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Messages - Don Haines

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EOS Bodies / Re: 7D mark 2 crop vs full frame
« on: June 26, 2014, 10:46:45 PM »
As for repurposing extra processing power for other "useful tasks"...what useful tasks?
running the menu system...
controlling the wifi link
interfacing the buttons/knobs/dials
communicating with the lens
all those program modes
controlling the flash
etc etc etc

EOS Bodies / Re: 7D mark 2 crop vs full frame
« on: June 26, 2014, 09:31:16 PM »
Gentlemen, perhaps the solution is not A or B, but A and B....

True.  And after thinking about it further, I've concluded that they probably will still need some DSP hardware for video scaling and compression, if only for power consumption and heat reasons.
Some things are easier to do in hardware and some are easier to do in software. Almost all of the test equipment I use is a hybrid of the two, and some of it runs at insane speeds like satellite modems with 50Mhz wide bandwidth and spectrum analyzers that can run at 60Ghz... It makes sense to do some of the work in hardware if it means reducing heat and thereby improving battery life and noise....

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: June 26, 2014, 09:21:37 PM »
I think I've been spotted.......

EOS Bodies / Re: 7D mark 2 crop vs full frame
« on: June 26, 2014, 09:18:58 PM »
Your comparing general-purpose processors to special-purpose DSPs designed to handle, in hardware, the specific processing needs to a specific camera, or small set of cameras. The two, a general-purpose ARM and a DIGIC DSP, are NOT directly comparable. The clock rate of a DIGIC may be "abysmally slow", however it's IPC is extremely high compared to the ARM.

I'm area of the difference between normal CPUs and dedicated DSPs.  I'm also aware that modern 64-bit ARM CPUs have vector engines and graphic chips that are fast enough to almost certainly make that DSP hardware completely unnecessary.  The reason you use DSPs is because the CPUs can't handle the processing.  The CPU in an iPhone 5S is faster than a single-processor 2 GHz G5 Mac from just a few years ago.  And Canon RAW image rendering seems to be pretty close to instant on an iPhone 5 using just the CPU, as far as I can tell from my Safari experiments, so I would expect that a CPU comparable to the one in the 5S ought to be able to handle a DSLR's image processing without breaking a sweat.  Granted, converting to JPEG takes extra work, but not that much extra work.

You should be able to get by with a small amount of dedicated hardware to control the ADC sweep across the CMOS part and shove the data into a small chunk of dual-port RAM so the CPU can then copy it into normal RAM using NEON instructions.  Mind you, I could be wrong—I'd have to actually write the code before I could say with absolute certainty—but I'm pretty sure we're either past the point where those DSPs are unnecessary or at least rapidly approaching it.

BTW, I'm not sure what you mean by "IPC".  To me, that means interprocessor communication, which isn't relevant here.  Do you mean IOPS?

Regarding memory, I wouldn't say that it's just the memory that consumes power...because the IPC of the DIGIC chips is high, they ARE doing a LOT of work, regardless of the clock rate. Despite that, the primary power consumer is unlikely to be either the memory nor the DSP. Moving physical components requires more power...flapping a mirror @ 12fps, moving large focus groups in lenses, those are going to consume more power. If your shooting action, those things are going to consume a lot more power. With tiny transistors these days, its easy to build low-power electronics...but the force required to move a physical object will always be the same.

35mm cameras used to run for months on a tiny button cell.  So I'd expect that, compared with the CPUs, LCD panels, RAM, the mechanical bits should pretty much be lost in the noise, power-wise (though that may not be true with mirror lock-up—not sure).  Then again, people took fewer shots in those days, so maybe that's not a fair comparison.

I don't think "throwing an ARM at the problem" is a solution. The IPC of an arm is low, they are GENERAL purpose processors, so they will require far more cycles to perform the kind of image processing necessary to handle the information coming off the sensor. A specially-designed DSP that has the necessary logic built into the hardware will perform image processing a lot faster for less power, as it's a SPECIAL purpose device. That's why we have GPUs in our computers...they are specially designed to tackle the problem of pixel processing in a more efficient manner than a CPU ever could.

It doesn't really matter how many cycles the processing takes.  What matters is the clock time and, to a lesser extent, the power consumption.  If the general-purpose CPUs can handle the processing in the required time, it makes a lot more sense to use those rather than custom DSP hardware, because in the downtime between photos, you can repurpose that extra CPU power for other useful tasks, unlike DSP hardware, which is pretty much a one-trick pony.

Gentlemen, perhaps the solution is not A or B, but A and B....

EOS Bodies / Re: New Sensor Tech in EOS 7D Mark II [CR2]
« on: June 26, 2014, 09:13:02 PM »
And finally, I think it will be a dual processor.... but I am wondering if the time has come for one processor to be optimized for stills and the other processor optimized for video.

