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01-26-2015, 04:35 PM   #1
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What does it take to make a Pentax 67D?

Loads of money yes, but i was thinking technical requirements and barriers. CMOS sensors just recently jumped up from 24*36 to 33*44 mm (cropped 645) so i guess that non cropped 67 CMOS is out of reach for at least a decade*. But Is there any really large single CCDs out there? For custom buildt astronomy purposes or something? Or maby a gapless mosaic of smaller sensors? If its going to have very many of megapixels on a single die it might have a higher tolerance of stuck pixels to give decent yields. Readout speed might be a challange. It should be able to shoot again within a couple of seconds, but A/D should be at least 14 bit.

*A Sony representative said in an intervju that the biggest challange of making their 51 Mp medium format CMOS sensor was to stitch masks for the pixel array over such a large area with enough precicion to avoid yield problems. Aperently its a repeating task where small misalignments can get bigger with every tile of pattern that is made.

Also a few big things had to be changed from the 67II. Introduce electronic contacts in the mount for communication with future 67 lenses. But they should make it compatible with existing lenses too. A really good live view screen with digital focus peaking on screen would help on the lack of AF. The mirror and viewfinder may be sacrificed for a lighter camera and for avoiding mirror shaking.

If Pentax made a real non cropped 67D it would be the mother of all medium format cameras. Shaking the whole medium format industry, making jaws drop. It wont be a big seller but the Pentax brand may get the respect they truly deserve and sell a few to very rich pepole.

So what do you think?

01-26-2015, 06:24 PM   #2
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There are larger sensors in some P1 backs, I believe. Anything above that is not currently for consumer use...think military, satellites, etc. I can't really see a digital 6x7 making sense right now, but given enough time?...who knows!

Besides Pentax is at the mercy of the sensor manufacturers here.

"If Pentax made a real non cropped 67D it would be the mother of all medium format cameras. Shaking the whole medium format industry, making jaws drop. It wont be a big seller but the Pentax brand may get the respect they truly deserve and sell a few to very rich pepole."

I'd say they pretty much already did that with the 645D/Z.
01-26-2015, 07:57 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Highly unlikely unless one has a boat load of money to sponsor some Fab somewhere.

A typical wafer is 12" and last I checked it was $50K, each.
Thats excluding additional processes and yields along the way to make it into a sensor chip.
Yield is going to be poor, since most likely, only 1-2 chips can be gained from one wafer, since a whole 6x7 surface area will need to be good as opposed to smaller formats where some ares can be marked out.
And then we need to add in the cost of making a low volume camera.

Its probably easier to make a fixture to gang up an 2x3 array of Sony A7 or camera of choice (FF sensors), fired off using remote and perhaps have the settings also controlled via a wifi connection to the phone app. (or a phone linked by wifi attached to the fixture) .
The shots are then stitched in PP.
01-26-2015, 11:29 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by filoxophy Quote
There are larger sensors in some P1 backs
There are some phase one digital backs with sensors that are slightly larger than 645 but they are very expensive and don't sell well. The most popular sensor size at present is the 44X33mm, larger sensors are more of a niche market due to the high costs of producing them - and the fact that few medium format lenses are capable of meeting the resolution demands.

01-27-2015, 06:10 AM   #5
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Also, any thought as to how big the resulting image files would be, assuming current pixel densities were used? The files would be completely unwieldy for the average person's computing set-ups. Maybe if you had the CIA's or NASA's budget....
01-27-2015, 09:23 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
Highly unlikely unless one has a boat load of money to sponsor some Fab somewhere.

A typical wafer is 12" and last I checked it was $50K, each.
Thats excluding additional processes and yields along the way to make it into a sensor chip.
Yield is going to be poor, since most likely, only 1-2 chips can be gained from one wafer, since a whole 6x7 surface area will need to be good as opposed to smaller formats where some ares can be marked out.
And then we need to add in the cost of making a low volume camera.
That does make a single sensor expensive. Maybe they have to work ou a way to fill the wafer with other kind of chips at different sizes to make more out of the wafer then just the 2 67D sensors.

So this would give very fast over 100 megapixels, even with large pixels.
01-27-2015, 10:25 AM   #7
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with the current manufacturing technology, a 67 size sensor is hard to imagine, cost wise.

but we never know, a revolution way of manufacture is invented some day down the line and boom! a 67 size sensor is feasible! that's is why I am investing in all the 67 lenses now...... kidding!

the "cheapest" way is buy a few roll of 120.

