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Old April 17th, 2008, 05:04 PM   #1
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Why no DIY, modular bare-bones 1080p sensor?

With the recent announcment of Red Scarlet and the Cineform Compact Flash recorder, I got wondering.

All I want for a camera is the following:
- A small box with a 1920x1080p APS-C sized CMOS sensor inside;
- A Nikon DSLR lens mount on the front;
- A 1/4" TRS line-in stereo jack;
- A 7.2 volt external power jack, and;
- An HDMI port out the back.

Then I want to:
- Put a Nikon lens on the box;
- Plug a Cineform CF recorder into the HDMI jack;
- Plug my SoundDevices MixPre into the audio input;
- Slap a Sony NPF970 (or two, if need be) connected to a Bebob CocoDVL to power the camera, mixer and CF recorder, and:
- Mount the whole thing on a $44 shoulder mount.

Aside from the obvious fact that the Cineform CF recorder hasn't been released yet, what's preventing me (or someone who is electronically and mechanically adept) from doing this? Is it that there's no APS-C sized sensor that can do 1920x1080p?
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Old April 17th, 2008, 06:07 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Brian Standing View Post
...what's preventing me from doing this? Is it that there's no APS-C sized sensor that can do 1920x1080p?
There are several APS-C sensors: Panavision Genesis, Dalsa Origin, Arriflex D-20, and RED ONE.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 06:51 PM   #3
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Well, yes... actually I think they're a bit larger, at least the Red One, which is Super 35mm sized.

I guess I meant a sensor that's not already connected to a $15,000 camera.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 06:59 PM   #4
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Well, yes... actually I think they're a bit larger, at least the Red One, which is Super 35mm sized.
No, they almost exactly the same area, just a little bit different aspect ratio.

RED ONE: 24.4 x 13.7mm
Nikon DX: 23.7 x 15.7 mm
APS-C film: 25.1 x 16.7 mm
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Old April 17th, 2008, 09:28 PM   #5
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Ahhh... I see. Thanks for the education. So, I guess the question is, when will the price of these sensors come down so that mere mortals can afford them?
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Old April 18th, 2008, 10:18 AM   #6
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Why would any camera manufacture build these plug n' play components for us to "assemble" a camera together when they can package camera technologies together and charge more for a complete camera?

If you're referring to more of a DIY kit like one of them Radio Shack hobby kits, I think such a do-it-yourself kit doesn't exist because it would be prohibitively difficult for one individual to create a camera out of these raw parts. Having proper hardware is only half of the equation. The other daunting half is creating the software to utilize the hardware parts. Individuals with the technical knowledge to do such a thing are few and rare, and if they're able to hack this together, they are probably dedicating their resources to more revenue generating activities such as build something like the Red One and then market it to the public... And hence we've circled back to the point I made at the top.
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Old April 18th, 2008, 06:19 PM   #7
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I've been looking for 24-25fps 1080p (or 2K) 35mm sized sensors for a very long time. I found a few 2/3" ones (Altasens and a couple more) but most 35mm sized CMOS were able to capture only a few frames per second. Many of them were like 4K or 5K and were also able to capture 24fps at 1080p but at that resolution the window they used was smaller than 1/2", so they wouldn't give 35mm DOF.

The problem is not that the Cineform recorder is not yet done. You can always use a MiniITX computer with an Intensity card. The real problem is that if you finally find a 24fps 35mm sized HD sensor, you will only have that. You need the knowledge to extract images from it to the HDMI output.

If sensor developers created demo boards with HDMI out, people trying to build DIY cams would have no problem at all.
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