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(MPG4) Sanyo Xacti (all models)
A compact 720p MPEG4 digital media camera recording to SD Card.

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Old March 26th, 2007, 10:45 PM   #1
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Toward a better Sanyo HD

The Present: CCD's

I would like to say something about CCD's. Some of you may know that I had been part of the Digital Cinema camera projects. We learnt an lot about sensor chips, their performance and how they work. The problem with CCD's is that there is an problem creating true HD resolution images at video rates. The amount of pixels in an row gets too much, so they split the sensor readout into two halves of the senor, which you have seen in cameras that have one half the image brighter than the other half (though why they can't simply and accurately auto calibrate these things is an bit of an mystery to me, unless it is just manufactured to price). There undoubtedly are more solutions, but this is the one we often see.

While CCD's score well on certain aspects of performance, and for expensive CCD's some real great results can be had, at lower cost CMOS seems to be able to deliver some quality performance in HD. What we see in the Sanyo might represent the upper reaches of low cost CCD's. Notice the low latitude and burnout, I don't know wherever this is related to the video rate the chip is working at, but still in the stills (no pun intended) we see that the image is still bright and gleamy (and less burnouts in the few stills I have seen). If you go an look at the three chip Panasonic AVCHD, you will notice similar things, where as quality cmos is silky smooth (+low noise). But, I am pretty sure, that the HD2 is capable of much more if setup differently, at least the look and latitude of still mode, and possibly lower noise (firmware update please).

The future: Mostly CMOS

What does the future hold, well in the Digital Cinema camera projects we cottoned onto the two chips the Ibis5a (if implemented right, low noise, high latitude, silky smooth images) and the Altasens (leading chip, high light efficiency, extremely low noise, good latitude). Unfortunately things conspired against us (such as big delays on Altasens production as many lemmings decided to drop Ibis and go for the more flashy stuff, which resulted in the company that was quickly goign to develop an cheap Ibis cameras for us years ago, dropping out of site). Now the Altasens and Ibis are outdated (and the Digital Cinema camera based on Altasens is finally coming out).

For future consumer camera products there is an whole range of suitable sensors and sensor technologies that outdo Altasens and Ibis in various ways. I will stick to the better ones. There are sensors with 27 stops and extreme low light (star light) that keep good color balance over an range of latitudes (unlike the 10-16 stop Ibis). Another has extreme quantum efficiencies that allow full color filming in the dark with good low noise. Of course, there are sensors with three color pixels like the Foveon X3, and others coming. Then there is the cheaper Altasens 720p sensor available for years in the background (who is going to use this first in an camcorder?). Of course, the Kodak CCD's would make one great CCD camcorder chip as well. Half these sensors are low priced sensors suitable for camcorders. Unfortunately, the only thing that might stand in the way of half these guys, is at the same time implementing them in multi mega pixel resolutions for digital stills modes.

The Past and the Ugly:

It is unfortunate that the instance of 1080x crowd has messed up the market. 1080x was too much too soon, cameras did not support the fuller resolution, channels had quality problems fitting it in the bandwidth etc). Only now are we getting to the stage where true 1080x will be fully supported in consumer cameras, but TV set sales still lag 720p resolution sets. We would have been much better off going to 720p30 and 60p on consumer, and leaving 1080x for expensive Digital cinema cameras. 720p is a bit low resolution for an feature film compared to 1080x, so it needn't have eaten sales too much.

The Future and the Beautiful:

So, there are many options out there for an HD3 camera, and anybody commercially, is welcome to contact me off list about these new sensor technologies. Over at the digital cinema threads, we have been discussing new ways to compress bayer images to yield an much higher quality result for an similar bitrate, with simpler encoding methods. With superior compression, higher latitude, lower noise, faster Aperture (please F1.2) version of the Sanyo HD series (even with four thirds sensor/lens technology, an 720p30/60 (p25/50 fro Pal market) can really take it's place in the camera world, even as an DSLR model. All these technologies are out there for other cheap manufacturers to cherry pick, so better for Sanyo to be first.

Last edited by Chris Hurd; August 14th, 2008 at 11:48 AM. Reason: was Towards an better Sanyo HD
Wayne Morellini is offline  
Old August 7th, 2008, 01:42 AM   #2
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The problem with CMOS is they suck in camera's like this IE TINY sensors.

NOW once you start making the sensor patch larger they are amazing and do provide better low light.

With larger sensors and better support electronics YES I agree CMOS is the future.

I only want to see 2 things improved in the next HD to insure a purchase from me. Slightly better low light (its actually not "that" bad) in fact its fine if it were not so noisy.

FIX the damned auto focus hunting. it extremely annoying. AF lock works but if you get it wrongs its ALL blurry :-) One more thing to fix. when I "lock" the focus to infinity it works fine till I zoom past 8.3x then I loose clarity.

I glued a hot shoe mount to the side of my HD1. Now I can "mount" my HD1 to the hot shoe of my digital camera. for rocketry I shoot portrait only so this works. NOW I can get both stills and HD video of the launch at the same time.

JUT a personal desire I would "love" a way to make it so I can hit ONE button and have the camera "auto zoom" to a pre determined level. This would be nice for getting the "recovery system" deploying from the rocket :-)
Chris Taylor is offline  
Old August 14th, 2008, 06:17 AM   #3
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Chris: Can you take a pic of your hot shoe mount? I am always curious how others mod things... Thanks.

j i m
Jim Cancil is offline  
Old October 24th, 2008, 08:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Chris Taylor View Post
FIX the damned auto focus hunting. it extremely annoying. AF lock works but if you get it wrongs its ALL blurry :-) One more thing to fix. when I "lock" the focus to infinity it works fine till I zoom past 8.3x then I loose clarity.

I am not sure that the AF can be easily fixed, so what I would like to see would be a real manual focus ring on the lens AND ADD PEAKING to make MF easy.

I would also like to see an increase in the data rate up to at least 18Mb/s, if not higher. This would help to eliminate a lot of the motion artifacts the camera produces.
John Hedgecoe is offline  

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