That's an interesting thought. I guess it depends on the frame rate. If they only bump up to 10fps, I think a single DIGIC7 could handle it (easily...with room to spare for a whole ton of other stuff). That would be ESPECIALLY if they move the ADC onto the sensor die and make it column parallel. They do have a patent for CP-ADC with a Dual-Scale Ramp ADC (the dual-scale just allows the ADC to operate at different rates based on some trigger factor...say sensor heat...more heat, higher noise, slower readout, less noise...switch from high speed readout to low speed readout when possible under higher heat, and you could counteract the increase in dark current noise...I have no idea what the trigger factor would be to switch from the higher speed to the lower speed or vice versa in an actual product, though.) Parallelizing ADC and putting that logic on the die also reduces load in the DIGIC itself...it would then solely be responsible for digital pixel processing, in which case a DIGIC 7 that has no ADC units could theoretically have even more processing power than a DIGIC 7 that did include the ADC units. So instead of being 7x faster than a DIGIC 6, it might end up being 12x or 14x faster.

If you had one of those dedicated to stills/af/metering, and one dedicated to video, you could really do a hell of a lot with the video. Canon should be able to surpass what the Bionz X in the A7s does easily, achieving ultra low noise ISO 400k, maybe even 800k.
Every so often there needs to be a "reset"

It happened in lenses when AF started to come out. Canon took the brave step of completely redesigning the interface to handle the requirements of digital communication between lens and body and we jumped from FD to EOS... this might be the time for a similar jump on the inside of the camera.

15 years ago, the innards of digital cameras were a collection of ic's with specific functions and the communication between them was both complex and at the same time, fairly limited. At the moment, Canon is doing a major redesign to fit DPAF onto it's sensors and presumably, onto a smaller fabrication technique. This gives us four big possibilities on the sensors. First, with less wasted surface area, the amount of captured light goes up and with that, so does the performance. The second one is with smaller fabrication comes smaller transistors and that means shorter electrical paths and that gives us higher speed. Third is that with smaller transistors and lower voltages, we get less heat, and that means lower noise and longer battery life. Fourth is that with smaller transistors the a/d can be integrated into the sensor and that gives us less noise and a cleaner design.

With all the analog confined to the sensor, one can now communicate digitally between the sensor, processor(s), display devices, and storage medium(s). Gigabyte per second transfer rates are easy to achieve.

15 years ago, there was no video on DSLRs.... now it is a standard feature.... yet we have the same general purpose DIGIC doing both..... it might be time for a split into a dedicated stills processor and a dedicated video processor.

This could be the time for a "reset" of the internal architecture of the Canon DSLRs.....

EOS Bodies / Re: New Sensor Tech in EOS 7D Mark II [CR2]
« on: June 26, 2014, 07:57:56 PM »
And back to our regularly scheduled programming.

The 7D II's new technology. What will it be? Here are my thoughts, given past Canon announcements, hints about what the 7D II will be, interviews with Canon uppers, etc.

 1. Megapixels: 20-24mp
 2. Focal-plane AF: Probably DPAF, with the enhancements in the patents Canon was granted at the end of 2013. *
 3. New fab process: Probably 180nm, maybe on 300mm wafers. **
 4. A new dedicated AF system: I don't know if it will get the 61pt AF, probably too large for the APS-C frame. A smaller version...41pts would be my hope. Same precision & accuracy of 61pt system on 5D III, with same general firmware features.
 5. Increased Q.E.: Canon has been stuck below 50% Q.E. for a long time now. Their competitors have pushed up to 56% and beyond, a couple have sensors with 60% Q.E. at room temperature. Higher Q.E. should serve high ISO very well.
 6. Faster frame rate: I suspect 10fps. I don't think it will be faster than that, 12fps is the reserved territory of the 1D line.
 7. Dual cards: CF (CFast2) + SD. I hate that, personally, but I really don't see the 7D line getting dual CF cards. (I'll HAPPILY be proven wrong here, though!)
 8. No integrated battery grip. Just doesn't make sense, the 7D was kind of a smaller, lighter, more agile alternative to the 1D, a grip totally kills that.
 9. New 1DX/5DIII menu system. Personally, I would very much welcome this! LOVE the menu system of the 5D III.
10. GPI and WiFi: I think both should find their way into the 7D II, what with the 6D having them. Honestly not certain, though...guess it's a tossup.
11. Video features: Video has always been core to the 7D II rumors. 60fps 1080p; 120fps 720p (?); HDMI RAW output; External mic jack; 4:2:2; I think DIGIC 7 would probably arrive with enhancements on the DIGIC 6 image and video processing features. Maybe on par with Sony's Bionz X chip.

* Namely, split photodiodes, but with different sizes...one half is a high sensitivity half, the other half is a lower sensitivity half. The patents are in Japanese, and the translations are horrible, so I am not sure exactly WHY this is good, but Canon's R&D guys seem to think it will not only improve AF performance and speed, but "reduce the negative impact to IQ"....which seems to indicate that the use of dual photodiodes has some kind of impact on IQ, a negative impact.

