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Messages - jrista

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1006
EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 24, 2014, 04:32:20 PM »
What do you think if everyone here started emailing Canon, started hitting up their booths at conventions, and started loudly demanding better sensor IQ?

Of all the things that I have read of yours on CR that is the most extraordinary to date.

Demanding better IQ. Have you actually used a camera with the Sony Exmor sensor ? I know nothing about astrophotography, or whatever it's called; perhaps there is a benefit there, but to 'demand better IQ' with the exceptional sensors we now have........

I don't believe the sensors we have now are "exceptional". I believe they are "good", but relative to what's possible, they are not exceptional. They may have been exceptional five years ago...but, that was five years ago. Things change. Things ARE relative. And as I said (which you did not quote)...I'm not just speaking about low ISO DR. It's possible to have more high ISO DR, it's possible to have all this, both improved low and high ISO DR, WITH MORE PIXELS.

It's a simple question. Do you NOT want to have better IQ across the board? Truly? I mean, technology PROGRESSES. So, if you are honestly telling me that you do NOT want better top to bottom sensor IQ....

Then that is one of the most extraordinary comments I've ever read on these forums to date.

I think I got lost in fighting against DXO and defending Canon all these years, and forgot that I DO WANT BETTER! :P I WANT BETTER! I WANT MORE! I KNOW IT'S POSSIBLE, TOO. I honestly cannot think that I am ALONE on that front. I plain and simply don't even believe it. I think people here will only say they don't want more and better simply to continue defending their preferred brand. It's fine to prefer Canon. I do. I have many reasons for preferring them. However...that is no reason not to demand they give us more. I want D800 level low ISO IQ strait out of camera. I want ML-level high ISO DR strait out of camera. I want 70-80% Q.E. I want 50 megapixels. I can USE every single one of those sensor IQ improvements.

So...honestly...what's wrong with getting vocal about that TO CANON. You don't have to give a crap about any other brand...the point is to stand up and get vocal about your wants TO CANON, so your preferred brand will improve, will start offering you more capability.

1007
Technical Support / Re: Another my Stupid question = Sensor Sizes
« on: August 24, 2014, 04:21:16 PM »
Guys: Great responses, but I have a simple question and will take Nikon as an example:

Will the D800 have same noise performance of downsampled file to  12mp as the D700?

The D800 would have better performance. The D700 was one of the last cameras that still used a Nikon sensor, IIRC. The D700 uses a sensor much more like a Canon sensor than an Exmor. It is also limited to ISO 200...which is a pretty severe handicap. It would be trounced by the D800.

1008
EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 24, 2014, 04:17:40 PM »
I just think it's embarrassing how Canon's top of the line crop cameras are so far behind technologically to Sony's.

Can you please list the features that make a camera like the Sony A5100 so technologically superior to a top of the line Canon crop camera.  Feel free to discuss advantages in areas like native lens selection, AF speed, frame rate, focus tracking of moving subjects, integration with a radio-controlled off-camera flash system, etc. 

If you mean sensor and not camera, please say so.  As I've said repeatedly, people don't buy bare silicon sensors to take pictures, they buy cameras.

This I totally agree with. At the moment, Sony "cameras" are not better than Canon's...and their "RAW" image format is a joke.

1009
EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 24, 2014, 04:01:39 PM »
Quote
(In my experience, "Photographic DR" is far more arbitrary, as everyone seems to define it or calculate it in a different way...

The definition and method of calculation is taught to every single person who earns a degree in photography in the country. A very large number of printers and scientists know it as well. It is not arbitrary.

And yet...it still hasn't been DEFINED. What, exactly, is the calculation you use to determine Photographic DR? Or is the calculation simply: "Shoot a step wedge and judge visually whether you have X stops or Y stops of DR?"

I'm sorry, but a simple visual judgement is insufficient. Your ignoring read noise, which you cannot do. (Well, you can...it just isn't valid...not for electronic sensors.)

Indeed, all measurements in a digital sensor contains noise. The luminance range that is detectable depends on the amount of noise present, discussing DR in digital photography is discussing noise which boils down to statistics. Until dtaylor understand that he would best avoid these discussion and instead go hide under a bridge but he doesn't have that much sense so it is pointless to waste energy on him.

Yeah...probably right.

1010
EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 24, 2014, 03:58:15 PM »
@jrista - I was attempting to convey the point that your statements sound like those usually made by members known for harping on DR.  I used words like 'echoing' and 'parroting' and 'sound like'.  I don't think 'Poor DR spells doom for Canon' is your mantra, despite a couple of statements to that effect.  "Friends don't let friends become DRiveling DRones!"

But hey, if you feel that means you need defending and merits throwing out descriptors like 'childish', 'bully' and 'disgraceful', that's your prerogative. 

Have a nice day.

I'm not trying to insult you, however I do think you should know how you came off in your little fight with ZigZag. That was an embarrassing episode. You should have taken the high road, and just ignored the guy...but you did not. You stooped to his level, and became exactly what he started out being on his first day here. I loath the guy, he was flat out, strait up, a literal bully. He seemed quite proud of that fact. I tried to defend you on a couple occasions, despite you stooping to his level. He PMed me multiple times about you, and I laid into the guy about his behavior and his treatment of you.

It was honestly dismaying to see you behave the same way he did. He was banned for his behavior, for Christ sake! All I'm saying is...you have a side to you that is decidedly NOT nice. It's downright mean and, yes, it comes off as childish. Just, be aware of that, and try to keep it in check...because again, in all honesty, I don't read what you write the same way anymore. When someone disagrees with you, your ultimate intent APPEARS to be to crush them, utterly. ;P You seem to have a DRoneaphobia as well. It's like the mere mention of DR sets off something in you, and you....just....must....CRUUUSH.



What do you think if everyone here started emailing Canon, started hitting up their booths at conventions, and started loudly demanding better sensor IQ? I mean, I know it "doesn't matter" to their bottom line, to their shareholders...but, doesn't better sensor IQ (and I don't just mean low ISO DR...Magic Lantern has boosted HIGH ISO DR by a stop or more!) matter to everyone here? It's clear that we can have more. It's clear that it's possible to create a sensor with nearly 80% Q.E. at room temperature, which means that we could quite literally see a one-stop improvement in high ISO noise for an APS-C sensor. It's more than clear that we can have two additional stops of DR at low ISO without that, but with a Q.E. boost, we could even have THREE stops of additional DR at low ISO (assuming 15-bit or better sensors.) It's clear we can have more pixels without sacrificing IQ.

Does no one here want any of that? If the members of these forums got up, got vocal, and started demanding...do you really think that wouldn't have any impact? Do you think Canon would completely ignore us...or, might hey possible take notice at least? Do you think that other communities on the net would notice that we've presented Canon with a unified front demanding better sensor IQ across the board, low ISO, high ISO, more pixels, better pixels, everything. Do you not think that could start a movement that could really light a fire under Canon' proverbial ass and force them to do something?

And, conversely...if we all just sit back and perpetually defend Canon for not doing anything wrong (which is absolutely true...they haven't done anything wrong...but they could do BETTER)...what will Canon do? If they HEAR their customers say en-mass "We don't expect you to do any more, to do any better, to innovate faster, to employ better technology."...why would they change?

Dunno...just some thoughts. We may be entirely irrelevant, but the fact that we are considered Canon Fanboy Central here by many other photography forums on the net (though particularly DPR and Nikon Rumors)...it just makes me wonder if we might actually have some sway...

