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Sony planning first "non-Bayer" Sensor

Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:38 pm
by alphaomega
Something for agorabasta. Have not seen anything from him for a while. ... g-in-2015/
"(SR5) Sony sensor revolution: First “non-Bayer” sensors coming in 2015.
Sony is heavily investing in a brand new sensor tech that will likely find his way in production cameras as early as 2015. I already told you a couple of weeks ago that Sony developed a 54 Megapixel sensor with on sensor PDAF. Well today I have been told by a very trusted sources that this sensor is also the first that has not been designed with a classic RGB (Bayer) pixel structure.

The well trusted source told me that Sony’s plan is to keep using 24MP and 36MP FF sensor on the new A and E-mount cameras that will be announced in 2014 and early 2015. It will also depend from the competition whether Sony will launch the camera with the new sensor in late 2015 or during 2016."

Looks like Sony have run out of upgrading sensors by increasing pixels and are now (hopefully) looking at increasing dynamic range. This should be welcome if that is what they are trying to do. More DR without losing IQ.

Re: Sony planning first "non-Bayer" Sensor

Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:14 pm
by agorabasta
I surely saw that rumour. Seems plausible.
The 54Mp density is about enough to start with non-Bayer layouts, and such density is an overkill for a straight co-sited Foveon.

The real problem with PDAF on the main sensor is actually the readout speed necessary for the fast enough AF function. Canon already has a sensor with sensels cut in left-right halves - exactly the principle I described some time ago. It's not that they picked it from me - the idea is too self-evident; it's just that the time is right to start with that. But the speed of their PDAF is not as good as using a dedicated AF sensor.

There must happen some rather drastic increases in readout and processing speed to have the problem solved once and forever. And the way I see it could be done is by implementing something like a thick BSI (back side illuminated) sensor design. That would enable the use of more complex on-chip wiring so that groups of sensels could be short-circuited for AF and live-view readout modes with parts of ADC running at much faster speeds than those needed for still capture readout. That's necessary to keep sensor and ADC's from draining too much power and overheating.
The BSI design also helps greatly with the global shutter implementation as there's always enough space for the capacitors to store the charge captured in the diodes that are on the other side of the sensor.

The thick BSI design is not so easy to implement because it requires the vertical interconnects going trough the wafer from one side to another. That's doable, but still too expensive with the current manufacturing processes.

So I can only speculate on how exactly Sony or any other manu is going to develop their sensor tech. But the thing I know for sure is that the semi fabbing development is the key to real progress. Any organic sensor things may only come as additions to and over the semiconductor base design.

Re: Sony planning first "non-Bayer" Sensor

Posted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:58 pm
by bfitzgerald
Said some time ago Bayer was on the way out, it's only a matter of a few years and we will have moved on to new technology.
I know Fuji and Panasonic are working on organic sensors, not sure what Sony's take will be.

But I think this is a good move all round. As long as there are benefits to such a move, such as better DR, high ISO and no AA filter. Everyone should be happy.
Digital is pretty early on in it's development cycle.

I remember getting a bit of stick on forums for suggesting Bayer was a stop gap solution, even Eric Fossum waded in (in a polite way) pouring slightly cold water on the idea.
I'm no technical expert far from it, but it is clearly something which will be developed and enhanced with newer technology and ideas.
I remember posting some of the biggest "can't be done blunders" ever on one thread

I can't help but share it again here..

"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." -- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

"While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility." -- Lee DeForest, inventor.

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" -- H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." -- Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962

"So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'" -- Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer.

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -- Western Union internal memo, 1876

"With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market." -- Business Week, August 2, 1968

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

The bayer death watch count down began a few years back for me :mrgreen:

Re: Sony planning first "non-Bayer" Sensor

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:30 am
by classiccameras
Some great quotes there Barry, I seem to remember Olympus this year saying they were doing some joint [email protected] with Sony on sensors and lens designs.

Re: Sony planning first "non-Bayer" Sensor

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:30 pm
by Atgets_Apprentice
I have a suggestion for Sony: Instead of working on esoteric stuff, make good cameras that work, that people want, at sensible prices.

Re: Sony planning first "non-Bayer" Sensor

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:53 pm
by alphaomega
Good to see agorabasta back with thoughtful comments.
Barry Fitzgerald's quotes are hitting the button. It is difficult to predict especially the future.
I have a suggestion for Sony: Instead of working on esoteric stuff, make good cameras that work, that people want, at sensible prices.

I may be the only one, but I have five cameras currently in use and all work and were acquired at sensible prices, these being A550/A580/NEX-5N/NEX-6 and RX100. Salute to Sony. I can only say that working on sensors that potentially increase DR without decreasing IQ are to be welcomed. The sooner the better. Such a development would likely make me pull out the wallet again.

Re: Sony planning first "non-Bayer" Sensor

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:47 am
by the_hefay
My Sony cameras work. It's only the guy using my cameras that doesn't have a clue. I love the quotes. Just like when Sony A77 used the 24mp. comments on dpreview where mostly about the "overkill" and noone would need that many MP.

I hope whatever Sony comes up with as sensor is put to use in a580 class or higher alpha mount cameras.

Re: Sony planning first "non-Bayer" Sensor

Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:15 pm
by agorabasta
As reported (seen on SAR and elsewhere), Sony is buying Nintendo's fab specifically to bake the stacked sensors. The stack is a BSI matrix atop of a processing chip of the same size. The BSI layer has those all-important vertical interconnects. That's the future imminent coming closer upon us. Means global shutter, fast on-chip PDAF and some further goodies coming possible.
They actually have had a stacked silicon sensor design for over a year now, with an option of either small size or of an eminent cost.

Here's hope that the ex-Nintendo fab is too big to serve the small sensor demand...