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Old November 14th, 2017, 01:04 PM   #1
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GH5 & G9 - Sony IMX272 Image Sensor

WARNING! - So this is a "niche-group" post for geeks that are interested in the image sensor market. (bizarre as it If you have no interest in image sensor "nuts and bolts" or get offended by a "Panasonic cameras with Sony sensors" topic, than this post will be a waste of your time. ;-)


ChipWorks (Tech Insights) is famous for taking high tech devises and disassembling them part by part. They don't just note part numbers and things like that. They go WAY deeper. They completely destroy the devise by desoldering the chips, and forensically investigate the schematics "inside" each chip. They X-ray and perform photographed cross sections of the "inside" of the chips. They break them down with electron microscopes and break the whole lithography and foundry of the chip down. It's a BRUTAL process! They then sell this data collected to other companies that want to know what the exact chip components are and what they do and how they do it. (electrically speaking) It's an amazing process and expensive too.

Image Sensor:

So, this year, ChipWorks (tech Insights) targeted the GH5 and identified it's sensor as the Sony EXMOR IMX272. I cant afford to buy the rest of the in-depth analytics report. (nor would I even want to) However, this does go a long way as to explaining why the GH5 turned out to be such a fantastic camera. This is the first Panasonic to camera that I know of, to ever benefit from a 5k/6k over sampling readout. In the past, Panny always relied on 1:1 readout. Sony's excellent sensor 6k collection and scaling engine has made it's way into the GH5 and I really attribute this as being the main reason why the GH5 does what it does today. For me, the GH5 was a HUGE improvement over the GH4. I never did like the GH4 at all but I'm in total love with my GH5 today.

GH5 was no "secret":

Sony does not sell sensors "blindly" to anybody....ever. If you are going to purchase a Sony sensor, they REQUIRE you to give ALL of your camera specs BEFORE the sensors are sold. "IF" Sony agrees to your specs, they place all of it into the contract of sale so you cannot add more to your camera via firmware update later down the road without Sony approval. Sony also uses this to adjust the sale price of their sensor. You want 4k? Price=$ want 60p?...Price=$$ want all of that in10bit?....Price = $$$$$$$!

So Panasonic chose DCI 4k, 60p and 6k/5k full pixel collection (no binning) and scaling with a 400Mbp/s Panasonic H.264/5 CODEC! I'm certain Sony must have charged Panasonic a VERY high price for that IMX272 sensor!

Again, this was all added to the contract of sale, so Sony saw this GH5 beast coming down the road long before we the public did. This also explains why Panasonic was unusually open about the GH5 long in advance of the release. Even with the announced future planned firmware roadmap. Again, unusual for a company to reveal it's cards sooo early, long before it's release.

Buy hey,...who did Panasonic need to keep it a secret from? Not Sony because they already knew everything. So, they let it all out early because there wasn't much of a need to have the "normal" camera secrecy on this one. You can also bet your life that Sony Silicon Semi Conductors passed that critical GH5 info on to Sony's camera division to give them the competition "heads up". Yes, they are two completely separate Sony companies.

"GH5-S" Rumor?;

The new Sony IMX292 sensor is now up for sale. This is a "low light" MFT Sony STARVIS sensor with a new quad cluster HDR mode. And get this,'s 10bit, 4k, 120p! (you read that right,...120p) Yes, it does trade off the oversampling form the current GH5 and this sensor will amount to less density, larger pixels. So it wont have the GH5's resolving power but promises to have improved low light.

So, I know this is not a "rumor" thread. We have "Area51" for that. I just couldn't resist posting this Sony new image sensor here. This new STARVIS MFT sensor is not a rumor but a fact. You guys tell me....should Panasonic jump on this sensor and build a "GH5-S", low light, 10bit, 120p 4k camera? I'd bet my life they are at least looking at the possibility if not already deep into R&D. But who knows? ;-)

So that's it. I hope I have not wasted anybody's time. This is pretty geeky stuff that is "TMI" for allot of people out here. But if this DOES interest you, I'd like to see your comments!