1011
EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 24, 2014, 03:44:19 PM »
Quote
(In my experience, "Photographic DR" is far more arbitrary, as everyone seems to define it or calculate it in a different way...

The definition and method of calculation is taught to every single person who earns a degree in photography in the country. A very large number of printers and scientists know it as well. It is not arbitrary.

And yet...it still hasn't been DEFINED. What, exactly, is the calculation you use to determine Photographic DR? Or is the calculation simply: "Shoot a step wedge and judge visually whether you have X stops or Y stops of DR?"

I'm sorry, but a simple visual judgement is insufficient. Your ignoring read noise, which you cannot do. (Well, you can...it just isn't valid...not for electronic sensors.)

I'm debating your definition of DR. You cannot simply shut that down at will.

Yes I can. It is not "my" definition. It is the definition that has been in use since Ansel Adams and Fred Archer developed the Zone System (at least). The first zone above black does not even have any texture or detail, just a tone lighter then black. And it is not dependent on grain/noise.

Quote
Your definition is flat out wrong. Simple as that. :P

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_range - Photographers use "dynamic range" for the luminance range of a scene being photographed, or the limits of luminance range that a given digital camera or film can capture, [32] or the opacity range of developed film images, or the reflectance range of images on photographic papers.

Luminance range. NOT detail that has "Sony Exmor" amount of noise or less.

Please also see:

Basic Photographic Materials and Processes, Third Edition - chapters 2 and 5.

http://photo.net/learn/making-photographs/film

http://www.amazon.com/Negative-Ansel-Adams-Photography-Book/dp/0821221868

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_System#Exposure_zones

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/zone_system.shtml

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/dynamic-range.htm

http://www.stouffer.net/TransPage.htm

http://cameras.about.com/od/technologies/a/What-Is-Dynamic-Range.htm

Shall I go on?

In every single one of those pages you linked, including the book "The Negative" by Ansel (which I own, BTW), no one actually DEFINES what "Photographic DR" is. No one describes an objective formula by which it can be derived. I think Ken Rockwell, a poorly respected laughing stock nutjob in the photographic world (by anyone who isn't a total DSLR novice...for them, their trust of the guy is understandable), sums it up quite nicely:

"Real photographers don't care. We adjust our lighting so the subject's dynamic range fits within the range of the camera."

That isn't a definition of anything. That isn't an OBJECTIVE description of something that can be consistently applied to every camera. It's a massively SUBJECTIVE reaction, and the simple fact of the matter is: We're not always able to adjust the subjects dynamic range. As a wildlife photographer, I fully understand what he's saying...even though I don't control the sun, I still control my angle to my subject, so I can control it's lighting. That's why having a mere 7-8 stops of DR at ISO 12800 is not a huge issue for my bird and wildlife photography. It does often limit my ability to get the best subject pose and framing, but I can still control it. Or, I simply deal with the fact that I don't have enough DR, and suffer the consequences to get a better-posed, better-framed shot.

We all have to admit though...the kind of photography each one of us does most personally is not indicative of the market at large. Neuro has said that countless times. There ARE cases where we cannot control lighting or dynamic range at all.

I'll pick up a transmission wedge, and I'll shoot it and we can actually have some real examples to debate with. The key difference here is the definition of dynamic range. I do not believe there is a single objective definition of Photographic DR. It's just an arbitrary term, and it seems to be redefined at will. Hence what is often called Engineering DR. This is an objective description of dynamic range that takes into account all the traits of electronic systems. Even the Wiki page on DR that you linked states that:

Quote
Electronics engineers apply the term to:

the ratio of a specified maximum level of a parameter, such as power, current, voltage or frequency, to the minimum detectable value of that parameter.

The minimum detectable value of a parameter, such as voltage (which is what digital sensor pixels accumulate...they accumulate a voltage) is determined by the amount of noise. Once you cross the threshold of read noise, you cannot say with any certainty whether the pixel is representing a real value, or a noise value. That's the problem with noise. Therefor, just as with Audio:

Quote
Dynamic range in analog audio is the difference between low-level thermal noise in the electronic circuitry and high-level signal saturation resulting in increased distortion and, if pushed higher, clipping.

Analog audio is a one-dimensional signal. The analog signal in a digital sensor is a two-dimensional signal. It's still an electronic signal. Instead of a simple waveform that changes over time, a digital sensor is a spatial waveform. The exact same criteria apply for a digital image signal. There isn't any difference between sampling an analog audio frequency, and sampling a spatial waveform with a pixel. Both determine the amplitude of the signal at that location, and both are subject to noise levels in the sample. Dynamic range is the difference between low-level noise (that includes thermal or "dark current", but also read noise in a sensor) and the high level signal saturation.

I am calling into question the validity of using the old film-based Zone system to describe dynamic range in digital image sensors. Film had no readout system! In film, dynamic range was limited only by the amount of grain, which means it effectively behaved like an "ideal sensor"...the only source of noise was photon shot noise, inherent in the image resolved by the lens itself. Digital sensors are not only subject to photon shot noise...but they have the addition of read noise to content with. The zone system makes no allowance for read noise, nor does it provide any consistent means of accounting for read noise.

Read noise cannot be ignored in digital sensors. It IS the point at which we reach the "minimum detectable values". The more read noise a system has, the lower the dynamic range, even if the pixels of the sensor themselves are actually capable of more, when those pixels are read out, the least significant bits of those pixels will be obscured and potentially obliterated by noise from the electronics of the readout logic.

1012
EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 24, 2014, 03:08:08 PM »
One more thing: you should know by now that jrista is not a DRone.  When he makes assertions he almost always has good reasons for them, and he's willing to talk things out and admit his errors.  You may disagree with him, but try asking politely for citations rather than descend into name-calling.

Thanks for coming to my defense. I'll admit, maybe I'm being a bit too sensationalistic. We still need to see what the 7D II hits the streets with before we can really draw any concrete conclusions. I'm not particularly confident at this point, but maybe we will all still be WOWed...

That said, I'm not surprised by Neuro's name calling. @Neuro, to be quite frank, since your episodes of utterly childish schoolyard name calling and bullying with ZigZagZoe, a guy who certainly came on strong and took an immediate disliking to you (and whom I have zero respect for, as he is just as much a disgraceful schoolyard bully), I'm not surprised at all by your name calling. That seems to be what you resort to when you have no other solid argument to make. I've lost a lot of respect for you, thanks to those threads, and the fact that you are STILL resorting to name calling whenever someone tries to bring up DR.

I'll shut up about it after this. It's not doing any good, and I don't want to rial up the locals into another pointless battle. However, you should really check the attitude a bit. I can't be the only one who was rather horrified at your behavior with the whole ZigZag episode. I can't help but view you in a different light now...and it isn't a good light. Just...something to think about regarding how people perceive you. I understand now why CR forums are considered to be full of raging fanboys.... We all ARE raging fanboys!  :o Raging enough to have the closest thing to a schoolyard fight between bullies as you can get online! I'm kind of ashamed to have been a part of that at all...maybe that's where part of my change of heart, change of stance, on Canon gear comes from now...I dunno.

