of the reasons my own reviews are rarely quantitative. Lots of figures and measurements make for glib inaccurate conclusions without lengthy background explanations of what the numbers signify. Given many readers just want the quick numbers, you can see the potential conflicts. See why I never recommend the best for more on this.

6th Ah, the vagueness of the corporate interview  [Nikk via CR] – Canon announce they want to do better and be innovative. Be suitably wary if you see anything much being read into this stuff on some sites… ;-)

“…
Q: What is the biggest issue currently facing Canon?
A: Our primary management goal this year is to raise our antennas high toward cutting-edge technology. It is on this point where we lag behind other companies. We will open up a research and development center in the U.S.’s Silicon Valley, where we will actively adopt new technology.

Q: What do you believe is imperative for today’s corporation?
A: To read the trends of an era. Innovation is steadily advancing, and it has become difficult to put out products that are ahead of the competition, even if by just a little. This is now an era when latecomer manufacturers stand to gain. Compared with the past, even I feel mounting tensions.

To stay on top of and not lose against generational innovations, it is important to strengthen the financial structure. I believe that, as a manufacturer, it is essential to always maintain a strong financial house, creating conditions where you can invest in new things.

2nd Making a sensor with millions of pixels – how do they fail? [Aph] A quick guide to many of the forms of dead (or just very poorly) pixels.
[Expanded version at ISW which currently also has a lot of links to LiDAR papers, if you’re interested in that sort of stuff]

1st Happy New Year to anyone visiting!

In the spirit of New Year Resolutions, I’ve just written up a book review of “The photography exercise book” It’s something I’d happily suggest for photographers who cling a bit too tightly to the technical side of photography and find the ‘creative’ side a bit too artsy and vague ;-)

Whilst we have the consumer CES show coming up soon (CES Jan 9-12), the Japanese CP+ show isn’t until the start of March this year.

Older information, rumours and patents are on the 2017 Archive page – our archives go back to 2004.

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