October 24, 2014, 08:16:29 PM

Author Topic: Sony's curved sensors - this could be the near future or even a present reality?  (Read 5714 times)

mackguyver

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Those curved TVs look pretty cool, at least on TV 8).  This looks like a big cost saving / miniaturization move by Sony to eliminate lens elements that correct for field curvature.  With 100M EOS lenses out there, not to mention Nikkor and many others, I don't see flat sensors going anywhere.

I hate to say it but those 100M EOS lenses would all work better on a DSLR with a curved sensor than one with a flat sensor.
Maybe or maybe not because they have different levels of field curvature and most macro lenses would really suck on a curved sensor.  On the other hand. the Sony sensor will no doubt have lenses that are all designed to have very similar levels of field curvature.

Field curvature has nothing to do with illumination levels.
When did I mention illumination levels?

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Khufu

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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!

Dude, you only ever use the central focus point and never pay enough attention to the detail in the outer edges of your focal plane to even comprehend its IQ anyways - always recomposing to focus better, you humans! That and our eyes are lame compared to many others in the Animal Kingdom... Diddums ;)
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MLfan3

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it is only practically useful for fixed lens cameras such as phones and RX1 type of cameras.  it requires a  new set of lenses. and considering Sony's current financial status , it cannot afford doing it. unless Samsung or Fuji or some more rich company do it , it is kind of meaningless tech. 

dilbert

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If curved sensors were of no benefit then there would be no microlenses on the front of DSLR sensors and even if they did then all the pixels would have the same microlens shape.

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

In terms of light gathering, they are there for a very similar job - especially those that are created with a curvature specific to their distance from the center of the sensor.

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

expatinasia

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

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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.sonyalpharumors.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 :)

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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.
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dilbert

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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.


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.

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.

dilbert

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Read this:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/semiconductors/devices/sony-creates-curved-cmos-sensors-that-mimic-the-eye

Look at the pictures and then:

"Two chips were reported. One, which measured some 43 millimeters along the diagonal, is a full-size chip for digital cameras. The other is a smaller chip, more suitable for mobile phones, which measured 11 mm along the diagonal and boasts smaller pixels."

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:

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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.sonyalpharumors.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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