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Old January 7th, 2012, 08:46 AM   #1
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What camera has the biggest sensor today?

Is there something bigger than full frame sensor today?
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Old January 7th, 2012, 09:49 AM   #2
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Re: What camera has the biggest sensor today?

The Red Epic offers a 60mm x 45mm sized sensor vs the 36mm x 24mm size of a 'full frame' sensor. If Hasselblad (or any other maker of 2 1/4 square format cameras) increase their frame rate to meet video specs (and I suppose it save to say over time they will) then we might see cameras with sensors as large as 60mm x 70mm ... the Red Epic 617 describes a sensor 168mm x 56mm, though I don't know if such a beast is actually available.

Note that there are not a lot of lenses to use on such large imaging chips -- and prices are sure to stagger those not used to paying tens of thousands of dollars per ...

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Old January 7th, 2012, 03:54 PM   #3
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Re: What camera has the biggest sensor today?

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Originally Posted by R Geoff Baker View Post
The Red Epic offers a 60mm x 45mm sized sensor vs the 36mm x 24mm size of a 'full frame' sensor.
Sorry, Geoff, but that's not correct. If you look at the current specs on the Red Epic page, the version that finally made it to market has a sensor that's 27.7mm x 14.6mm, close to the size of a super 35 frame. Epic

Phantom 65 has a sensor that's close in size to the negative used in the old 65/70mm system, it's 52.1mm x 30.5mm. Phantom 65
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Old January 7th, 2012, 07:57 PM   #4
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Re: What camera has the biggest sensor today?

Thanks for the correction -- I admit I'm not a close follower of Red, I was just recalling their original announcements. So I guess we'll have to wait on Hasselblad ...

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Old January 8th, 2012, 11:14 AM   #5
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Re: What camera has the biggest sensor today?

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So I guess we'll have to wait on Hasselblad ...
Be prepared for a very long wait! ;)
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Old January 8th, 2012, 09:10 PM   #6
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Re: What camera has the biggest sensor today?

Oh joy... I look forward to even less footage being in focus... (tongue planted FIRMLY in cheek)
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Old May 7th, 2012, 01:41 PM   #7
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Re: What camera has the biggest sensor today?

This is an interesting subject that I have just recently been researching. For a long time I couldn't figure out why lenses for 35 mm cameras were so much larger and more expensive than lenses included with many under $ 10,000 camcorders. The answer is sensor size. Most video cams in this price range use 1/2" or smaller CCDs or CMOSs. These are much smaller sensors than a four-thirds, APS-C or full-frame (35mm) sensor used in digital cameras. Thus, lenses for these camcorders can be much smaller and easier to make. If you go to Wikipedia and search for APS-C, there is a very good chart of relative sensor sizes. It is an unfortunate truth that if you want a large sensor, with its low-noise and better definition, you will pay dearly for the necessary lenses.
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Old May 7th, 2012, 02:38 PM   #8
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Re: What camera has the biggest sensor today?

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It is an unfortunate truth that if you want a large sensor, with its low-noise and better definition, you will pay dearly for the necessary lenses.
Is it true in practice that large sensors give better definition?
For instance, the EX1 generally gives a sharper image than the FS100. They are similarly priced cameras, the half inch EX sensors using cell sizes well within current CMOS manufacturing capability.
As for the pixel-skipping SLRs, they struggle to provide much above 600 lines pph. That includes the 5D2 with its ridiculous full 35mm stills-frame sensor much beloved by the bokeh fans. They also add noise in the form of moire and resolution downconversion artifacts.
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Old May 7th, 2012, 02:52 PM   #9
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Re: What camera has the biggest sensor today?

The Phantom 65 could be the largest at 52.1 mm x 30.5 mm according to the spec sheets.

Vision Research's Phantom 65 Camera - Vision Research
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Old May 7th, 2012, 02:55 PM   #10
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Re: What camera has the biggest sensor today?

