Showing posts with label Samsung. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Samsung. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

DC Watch K-5IIs Hands-on (Part 1)
(in Japanese)

Original full samples of the test pictures are available for downloading. EXIF is preserved.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Inside the K-01
(An interview in Japanese)

It seems that there are still quite some spare spaces inside the body and further minimization should be possible. Besides, the inside of the K-r is also compared. Finally, it can be seen that the Static RAM chip used is from Hynix, a South Korea semiconductor company, but not from Samsung, which is also a major memory manufacturer.

Update (4-21): Here is yet another K-01 disassembly by someone. It seems that the K-01 is just easy enough to disassemble:-

(Click to Enlarge and Pop in New Tab/Window)

View Also:-

Disassemble a K-5

Aggregated Digital Camera Brand Shares in 2011 (at Japan Market)

Above: BCN Survey on Digital Camera Market Shares by Brand, inclusive of all camera types; Click to Enlarge.

Source: BCN (Japanese) via Nikkei News (Japanese) via DC Home (Chinese)

So, to translate the above Pie Chart, the brand shares are as follows:-

Market Share


So, it seems that Japanese consumers just don't buy Samsung? Well, do they buy the Galaxy line of mobile gadgets then? ;-)

And, I knew that some Pentax brand fans would then suggest that now the brand shares of Pentax and Ricoh should be added, so that the made-up brand share is now 6.5%. But so what? Merging the weakest to the 2nd weakest just won't help! At 6.5% they still come last as a single brand! :-o

Last Related:-

BCN Annual Sales Results and Ranking of 2011 (for ILDCs and DSLRs)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

E-P3 / E-PL2 / G3 / NX100 ISO Measurbation (JPEG and RAW)




It seems that the NX100 sensor and image processing is crappy all in all, I am afraid but to tell honestly.. After all, I think Pentax had made a very right decision to part with Samsung, as their that 14.6MP CMOS sensor is just helpless.

On the other hand, it can bee seen that the built-in JPEG engine of the EP-3 handles noise (primitively from the sensor) very well, i.e., whilst noise is removed, the image colours and details are mostly retained. When the RAW images are inspected, we can always see more noise with a little bit more details, but the colours are not as good. So, the image processor of the E-P3 has done a very good job here!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

New Version of the PK Tether is Out

What's New:-

Release version 0.4.5 PK_Tether – changes:

- added drive mode changing
- added white balance changing
- added flash mode and compensation changing
- added extended ISO detecting
- added zoom functionality
- added support for k-m/k2000 and maybe Samsung GX10
- reworked user interface
- fixed bugs

If you really need such a tethering software, which Pentax had dropped the support of the "Remote Assistant" software since the *ist Dx days, this one is for you. At least it will work with the K-x and the K-m, possibly with the K10D/GX-10 also.

Update (3-3): In the main page of the PK Tether, it is now told that it supports Pentax K-x, K-7, K-5, K-r, K20D, K10D and K200D.

Previous Related:-

Tethering Software for the K-x (3rd Party Freeware)

Tethering the Current Pentax DSLRs?

Monday, November 08, 2010

K-7 Wins Over K-5 in IQ (Specifically)!

For the photos below, from this flickr page:- (For explanations and shooting/conversion details, please look here.)

(Click to Enlarge in a New Tab/Window.)

It can be noted that for the K-5 picture, whilst virtually has no shadow noise, it has more obvious purple fringing across the high contrast edge (see the left cheek of the boy's face). Do note that the same lens was used for both cameras and test shots and the shooting conditions were the same.

Besides, whilst the K-5 has little shadow noise, it just can't give more highlight headroom than the K-7. See the right face of the boy, it can be yet noted that highlights are clipped for both images.

With the low shadow noise of the K-5 and sensor, there is a trick to play, though, if the user just wants to have more highlight and details retained. That is, to shoot in RAW, intentionally underexpose the image and then apply +ve digital compensation to bright up the whole image. Whilst for doing this, shadow noise will be increased, highlights could be preserved better.

Last but not least, as for the skin tone colour response and textural feel, I think K-7 is still doing better for this shootout and samples. Overall, I found K-7's picture renders somehow more natural skin tones and has less plastic skin feel. Furthermore, the K-7 picture could look sharper, too, putting aside the annoying noise that is superimposed on the image.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

IDLC ISO Shootout & Group Test by Serious Compacts

Here is an ISO group test amongst the NEX-5, NX10, GF-1, EP-L1, EP-2, G2 and GH1, done by the Serious

Well, I think the results coincide much with my own conclusions drawn from my own tests made (and published here) previously. In general, the bigger is better for the sensor but the Samsung is not much better here (but it is still slightly better btw).

Read Also:-

If Size Really Matters, What's the Meaning of Micro-4/3 Now?

Summary Matrix for Equipment Tests and Reviews

European Camera and Lens (EISA) Awards 2010-11, Pentax Wins..

.. Nothing!

See: (N.B. Content of this page is updated every year!)

Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm, Samsung, Sigma and Tamron are all there, except Pentax!

