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Old March 12th, 2003, 06:24 PM   #1
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What's Stopping a 6+ CCD camera

Coming from someone who knows little about the physical workings of my camera. What's stopping someone from making a camera with more then three CCD's, other then a huge price tag.

I know that each chip has its own colour, but what if you gave each colour two chips or even three. I guess that other thing you'd have to consider is the size of the lens, it would probably have to be a huge piece of glace.
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Old March 12th, 2003, 07:35 PM   #2
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Actually Neil I think the question is really the other way around. What's stopping a 1 CCD (pro quality) camcorder. Currently all CCD's are monochromatic analog devices and they don't know what color is. On a 1CCD camcorder, there's either a primary color (RGB) filter or a complimentary color (CMY) filter. With new CCD's such as the Foveon which has color filtration built right into the chip, I think the three-CCD camcorder is about to go the way of the dinosaur.

Right now we have three-chip camcorders with one each dedicated to red, green and blue color wavelengths because with those three you can get any color. In other words, more CCD's would be extraneous... what can you do with that extra information. All the brightness (luminence) info already goes to one of those chips (the green one).

The best still-photo digicams (such as the 11-megapixel Canon EOS-1DS, whose image quality now rivals that of most any film camera) have but one CCD. My prediction is that future broadcast-quality or even motion-picture film quality digital video camcorders will have but *one* image sensor, not three or six, because very soon, *one* will be all you need. Hope this helps,

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Old March 12th, 2003, 08:19 PM   #3
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Yeah, I think the future will be 1-CCD camcorders, maybe based on Foveon technology. By reducing the number of elements it should improve performance and reduce noise. Hopefully with the reduction of elements there will be a reduction in costs.

Another thing that might be important is increasing the size of the CCDs.
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Old March 12th, 2003, 10:26 PM   #4
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wow, thanks. I really learned a bunch, and from what you've said the future sounds like small cameras.
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Old March 13th, 2003, 06:18 AM   #5
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I'm not so sure about this.

The optics and precision necessary to build a 3-CCD element are not overly expensive. It's mostly a function of prisms, which have been around in cameras and optical drives for a long time. Digital still cameras are selling very well, so CCD costs are dropping all the time. I agree that 3 will cost more than 1, but I can't see that the cost is that dramatically different. At the very least, the cost of 3 drops in proportion to the falling cost of 1.

The Foveon chip is very interesting, but it relies on the fact that different wavelengths of light penetrate silicon to different depths. This means that two colors have to penetrate one layer and one color has to penetrate two layers to get to the appropriate receptor. The reviews of cameras with the Foveon chip have not been great; one called the colors a bit "muddy" as I recall. I wondered if layers were truly transparent; when the red light reaches the bottom sensor after passing through the green and blue layers, is it really untouched? I'm asking, I don't know, but after the hype I heard for Foveon, I expected spectacular results that do not seem to have materialized.

It's taken a few years for MiniDV to percolate down into the $300-$500 price range. It took a few years for 3-CCD cams to break the $2,000 barrier. I think it's just a matter of time before 3-CCD is more generally affordable even if it doesn't reach the $500 point.

The trend seems to be higher resolution for 1-CCD cams. More pixels can close the gap between 1- and 3-CCD cams a bit, even if the color isn't as good. In the meantime, the stuff that's coming out of good 1-CCD cams is pretty darn good.
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