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07-01-2010, 01:58 PM   #1
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The Foveon X3 Sensor

Why don't pentax use this technology in its upcoming model. it is supposedly better than the rest of the image processing sensor technology.

Any tech gurus out there, comments will be welcomed

07-01-2010, 02:13 PM   #2
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I think this technology has a great deal of promise but I don't think it has matured enough to enter the mainstream. It is a lot more like how traditional film captured with different layers being sensitive to different bandwidths of light.

The biggest problems I see with it is that it does not have the high resolution of mainstream cameras it cometes with. A 14.5 MP foveon image is 2640 x 1760 pixels while a k7's 15 MP is 4672 x 3104. You will need 30-36 MP APS-C foveon sensors to be competitive. There is also low light performance, this lags even the K7 in terms of low light.

A few more years and it will be ready for primetime but I think when it has matured it will be a game changer. Foveon sensors are about 5 years old and bayer sensors are about 30 years old needless to say the period of rapid development has gone for bayers while it is just getting started for foveons.
07-01-2010, 02:33 PM - 1 Like   #3
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technically, foveon is superior. but that's just in theory, in practice it is still not up there overall (mainly in terms of dinamic range and sensitivity, iirc). the resolution argument is bullshit, one must understand the bayer sensor resolution is (partly) a lie, as it is interpolated, foveon claims of 14mp at 2640x1760 pixels is based on the fact that you can interpolate to upscale the image, and get the same image, as sharp as a 14mp bayer sensor (which is reasonable, as most people these days think in terms of bayer-resolution, so foveon must relate to that, to be able to market their product).

sigma has been using foveon for years (more than five, btw), and they are more cramed in their niche market than pentax or olympus are, for instance. let's hope they will get out, and the technology will mature, but i doubt pentax can afford to back this untill it is mature (nikon, otoh, could have, and maybe should have)

just my two cents
07-01-2010, 03:39 PM   #4
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The problem with foveon is that its development pace has fallen way behind that of bayer sensor. So while there were technical advantage a few years ago, it is no longer the case now. The current "14MP" foveon sensor may compare well with 9-10MP bayer sensor, but bayer sensor has progressed way beyond that point. So no, I don't think it is a good idea at all to use foveon - people are already complaining about APS-C being not large enough. It would be a big step backwards to use a foveon which is smaller than APS-C (1.7x crop factor vs 1.5x) and lower resolution.

07-01-2010, 03:44 PM   #5
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Omg! I can't keep up.
07-01-2010, 04:13 PM   #6
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i'm waiting for this to appear in dslr's

Camera Sensor Tech Makes Quantum Leap
07-01-2010, 07:00 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormcloud Quote
i'm waiting for this to appear in dslr's

Camera Sensor Tech Makes Quantum Leap
What I would like to see is three simultaneous processors using a CCD sensor. One would process at -2EV, one at 0EV, and one at +2EV. All three versions would be saved to be combined in HDR software. This would remove the motion problems currently experienced in HDR and would dramatically widen the dynamic range of the sensor.
07-01-2010, 08:51 PM   #8
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Sigma bought Foveon as company 2 years ago. If they make 12 MP Foveon sensor instead of 4.7 MP, it could be interested. But, FOVEON is not well-balanced colours now and not low noise above ISO400.

FOVEON is just marginal player at the sensor's market.

07-01-2010, 09:04 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ogl Quote
Sigma bought Foveon as company 2 years ago. If they make 12 MP Foveon sensor instead of 4.7 MP, it could be interested. But, FOVEON is not well-balanced colours now and not low noise above ISO400.

FOVEON is just marginal player at the sensor's market.
This is why Pentax would probably not be able to use it. I doubt Sigma will let the big camera companies use their only special thing that motivate people to buy their SLRs.
07-01-2010, 09:46 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by techmulla Quote
Why don't pentax use this technology in its upcoming model. it is supposedly better than the rest of the image processing sensor technology.

Any tech gurus out there, comments will be welcomed
Not a tech guru. Not even a legal or business guru, but, as others have said, it's owned by Sigma. Entirely.

The only people who claim it's significantly better than Bayer-based technology is Sigma.

And, yeah, Sigma's even worse at marketing cameras than Pentax.
07-02-2010, 04:17 AM   #11
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I don't think i can hack it.
07-02-2010, 04:42 AM   #12
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I have seen some absolutely superb images from the Sigma DP1 at ISO 100 & RAW. Apart from that, I don't think people care to much to post the results. I'd have one as a P&S though.
07-02-2010, 05:02 AM   #13
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They are still working the bugs out of the technology. I'm not sure about the latest sensor, but the previous version had weird moire and problems with green color shifting. Some of the problems have to do with the image processing which is very processor intensive. The sensors are also expensive to produce compared to the standard sensor designs.

Canon and Sony have both filed patents for similar technology, so you know other companies are also working on something similar.
07-02-2010, 06:45 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by fractal Quote
I have seen some absolutely superb images from the Sigma DP1 at ISO 100 & RAW. Apart from that, I don't think people care to much to post the results. I'd have one as a P&S though.
I saw such images from DP2s. But, it's 4.7 MP.
K200D + LIMITED lens give me VERY sharp images with cool colours and real 10 MP, for example.
07-02-2010, 07:16 AM   #15
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If pentax would consider to build a FF with a foveon FF chip, I believe the market would shake. I have seen many comparisions on the internet for example Sigma SD14 Resolution: Can it Hang with the Big Dogs?
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and i believe a FF would become a real problem for canon and nikon, image quality compared.
As an Aps-c sized chip the resolution is becoming small if you need to print the image in big. Otherwise i dont see a problem there i have a k200d and i resize all images, because most of them are not going to be printed, keep them on pc. Foveons chip per pixel sharpnes is so huge, it is limited by the lens + the color output is superb, thanks to its technology. The only problem is its high ISO performance
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