Bye Bye Bayer; Canon’s 120MP Sensor Rumored to Be Based on Foveon-Like Technology

Oct 29, 2015

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

Bye Bye Bayer; Canon’s 120MP Sensor Rumored to Be Based on Foveon-Like Technology

Oct 29, 2015

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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Bye-Bayer

The Bayer filter was patented in 1976 and can be found in almost all digital camera sensors sold today.

While several alternatives have been suggested over the years, some more exciting than others, none caught on. This could soon change, though, as Canon Watch reports that the 120MP full frame sensor Canon is developing will not be based on Bayer technology.

After initially reporting that the sensor will be based on completely new sensor technology, CW’s trusted source clarified that the sensor may be “a technology similar to Foveon”.

The reason for Canon choosing to go with new sensor technology, according to the source, is that Canon says the RGB sensor (Bayer filter) doesn’t work as well for resolutions higher than 100MP.

A Bayer filter mosaic is, as described by Wikipedia, “a color filter array (CFA) for arranging RGB color filters on a square grid of photosensors. Its particular arrangement of color filters is used in most single-chip digital image sensors used in digital cameras, camcorders, and scanners to create a color image. The filter pattern is 50% green, 25% red and 25% blue, hence is also called RGBG, GRGB, or RGGB”.

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

The Foveon technology (now owned by Sigma), on the other hand, uses photosites consisting of three vertically stacked photodiodes rather than placing the color filters side-by-side.

Source: Foveon.com
Source: Foveon.com

This means that demosaicing is not required and each photosite creates its own RGB output, rather than being assigned information from neighboring photosites.

As such, Foveon sensors do not require AA filters, do not suffer from the color artifacts seen on standard sensors (CMOS or CCD), and have better light gathering capabilities.

While the Foveon technology is not problem-free, it seems that business relationships and money (and some technical issues) were the main reasons why it didn’t catch on, not technological inaptness.

Assuming this information is true, the question is did Sigma finally manage to significantly capitalize on the technology it acquired back in 2008 or did Canon come up with its own technology, similar enough to enjoy the same benefits but different enough not to infringe on any patents?

Either way, Foveon or Foveon-like, the 120MP camera just got a whole lot more intriguing!

[via Canon Watch]

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Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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6 responses to “Bye Bye Bayer; Canon’s 120MP Sensor Rumored to Be Based on Foveon-Like Technology”

  1. foto2021 Avatar
    foto2021

    But will it finally address Canon’s dynamic range deficit?

  2. Ian Avatar
    Ian

    90% of the business do not need 120 MP.

    1. Paganator Avatar
      Paganator

      If they count pixels like Sigma then the images will “only” be 40 MP. Each color channel is counted separately for technical and marketing reasons.

      1. tom rose Avatar
        tom rose

        But equivalent to a Bayer 66Mp sensor and no colour Moire

      2. Bovski Avatar
        Bovski

        From the 2013 patent it may be a 5 colour sensor with IR & UV added with Sigma’s maths that would make it 24MP

  3. Frank Nazario Avatar
    Frank Nazario

    So… all this crap that was talked about the Foveon format, the limited dynamic range, color rendering, etc, etc, that was used in the Sigma DSLR now happens to be the cutting edge thing… Humm Im going to pay a bit more attention to Sigma … they made some amazingly Kicka$$ lenses with their Art Line giving everybody a run for their money and now maybe they will come up with a body that does the same