Last edited by Cliff Totten; November 15th, 2017 at 11:27 AM.
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Old November 15th, 2017, 09:44 PM   #2
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Re: GH5 & G9 - Sony IMX272 Image Sensor

great info!

thumbs up ;-)


be well.

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Old November 16th, 2017, 05:04 AM   #3
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Re: GH5 & G9 - Sony IMX272 Image Sensor

Very interesting post. Great stuff.

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Old November 17th, 2017, 05:33 PM   #4
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Re: GH5 & G9 - Sony IMX272 Image Sensor

Thanks very much for sharing these insights. Excellent info on sensor wheeling and dealing - I had no idea how e.g. Panasonic knew "up front" what future feature releases would be for the GH5.

Do you know what other cameras use the IMX 272 sensor?
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Old November 17th, 2017, 06:28 PM   #5
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Re: GH5 & G9 - Sony IMX272 Image Sensor

I'd instead like to see the new IMX292 sensor in a DVX200B. It would make more sense since it's pixel count is native 4096x2160. If Panasonic makes a deal with Samsung, they could use the new UFS card format ( ) to write up to 600Mbps All Intra 10bit 4:2:2 4K 60p, which would make the FS7 really afraid for it's existence. UHS-II is good for intra up to 30p, but for 60p, you need UFS.

Of course Panasonic cameras (and the Canon C### series) will steer clear of CFExpress because it's the successor to XQD.
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Old November 17th, 2017, 07:50 PM   #6
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Re: GH5 & G9 - Sony IMX272 Image Sensor

This also fascinates me....

Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation's ultimate goal is to sell as many image sensors and image processing chips as they possibly can. Their ultimate dream would be to have their image sensors in 100% of all the cameras and imaging devises on planet Earth. They have no reservations about selling their highest patented technology to a very wide range of manufacturers.

Sony Imaging Devises Corporation (Sony camera company) is the one that get's inadvertently "hurt" in all this. All they can do is sit back and look at a GH5/GH9 and say "Damnit,...we are competing against our OWN technology and patents here". I don't believe they have much say to stop these powerful Sony sensors going to the "competition". Sony Semiconductor's ultimate profit and loss numbers are probably much more important than Sony Imaging numbers.

What Sony Imaging Company calls a "lethal competitor"....Sony Semiconductor calls "an excellent paying customer" !! The irony of these two companies is wild!

So, Sony Image devises takes a second seat to the much more powerful Semiconductor company??!

It could be said that Sony's camera company TRIES not to fear the Sony EXMOR powered GH5. After all, Sony doesn't play in the "small" MFT sensor market. Surely nobody would pass over a Sony APS-C or full frame camera and spend their money on a lowly, small Micro Four Thirds camera! Right?........right?

Sorry Sony....I actually did! The GH5 stunned me. I dint want to like it but it wound up being so damn good that I sold ALL of my APSC gear after I got the GH5. I took that camera to YellowStone and shot 10bit ProRes with it. When I got home and looked at my Vlog shots....I fell out of my chair with giddiness and excitement. I was completely sold on this small monster.

Sorry Sony, DO need to worry about the GH5 stealing your customers. This beautiful camera is powered by allot YOUR technology....and you have nothing to answer it with right now. I'm still a Sony A7S-II owner but that camera sits in my safe with all my other Sony cameras while my GH5 goes with me everywhere now.

Your A7S-III better have a bare minimum of 10bit 30p over HDMI and not overheat!! I strongly doubt they can match the GH5's incredible, crazy and unique feature set "pound for pound" using a FF sensor. I'm guessing that's impossible from and Sony engineering point of view especially because Sony struggles with heat.

Sony Imaging Devises - If Panasonic buys your sister companies new STARVIS, low light, high dynamic range sensor....the GH5/G9/GH5-S family will be that much more dangerous. This could be a BIG dagger in your heart if this MFT sensor is REALLY that good.

It's a bizarre predicament between two Sony companies, each trying to make their own individual sales numbers!


Last edited by Cliff Totten; November 18th, 2017 at 01:30 AM.
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