** We know Canon has been using a 180nm process for their smaller form factor sensors for a while. Not long ago, a rumor came through, I think here on CR, indicating Canon was building a new fab and would be moving to 300mm wafers. That should greatly help Canon's ability to fabricate large sensors with complex pixels for a lot cheaper. A smaller process would increase the usable area for photodiodes, as transistors and wiring would be a lot smaller than they are today on Canon's 500nm process. That would be a big benefit for smaller-pixel sensors. If they moved to a 90nm process, all the better. I don't suspect we'll see any kind of BSI in the 7D II...but, who knows.
I agree with everything... but I would like to make three comments.

It's not very cost effective to just upgrade fabrication by one step.... they are going to have to live with the new facility for a long time. I would expect that they would jump over 180 to 90nm... or even smaller.

And video, I think 4K video on this camera is a flip of the coin.. I wouldn't bet one way or the other, but if they do use C-fast cards the odds of 4K video goes up

And finally, I think it will be a dual processor.... but I am wondering if the time has come for one processor to be optimized for stills and the other processor optimized for video.

Photography Technique / Re: The definition of insanity
« on: June 25, 2014, 01:58:14 PM »
I'm very lucky when travelling somewhere with my sweetheart.... she's the better photographer..

but when paddling with my canoe club, forget photography... no way they will stop long enough....

Photography Technique / Re: The definition of insanity
« on: June 25, 2014, 11:33:19 AM »
One needs to define the purpose of the activity and pack accordingly.

As for major sporting events the next ones are the 2016 Sumner Games in Brazil, 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and 2018 Winter Games in Korea.

I dont know of any major sporting event in 2015 so my bet is the new 1-Series body will be out sometime in 2016.

The Rugby World Cup is a truly massive sporting event, and will take place in 2015. It will take place in England. I can't wait, as am already looking forward to it!!!  ;D

World cup of Cricket also happens early 2015. Thats three major events in 2015!
and the Constance Bay Ice Fishing tournament. That makes four!

LOL@ Constance Bay Ice Fishing tournament....times a billion!   ;D
you've got to test a pro level camera in cold weather :)

Car makers are a stagnant market with very little change from year to year.... mostly cosmetic changes. No real surprises anywhere... As a point in case, with pickup trucks the big thing this year is GM with a step in the corner of the bumper.... that's it!

Or Ford's 700 pound reduction in weight going from steel to aluminum.

Or how about the Toyota Hybrid System announcements, fuel cell vehicle announcements, or other maker's (including Tesla) battery electric vehicle announcements?  Those are hardly "stagnant".
I stand corrected!

3 levels of 18Mpixels ?

Solid rumours I'd put any money on come along very rarely. I personally discount almost anything that's more than 4 months out from an announcement.

I still can't fathom why the camera makers are so secretive, when companies like Intel and Microsoft provide roadmaps into future announcements.
Because these are two very different industries when you look at their markets;
Intel (especially)
The regular customer doesn't buy much direct from them.

Okay, then why do automobile companies do something quite similar, and telegraph their model replacements or refreshes usually more than a year in advance, and their technologies many years in advance?
Car makers are a stagnant market with very little change from year to year.... mostly cosmetic changes. No real surprises anywhere... As a point in case, with pickup trucks the big thing this year is GM with a step in the corner of the bumper.... that's it! That's all! Kind of pathetic for innovation and change but in the car world that's big stuff..... Similarly, when Canon put a mode dial that spun all the way around on a rebel they were ridiculed, yet it is the same degree of innovation....

In preparation for the introduction of the 7D Mark II I already have buyers for my 7D. Based on the technlogies in the 1D X, 5D3, 6D, 70D, 700D, 100D, 1200D and even M2 it will be flagship APS-C body with all the technological trimmings one could ever wish for. It will outdo anything Nikon or Sony has in the market.

LOL.  ;D

Laugh if you like, he is most likely correct.  The 7D was the pinnacle of the APS-C segment, too.  You do realize we're talking about cameras, not just sensors, right?   ::)

By far, the most important aspect of getting a good picture (after the photographer) is the AF system. As I am fond of saying, who cares what the DR is of a blurry picture :) The 7D was king of the APS-C cameras for 5 years with it's balance of features and even now, it is arguable if the 70D is better... (I think it is)

EOS Bodies - For Video / Re: IS on when filming on tripod?
« on: June 24, 2014, 08:48:50 AM »

The image will shake and you can hear the IS working.


I got my hands on an 800F5.6 lens and an FD to EOS converter. I found that my 70-200 lens could resolve more distant detail than the 800.....

The newest round of Canon L-glass is of far higher quality than the FD lenses were. The improvements are astounding. When you weigh those improvements against the image degradation caused by a converter, it's hard to get serious about the old lenses.....

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