December 09, 2016, 01:00:50 AM

Author Topic: Sony's curved sensors - this could be the near future or even a present reality?  (Read 13476 times)

AvTvM

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I won't allow for smaller lenses as the image circle still needs to be the same size.

of course it would. Even in TWO ways:
1) If the claims about increased sensitivity by factors 1.4 in the center and factor 2.0 at the edges are true, front elements would be considerably smaller at to get the same transmission -> smaller diameter
2) a LOT less correcting glass eleements required in lenses -> shorter lenses
Tiny f/1.2 FF PANCAKE lenses all over.  8)

Canon might be ready to switch obver their current sensor fab and introduce a new lineup by 2099 already. :-)
But Sony could easily jettison their just-started FE lens lineup and replace it with something new, starting tomorrow. As long as the new lenses are Zeiss-labeled ...   :P

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expatinasia

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Seems that the rumour is that the curved sensor would come out in the RX 2.

Quote
On a curved sensor light rays will hit the corner pixels straight on instead of obliquely. The lens doesn’t have to use extra lenses to correct for distortions, vignetting, aberrations in corners and other issues. Therefore you can pair the sensor with flatter and larger aperture lenses. Curved sensors are 1.4 times more sensitive in the center and 2 times more sensitive in the corners.

http://www.++++++++rumors.com/first-image-of-the-full-frame-curved-sensor-made-for-the-rx2/

1D X + backup + different L lenses etc.

rpt

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My retina is curved. My eyeballs do not contain multiple elements. IF flat sensors were "simpler" to design for, I am quite disappointed that we have not evolved that superior level yet!
+1

I guess it is time to begin R&D on printing silicon wafers :)

dgatwood

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Microlenses were invented and put on your DSLR sensors because they couldn't make curved sensors.

AFAIK, the purpose of microlenses is actually to work around the fact that the sensors aren't flat, but rather recessed down into pockets in the silicon.  Light rays near the edge of the sensor would otherwise fall way off unless you use a huge image circle.  Changing the angle of those pockets might provide an advantage over the microlenses, but doing so doesn't inherently require curving the actual face of the sensor.

On the other hand, using a curved sensor brings with it a lot of other problems.  For starters, the screen you show the image on isn't curved, and neither is the photo paper.  So the image would have to be warped to fit the medium.  Even ignoring all the aliasing problems that will likely cause (which I'd expect to be considerable), unless I'm mis-thinking this, the resolution on the photo will probably be lower near the edges of the sensor—built-in corner softness, if you will—unless the pixel density changes as you get closer to the edge of the sensor, in which case the SNR will be worse near the center of the photo.  Neither approach seems particularly desirable.  Or maybe I'm missing something.

privatebydesign

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Another Sony implementation that would render their current lenses useless, when will they learn that people buy into a camera system and they want longevity in that system, sure new tech is nice, as are MkII lenses etc, but to render everything previously as unusable can only be done once every twenty or so years, not every other electronics season.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

Aglet

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it's most likely for small camera systems to produce good low light results using cheap, simple, fast lenses.  First use will probably be phone- cameras.  Getting the required amount of curvature in larger sensor systems is likely to be much more challenging as slight (focus) errors of a few microns could occur with temperature shifts and if you're looking to make a compact, large sensor camera with this then you're really gonna have to decrease the radius of that sensor's curvature.  So, more likely practical for 1/2.5 and smaller sensors.
Still, will be very interesting if they can effectively achieve this for larger sensor formats.

dgatwood

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Microlenses were invented and put on your DSLR sensors because they couldn't make curved sensors.

AFAIK, the purpose of microlenses is actually to work around the fact that the sensors aren't flat, but rather recessed down into pockets in the silicon.  Light rays near the edge of the sensor would otherwise fall way off unless you use a huge image circle.  Changing the angle of those pockets might provide an advantage over the microlenses, but doing so doesn't inherently require curving the actual face of the sensor.