Last edited by LFLee; 01-27-2015 at 01:29 PM.
01-27-2015, 12:52 PM   #8
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It seems like first we would see a "full frame" 645 sensor. Adding yet another digital platform does not make too much sense.

01-27-2015, 01:00 PM   #9
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This is a fun 'over beers' discussions, which I do not mean to dampen, but the reality is this won't happen, really ever.

What is needed? The answer is: a large market of people who need 125MP $100,000 camera systems. Technically feasible? Sure. But once you've spent a fifty million on the sensor development, and the backside electronics and processing design, then you have to build a system of lenses which are good enough to yield digital-level quality over a 67 image circle. Look at the cost of Leica "S" glass and extrapolate upwards.

Oh, and a complete new body. None of the tolerances in the 67 are digital-viable. To say nothing of the shutter vibrations. Let's build a whole camera body from the ground up. Something Phase One has proven utterly incapable of doing....in mere 645.

Yeah, so, it won't happen. But it IS fun to dream. For me, that looks more like a digital Mamiya 6.....but don't get me started :-)

- N.
01-27-2015, 04:46 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
Highly unlikely unless one has a boat load of money to sponsor some Fab somewhere.

A typical wafer is 12" and last I checked it was $50K, each.
Thats excluding additional processes and yields along the way to make it into a sensor chip.
Yield is going to be poor, since most likely, only 1-2 chips can be gained from one wafer, since a whole 6x7 surface area will need to be good as opposed to smaller formats where some ares can be marked out.
And then we need to add in the cost of making a low volume camera.
A 12 inch wafer (actually 300mm) has the area of 16,8 real 67D sensors, but due to edge cutoff i guess its possible to get about 12 sensors of that size from each wafer. Wafer prices (300mm) is actually down to $40K now. You say yields have to be low because the whole area has to be good. I disagree. Todays sensors are not perfect, even if they are sold as so. There are a usually a few dead or stuck pixels on every sensor, but theese are mapped out in the non upgradable part of the firmware. I think its acceptable to increase tolerance for dead/stuck pixels along increasing sensor area, mabe even higher per area dead/stuck pixels. That will help yield a lot. If we get 8 accepted sensors from every wafer thats $5K each. Now its starting to get within resonable range. Low volume is probably a larger cost. Lithography masks and processing is not cheap. Usually lithography and processing is a fraction of wafer costs in mass production, but in low volume it might get twice as expensive. So maby $15K or so for the sensor alone. The camera it self doesent cost much in terms of materials, but lots of expensive engineering, product design, marketing and distribution must be financed by quite few buyers. Based on wild guesses i think Pentax could sell one 67D camera for every one hundred 645Z at a list price of $100K. How many 645Z-s is expected to be sold in 2015? If Leica can sell their 45x30mm format S camera at $25K, Pentax could easily take $100K for a 70x60mm format camera.

QuoteOriginally posted by southlander Quote
Also, any thought as to how big the resulting image files would be, assuming current pixel densities were used? The files would be completely unwieldy for the average person's computing set-ups. Maybe if you had the CIA's or NASA's budget....
I don't think memory cards, HDD space or ram is any economc consern to those buying a $100K camera.

It doesen't make sense to push pixel densities to 4 micron as on APS-C and FF. A large sensor like this needs a high yield lithography node at lets say 90 nm, and no fancy BSI or stacking technikes. As someone else noted lens resolution is also a problem. A sensor like this should be optimized for extremly low dark curren/termal noise and read noise. So no fast readouts at 12 bit. I belive 6-10 micron could be a resonable size. That will result in 42 - 116 MPix. But you will get resonable low noise pictures at ISO 1 million!

Note: If phone camera pixel densities was transfered to a FF sensor it would have over 800 MPix, and suck already at ISO 1600. Transfer it to a 67D and you get a multi GPix camera that sucks at 100% crop because of lenses, and still suck at ISO 800 noise.