Anyway...I don't know if Canon will lose out because they don't change their sensors. However, I do believe there are some strong parallels to be draw between Canon and many other tech companies that have failed or lost their competitive edge and market dominance (or simply missed the opportunity to expand into new markets) because they sat on technology and/or did not innovate. Canon innovates...it just does not seem as though their innovations are making their way into products. I most certainly do not believe Canon is an "evil" company, purposely withholding trivial features to keep customers "coming back for more in each future model" like LTRLI. I think they have their product lines segregated according to their business goals. But that's different than bringing new technology to market...especially in PRO-grade camera lines. I know the vast majority of Canon DSLR users are "green box" photographers...but, were talking about the 7D II here. This isn't an entry-level DSLR...it's a professional grade DSLR...something that has been hotly anticipated by a group of Canon photographers that are certainly more savvy than "green box" shooters. A group that should overwhelmingly shoot RAW and appreciate a better sensor.

As someone who DOES like Canon gear, particularly their lenses, which I've invested many tens of thousands of dollars into...it's a concerning realization, that Canon may be in a similar position as Nokia, Kodak, Microsoft, and so many others when old markets shifted and new markets emerged. I don't want to be sitting on a $13,000 lens five years from now that is still only capable of being attached to a DSLR that has the same sensor IQ of today, which is largely the same sensor IQ of five years ago. I bought that lens with the expectation that it would survive through a half dozen camera generations, each one better than the last, until I'm in my late 40's or early 50's. I'm not confident that I'll be attaching that lens to a camera that performs wildly differently then than I do today. I'll just sit back and watch now. Hopefully Canon will do something about it soon...if not, well, I personally am opening up my options for low ISO IQ. I'm tired of waiting for Canon to do something about it...and while I still think Nikon is a schizophrenic company, I'd rather buy a D810 and have a REAL RAW image format than buy a Sony A7r and have to deal with a gimped out lossy-compressed "RAW" format. Time to stop waiting for Canon to do something...I gotta do what I gotta do for my photography. If that means Neuro labels me a DRone, well...so be it. Not surprising there.

1013
Technical Support / Re: Another my Stupid question = Sensor Sizes
« on: August 24, 2014, 04:43:55 AM »
Pixel size is irrelevant. SNR, and therefor dynamic range (assuming you have no other source of noise than what is inherent to the image signal itself) and noise are ultimately relative to total sensor area. That's it.

Uhmm... except when pixel size is not irrelevant.
I have to disaggree with you, somewhat, on one point; dynamic range will become limited when pixels become too small, and hence their full-well capacity decreases by more than just the ratio of their surface area.
I say this because, I suspect, the vertical dimension of the photodiode will have some aspect ratio limit with regards to the surface area.  When the surface area becomes too small, the other dimension will have to shrink also, and that will iimit the full-capacity/surface area, decreasing maximum DR.  You'll still be able to reduce noise levels quite effectively by binning/averaging, either hardware or software, but you'll reach a lower maximum when the pixel geometry gets too small.
I suspect something like 40MP smartphone camera may be an example.

EDIT:  Actually, we're already there in varying degrees.
Since many sensor systems are already counting individual electrons, smaller pixels are just gonna be DR-limited.  14bits at 1 bit per electron is only 16384 e-
Small pixels are useful even with full well counts well below that, like 2^10, but then that's already a 10-stop or less DR.  When you start averaging them, you're not gonna gain quite all of that DR back.  And then when you hit the aspect ratio limit for the photo-diode, the DR curve will really drop off.
Perhaps a resident math-whiz could graph that curve for a demo.... (nudge, hint-hint ;) )

Your absolutely right...at some point, fill factor becomes an issue. I've talked about fill factor in many of my posts in the past. The fill factor issue is why we have BSI sensor designs, and why pretty much every very small sensor, ones using 1.2µm pixels and smaller, are BSI. The BSI design maximizes fill factor, effectively creating an ideal pixel, thereby exhibiting the ideal behavior I've described.

Large sensors don't use BSI, however I think that Canon's APS-C sensors could actually benefit from it. There is most certainly a small loss to fill factor, so you are correct in that smaller pixels, on a 500nm process, are not going to be able to gain back 100% of the DR during the downsampling process. I don't know that the pixels are quite small enough for that to result in a difference in noise that can be determined with anything other than a computer algorithm, though.

1014
Technical Support / Re: Another my Stupid question = Sensor Sizes
« on: August 24, 2014, 04:39:09 AM »
Pixel size is irrelevant. SNR, and therefor dynamic range (assuming you have no other source of noise than what is inherent to the image signal itself) and noise are ultimately relative to total sensor area. That's it.

If that is so, what is stopping Canon from making a 46 MP FF camera with the same sensor tech as, say 7D?
I am not really an expert on this, but I think every pipeline (pixel-->signal processor) must add its own bit of noise. So noise from 4 1x1micron pixels > noise from 1 2x2 micron pixel.
It also has a bearing on processor power, but that's another topic.
Maybe an expert can chime in on this?

I think Canon's 500nm process is stopping them. They could make a 46mp FF sensor today...but I don't think it would perform as well as an Exmor. As I've said...pixel size, and therefor pixel count, don't really matter. It's primarily the sensor size that matters. When the sensor sizes are the same, then it's the core technology that matters. A D800 is better not because of it's pixel size or sensor size...it's better because of the higher Q.E., because of the lower read noise, and because of the clean, random nature of the tiny bit of read noise that does exist.

You are correct that electronics throughout the whole pipeline add noise. How you design that pipeline can have a big impact on how much noise is added and where. Based on Roger Clark's work, Canon's sensors themselves are actually not that bad. They suffer from the large 500nm transistor size and lower Q.E., but from an electronic noise standpoint, the noise introduced by the sensor itself is quite low. It's the downstream components, the high frequency ones that all have to process huge numbers of pixels, that add most of the read noise. Canon cameras have both a secondary downstream amplifier, which is used to amplify the signal post-read for really high ISO settings (i.e. to get ISO 12800, Canon first amplifies to ISO 3200 strait off the pixel with the per-pixel amplifiers, then amplifies another two stops using their downstream amp...the downstream amp processes all the pixels, and must operate at a much higher frequency, which produces more heat (so more dark current), and the higher frequency of the oscillations results in high frequency noise being introduced into the signal.) Canon also places it's ADC units off the sensor die in the DIGIC chips. There are either 8 or 16 ADC channels, depending on whether the camera has one or two DIGIC chips. Those ADC channels each have to process tens of thousands to millions of pixels, and again must operate at a higher frequency, which introduces more noise.

Canon's competitors have moved to on-die ADC units. Most use a column-parallel ADC design, one unit per column of pixels. Most are also fabricated with smaller transistors, which reduces power consumption and reduces energy dissipation. Since each CP-ADC unit processes fewer pixels, they can operate at a lower frequency, which reduces heat and introduces less noise. In Sony Exmor's case, the high frequency clock was also located on a remote corner of the sensor die, away from the ADC units, to avoid any high frequency noise from being introduced.

In practice, read noise is actually higher the larger the pixel. Look at Sensorgen.info pages for the 7D and 5D III:

http://sensorgen.info/CanonEOS_7D.html
http://sensorgen.info/CanonEOS_5D_MkIII.html

The 7D has 8e- read noise, while the 5D III has 35e- read noise. That's the amount of read noise introduced into each pixel during the readout and ADC pipeline. I'm not exactly sure why that is. Even if you compute the relative areas of the pixels for both cameras, and multiply the 7D's RN by that ratio, it still only comes out to 16e-. So on an absolute area basis, the 7D has less read noise per area than the 5D III. The 1D X has slightly more read noise than the 5D III. The main difference in the read pipelines are the DIGIC chips...the 7D uses a DIGIC 4, where as the 5D III and 1D X use DIGIC 5 generation chips. The DIGIC 5's use much higher frequency ADC units...but, I'm just speculating that's the sole or primary cause of the higher read noise.

