Patent: Variable Curved Image Sensor Concept

Canon Rumors Guy

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<a href="http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/canon-camera-rumours-and-info/">Northlight Images has uncovered a patent</a> showing some curved sensor technology. The interesting part of this patent, is that the level of curvature in the sensor changes depending on the focal length.</p>
<p>You can see in the image above that there is a piston like device that will change the curve of the sensor.</p>

<p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-30807" src="http://www.canonrumors.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/curvature.gif" alt="" width="583" height="677" /></p>
<p>As pointed out by Northlight, a “flat” setting is included here as well, so there should be no compatibility issues with old or third party lenses.</p>
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Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
3,228
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Very interesting. Variable curvature was the missing link in the technology to allow for different focal lengths and compatability with existing lenses.
 

BurningPlatform

EOS T7i
Mar 4, 2014
86
32
Good grief. Brick walls around the world are anxiously waiting for Field Curvature Micro Adjustment functionality in future cameras.
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
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keithcooper said:
When I first looked at this, I wondered just how many times flexing the sensor would be rated for ;-)

It's the sort of thing I can see DPR being full of 100% views with the question "Is this a sign of my sensor cracking?"
Good point.
With gapless sensors, where the micro lens covers all the gaps between sensels, what happens to the microlenses when it curves into a 'cup'? They have to distort allow for the varying curvature - that will be an interesting challenge.
 

rrcphoto

EOS 5D MK IV
Jun 20, 2013
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keithcooper said:
When I first looked at this, I wondered just how many times flexing the sensor would be rated for ;-)

It's the sort of thing I can see DPR being full of 100% views with the question "Is this a sign of my sensor cracking?"
if canon does this first, you know dpreview will have an article on sensors cracking and how long they are rated for.

if sony comes out with it first, they will herald the innovation and say nothing about cracking.
 

Antono Refa

EOS 6D MK II
Mar 26, 2014
865
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Mikehit said:
keithcooper said:
When I first looked at this, I wondered just how many times flexing the sensor would be rated for ;-)

It's the sort of thing I can see DPR being full of 100% views with the question "Is this a sign of my sensor cracking?"
Good point.
With gapless sensors, where the micro lens covers all the gaps between sensels, what happens to the microlenses when it curves into a 'cup'? They have to distort allow for the varying curvature - that will be an interesting challenge.
Canon could just leave enough space between the micro lenses for them not to touch each other.

Question is whether the sharpness gained from sensor curvature would benefit more than the loss due to loss of light (= less signal, hence more noise).
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
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Antono Refa said:
Canon could just leave enough space between the micro lenses for them not to touch each other.

Question is whether the sharpness gained from sensor curvature would benefit more than the loss due to loss of light (= less signal, hence more noise).
If you are referring to the increased distance to the middle of a curved sensor than the edges I doubt that the shape changes involved will will matter. My guess is that it will be more than offset by fewer peripheral aberrations, and a new (lighter, cheaper) lens design that will need less light bending at the edges and fewer corrective elements.
 

SecureGSM

2 x 5D IV
Feb 26, 2017
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Mike, good point as always. I am thinking that this issue may be resolved if the mirror was made out of magnetic fluid or flexible mass with highly reflective properties. quick silver sort of thing with variable level of viscosity and that reacts and deforms under the application of electromagnetic field to a perfectly concave surface.
not likely practical in DSLR but certainly can be achieved in a larger and stationary applications. Telescopes?

Mikehit said:
Good point.
With gapless sensors, where the micro lens covers all the gaps between sensels, what happens to the microlenses when it curves into a 'cup'? They have to distort allow for the varying curvature - that will be an interesting challenge.
 

magarity

EOS 80D
Feb 14, 2017
183
94
BurningPlatform said:
Good grief. Brick walls around the world are anxiously waiting for Field Curvature Micro Adjustment functionality in future cameras.
If this forum is any gauge there is a large market in people who won't buy a system that won't capture brick walls perfectly.
 

SecureGSM

2 x 5D IV
Feb 26, 2017
1,350
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.. because if it is not "perfect enough" it may end up being this. I am sure that some creative souls ridicule the issue for being non-issues but it always depends to what degree one can tolerate distorted imagery. :D :D

magarity said:
BurningPlatform said:
Good grief. Brick walls around the world are anxiously waiting for Field Curvature Micro Adjustment functionality in future cameras.
If this forum is any gauge there is a large market in people who won't buy a system that won't capture brick walls perfectly.
 

Attachments

Antono Refa

EOS 6D MK II
Mar 26, 2014
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Mikehit said:
Antono Refa said:
Canon could just leave enough space between the micro lenses for them not to touch each other.

Question is whether the sharpness gained from sensor curvature would benefit more than the loss due to loss of light (= less signal, hence more noise).
If you are referring to the increased distance to the middle of a curved sensor than the edges I doubt that the shape changes involved will will matter.
What I had in mind is the smaller microlenses will direct less light into the pixels than gapless microlenses.
 

RGF

How you relate to the issue, is the issue.
Jul 13, 2012
2,816
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Mikehit said:
Antono Refa said:
What I had in mind is the smaller microlenses will direct less light into the pixels than gapless microlenses.
That is a good point.
If there is 5% gap between lens due to flexing, the reduction in area will be 10%. Not a terribly large difference, about a 1/6th of a stop.
 

BeenThere

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 4, 2012
859
187
Would this be a square or circular sensor for an axisymmetric design. Non axisymmetric lens would be much more expensive (anamorphic?).
 

keithcooper

EOS 7D MK II
BeenThere said:
Would this be a square or circular sensor for an axisymmetric design. Non axisymmetric lens would be much more expensive (anamorphic?).
No, the patent shows a rectangular sensor. The circular part is the holder for the assembly. This does make the whole assembly quite large compared to the sensor size.

The actual patent covers a stacked sensor and how the interface between the two handles the bending.

See the other drawing and translated text in the linked NI post.

The curved sensor would however be very tricky to use with a shifted lens.
 

JMZawodny

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Sep 19, 2014
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I hope these curved sensors go no where, as it would make Canon's new lens design job easier, 3rd party lenses would have to be Canon-specific, and the general consumer would lose as a result.
 

Joules

EOS RP
Jul 16, 2017
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Hamburg, Germany
JMZawodny said:
I hope these curved sensors go no where, as it would make Canon's new lens design job easier, 3rd party lenses would have to be Canon-specific, and the general consumer would lose as a result.
But according to the images in the initial post the sensors curvature can be changed. It can also be falt, so it would be fully compatible with all current lenses and designs. So, the general consumer would simply get more choices, which isn't really losing in my eyes.

Also, if it enables lenses to be lighter, smaller or cheaper without any loss in image quality, than I'd really like to see it implemented.