---------- Post added 01-28-2015 at 01:13 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
It seems like first we would see a "full frame" 645 sensor. Adding yet another digital platform does not make too much sense.
Totally agree, but that has to be a CMOS, and those are very expensive in low volume. A CCD at that size is not to attractive (Think 645Z CMOS vs 645D CCD), and a CMOS would require teaming up with Hasselblad, Phase One and so on to realize it. And it doesent make a world of difference. A 67D would even if accepting worse production process and tens of dead/stuck pixels. Back in the film days it was a broader range of sizes, with big differences. Now sensor sizes are packed around the 35mm small format and dont show that large differences any more.

Even 120-film is not so much up to the competition in terms of noise from vastly smaller digital sensors. Making a digital 67 would really ramp up lots of qualities.

QuoteOriginally posted by ndevlin Quote
This is a fun 'over beers' discussions, which I do not mean to dampen, but the reality is this won't happen, really ever.
Absolutly, and it's fun!

Last edited by Simen1; 01-27-2015 at 05:22 PM.
01-27-2015, 05:40 PM   #11
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Back in the film days, 645/6x6/6x7 were all the same film, so no extra cost or development there. A digital sensor is another story.

Just taking the 645z up to a full 60mm x 45mm at the same density is probably getting to around 100mp. Seems like that would do.

Last edited by GeneV; 01-28-2015 at 12:50 AM.
01-28-2015, 05:47 AM   #12
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- Teledyne DALSA is producing an 30x30 cm tiled sensor for X-ray imaging. It doesent say how many tiles, if its gapless or price. Even medical equipment have to have sellable prices. If they can make this at lets say one digit million USD price, Pentax should be able to make a much smaller 6x7 cm sensor for visible imaging for way less.
- Spectral instruments make a 95x95 mm imaging sensor.
- Here is a photographer that made a one off 8x10 inch digital sensor. "Costs as much as a house"

GeneV: Yes for resulution it would make sense, but lower pixel densities have significant advantages in thermal noise and readout noise. So even if 6x7 dont offer hundreds of MP it had large noise advantages over a full frame 645 sensor.
___________

I came to think of another "over a beer" idea. Building a compact 645 camera based on the same sensor as 645Z. Reducing focal flange distance, removing the mirror and viewfinder will make it significantly smaller, at the loss of compatibility with existing lenses. Compatibility may be gained by an adapter wich should be sold as standard with the camera. Compatibility is very important at least for a decade and at least until the new mount has lots of native lenses. A camera like this should dethrone the Sony A7 series amongst size sensitive users. Short focal flange opens nice possibilities with wide angle lenses and large aperture normal lenses. Less mechanics and optics in camera should reduce production cost.

Another large sensor idéa is using a scanning sensor. Scanning sensors have significant drawbacks in moving subjects but is a really low cost solution. Migth be good enough for some landscape photography without water.

Last edited by Simen1; 01-28-2015 at 05:59 AM.
01-28-2015, 03:44 PM   #13
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What are you going to use it for?
You can print excellent meter sized prints from APS.
01-28-2015, 04:09 PM   #14
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I will not have one myself. I will just read about it and hopefully some time in the future try it for a few pictures at the Norwegian Pentaxian Høstblot.

It's not so much about resolution. Its more about noise and dynamic range at high ISOs. Particulary aurora photography and astrophotography. Or maby a moonlit owl in flight catching a mouse.

The scanning sensor idea is about wall sized landscape photos and getting new use for excelent old optics thats very cheap for its capabilities. A scanning camera should be quite cheap too. Meter sized prints on canvas its great with APS-C, but not on paper in my opinion.

Last edited by Simen1; 01-28-2015 at 04:20 PM.
03-22-2015, 02:52 PM - 1 Like   #15
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I had a detailed discussion about a sensor for a digital 67 with the Pentax USA CEO at a recent photo convention in Vegas. He said that no way would they ever make one. Then a few minutes later corrected himself and said no in the next 20 or so years. Cost and yields where the deciding factor. He also said that the question of a digital back/digital 67 camera is the one he is most often asked from SERIOUS photographers. His emphasis, not mine.

reading between the lines (this is my interpretation), it seems that they have had talks abut it but its just not cost effective. one of the booth people told me that they figured that would have to charge around $40-50,000 for the camera and that demand would not make it worth their while. But looking at the cost of phase one backs, it might actually be marketable. but then that would require new lenses to be designed to get the most from that huge sensor so add another revenue stream, but a lot more cost as well.

Daddy, for christmas I really really want a digital back for my pentax 67II
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