1015
EOS Bodies / Re: Update on the EOS 7D Mark II Spec List
« on: August 24, 2014, 04:24:41 AM »
There is a third possibility...

To do 4K right requires 4 times the computing power as 2K video. That makes a lot of heat and drains batteries fast... and there is a real possibility that the problems with dissipating the heat make it impractical in a DSLR body unless you add in heatsinks, and that is a negative to all those using it for stills. Obviously, a 1D-C has the thermal mass, battery capacity, and radiative surface to handle this, but does a smaller body?

Does the Panasonic GH4 not do 4K right?  It certainly doesn't have a large thermal mass or space for big heat sinks inside.

It does not, however it has a considerably more advanced, lower power sensor. Canon is still using huge transistors, and they are not even the more advanced kind of high efficiency multi-gate transistors we're capable of manufacturing today. Canon is really, really, REALLY far behind on sensor tech, and even behind just on general CMOS fabrication.

Yeah, I think a sensor fabricated with an older process using huge transistors IS going to create a lot of heat when operated at a higher speed. So I think Don's comment has a lot of merit.

hard to say.  usually that is a function of "die shrinking" and die shrinking here wouldn't have a place because regardless of the geometry - the die is the same size - trace wiring is going to run the same distances regardless of the lithographic geometry.  also usally these devices when shrunk run at a lower internal power - they require less - not really so with sensors, as you can't lower the voltage as that would have an effect of increasing noise percentage.  Not only that but decreasing the geometry also has the effect if the wiring is the same distance, increasing the resistance, which would again be distributed as heat.

so while transistors that are switching in the millions of times per second will consume more power the larger they are, that is relatively immaterial to the other aspects of the sensor as well, and especially considering that the switching on a sensor is relatively pedestrian at best.

Canon's never had a problem with "dark current" and heat on their sensors which is usually exhibited at long exposures and sensitive applications such as astrophotography.  as a matter of fact, they've always been some of the best, and are still favoured by astro photography.

there's also more prone to ESD, more electron loss, and a mydrid of other complexities surrounding smaller geometries - which is why you see all the ASP-C and full frame sensors using around 20+ year old lithography technology.

canon's KrF could easily handle current "high tech" sensors - but only their engineers know if there's any benefit, and i'm sure they have a better grasp on that than you and I.

with respects to the heat generation - most of that would be in DiGiC and whatever sub processor they are using for the codecs as the processors have to read through 4K  worth of RAW data x 24-30 frames per second, debayer and apply tonal curves, and then write it out at 24-30 frames per second in the codec of choice.

they are image processing (or have to) around 200MB / second through the DiGiC processors - because it certainly just isn't coming off the chip and being written out onto a CF/SD card.

You are right, the use of the term "die shrink" was wrong. I usually say "smaller fabrication process" or "smaller transistor size".

There are a lot of sensor patents out there, usually for smaller sensors, especially the ones that are used in mobile battery-powered devices, that are using more energy-efficient transistors. Variations of FinFET or multi-gate transistors, which have been used in CPU's now for a couple generations. I have no doubt that the DIGIC chips get very hot, but the sensors get hot as well. That's why there is an automatic shutoff for live view after an arbitrary amount of time...when the camera detects the sensor getting hot, it disables the video read, thereby disabling live view. And I believe that is just with a line-skipping read!

A full 4k video read, or worse, a full high quality binned 4:2:2 4k video read, is undoubtedly going to create some heat. Smaller transistors alone would help with the energy dissipation, and the use of a more modern type of transistor could help further (although is probably unnecessary in a large sensor).

As for Canon's dark current, for short exposures, they don't have problems. However compared to other sensors, Canon's dark current is now becoming some of the highest. I do astrophotography myself, I spend a lot of time on AP forums. Canon is still the staple, but a hacking group recently cracked the black point clipping issue with Nikon and Sony cameras. Anything using an Exmor has lower read noise and significantly lower dark current. They are quickly becoming very popular, particularly the D7100 and one of the D5000 models (although I think the latter actually uses a Toshiba sensor.)

Canon's technology is aging, and it is starting to show on all fronts. Even the once iron castle of Astrophotography has now been invaded by different brands.

1016
EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 24, 2014, 04:16:05 AM »
@Jrista - you shoot with a 7D. You've shown that you can take good pictures with it. I get your frustration with Canon's release schedule. Who knows the exact reason. But as a complete solution, if you can get better elsewhere then you would have moved. Is a 70D sensor really that bad? Based on it's target market, I think the MK II will do well. Even with a tweaked 70D sensor.

I do shoot with a 7D. I also shoot with a 5D III. However...generally, nearly all of my work is shot at high ISO. At high ISO, the differences between any camera on the market with similar sensor sizes is trivial. The full frame definitely does better...not surprising, it gathers more total light for any given identically frames subject. The 7D suffers at really high ISO, it does pretty well between ISO 400 and 1600, and there have been times when It's done quite well at ISO 3200. The 5D III does excellent up through ISO 12800.

However, at ISO 100? Both of them still have banding problems. You have a few stops of editing latitude...and actually, a bit more with the 7D in my experience than with the 5D III. I can denoise them pretty effetively with Topaz DeNoise 5....the debanding works pretty well, although again...it seems to work better on the 7D. The 7D has a pretty strict 8-pixel wide banding, so all I have to do is set the band size to 8 in DeNoise 5, and 7D banding is usually cleaned right up. Now that I have a 5D III, I've found it is a lot more difficult to clean up. The banding seems more random, and it still often occurs in both horizontal and vertical. To fully clean up banding on an ISO 100 5D III image, I usually have to sacrifice some detail. I can get really good results for downsampled images. I'd say they rival D800 downsampled images, and I'm quite happy with that. Any print smaller than 13x19 (7D) or 16x20 (5D III) usually looks as good as any D800 image I've printed. However if I want to print my landscapes, and I like to print them really large...? Exmor wins. There is just no denying it. It's got cleaner noise that is very random. Detail is crisper in the deep shadows. There isn't a hint of any kind of noise artifact.

I can take Canon files very far with Topaz Denoise. It's a wonderful tool. It can eat away at detail like a champ if you let it, so moderation is key. But when you really get down to it....Exmor is just better:

D800 (from Fred Miranda's review):


5D III (Topaz Denoise 5 w/ Debanding and DR Recovery):


5D III (Original shadow pull):


My DeNoised 5D III is just not as good. It's better...but still not as good. I used to be happy with that...but...I dunno. I no longer am. Maybe getting into astrophotography, and playing around with equipment that uses sensors from different manufacturers, seeing how much more sensitive they are and how much more dynamic range they have....maybe all that has changed my opinions. I just don't feel like sitting around anymore WAITING. I waited for years for Canon to release the 5D III. Even back then, I really hoped it would have a big DR increase. That was the age of the Nikon D7000 and the Pentax K-5, both of which had demonstrably better DR than Canon cameras. The K-5 was better than the D7000, it was a shadow-pulling powerhouse (still is today, even...it's SNR is still one of the best of the best.) I waited before the 5D III. I've been waiting since the 5D III. It looks like I'll be waiting after the 7D II.

