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03-15-2018, 12:39 PM   #1
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Is Sony's "Pixel Shift" an original idea or is it not?

Just reading this SonyPixelShift2DNG combines a7R III Pixel Shift shots into DNG files: Digital Photography Review and of course I have been wondering if this Pixel Shift is something that has been copied fromPentax's own Pixel Shift?
Seems like we are seeing more and more interest in something that, I thought (perhaps wrongly), is an original Pentax thing?

Curious to see who will be next to join the Pixel Shift bandwagon.

03-15-2018, 12:51 PM   #2
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Yeah I had a chuckle reading that post too.

Pentax can’t rest in its laurels though. Unless it’s specifically and well patented then others wlll copy. Pentax is no longer the main/only company with a floating sensor.

They used to offer ibis during video years ahead of the rest, and now this is present in Fiji, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony, but not Pentax.
03-15-2018, 01:05 PM   #3
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I wonder if Pentax is getting any royalties for this tech. Would be a nice way for them to make some money to support their own development.

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03-15-2018, 01:11 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by richandfleur Quote
Pentax is no longer the main/only company with a floating sensor.
I am not sure it ever was.

When I was shopping in early 2007, both the K10D and the Sony Alpha 100 had sensor-based SR with the Sony version being inherited from prior Minolta bodies with the same feature.


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03-15-2018, 01:17 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I am not sure it ever was.

When I was shopping in early 2007, both the K10D and the Sony Alpha 100 had sensor-based SR with the Sony version being inherited from prior Minolta bodies with the same feature.


Steve
QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I wonder if Pentax is getting any royalties for this tech. Would be a nice way for them to make some money to support their own development.
QuoteOriginally posted by richandfleur Quote
Yeah I had a chuckle reading that post too.

Pentax can’t rest in its laurels though. Unless it’s specifically and well patented then others wlll copy. Pentax is no longer the main/only company with a floating sensor.

They used to offer ibis during video years ahead of the rest, and now this is present in Fiji, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony, but not Pentax.
So "Pixel Shift" (trade name - patented?) ... is/was not proprietary to Pentax? I thought it was.
If not, they should have filed a patent for it, unless it already belonged to another company.

Nonetheless, this sure is gaining in popularity !
03-15-2018, 04:56 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I am not sure it ever was.

When I was shopping in early 2007, both the K10D and the Sony Alpha 100 had sensor-based SR with the Sony version being inherited from prior Minolta bodies with the same feature.


Steve
Anti-Shake (SR) has been around since the Minolta 7D (2004) and 5D series in 2005. Sony and Minolta had partnered on a number of cameras before Minolta bailed out of the camera business. The A100 (2006) was simply Minolta in Sony clothing. I began working for Minolta not long before the camera division sale to Sony (bad timing). Although each Sony has a strong Minolta lineage, Sony reshaped their offerings in 2010 with Pellicle mirrors (translucent) in DSLR and mirrorless E-mount cameras. Despite my own connection to Minolta technology, I believe Pentax has done a better job with stabilization.

Last edited by Saltwater Images; 03-15-2018 at 05:04 PM.
03-15-2018, 05:28 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
So "Pixel Shift" (trade name - patented?) ... is/was not proprietary to Pentax? I thought it was.
You cannot patent a concept or function, only a specific method for achieving it - for example you could patent a specific (new, original) design of lightbulb, but not the whole idea of an object that produces light.

As long as Sony either a) came up with a sufficiently different method (simple enough given they already have SR, they would only need use a new software method to achieve it), or b) paid a royalty (in which case they could bolt it straight in), then they are perfectly entitled to have a similar function. Sony is perfectly capable of coming up with a new way of doing this, so I doubt they paid Pentax, but even if they did it's not the sort of thing they make public.

You also cannot 'patent' a name, although it could be protected in individual territories by Trademark, this might not be possible if it has been used before, or is too generic. Anyway, the name is really the least valuable part of the IP, so it is probably not worth the cost of doing so. You could come up with a dozen similarly descriptive names for people to know what it does.

03-15-2018, 06:46 PM - 3 Likes   #8
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Going back to the original question of Pixel Shift, Olympus announced and rolled out their version which used 8 images - 4 with a full pixel shift in each direction, along with another 4 with half pixel shift in each direction in order to add resolution. Underlying the Pixel Shift functionality is the IBIS technology that provides the means for the actual movement of the sensor.

It's arguable that Pentax is the company who has made the greatest use of IBIS to enable additional capabilities - such as....
  • Shake Reduction
  • Dust Removal
  • AstroTracing
  • Composition Adjustment
  • AA simulation
  • Image Leveling
  • Pixel Shift
That is a pretty extensive list of capabilities to be applied in the area of photography (did I forget any?). Especially for a little camera company that everyone likes to dismiss as pretty inconsequential.

More importantly - does anyone have any additional ideas, that the underlying IBIS sensor movement technology - can be used on?
  • Dithering - Dithering is a technique that moves the sensor (not just a half or a single whole pixel) but about 10 pixels so as to average out fixed pattern sensor noise.

03-15-2018, 06:57 PM   #9
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Looks like Pixel Shift is a very clever application of sensor movement technology. That said Pentax should have hired few ex-Apple attorneys
03-15-2018, 07:22 PM   #10
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Olympus took a different direction on their application, and used it to create a higher pixel resolution/size final image.

Pentax produces the same sized image, but with better colour quality.

Same, but different.

I'd like to see Pentax automate some tasks, like take 4 shots at the extent of their composition adjustment corners, and produce one final wider image for example. Tasks you can do already, but automated.
Likewise lens AF to calibrate phase detect vs live view contrast detection etc.
03-28-2018, 05:17 PM   #11
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All in all it means that everybody out there is now copying Pentax and of course they wouldn't dare telling where it's from !
03-28-2018, 06:25 PM   #12
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US7450154B2 Pixel technology shift
US Grant

Download PDF Find Prior Art Similar
Inventor Kazuhiko KojimaHideki MorinagaTougo TeramotoHideaki NakanishiHiroaki Hasegawa Current Assignee Konica Minolta Photo Imaging Inc Original Assignee Konica Minolta Photo Imaging Inc Priority date 2004-10-26
Family: US (1)JP (1)
Date
App/Pub Number
Status
2005-03-11
US11077621
Expired - Fee Related
2006-04-27
US20060087561A1
Application
2008-11-11
US7450154B2
Grant
Info Patent citations (22) Cited by (18) Legal events Similar documents Priority and Related Applications External links USPTOUSPTO AssignmentEspacenetGlobal DossierDiscuss
04-10-2018, 03:40 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
Just reading this SonyPixelShift2DNG combines a7R III Pixel Shift shots into DNG files: Digital Photography Review and of course I have been wondering if this Pixel Shift is something that has been copied fromPentax's own Pixel Shift?
Seems like we are seeing more and more interest in something that, I thought (perhaps wrongly), is an original Pentax thing?

Curious to see who will be next to join the Pixel Shift bandwagon.
SonyPixeShift2DNG combines 4 ARW files to one DNG file, which is a trivial task. Though I have to admit, that their selection of ARW files (the software scans for ARW files which belong to a PS set) is really good!
But, once combined, the DNG file is just a combination of the ARW files. Not possible to use motion detection based on green channel differences because the two green informations are already averaged to one.

The ARQ format is similar to the Pentax PS PEF and DNG format in that it is a container for 4 raw frames and when using RawTherapee gives the ability to detect motion and so on...
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