Where do you read such garbage? The purpose of the microlens is to increase the light gathering surface of the pixel, so that the space on the sensor top where there is circuitry and other stuff between pixels can be used to gather light to send into the pixel. This problem becomes more acute towards the edge of the sensor because rays of light are striking the sensor at and angle.

That's certainly an added benefit, but what I said is quite correct; unless you're using a back-illuminated sensor, the actual light-sensitive part of the chip is inherently recessed below the wiring.  This results in light fall-off near the edges if you don't have microlenses.

Don't believe me?  Read Leica's description of their microlenses array:

"This optimized micro lens design, based on many years of precision optical engineering experience, captures and concentrates even the most oblique rays on the sensor and reliably prevents image brightness fall-off at the edges and corners of the image."

Their words, not mine.


Quote
On the other hand, using a curved sensor brings with it a lot of other problems.  For starters, the screen you show the image on isn't curved, and neither is the photo paper.  So the image would have to be warped to fit the medium.  Even ignoring all the aliasing problems that will likely cause (which I'd expect to be considerable), unless I'm mis-thinking this, the resolution on the photo will probably be lower near the edges of the sensor—built-in corner softness, if you will—unless the pixel density changes as you get closer to the edge of the sensor, in which case the SNR will be worse near the center of the photo.  Neither approach seems particularly desirable.  Or maybe I'm missing something.

Sounds like you're over thinking this in order to find reasons that it isn't a good idea as you're wrong about everything.

Build a pin hole camera with your lens or just some big pieces of cardboard and see what happens out the back.

Yes, you can use a flat focal plane, which produces vignetting, or a curved focal plane, which results in distortion.  I'm not seeing your point here.

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expatinasia

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These sensors could come out sooner than we think. SAR is reporting this:

Quote
The image of this Sony curved sensor created quite a buzz but some people argued that this tech may not coming any time soon. Well this is wrong. Sony already made a first mass production run and realized 100 sensors. Sony device manager Itonaga said it clearly: “We are ready“.

http://www.++++++++rumors.com/addendum-sony-says-we-are-ready-to-produce-curved-sensors-on-mass-scale/

If I have understood the physics of this properly, this could really be a game changer.
1D X + backup + different L lenses etc.

GaryJ

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Some folk on CR must take an angry pill before logging on, as we say in Aus 'we are not playing for sheep stations' and also manners don't hurt either,still it is fun to read
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Don Haines

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it's most likely for small camera systems to produce good low light results using cheap, simple, fast lenses.  First use will probably be phone- cameras.  Getting the required amount of curvature in larger sensor systems is likely to be much more challenging as slight (focus) errors of a few microns could occur with temperature shifts and if you're looking to make a compact, large sensor camera with this then you're really gonna have to decrease the radius of that sensor's curvature.  So, more likely practical for 1/2.5 and smaller sensors.
Still, will be very interesting if they can effectively achieve this for larger sensor formats.
This is what I was thinking....

Also, a curved sensor would work better with wide angle lenses, sort of like why a flat sensor works best with long lenses.... and since phones and p/s cameras tend towards the wide end of the spectrum, this could make the lens designs simpler.

And yes, there will be distortion, but look at the distortion you already have in those lenses... take an ipad or iphone and move it around and see how the image redraws as you move it... my bet is that the curved sensor will result in less distortion than the current sensor/lens combinations have now.
The best camera is the one in your hands

aj1575

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My retina is curved. My eyeballs do not contain multiple elements. IF flat sensors were "simpler" to design for, I am quite disappointed that we have not evolved that superior level yet!
+1

I guess it is time to begin R&D on printing silicon wafers :)

There is reason to be dissapointed, not because your retina isn't flat, because it cant zoom.
There is the BIG problem with a curved sensor, the curvature only fits one focal lenght. If you like to go the middle way then and choose one curvature that fits everything, then you end up with a flat sensor, because it still ist the easiest shape, and producable with smaller tolerances (fitting two curved shapes, the sensor and the focal plane would be rather troublesome).

privatebydesign

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These sensors could come out sooner than we think. SAR is reporting this:

Quote
The image of this Sony curved sensor created quite a buzz but some people argued that this tech may not coming any time soon. Well this is wrong. Sony already made a first mass production run and realized 100 sensors. Sony device manager Itonaga said it clearly: “We are ready“.

http://www.++++++++rumors.com/addendum-sony-says-we-are-ready-to-produce-curved-sensors-on-mass-scale/

If I have understood the physics of this properly, this could really be a game changer.