As a Canon user...I wait. I WAIT. I WAIT and WAIT and WAIT. I even stopped waiting...I picked up a 5D III. It's better than my 7D at high ISO, no question. The 5D III is actually PHENOMENAL at high ISO....but, so is every other modern full frame camera, including the lowly 6D and the vaunted D800/810 and A7s. It's the bigger frame. But ISO 100? I was surprised to find that, from an editing latitude standpoint...my 7D does better. I do landscapes, I'll be using the 5D III for landscapes...but, it's worse than my 7D...  :o

So...I'm WAITING...again. I'm so sick of waiting for Canon to do some thing about sensor IQ. :P Really, really am. I know what's possible now. I know that DSLR sensors will eventually achieve SIGNIFICANTLY more than they do today. Having nearly 14 stops of DR is just the beginning...I have no doubt now that the day will come when I could put a DSLR with 20 stops of DR in my hands. I don't think it would be a Canon DSLR at this point, though....AND THAT'S THE PROBLEM!  ::)

1017
EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 24, 2014, 03:55:07 AM »
Well, your just plain wrong about the DR. Your using IR's "total DR" number, which is irrelevant, 

It is the ONLY relevant number. The definition of DR is not up for debate.

How hard you can push shadows due to noise (i.e. grain) is LATITUDE.

I'm debating your definition of DR. You cannot simply shut that down at will. Your definition is flat out wrong. Simple as that. :P The debate is raised, the burden of proof is now on you  to clearly demonstrate how Photographic DR is more appropriate or more accurate. (In my experience, "Photographic DR" is far more arbitrary, as everyone seems to define it or calculate it in a different way...there is no consistency, therefor it is near impossible to gauge it's accuracy or even relevance. Besides...the industry itself uses a different but consistent definition for dynamic range, one that is repeatable and consistent and comparable.)

Increased native dynamic range in the RAW file CAN ALLOW FOR increased editing latitude. It isn't guaranteed to, but it can. Specifically, an increase in dynamic range that is gained by reducing read noise can significantly increase editing latitude. A simple reduction in noise, however, say by an increase in Q.E., is not going to offer as much of an increase in editing latitude.

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Even IR's results where they don't completely ignore noise even jive, and IR ALSO gets approximately a two-stop difference between Canon sensors and Exmors.

Guess what would happen if you fed Imatest or DxO the D800 and 5D3+NR file you posted? They would report nearly identical DR. But applying NR to the D800 will not reveal any more detail or bump its score the same, at least not with Imatest. (DxO thinks blacker blacks with no detail still = more DR, so maybe their score would go up. But it would also be useless.)

Picking an arbitrary noise/processing threshold and arguing about it is worthless for this very reason.

Not from what I understand about what IR is doing. They are feeding Imatest processed images...images that have had NR applied. Therefor, they are not actually calculating the real DR, they are calculating one potential amount of DR assuming a given amount of NR has been applied.

Regarding the noise threshold, it is not arbitrary. It is very well defined: It's the read noise of the whole system. Every sensor has a given read noise, and that read noise is usually dependent on the ISO setting. At ISO 100, the Canon 1D X has 38e- RN, the 5D III has 35e-, the 7D has 8e-, the 70D has 13.5e- while the Nikon D4 has 18e-, the D800 has 3e-, the D810 has 4.5e-. These values are fixed. That's the read noise of those cameras at ISO 100. That is also the noise threshold for each of those cameras. Those cameras also have a saturation point or full well capacity at ISO 100: 1DX 90367e-, 5D III 67531e-, 7D 20187e-, 70D 26726e-, and the D4 has 117813e-, the D800 has 44972e-, the D810 has 49601e-.

You compute DR the exact same way for every one of those cameras: 20*log(FWC/RN)/6. That formula results in the following DR for each camera:

1DX: 11.25
5DIII: 10.95
7D: 11.33
70D: 11
D4: 12.72
D800: 13.91
D810: 13.47

This isn't rocket science. It isn't arbitrary. This is what the INDUSTRY uses to compute dynamic range. Measured read noise values may vary slightly from documented read noise values, so DR numbers computed from measurements are usually going to deviate from DR numbers computed from official documentation for any given sensor...but overall, as you can see, Canon cameras over around 11 stops, Nikon cameras hover between 13-14 stops. There is nothing DXO-esque here....I'm not doing anything "extra", I'm not claiming that the hardware itself is capable of doing more than what it's really capable of because I chose some arbitrary downsampling point. This is simple, strait forward, industry standard dynamic range.

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You are correct that some careful NR can close the gap. Thing is, if you actually look at my sample images I recently posted, there is still a gap.

Yes. You might even spot it on a 36" print with the D800 print sitting next to it  ::)

Eh, what?

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The real kicker is the gap is growing.

No it's not. It's about the same today as it was when the D7000 came out against the 7D. Both sensor series have improved over time by small increments.

Again, your basing that on invalid information. Canon sensors have not changed since before the 7D. Nikon, Pentax, and a number of other cameras have changed dramatically over the same timeframe. Now, it was understandable that the 1D X and 5D III improved in other areas. Canon's customers asked them to improve in those areas.

However it's been about two years now. Canon's customers have been demanding they improve in a different area, in the area of sensor IQ. If these 7D II specs are real, they herald an era of...no change for Canon sensor IQ.

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I don't think we'll be stuck with 14-bit ADC units for long...technology is moving far too fast for that.

Someone has to be able to fabricate a sensor that can produce useful bits >14 first. If someone does that at Photokina while Canon ships a 70D sensor variant, then Canon has a problem. But even Sony's 12 MP FF sensor isn't doing that yet so I kind of doubt it.

Sony's sensors are getting very close to the limits allowed by 14-bit ADC. If what their BionzX chip in the A7s can do is real, they are feeding a 16-bit image processing pipeline 14-bit data, and that 14-bit data has extremely low noise. If Sony continues to make progress at the same rate they have been (and, if they stop gimping their own technology with a wickedly crappy RAW image format), the will be capable of using 15-bits very soon.

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I've also been getting more and more into astrophotography equipment...Some of these things are RADICALLY superior to what Canon has to offer.

But these are also niche tools, are they not? In terms of general purpose cameras, I'll grant that a Sony Exmor is a better choice for astro, but it's not like you can't do good astro with a 5D2/3 or 6D. Flickr is full of those shots.

I use a 5D III for astro. In my experience, it's actually worse than the 7D. By a lot, really. The read noise on the 5D III is ~35e- ISO 100, whereas it is 8e- ISO 100 on the 7D. At ISO 400 (the ideal ISO setting for Canon cameras for astro), the 5D III still has 4.4e-, where as the 7D has about 3e-. Chroma noise on the 5D III is FAR worse than on the 7D. It is so bad that it actually makes it very difficult to get good results.

Now, the 6D is a different story. I don't know why Canon did not do with the 5D III whatever they did with the 6D, but the 6D has some of the lowest and cleanest high ISO noise I've ever seen. It's quickly becoming a popular astro modded DSLR for those not willing to spend $4-5k for a proper cooled CCD.

