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02-02-2015, 01:14 AM   #1
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Even more dynamic range is on the way...

Sony is working on a new type of sensor with even MORE light sensitivity. Presumably, the new sensor actually count each and every photon that hits it:

Sony makes Photon Counting Pixel sensor. | sonyalpharumors

QuoteQuote:
Sony has a new idea to improve the image quality at very low light conditions. They propose a new tech that actually counts every single photo hitting the sensor:
since a pixel signal is extremely weak when weak light is detected, it is desirable to reflect electrons generated from photoelectric conversion on intensity of the pixel signal while losing as few electrons as possible. In general, however, when electrons generated in a photodiode are transferred to a floating diffusion, carriers (electrons) are doped at an interface level generated due to a defect present on a gate oxide film interface (interface defect) of a transfer transistor.

there is provided an image sensor including pixels each configured to include a transfer transistor configured as an embedded channel type MOS transistor and to output a pixel signal based on a charge transferred to a floating diffusion from a photodiode by the transfer transistor in an on state, and a determination unit configured to convert the output pixel signal to a digital value, then compare the converted digital value to a threshold value, and thereby make a binary determination on presence or absence of incidence of a photon on the pixel that has generated the pixel signal. Accordingly, the image sensor that makes a binary determination on presence or absence of incidence of a photon on a pixel exhibits the effect of reducing influence of an interface state on the transfer transistor.
I don't understand much of this. Understanding "more light sensitivity" is enough for me though.

02-02-2015, 01:26 AM   #2
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QuoteQuote:
Accordingly, the image sensor that makes a binary determination on presence or absence of incidence of a photon on a pixel exhibits the effect of reducing influence of an interface state on the transfer transistor.
Of course it does! Everyone know that..... Pfft...!

Q: How do they know they're recording every photon??
I mean, first they have to have counted them to know how many they need to count in order to know they have counted them all.....
02-02-2015, 01:43 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
Of course it does! Everyone know that..... Pfft...!

Q: How do they know they're recording every photon??
I mean, first they have to have counted them to know how many they need to count in order to know they have counted them all.....
For me, the entire explanation of the technology behind it, has the following applicable:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke

If it's a good advance, then it's all good. I stopped caring about how it works.
02-02-2015, 01:52 AM   #4
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Sounds like a real digital process - could be good.

02-02-2015, 02:35 AM   #5
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Interesting, this could enchance low light capabilities. The noise in the results should be very low as well. But there are still three analog to digital conversions. Wonder if they still need variable sensitivity (~ISO) for the initial capture, as the energy of a single photon is mainly defined by the wavelength when in the same enviroment.
02-02-2015, 03:38 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
I don't understand
Don't need to.
When you can take a shot at ISO 50000 with the same amount of noise you are now getting at ISO 400 then you will "understand" all you need to.
Until that time I'm not going to take it too seriously.
But I can't think of a greater single improvement to a light box, which is all a camera is, than it's sensitivity to light.
Time will tell.
02-02-2015, 08:19 AM   #7
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All I read was it improves low light sensitivity. And nothing about improved dynamic range. Most here only seem to care about noise at high ISO and perhaps forget they are only capturing a pathetic 6 stops of light or so at these high ISOs. I want more DR and better tonal scale at high ISO.

02-02-2015, 08:33 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
All I read was it improves low light sensitivity. And nothing about improved dynamic range. Most here only seem to care about noise at high ISO and perhaps forget they are only capturing a pathetic 6 stops of light or so at these high ISOs. I want more DR and better tonal scale at high ISO.
Sounds like marketing hype to me... show us what it means in terms of performance in an actual camera.... then we can evaluate it. Is this meaningful or is it like the advantage of the A7s compared to the a7, which turned out to be about a half stop, and less dynamic range... it seems the announcements always sound earth shattering, and products are minor improvements. IN fact a Sony A7s is rated by DxO 4 points better than a K-5 a number many concede is not distinguishable. SO, while many point out it's a good low light camera, it's definitely not as good a good light camera. High ISO performance so far is couple with less Dynamic Range unless you're talking 645z. Sony doesn't even dress this issue in their literature....

or to be less technical... does the new sensor increase low light performance by clipping the high end, as the A7s would seem to do?
02-02-2015, 09:00 AM   #9
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Not sure what this will mean, if it will mean much of anything? However, the fact that some are working hard to bring better sensors to us is always good news. We've come a long way in a short time, knowing more is to come is exciting to me!
Regards!
02-02-2015, 09:02 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
Don't need to.
When you can take a shot at ISO 50000 with the same amount of noise you are now getting at ISO 400 then you will "understand" all you need to.
Until that time I'm not going to take it too seriously.
But I can't think of a greater single improvement to a light box, which is all a camera is, than it's sensitivity to light.
Time will tell.
We are at the point where improvements are incremental, rather than revolutionary. You aren't going to see even a stop improvement in SNR or dynamic range from one generation of a sensor to the next. I don't even know how many more stops there are to get? Hard to say, but certainly there is a quantum efficiency that we can't get past.

Last edited by Rondec; 02-02-2015 at 11:43 AM.
02-02-2015, 09:12 AM   #11
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MY guess is we carry different camera bodies, like we used to carry different rolls of film, based on the high dynamic range and low ISO performance. Looking for Dynamic range in slow sensors, and low noise levels in poor light in the "s" sensors. We used to have different film backs, that could have different films in them. At some point, perhaps there will be different sensor backs. It used to be that the best high ISO camera, could also be the best DR range camera, or the best high definition camera, just by changing film. So far, DSLRs haven't caught up.
02-02-2015, 11:39 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
We are at the point where improvements are incremental, rather than revolutionary. You aren't going to see even a stop improvement in SNR or dynamic range from one generation of a sensor to the next. I don't even know how many more stops there are to get? Hard to say, but certainly there is a quantum efficiency that we can get past.
I agree completely.
You would be hard pressed to find any camera of any format that would give me a two stop advantage over my ancient K5.
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