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Originally Posted by Peter Berger View Post
Is there something bigger than full frame sensor today?
Sorry to answer a question with a question but...

Why are you looking for a larger than full frame 35mm sensor?

Can you share any information about your need for such a large imager?
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Old May 7th, 2012, 10:01 PM   #11
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Re: What camera has the biggest sensor today?

Interesting points, Steve. I had always thought that the reason that the more expensive digital cameras could operate at very high ISOs was because of the larger sensor size. As for resolution, I don't really know what the most important factors are. Is larger sensor size better for increased resolution?
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Old May 8th, 2012, 04:15 AM   #12
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Re: What camera has the biggest sensor today?

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Interesting points, Steve. I had always thought that the reason that the more expensive digital cameras could operate at very high ISOs was because of the larger sensor size. As for resolution, I don't really know what the most important factors are. Is larger sensor size better for increased resolution?
Mark,

Light sensitivity is largely dependant on the size of photon sensor sites, i.e. pixels. Therefore it stands to reason that for a given number of sensor sites, a larger sensor will have larger sites and therefore greater sensitivity. The problem is that the market does not offer the same technology in all cameras. Most current 1/2 and 3/4 inch pro cameras have three sensors, each with 1920x1080 resolution. This means that the optical resolution is a good match to the output format.
Three large sensors would be prohibitively expensive and totally impractical for lens design, so single sensors are normal with bayer filters or similar colour matrixing filters printed on the front of the sensor. The native resolution needs to be greater than the desired output to allow both luminance sampling at full resolution and chroma at 1/2 that or less. This immediately results in a compromise in the design of the optical low pass filter as it has to allow the maximum resolution through which creates artifact issues with the lower resolution colour. With purpose designed sensors and processing, this can be controlled, e.g. the F3 makes a good job of the sensor's output, but that comes at a high (money) cost.
The net result is that the output resolution is a compromise.

This performance is further degraded in most SLRs that offer a video capability. Here, the sensor is designed for the camera's primary role, i.e. stills photography. So the only practical way to reduce the typically 10-20M pixel images to about 2M pixel required for HD video is to pixel skip both columns and lines. This increases artifacts andtends to introduce severe moire patterning from any regular patterns in the scene. Manufacturers try to control this by reducing the sharpness in the subsequent digitisation which is why many of the current SLRs struggle to give a genuine output of about 600 lines pph.
The reason why Vimeo and other video sites are crowded with blurry shallow dof clips from large sensor camers is that real detail of the quality produced by three chip cameras would be compromised by the poor detail performance of single chip SLR cameras.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 03:37 PM   #13
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Re: What camera has the biggest sensor today?

Other things are starting to make sense. A number of users have complained that cameras with full-size 1920x1080 chips are not so good at recording 720p video. Ideally, it seems that you should be shooting video at the same frame size that your chip (or chips) was/were designed to shoot. That may explain why my HPX-170 does such an outstanding job with 720p. It also explains the higher 1080p resolution with 3-chip decks using 1920x1080 chips.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 04:38 PM   #14
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Re: What camera has the biggest sensor today?

Canon develops world's largest CMOS sensor: Digital Photography Review
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Old May 8th, 2012, 09:43 PM   #15
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Re: What camera has the biggest sensor today?

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Originally Posted by Steve Game View Post
Is it true in practice that large sensors give better definition?
For instance, the EX1 generally gives a sharper image than the FS100. They are similarly priced cameras, the half inch EX sensors using cell sizes well within current CMOS manufacturing capability..
Steve,
I am intrigued with your comment. Would this still be true if one would capture the FS100's output via the HDMI output? I find that the EX compression algorithm gets slightly soft when dealing with lateral movement, is this evident on the FS100 as well?

I guess my question is really if the 'sharpness' or lack thereof is due to the sensor, the internal compression or perhaps both (or just that I need new glasses).

Andrew
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