The benefits of the 6D are still having to compete with Exmor based cameras, though. Those things have a flat read noise curve. It's ~3e- at every ISO setting. The 6D has a slight advantage at very high ISO, however you lose so much DR at those ISO settings that stars clip. Now that someone has cracked the Nikon/Sony black point clipping problem (which used to be the reason those cameras were called "star eaters"), Nikon cameras are rapidly growing in popularity as not only viable options for astro, but better options. They can be used at ISO 100 instead of ISO 400, which gives you even more headroom to avoid clipping stars, which gives you even more room within which to stretch and otherwise process the images.

When it comes to astrophotography in general, it's a booming hobby. Thousands more people are able to do it today than used to. Most are using modded Canon DSLRs, usually T3s and T3is, although newer models, including the 60D/Da, and now the 6D, are also often used. However the DSLR is only one part of the story. You still need to guide. The thousands of people who are now able to do astrophotography because equipment and software for it is cheaper and more accessible, they are buying guide cameras. Those include guide cameras that make use of Aptina and Sony sensors. Many of those beginners go on to use Atik CCD cameras, which are cheaper than the likes of SBIG, QSI, FLI. The most popular Atik cameras are the ones that use ultra high sensitivity Sony sensors.

Planetary, lunar, and solar imagers are also picking up high speed video cameras, like my QHY5L-II, or similar cameras from ASI or Starlight Xpress. Planetary imaging is probably even more popular than DSO imaging, as it's easier to do, doesn't require as accurate of tracking, and can often be done when seeing is too terrible for DSO imaging because of the use of superresolution and lucky imaging in planetary/

It may have been an extremely niche market, however these days it is a growing market. A rapidly growing market. And who has a vice-like grip on that market? Canon? No. Actually, their grip on that market from the DSLR front is waning...again, because their sensors are no longer competitive. Sony and Aptina in particular have the best sensors on the market for astro right now. Nikon cameras with Exmors are becoming more popular, largely thanks to the recent work of Nikon hackers to remove the black point clipping.

I've also had the opportunity to work with some stacked image data from people who use Nikon Exmor cameras and even Sony CCD cameras, who needed help with image processing. Their data was without question superior to my own that I gathered with the 5D III. My 7D data was about as good...however most of my 7D data was gathered when average outdoor temperatures were -8°C.

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That is TWENTY FREAKIN STOPS!! The thing has a 20-bit readout mode to fully support that many stops as well.

But we don't see that in any general purpose, high resolution ILC gear. So what's the trade off? If it doesn't arrive in our cameras for two years, and Canon does the same thing at the same time or shortly after Sony (for example), then they're not way behind. They would be way behind if Sony's current FF sensors had 20 stops.

If Sony released a sensor with 20 stops, I truly don't believe Canon would be competing. Not any time soon. It could be another thing like with the 7D...where it takes five years total for them to actually get something onto the market that can compete on the same level. I don't suspect Sony will release a 20-stop sensor. Not within the next couple of years. Not in a larger form factor anyway (they already have sensors that top 16 stops for the astro stuff.) However, I could see Sony kicking out a new Exmor II with on-die 16-bit CP-ADC very soon.

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So, the 70D? It doesn't sell because of it's sensor.

The 70D has an excellent sensor that is competitive now. If Sony brings out a 20 stop ISO 25,600 APS-C monster tomorrow, that will change. But you're reading about all this new stuff that no one has yet in a general purpose ILC line. Which means there is a trade off...maybe as simple as fab yields...that everyone is experiencing.

Again, this boils down to your rather arbitrary definition of dynamic range. This is the definition of dynamic range that the entire market for sensors uses to compute dynamic range in decibels:

Code: [Select]
20*log(FWC/RN)
And to get stops:

Code: [Select]
(20*log(FWC/RN))/6
By this definition, Canon is behind by two stops of DR, or about 12dB.

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What happens when Sony drops a LITERAL 16-stop sensor on the market?

Canon will respond. Even if it means buying the sensor from Sony, if their market is threatened they will respond. But my guess is that 16-stop sensor is not coming as soon as you imagine, nor is Canon's that far behind. Plus, I see a lot of patents coming from Canon for RGB multilayer sensors. Foveon shot themselves in the foot by overstating the advantage, but the advantage is significant. Anyone else doing any R&D here?

WILL THEY RESPOND? I mean, that's the question here. If these specs are true, and given the preliminaries last time around when they released the 1D X, 5D III, and 6D....I highly suspect they are...then Canon hasn't responded yet to the competition. And not just Sony. Toshiba is up there now as well, making APS-C sensors with nearly 13 stops of DR.

Regarding Canon patents. We've been seeing patents and prototypes out of Canon since before the 1D IV. I am pretty darn sure Canon already has a CP-ADC patent capable of reading 120mp out at 9.5fps. We've been seeing multi-layered sensor patents out of Canon for years. Those technologies haven't made their way into any cameras yet. Why? Well...if Canon is still using a 500nm process...that's why. They can't pack so much electronics into each pixel with transistors that large, and still have good noise quality. Their sensor fill factor has to be plummeting with the layered sensors (they say as much themselves in a couple of the older layered sensor patents, and one of them seems dedicated to improving sensitivity because photodiode area for each color is so small.) If Canon released a layered sensor in their next camera with a 500nm process, I highly doubt it would be as good as Foveon, let alone Exmor.

Canon desperately needs a process shrink.

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To get control of their noise problems, they are going to have to stop manufacturing ADCs they way they have been manufacturing ADCs for over a decade now...

When it affects their market share I'm sure they will. They're still #1, and the smart company pockets profits but has tech ready to go when they need it. I know that sucks when you want to see rapid innovation, but it's typical behavior. If you're the underdog you innovate wildly...and often lose money...trying to get at the top dog. If you're the top dog, you protect your position.

Sure, they are still #1...at the moment. But that's also what worries me. How many companies that were #1 throughout the last three decades or so, who just sat and rode the waves of their past success without competing head-to-head with their rivals in a highly competitive market...are still around, or if they are around, are they still relevant in new modern markets? Kodak was king. Kodak was king for decades. Kodak even had a portfolio of patents for CCD and CMOS sensor technology....they just never implemented it. Kodak had to sell it's patent library, and they are a shadow of their former selves. They tried to ride the film wave too long, and sat on all their digital technology (or simply didn't know how to employ it properly.) Microsoft? They still dominate the desktop...but they are practically irrelevant in the new computing markets: Phones, Phablets, Tablets. Mobile computing. I still love Microsoft products, I think they are excellent...but it was too little too late. They now face a massive, steeply uphill, and extremely expensive battle to gain market share from the more agile and competitive companies that actually employed the technology in their patents. There are plenty of other technology companies that either stuck with failing technology and refused to switch to successful ones and died, did not innovate at all and died, or was too slow to respond to heavy competition and died.

There are a lot of parallels that can be drawn between Canon and many of these companies. I'm not saying Canon IS these companies yet...just that there are a lot of similarities. From a competitive standpoint, Canon shouldn't just be working their past success to continue selling mildly improved camera models year after year. It's going to rapidly turn around and bite them in the proverbial rear end at some point...if they don't have a game changer already in the works when that happens, their #1 spot could instantly become #3, then #5, then #10. Sony is improving their game on other fronts as well. While the reviewer called it "new technology", it is pretty much the same thing as Canon's 61pt AF system, but Sony now has a high end, high density reticulated AF system that can compete head-to-head with Canon and Nikon AF systems. At some point, they are going to start pushing the frame rate envelope, and if they stick with electronic shutters (and better, global shutters), they could race right past Canon's 12/14fps (not that that is necessarily a good thing...there is a point of diminishing returns there, and possibly even negative returns once you end up with far too many frames for a short one-two second burst...but still, it's another front of competition.)

