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02-24-2007, 05:02 AM   #1
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Should Pentax Develop their own sensor

Another little survey...

Should Pentax perhaps in collaboration with another manufacture develop their own sensors an if so which type would be attractive to you?

02-24-2007, 05:32 AM   #2
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Yeah, definitely a sensor owned and developed by pentax would be great. BUT it would be a huge loss for pentax to start developing one now. It is not that simple in any technology trying to catch up and be a new frontier in its field.

In terms of sensor type, either 1.6 or FF is all fine. I prefer the colour rendering property similar to Fovean but with more fill colour ... Resolution and texture rendering from CCD. That will do for me.
02-24-2007, 05:53 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by benjikan Quote
Another little survey...

Should Pentax perhaps in collaboration with another manufacture develop their own sensors an if so which type would be attractive to you?

I'm probing here - Pentax will collaborate with Samsung or Kodak for sensor design? I would actually like to see them bring out more potential from Fujifilm's sensor. Pentax is quite a bit late to the party as Roentarre has mentioned - a lot of catch up needs to be done.

I won't worry about who builds the sensor, so long as the benefits of reduced noise and image quality and overall camera responsiveness are maintained and/or improved.
02-24-2007, 05:53 AM   #4
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Given Pentax's new relationship with Hoya, I think it would be better for Pentax to concentrate on glass, not sensors.

02-24-2007, 06:12 AM   #5
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You need to look at the whole pentax area of experteese.

Cannon is into all areas of digital imaging, from scanners, photocopiers, video cameras, printers, and of course cameras. Their own sensor makes some sense.

Given the current partnerships with Hoya and Samsung, they would be better if samsung developed the sensor. Leave electronics to the electronics people.

Look at Sony, they make a good sensor, (some could argue the best, since nikon use it) but there 10 mP digital camera is rakned the worst by Popular Photography. Even considering they bought out the Knoica Minolta camera line.
02-24-2007, 06:12 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by benjikan Quote
Another little survey...

Should Pentax perhaps in collaboration with another manufacture develop their own sensors an if so which type would be attractive to you?
Only if it can equal or outperform the existing suppliers (Sony). AFAIK Sony have been rumoured to have a FF sensor in development, if not already in trials.

They have huge experience in this technology and to date haven't, on balance, been bettered, some may state Canon have, but I have my own personal view about that. Only Fuji have shown any real capability in having some IQ improvements, I know some see Foveon as a contender as well, but I'm not totally convinced, it's a bit of a curates egg, very tasty in parts, but not in others.

In both cases (S & C) have invested huge amounts of money and time into the technology, probably more than Pentax and Hoya turn over! Even if they can find a partner, the quantities that even an enlarged Pentax could require, would probably not be sufficient to make it economically viable.

As far as possible contenders, let Fuji or Kodak decide if they want to go head on with S & C. There is also a lot of research going on into alternative technologies which I suspect S & C, and maybe some existing fabricators will eventually bring to market. Sony and Kodak are the prime major fabricators that offer OEM supply, Canon, Fuji and even Panasonic keep it in house for themselves (at the moment).

What Pentax need to do, in the short to medium term, is to develop a full and comprehensive range of lenses and accessories to attract ALL sectors of the market place and refine their 1.5x crop bodies based upon proven sensor and processor technology, and that also is true for the 2x size (36 x 48mm) of the Kodak sensors proposed for the 645D.

I think there is far too much narrow mental focus on sensors (size, maker etc.,) without due consideration to the broader implications that come with it.

Ben, as a footnote, and I'm sure that you know this, you are not the only one feeding back to Pentax either, there are quite a few of us in the UK, Europe and USA who have been garnering information and ideas via a whole and diverse group of Pentax users, not only photographic, but those whose expertise lie in electronics, semiconductor technology, software, code writers, IT specialists, and electro/mechanical design for some years.
02-24-2007, 06:50 AM   #7
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Out sourcing is a more practical solution in today's world. IMO Canon is making a major mistake by not offering their sensors to the OEM market. If a division within Hoya or Samsung want to get into the manufacturing of sensors that's fine but Pentax should not take on this new endeavor. Wouldn't be a bit surprised to see Samsung get into the fabrication of sensors and that would be great.

Regards,
02-24-2007, 07:08 AM   #8
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In my opinion

QuoteOriginally posted by benjikan Quote
Another little survey...

Should Pentax perhaps in collaboration with another manufacture develop their own sensors an if so which type would be attractive to you?
They need to give potential users a clear steer about where THEY see the future going.

