Embarrassingly a few years ago I was very vocal about how disappointed I was about some of the Nikon lenses. I’ve been using Nikon cameras and lenses for decades and although I was very pleased with the image quality and colour rendition their cameras produced, I strongly considered jumping the Nikon ship in search of crisper, cleaner looking lenses. In fact I was so close to leaving Nikon a couple of years ago that I went through the process of hiring and testing other brands to see if other manufacturers could deliver what Nikon could not.
Have you ever wondered why camera lenses produce a circular image circle (in general) but sensors are rectangular? Of course the answer is mostly historical – the format of a 35mm photo is in 3:2 aspect ratio, a ratio that people have long known to work well due to human binocular vision.
But lenses, in general, are circular. they produce an image circle, a circle that, in general, allows the 35mm sensor to just fit inside it. You don’t want your image circle much bigger than this (except for tilt-shift lenses) because that makes your lenses heavier and more expensive.
You know how a tiny, toy magnifying glass can burn little pieces of paper? Well, the camera lens is a not a small, toy, magnifying glass by no means, it is a powerful well-polished tool of optics and using it in the wrong way – say to photograph the sun during an eclipse – can be devastating to the camera sensor.
The team at Everything Photography did a little experiment and showed what an unfiltered six seconds exposure would do to your sensor. TL;DR – it fries te sensor.
A recent interview with Sony managers discovered that Sony might keep most of their sensors in their own cameras. Mr. Kenji Tanaka and Mr. Yojiro Joe Asai from Sony shared some plans of the company, and among other things, they discovered the future of their sensors.
The RED Epic Dragon prototype was the first sensor to score over 100 on DxOMark sensor score scale, and it hit 101. But they has recently given RED’s 35.4MP Helium 8K sensor the highest overall score so far: 108. It means that this is not the first to exceed the 100 point bar, but it set up a new record.
The quality of long exposures is determined mostly by the amount of noise a camera produces. The lower the noise levels, the better the exposure. This is especially true if you are shooting lots of nightscapes or night skies, where most of the photo is black.
And Brendan Davey shoots a lot of night photos, in fact he shoots enough of them that it was worth a while for him to create a database which compares the amounts of noise each camera (or camera sensor) produces.
Often when we talk about camera sensors we talk about “buckets” collecting “photons of light”. But talking about buckets is looking at the sensor mechanism from a bird’s eye view.
If you want a deeper understanding of how camera sensors work, Filmmaker IQ is giving a terrific lecture that goes down all the way to the physics and chemistry of collecting light and turning it into data.
You been warned that you will need to cope with Tetrahedral Crystals, Doping, PN Junctions and a few other electrical, chemical and engeneering terms. Nonetheless this is one of the more approchable lectures on the fine details of sensor-works.
// end geek alert
[The Science of Camera Sensors | Filmmaker IQ]
Sony, is not waiting to see who will win the sensor wars, it is defining the battlefield. With rumors of new technologies being around for a while now, Sony recently released two videos showing what’s in store for their future line of sensor technology.
Specifically, Sony demoed Starvis – an ultra low light technology designed for security cameras, though with the current low light / high ISO specs battle, it would not be surprising to find traces of this technology in their consumer line as well.
According to Sony :