The world isn't standing still. If Canon does stand still...

1018
Technical Support / Re: Another my Stupid question = Sensor Sizes
« on: August 23, 2014, 11:18:22 PM »
You say "with identical technology, size of sensor is all that matters". I disagree. If you simply made a bigger 7D sensor, with the same technology and same pixel density, then it will have the same noise characteristics as the 7D sensor.

This is totally false.  If you make the 7D sensor bigger, you'll have more of the same pixels AND about a stop and a third better noise performance, assuming constant f-stop and constant framing.  That means, for the same image, you're going to have to either get closer or use a longer focal length.

The right-hand column of this image demonstrates this.  It's all the same sensor (and so all the same pixels) just using different sized portions of that sensor, and reframing to keep the final image framing constant.  According to what you said above, the noise performance should all be the same.  It isn't, and it isn't even close.  The left column demonstrates by just how much.  It's exactly how much you would think - the light you've lost with cropping is the amount of noise performance you've lost.


Well, how do you re-frame to keep the image on the larger sensor the same? With the same lens/optics, you need to get closer. But then you're getting more light on the lens, and thus on the sensor. Let's assume the large sensor is twice the diagonal size of the small sensor. You'll have to halve the distance to the subject.  So 4 times as much light but also 4 times as many pixels. So same light on each pixel. Each pixel on the large sensor thus has the same SNR as those on the small sensor, but you could downsample, combining groups of 4 pixels to get the same image and number of pixels as the smaller sensor, but with better noise performance by a factor of two (averaging N pixels drops noise by sqrt(N)). But really this is because you've moved closer and thereby increased the light (signal).

On the other hand, without changing position, you could use a different lens to fill the larger sensor with the same view (so keeping the framing the same). This implies an increase in the focal length, which, for the same aperture, implies an increase in the f-stop, i.e. a reduction in the light density on the sensor. We've kept the total captured light the same but spread it over a larger area with more pixels, so the per-pixel SNR would decrease with the larger sensor. Again, you could combine pixels, downsampling, to improve the SNR. But I think only by a factor of two (again assuming the large sensor diagonal is twice that of the smaller sensor). So worse SNR as compared to the small sensor (but higher resolution due to more pixels).

One difficulty with this whole discussion it that one wants to say "Keeping everything else the same, here's what happens when you change the pixel size...". But it's actually impossible to keep everything else the same. Same optics, same lens , same shooting location, same framing, same viewing size, etc. One issue raised with the original post (which was excellent, by the way) was the upsampling applied to the full-frame image. But if you want to view them so the moon is the same size on your screen in both images, you need to either upsample one or downsample the other. Otherwise one image will be bigger than the other, making comparison problematic.

One other thing. Based on my somewhat crude calculation above (maybe this is well-known to the rest of you), it seems like from an SNR standpoint (with sensor size fixed), you are better off using bigger pixels, rather than subdividing each big pixel into smaller pixels, then averaging/downsampling them to recover the same number of pixels (as with the big pixels). I'm assuming that the noise comes from the electronics downstream of the light-gathering component, so that a big pixel has the same absolute amount of noise as a small pixel (but more signal), so 4 times the area means 4 times the SNR, whereas combining pixels will add the 4 light values, but also the 4 noise values. Assuming the noise is random and independent, you'll get some noise cancellation but only a Sqrt(4)=2 factor reduction, so lower SNR than the big pixel. To put this in practical terms, you get better SRN from the HTC One's 4 MP camera than downsampling the Nokia 1020's 40 MP image to 4 MP (assuming the same sensor size and optics, which may not be the case, but you get my point).

Downsampling uses averaging, not adding. If you added, then you would end up with a bunch of blown pixels. Averaging reduces noise, where adding does not. So downsampling has the exact same effect on SNR as using larger pixels or binning smaller pixels in hardware. Additionally, noise is poisson. If you have a pixel with twice the pixel pitch, you have four times the area, and you have four times the SNR...but you still have SQRT(4) noise. A pixel twice the pitch still only has half the noise. It doesn't matter if you use a larger pixel, or bin/average smaller pixels together. It doesn't even matter if you integrate four separate frames with the same noise together. It's always the same noise in the end. A pixel four times the area, averaging four pixels together, integrating four separate frames, all have SQRT(4) the amount of noise.

Also, your not quite right about a smaller aperture reducing SNR to a level below that of the smaller sensor. If you really do have two sensors, one with half the diagonal, then you could use a 100mm f/4 on the larger sensor and a 50mm f/2.8 on the smaller. That would get you identical framing. In that case, the total amount of light reaching the sensor is also identical. THAT right there is exactly what equivalence is all about. But...pixel size isn't a factor. Because downsampling averages (which involves first adding, yes...but then dividing) pixels together, when you NORMALIZE, pixel size doesn't matter. Two large sensor cameras with different pixel sizes are still going to gather the same amount of light for any absolute area of the subject. A small sensor camera, for an identically framed subject (50mm f/2.8 instead of 100mm f/4) is going to gather the same amount of light for the same absolute area as the larger sensor camera...however it's only gathering the same amount of light because of the wider aperture. Slap a 100mm f/2.8 lens on your larger sensor, and it is now gathering twice the amount of light. (Plus, there are other benefits with the larger sensor...narrower depth of field, or a wider field of view, etc.)

Pixel size is irrelevant. SNR, and therefor dynamic range (assuming you have no other source of noise than what is inherent to the image signal itself) and noise are ultimately relative to total sensor area. That's it.

1019
EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 23, 2014, 10:51:54 PM »
I'm still bummed that Canon has STILL not demonstrated they are getting competitive again on the sensor front...re-purposing the 70D sensor in the 7D II just smells really sloppy and cheap....

The 70D sensor is competitive. So what would you like them to do?

Resolution? Better be north of 40 MP to see a real difference, and that's only for those of us who regularly make large prints of finely detailed subject matter (i.e. landscapes shot from a tripod at optimum apertures). Not even Sony can pull that off in APS-C right now and retain high ISO/DR.

Total DR? The 70D is 1/3 stop behind Exmor.

Shadow latitude (noise)? You yourself showed how ridiculously small the difference is when NR is intelligently applied. When I first saw a Canon v Exmor pushed shadow test I thought the tester was purposely lying because I had never seen noise that bad...because I never turn off default NR when pushing shadows hard. In fact I apply more! I routinely push shadows 2-3 stops even with the old, noisy, 7D sensor. The thing I run into pushing shadows is not noise, but a tonality/fine detail/microcontrast wall, and you hit the same wall on Sony.

High ISO? In the DPReview and IR studio comparisons the 70D looks pretty much the same as the D7100 (for example). I would shoot either to 6400 if need be.

Color? Canon seems to have nailed that one. Other people complain and profile their sensors to try and match Canon color.

The next major jumps are going to involve 16-bit designs, multilayer sensors, or some other technology twist. We are well into diminishing returns given the state of sensor fabrication right now.

The only thing "wrong" with Canon's sensors is they score poorly over at DxO relative to Exmor. So do Hasselblad medium format sensors! Only Hasselblad fans are sophisticated enough to know DxO is a joke. I doubt any of their users are silly enough to jump on a forum and say "If Hasselblad doesn't do something about these sensors I'm buying a D810!"