And again, it will render the few lenses Sony already released for their FF mirrorless cameras obsolete. Time for another lens/system road map..........

Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

Steve

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And again, it will render the few lenses Sony already released for their FF mirrorless cameras obsolete. Time for another lens/system road map..........

Yeah pretty sure its been pointed many times that these sensors are most likely going to be used for fixed lens cameras like the RX series

as we say in Aus 'we are not playing for sheep stations'

what does this even mean? I can't even begin to parse this weird proverb
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 01:07:40 PM by Steve »

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privatebydesign

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And again, it will render the few lenses Sony already released for their FF mirrorless cameras obsolete. Time for another lens/system road map..........

Yeah pretty sure its been pointed many times that these sensors are most likely going to be used for fixed lens cameras like the RX series


Which makes it even more of a niche. Are we really short on choice in the >$2,500 fixed lens ff market? And who cares? Are corners that much of a problem for everybody as to need new cameras and lens/lenses?

I suspect this will be a VHS vs Betamax type contest, sure curved sensors have the theoretical potential to offer "better" IQ, but at what cost? And seeing as how flat sensors/film and lenses have been around for over a hundred years and consumers seem more driven by size and convenience, or price, than IQ, I think Sony have yet anther cool product with little to no market.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

dgatwood

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Microlenses were invented and put on your DSLR sensors because they couldn't make curved sensors.

AFAIK, the purpose of microlenses is actually to work around the fact that the sensors aren't flat, but rather recessed down into pockets in the silicon. Light rays near the edge of the sensor would otherwise fall way off unless you use a huge image circle.  Changing the angle of those pockets might provide an advantage over the microlenses, but doing so doesn't inherently require curving the actual face of the sensor.

Where do you read such garbage? The purpose of the microlens is to increase the light gathering surface of the pixel, so that the space on the sensor top where there is circuitry and other stuff between pixels can be used to gather light to send into the pixel. This problem becomes more acute towards the edge of the sensor because rays of light are striking the sensor at and angle.

That's certainly an added benefit, but what I said is quite correct; unless you're using a back-illuminated sensor, the actual light-sensitive part of the chip is inherently recessed below the wiring.  This results in light fall-off near the edges if you don't have microlenses.

Don't believe me?  Read Leica's description of their microlenses array:

"This optimized micro lens design, based on many years of precision optical engineering experience, captures and concentrates even the most oblique rays on the sensor and reliably prevents image brightness fall-off at the edges and corners of the image."

Their words, not mine.

Leica's words match mine. The sensors are flat. It is the pixels that are the holes in the surface of the sensor. Further, the light rays don't "fall off", they just don't enter.

That's what the term "fall off" means—a reduction in brightness at the edges compared with the middle.  The brightness "falls off" (decreases) as you get closer to the edge of the sensor.

There is reason to be dissapointed, not because your retina isn't flat, because it cant zoom.
There is the BIG problem with a curved sensor, the curvature only fits one focal lenght. If you like to go the middle way then and choose one curvature that fits everything, then you end up with a flat sensor, because it still ist the easiest shape, and producable with smaller tolerances (fitting two curved shapes, the sensor and the focal plane would be rather troublesome).

I assume they would set the curvature based on a focal length right in the middle of the typical shooting range.  That way, the most common length requires no focal plane correction, everything uses less correction on average, and some lenses correct the focal plane in the opposite direction from others.

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