IMHO, these awards are selected in a way that every brand could appear as the winner(s) for different categories as far as possible, already! :-o

Last Related News:-

TIPA Awards 2010 Announced

Saturday, July 31, 2010

If Size Really Matters, What's the Meaning of Micro-4/3 Now?

My NEX is actually smaller than my Girl Friend.. Some people claim that the NEX standard kit lens is much larger. But actually, as you can see from the above, it is just similar in size (and weight as well, actually). And then some Oly guys say that the Oly 14-42mm E-PL kit lens is much smaller. Yes, but it is just retracted when it is needed to be small and the lens must be unretracted before it can be used for shooting!

I think I shall not use my Girl Friend anymore, unless I have no other camera in hands. The noise performance of my GF at ISO 400 is not much better than that of my NEX at ISO 1600, not even to mention that the NEX has slightly higher effective resolution. If I just need the 2X crop, I do believe that better results can always be obtained by cropping. Slightly crop the 1.5X pictures to get the 2X is not difficult. And, if I just adapt the same lens (say, a Pentax one), I get no extra resolution at all for what the lens could give me.

Besides, I don't like the colour response of the GF neither, so does not with my NEX anyway (which I find it to be somehow more acceptable). If I put my Pentax primes on the GF, the colour response of the pics are better, but still the results are not very good. In fact, I like the colour response of my Pentax combos most, and then followed by my 5D with L lenses. The NEX comes next and the last is the Pana.

Furthermore, the noise handling and noise structure of the NEX is the most mature, the K-x is not better but the GF is worst. When the GF pics are pixel peeped and viewed in pixel level, it is not difficult to see those P&S like noise reduction and sharpening, even at the ISO 100! Too bad..

So, after all, that's what I think and here comes my question: What's the meaning/value of the micro-4/3 system now if the current Sony IDLCs (and also the Samsung NX EVILs), both of which are with APS-C sized sensors, are made just as small and the size/weight differences are almost negligible??

With similar or just the same functionality (say, including the video capability), IQ wise the APS-C should do better. The video recording functions of the NEX and the GF are similar, say, for the continuous AF tracking and its speed and smoothness. But the NEX' recorded videos are obviously less noisy than the GF, especially when the videos are taken indoor. The NEX in fact wins all micro-4/3 ILDCs hands down as long as noise performance is concerned, no matter for still pictures and videos, and with a slightly higher resolution and output, too. The NX10 could and should do better, but unfortunately Samsung has been unable to do it better. Why? In fact, the NX10 cannot out-perform much its micro-4/3 competitors and the video function is weak, e.g., there is no usable continuous AF under movie mode. And, the higher ISO noise/details are not better than the Panas and Olys, I would say one stop advantage at most, from my own practical experiences and measurbations on others' samples.

Next, above is the comparison picture I took and posted last time, for my red NEX against my red Casio card-size Exlim S10 P&S (which is my baseline DC which is just better than the cameraphone). You can see the body of the NEX is actually made quite compact. If the "large" APS-C sensor and size is considered, the camera body is indeed very small and it is truly compact!

So, how about to compare the NEX with the traditional APS-C DSLRs. The K-x is one of those smallest DSLRs here. But the difference in size (and weight also) is obvious. In particular, the K-x is much thicker, so does when it is compared against the smaller MZ DSLRs of Pentax back to the old film days.

Well, how about the difference to the Full Frame DSLRs then. From the above photo, I think I need not to say anything more. Well, the lens attached is that smallest and lightest EF lens already, i.e., the cheapo EF 50/1.8II. Canon, why you just can't make smaller lenses of yours?? :-( And, you never made any pancake? :-o

Read Also:-

Sony NEX-5 and NEX-3 Hands-on Impressions / Quick Review

Can Pentax DSLRs be Made Thinner?

Samsung NX10 Second Impressions and ISO Check

NX10 Brief Hands-on Impressions

My K-Mount EVIL is Here!

When Girl Friend Meets Wives! ;-D

Summary Matrix for Equipment Tests and Reviews

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Some Bits and Pieces (June 17)

1. Japanese BCN DSLR/EVIL sales ranking for the last week:-
(in Japanese)

Whilst the Sony NEX is doing well and the top ranked DSLRs are still the world of N and C, the best K-x ranking drops to 25. On the other hand, the 645D appears at 60 which is yet higher than the ranking of the K-7, at 66.

2. Samsung NX 20mm F2 Pankcake lens image leaked:-

(Source URL:

Well, now Pentax has lost completely their pancake advantage for making smaller APS-C DSLR bodies and pancake primes. It seems that the Samsung NX is the true way to go! (first putting aside the image quality difference, if any). I think unless Pentax is yet to make their new DSLRs thinner and smaller, they won't have the edge anymore as long as compactness is concerned.