I hope Canon makes a major jump in the 7D2 sensor by applying NR in camera even to RAWs and therefore gaming DxO to get a higher score  ;D

Well, your just plain wrong about the DR. Your using IR's "total DR" number, which is irrelevant, as it doesn't take into account noise. This doesn't even refer to DXO's numbers (which are all based on the Print DR number that I loath)....across the board, whoever's measured DR on Canon sensors, from the noise floor to the FWC, regardless of whether they get 9.5 stops and 12 stops, or 11 stops and 13.2 stops, or 12 stops and 14.4 stops, it doesn't really matter. Even IR's results where they don't completely ignore noise even jive, and IR ALSO gets approximately a two-stop difference between Canon sensors and Exmors.

You are correct that some careful NR can close the gap. Thing is, if you actually look at my sample images I recently posted, there is still a gap. And, it was extra work to do the NR on the 5D III image. The real kicker is the gap is growing. Other manufacturers are not sitting still. Today, were still capped at 14 stops. I don't think we'll be stuck with 14-bit ADC units for long...technology is moving far too fast for that. There are already some sensors in the astrophotography world that get anywhere from 97-150dB worth of dynamic range. That is 16.2 to 25 stops of dynamic range! Those astro cameras use...yup, Sony, Aptina, etc. sensors.

It isn't just about DR either.  As others have stated, 4k video recording is starting to become a more common feature among competitors, and the quality of that video is higher than you can get with a Canon. DIGIC 6 may change that, but at the moment, the video processing in competitors like the A7s or GH4 is superior, and the video quality is supreme.

I've also been getting more and more into astrophotography equipment. I've purchased some equipment lately that uses sensors from Sony and Aptina. I'll be getting a high end CCD camera that uses a Kodak (now TrueSense Imaging, since Kodak went bankrupt) sensor. Every single sensor I'm encountering these days, even slightly older CCD sensors (which are pretty much just a matrix of CCDs with shift registers or global readout, but otherwise none of the additional processing that CMOS sensors have) that have been paired with newer supporting circuitry, is better than Canon's sensors.

Some of these things are RADICALLY superior to what Canon has to offer. I have a QHY5L-II camera which uses an Aptina CMOS sensor. This thing has 74% Q.E. thanks to high grade silicon, it has exceptionally low dark current, and it has extremely low read noise. This sensor sees deeper into the universe than I thought possible. (And, annoyingly enough, Sony STILL has a better sensor than this one! Their new ICX line, the 674, 694, and 814, all have even lower dark current and 77% Q.E.!! :P Freakin Sony...wherever there is a damn good sensor, they seem to have a better one...)

I've been reading every bit of sensor news that comes out lately. The sensor market keeps finding new niches. The latest one is the automative rear view sensor market. There are already some incredible innovations for that. Interestingly enough, the whole "Magic Lantern Dual ISO" thing? Other companies are now actually patenting designs for sensors that use a "dual-gain" technique for high speed, high dynamic range video supported directly in the hardware (for when your rear view is directly illuminated by the sun or something like that.) My QHY sensor? That sucker has 120dB worth of dynamic range. That is TWENTY FREAKIN STOPS!! The thing has a 20-bit readout mode to fully support that many stops as well.

A year ago, I wouldn't have said Canon was that far behind. I DID say Canon was not that far behind. But in the last year or so, things have really changed. Companies aren't just innovating and filing for patents. They are putting the technology those patents describe to use, very quickly. Canon's sensor technology is like a fossil compared to the technology that is just coming out now, and will be like fossilized bone fragments when the next generation of technology hits within the next year.

So, the 70D? It doesn't sell because of it's sensor. It sells because of the other features. The 7D II will sell for the same reason...it's other features. Those other features, though...they aren't going to keep holding Canon up forever. At some point, Canon's sensor technology, if they don't do something about it within the next DSLR release or two, is going to be so radically behind the competition...and not just Sony, but every other sensor manufacturer out there...that it will be hard for anyone to ignore the difference. What happens when Sony drops a LITERAL 16-stop sensor on the market? What happens when they figure out how to extract 120dB (20 stops) worth of DR from Exmor III? What happens if Aptina decides to enter the larger form factor market, bringing all of their high dynamic range technology to those sensors as well? Omnivision and Si Onyx are out there with cameras that use black silicon that seem to have achieved nearly 100% Q.E. They can shoot high speed video in nothing but starlight and a thin crescent moon.

When you take in the whole "Big Picture" of the current CMOS Image Sensor market, Canon is a dinosaur. They may not be fossilized yet, but given all the technology I have now for astrophotography, and given all the technology that is invented or implemented in a product every single MONTH, it won't be long before Canon's sensor technology is completely and utterly irrelevant. (Assuming they continue to do absolutely nothing with it.) Layered sensors will only keep Canon afloat for so long if they don't get control of their noise problems. To get control of their noise problems, they are going to have to stop manufacturing ADCs they way they have been manufacturing ADCs for over a decade now...that either means doing something radically new with DIGIC, or better, do what everyone else is doing...move them onto the sensor. To move the ADCs onto the sensor, without having problems with thermal signatures or anything like that, they are going to need to have a die shrink, use smaller transistors just to get it all to fit without costing them too much wafer space, and preferably, use a more modern transistor design that supports lower power usage.

I do not believe Canon can produce a low noise layered sensor on a 500nm process. They would lose so much in terms of fill factor...SO much die space would have to be dedicated to pixel activate and readout logic, the photodiodes would end up extremely tiny.

Oh, and BTW, Hasselblad? They DID do something about their sensors. All of the medium format players did. They all use Sony 50mp Medium Format Exmor sensors, and they all have the same low ISO DR and high ISO noise quality (which is admittedly not any better than Canon's, but now MFD cameras are pushing ISO 6400, when most stopped at around ISO 800 at most before...some never even had selectable ISO, and just had ISO 80 or ISO 100) that every other Exmor sensor has. However, they also still have the total sensor area advantage (which is the sole reason they still performed well before despite not having more DR...when downsampled (i.e. Print DR), all those extra pixels packed into additional sensor area were a huge bonus...they counteracted, on a normalized basis, the weaknesses of their older sensors....the same weaknesses that Canon sensors STILL HAVE!) 

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EOS Bodies / Re: Update on the EOS 7D Mark II Spec List
« on: August 23, 2014, 10:21:16 PM »
There is a third possibility...

To do 4K right requires 4 times the computing power as 2K video. That makes a lot of heat and drains batteries fast... and there is a real possibility that the problems with dissipating the heat make it impractical in a DSLR body unless you add in heatsinks, and that is a negative to all those using it for stills. Obviously, a 1D-C has the thermal mass, battery capacity, and radiative surface to handle this, but does a smaller body?

Does the Panasonic GH4 not do 4K right?  It certainly doesn't have a large thermal mass or space for big heat sinks inside.

It does not, however it has a considerably more advanced, lower power sensor. Canon is still using huge transistors, and they are not even the more advanced kind of high efficiency multi-gate transistors we're capable of manufacturing today. Canon is really, really, REALLY far behind on sensor tech, and even behind just on general CMOS fabrication.

Yeah, I think a sensor fabricated with an older process using huge transistors IS going to create a lot of heat when operated at a higher speed. So I think Don's comment has a lot of merit.

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