None of us know what the sensor industry is up to or capable of. Fuji and Canon are rumoured to be developing 3 layer colour sensors, so there is an argument that to remain competitive in the long run Pentax need to be in on the game and team up with a manufacturer likely to be open to building their sensors and assisting with the development, eg Samsung. However there is also a risk that someone else may make a substantial breakthrough and they also need to be open to using third party sensors if it makes more sense.

I think they would make a lot more money by improving the quality of volume cameras (APSC) in the short term, generating substantial sales and profit in the medium terms, and playing wait and see regarding FF for the medium-long term. If Pentax have some ideas up their sleeves in terms of new sensor technology, there is no reason it cannot be exploited in APS, FF and MF formats.

Conversely, any confusion about their desired direction will impact users confidence. Most of their new lens range is APSC only. Is it worth buyinug these lenses only to see them made redundant when Pentax pushes their pro users onto FF?

I also think they should get off the fence and go for MF to reestablish their pro credentials, and I also think they should ship the 18M MF camera alongside the 31M one to attract entry level MF users and price it to attract customers away from FF SLRs. 18M may not seem like a lot, but with such big pixels and 16bit RAW depth, I think the output would be a dramatic improvement over thye 1DS mark 2.

Personally I am not too bothered about more resolution from SLRs - my consumer zoom lenses are already struggling with 10MP - but I would like more DR and less noise.

02-24-2007, 07:17 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by regken Quote
Wouldn't be a bit surprised to see Samsung get into the fabrication of sensors and that would be great.

Regards,
Samsung are already a larger player in the Tiny sensor are of Mobile phone cameras etc, but i remember reading a while ago about some patents that they issued about an new type of CMOS chip, that would be a nice little revolution, now the details are sketchy in my mind but it seemed to be something about current CMOS chips have the Light sensing area of a pixel and then the surrounding circuits, so the light gathering are of the pixel is much smaller then a comparable pitch CCD, no what samsung patented was a vertical CMOS chip where the light gathering part was above the circuitry, thus enabling the light sensing part to be as large as the pixel site, instead of only a small part,
02-24-2007, 08:27 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by benjikan Quote
Should Pentax perhaps in collaboration with another manufacture develop their own sensors...
Yes, if they feel they can do it better than anyone else. ie: either better technology or just as good for less.

If they can't improve on what is available on the market, they should not get into the business. There's no extra value having a Pentax sensor in a Pentax camera. I'm glad we're not chatting about how great the Pentax line could be if Pentax had sensors as good as Nikon has.

I'd like to point out that lithographing sensors in volume requires a fabrication plant worth many billions of dollars, not to mention a large highly skilled staff to operatie the plant and a group of scientists and engineers to create the intellectual property that is made in the fab.

Then there is wafer processing and chip mounting and packaging. Those can be outsourced or would we have them do that too?

Asking them to get into the sensor business is asking them to come up with new ideas that are more brilliant that the ideas coming from other established and highly productive R&D centers which are also home to teams of brilliant research scientists and then get into the wafer and CCD production business and manage all the challenges that brings.

I'll bet the Sony sensors we use have several thousand man years of R&D invested in the intellectual property that goes into them.
02-24-2007, 08:50 AM   #11
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Hi Ben, To my mind, I would have to say no. Pentax is a pretty small company as things go, even merged with Hoya, they are still a small company. Their main forte is imaging and optics, I think they should stay there. AFAIK they still have ties with Samsung, and like others have said Samsung should be the one to go into sensor design and manufacture if any of the three (Hoya, Pentax, Samsung) do.

NaCl(that's my story and I'm sticking with it)H2O
02-24-2007, 11:25 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Richard Day Quote
Only if it can equal or outperform the existing suppliers (Sony). AFAIK Sony have been rumoured to have a FF sensor in development, if not already in trials.

They have huge experience in this technology and to date haven't, on balance, been bettered, some may state Canon have, but I have my own personal view about that. Only Fuji have shown any real capability in having some IQ improvements, I know some see Foveon as a contender as well, but I'm not totally convinced, it's a bit of a curates egg, very tasty in parts, but not in others.

In both cases (S & C) have invested huge amounts of money and time into the technology, probably more than Pentax and Hoya turn over! Even if they can find a partner, the quantities that even an enlarged Pentax could require, would probably not be sufficient to make it economically viable.

