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Old December 13th, 2004, 01:36 AM   #1
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I don't believe 3-CCDs are needed anymore.

When Canon came out with the EOS-D30, I said "Whatever, a digital still camera will never look good because it has a single CCD -- or maybe it will look good when it has 20 million pixels which can be downsampled to look good."

Well, look where we are now with digital still cameras. The EOS 10D, 20D, etc -- look amazing with their single-CMOS. Would we not be happy if it captured motion at 60 frames per second? Would we complain the color is bad, or the noise is too high? No way! But 5 years ago I would not have thought this possible.

I predict we will soon see a single CCD camcorder, perhaps from Canon, which has a single CCD and produces EOS quality images. So if you hear of such an annoucenment and it is from Canon, don't be too quick to snob it like people did to the JVC.
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Old December 13th, 2004, 10:26 AM   #2
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I'm inclined to agree with you, Robert, and within the realm of standard-definition camcorders this is almost a reality already. Any single-chip camcorder equipped with an RGB primary color filter mask will closely approximate the color accuracy of a three-chip camcorder. For example, any of the current Canon Optura series camcorders (which have an RGB filter) will match the look of the older three-chip Canon XL1 and GL1 camcorders under the proper lighting conditions. I think it's just a matter of time before single-CCD performance and color accuracy improves to the point where three CCD's are no longer necessary. The JVC HD10U is a step in that direction already.
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Old December 13th, 2004, 10:31 AM   #3
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Also the manufacturer does not need to worry about CCD alignment on the optical block. I think we will see large single CCDs that actually work well.

I am happy with my OpturaXi (that is, until I started playing the the HDR-FX1).
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Old December 13th, 2004, 10:31 AM   #4
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I'd like to see Foveon CCDs integrated with camcorders, but that may be overkill. ;)
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Old December 13th, 2004, 10:36 AM   #5
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Actually it is underkill.

Canon's cheapest single-CCD digital SLR has better quality.

Foveon's idea is great, but Canon is so advanced they made a single CCD which is better.
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Old December 13th, 2004, 10:43 AM   #6
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Nice to know. I not keeping up-to-date with all advancements in CCD technology, but I remember the hooplas over Foveon, perhaps 2 years ago?
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Old December 13th, 2004, 10:46 AM   #7
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No way to clear the CMOS gates fast enough for 30fps with either Foveon or Canon. If it's CMOS in a video camera, look to Rockwell.
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Old December 13th, 2004, 04:40 PM   #8
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Chris beat me to it. CMOS does not equal CCD. You can bet we'd be seeing much cheaper, higher quality HDV cameras with CMOS chips if they could be easily adapted for video. They can't, at least not right now.
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Old December 13th, 2004, 04:43 PM   #9
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Well Canon makes good CCDs also. They use them in their higher-end EOSs.
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Old December 13th, 2004, 05:00 PM   #10
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Actually no. Canon does not make CCD's at all. Now their high-end digital SLR's use a Canon CMOS chip. However, for every Canon camera or camcorder that incorporates a CCD, it is out-sourced from some other supplier. Canon missed the boat by not getting into the CCD business and it's way too late to get into it now. Canon makes a mask aligner -- the machine that makes a CCD -- but Canon does not make CCD's, go figure.
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Old December 13th, 2004, 05:09 PM   #11
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Let me rephrase that to say that Canon uses CCDs which provide amazing images in spite of just being a single CCD. I think we all agree that if a Canon EOS1v or whatever the good one is was shooting at 60fps, we would consider the output good and would forget about 3-CCD solutions.
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Old December 14th, 2004, 06:35 PM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Robert Silvers : Actually it is underkill.

Canon's cheapest single-CCD digital SLR has better quality.

Foveon's idea is great, but Canon is so advanced they made a single CCD which is better. -->>>

Actually, Foveon chips are as yet unsuitable for HD video cameras.

There are two models of Foveon sensors, the X3 4.5MP (a.k.a. Foveon FO18-50-F19) and the X3 10.2MP (a.k.a. Foveon X3 Pro 10M and Foveon F7X3-C9110). The 4.5MP, has a 4:3 aspect ratio and, you guessed it, about 4.5 million effective pixels (1,420 x 1,060 x 3 layers [R, G, B]) over an effective area of 7.1 mm x 5.3 mm (effective diagonal, 8.8 mm). The chip can yield this resolution, which wouldn't be adequate for 1080i or 1080p (especially the full 1,920 x 1,080), even at 7 fps; at 30 fps, resolution drops to 640 x 480. Also, greater light sensitivity can be achieved, but only by ganging pixels together, effectively reducing resolution at a precipitous rate.

The 10.2MP has a 3:2 aspect ratio and about 10.2 million effective pixels (2,268 x 1,512 x 3 layers) over an effective area of 20.7 mm x 13.8 mm (effective diagonal, 25 mm). This resolution is more than adequate for 1080i or 1080p, but it can be sustained at a maximum of only 4.4 fps; at 25 fps, resolution drops to 576 x 384, which, oddly, is a lower frame rate/resolution combination than that of the 4.5MP. In addition, this sensor is probably too large (about 1 inch) even for "conventional" professional HDV camcorders (1/2 to 2/3 inch is about the biggest they'll likely get), although, as it's approximately the same size as the aperature in a 35-mm motion-picture camera, it may be perfect for some of the new "digital cinema" cameras, such as the Kinetta. Unfortunately, as with the 4.5MP, increased light sensitivity is achieved at the cost of resolution.

When the 10.2MP can run at full resolution at 60p (a frame rate said to be supported by the rumored second-generation extension to the HDV spec) and 3 lux or so, then it will be ready for HD/HDV prime time.
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Old December 14th, 2004, 08:05 PM   #13
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Thanks for such an informative post, Lawrence. Nice to see you here, by the way!
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Old December 14th, 2004, 10:46 PM   #14
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If we could just get freakin 24p I'd be happy!
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Old December 14th, 2004, 10:53 PM   #15
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I will take 60p as my first choice for documenting things, and 30p for drama, then 24p last or when it is just needed to go to film (come on, how many people really do that).

Oklahoma was shot in 65mm at 30fps in 1955 and it was considered to be a good thing.

I want better than film quality. People are starting to see this with digital still cameras and won't even WANT to go back to 35mm film. In a few years video people will stop thinking of video as a cheap alternative to film and actually will prefer it.
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