As far as possible contenders, let Fuji or Kodak decide if they want to go head on with S & C. There is also a lot of research going on into alternative technologies which I suspect S & C, and maybe some existing fabricators will eventually bring to market. Sony and Kodak are the prime major fabricators that offer OEM supply, Canon, Fuji and even Panasonic keep it in house for themselves (at the moment).

What Pentax need to do, in the short to medium term, is to develop a full and comprehensive range of lenses and accessories to attract ALL sectors of the market place and refine their 1.5x crop bodies based upon proven sensor and processor technology, and that also is true for the 2x size (36 x 48mm) of the Kodak sensors proposed for the 645D.

I think there is far too much narrow mental focus on sensors (size, maker etc.,) without due consideration to the broader implications that come with it.

Ben, as a footnote, and I'm sure that you know this, you are not the only one feeding back to Pentax either, there are quite a few of us in the UK, Europe and USA who have been garnering information and ideas via a whole and diverse group of Pentax users, not only photographic, but those whose expertise lie in electronics, semiconductor technology, software, code writers, IT specialists, and electro/mechanical design for some years.
Hello Richard;

I am aware of the collaborative feedback being garnered by Pentax by many individuals having a relationship with Pentax. I have used Pentax for over twenty years in their 67 and 645 configurations. In fact my very first camera was a Pentax K1000 in Architectural School. I love the SMC coating they used and still employ in their lens designs.

Ben
02-24-2007, 11:59 AM   #13
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I don't think its economically viable to develop their own. Maybe in partnership with Samsung. But personally I think they need to spend the money and R&D effort on keeping up with Nikon and Canon in terms of bodies. I mean how long's it gonna be until Nikon come up with the D90 to combat the K10D?
02-24-2007, 12:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by regken Quote
Out sourcing is a more practical solution in today's world. IMO Canon is making a major mistake by not offering their sensors to the OEM market. If a division within Hoya or Samsung want to get into the manufacturing of sensors that's fine but Pentax should not take on this new endeavor. Wouldn't be a bit surprised to see Samsung get into the fabrication of sensors and that would be great.

Regards,
Oh haha, thats is how Canon maintians such an edge in IQ. They keep their tech safe otherwise, who would buy Canon stuff if everyone else got the CMOS tech into their SLRs.

That is also why everyone goes to Canon by default because if you buy a Rebel, there is this widely accepted notion that.."I'm going to get punchy noiseless photos everytime" or "there is no way I can screw up a shot if I go Canon".

Haha I'm rather a bit skeptical about Samsung making sensors seeing the job they've been doing with their digital cameras. But if Pentax can really thrive at getting something done right and well..something that might not be readily availiable in others, the company will hit it big or do much better. Like the whole shake reduction thing. Not a huge benefit but nonetheless a very welcome one. If they can built a great sensor in scale to the likes of FoveanX3/SuperCCD/Canon CMOS and sell their cameras at the current price point, there's going to be alot more people standing in line to board the Pentax Ship.
02-24-2007, 12:56 PM   #15
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Not necessarily

QuoteOriginally posted by Pheo Quote
I don't think its economically viable to develop their own. Maybe in partnership with Samsung. But personally I think they need to spend the money and R&D effort on keeping up with Nikon and Canon in terms of bodies. I mean how long's it gonna be until Nikon come up with the D90 to combat the K10D?
There is a major risk that Sony will stop making sensors for third parties now that they have their own SLR brand. This will throw the market into turmoil.

Canon already see their sensor technology as a major differentiator. Soon I believe avery manaufacturer will need to develop partnerships with sensor makers to survive unless Kodak can produce competitive sensors - indicators from the 1.3 crop sensor in the Leica M8 is that they can but its a beast to tame.

Pentax already have a partnership with Samsung but to date, no APS sensor from them.

Note it does NOT cost a great deal to design new sensors, you need a very competent designer and the right software. Sensors are reqlly quite simple in concept (lots and lots of the same thing in rows) but the image processors and firmware are vastly more complex and difficult to develop and refine.

It does cost a great deal to make them (if you dont already have the facilities) and develop the camera to exploit them. However the ability to design the whole imaging system and optimise each component to maximise integration would achieve some IQ improvement on its own.

I see no reason why Pentax should not look to getting more invoved in the design side as long as they have the right kind of relationship. The issue with Samsung is they are much MUCH bigger than Pentax and may dominate Pentax's future strategy.

The alternative will simply be to keep buying sensors from Kodak etc.
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