3. Super Price Alert!! K-7 is now selling at $763.95 (or $663.95??!) @B&H with instant saving of $100 up to June 20!:-

If the K-7 now is really just so cheap, this supports and coincides with the previous rumours of that the K-7 replacement is really coming! And it should be very close this time! (as it is so obvious that Pentax is trying very hard to get rid of the lasting K-7 stock soonest!)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Wild Rumour: New Low End DAL 35mm Prime and K-7 Replacement
(in Simplified Chinese, English Translation Here)

What's up then? A cheap low-end DAL 35mm prime, which is supposed to compete with Nikon's DX 35/1.8? The K-7 replacement is going to be built on the same body chassis and will still use Samsung sensor.. (but is it really wise for Pentax to do so if it is true?)

So, it is claim that the source is reliable and it is leaked from the Beijing dealers. Whilst I do have some doubts on what are told, I recall that those Chinese and Russian sources did usually give us real leaks in the past.

Friday, May 21, 2010

NX10 Shootouts (Vs K-7, GF-1, EP-1 and EP-2!)

Today, I have done some searches and found the following:-

1. NX10 Vs K-7 Vs EP-1: JPEG/ISO Test (in Polish)

Well, it seems that the pictures produced from any Samsung sensor camera suffer from either noise or loss of details, especially when ISO goes up. :-(

2. NX10 Vs GF-1 Vs EP-2: Full Detailed Shootout! (User Friendliness, EVF and LCD Qualities, IQ, AF Speed, Colour Accuracy, Exposure Accuracy and Flash Test, etc.!) (in Traditional Chinese)

3. NX10 Vs GF-1: JPEG/ISO Test (in Korean)

Explore Yourself!

Can Pentax DSLRs be Made Thinner?

First, look at the thickness difference between the smallest/lightest old film AFSLR and the current "smallest" DSLR of Pentax:-

My K-x measures about 63mm from flange surface to the back of the rear LCD panel, whilst my MZ-30 measures only 48mm from front to back (protruding part excluded). Actually, I believe you can see the big difference from the photos above.

Recently, I am very interested in getting the Samsung NX10. It is just because I still found my K-x is just too big and heavy, especially when I am on a business trip (when I already have all my documents and my notebook/netbook computer). As the NX10 is equipped with an APS-C sized sensor but its size/weight is significantly reduced and is actually much comparable to my micro-4/3 Pana GF-1, which has just a much smaller sensor (50% less in light receiving area when compared to the APS-C).

I think Samsung has been absolutely right in concept for making a compact and really lightweight APS-C EVIL and system. Recently, I have test driven the NX10 for several times. Whilst I like many of its design and features it offers, one thing that I am still not convinced with it, or with any Pentax DSLRs using a Samsung sensor, is that its produced Image Quality is somehow lacking/lagging behind. Unnatural colour rendition is a problem, in particular for the skin tones, which is actually very important for portraits - one of my major daily photographic needs. And more so for the obvious higher noise of the Samsung sensors, which IMO is a real problem.

In fact, I did find that the ISO 400 of my GF-1 is more or less something similar to the ISO 800 of the NX10 which in fact could be looking even a bit worse than what I can get at ISO 1600 with my K-x. :-(

So, could the Pentax DSLRs using the old K-mount be made thinner? I suppose Yes, possibly. If a film SLR like my MZ-30 can be made at 48mm for its overall thickness, why not a Pentax DSLR? What Pentax needs to add in is the CMOS imager, with Shake Reduction module and the back colour LCD monitor. Would that 1.5 cm difference be just too much? Anyway, the SR module would be the most space-consuming part there, I believe. But however, do note that for film SLRs, there is also space required for the film pressure plate at the back cover.

Well, if Pentax can further minimise their DSLRs, for its size, weight and overall dimension of a lens+body combo would be like this..

..which can even be a full frame DSLR! Then, I am almost sure that if they can make it, they will gain much of the DSLR market share! Just imagine if a Full Frame (Pentax) DSLR just looks and feels like my above which is just at around 400g which is ready to use with Lithium battery (but not AAs, which is large, heavy and of low performance!) and SD card, then!?


Camera Mounts & Registers

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Samsung NX10 Second Impressions and ISO Check

Further to my last first impressions on the NX10, I've tried it further and more in-depth, again, for almost an hour this time.

Below are my further findings:-

1. The Samsung 18-55 kit lens is very sharp, from corner to corner, even near wide opened. Without any doubt, it is sharper than any of the Pentax 18-55 lens ever made, version and generation regardless! (But then WHY Pentax has been unable to make a sharper lens?!)

2. I am not satisfied with the colour accuracy of the standard "picture wizard" (i.e, the colour mode). But however, I couldn't find any other picture wizard that I am satisfied with for the colour accuracy! :-( Just like the K-7, it looks somehow strange and unnatural for something after all and the taste is similar! Outdoor skin tones are strange and reds are not "concretely" and accurately reproduced. As long as colour accuracy and naturalness is concerned, I am sure that my K-x is better here. I do have the feeling that the colour rendition is like what I see on a calibrated monitor which is inaccurate by itself, that is, by no means the colours could be very favourable, but just with less errors.

3. However, interestingly, under each colour mode, the user can change in the first setting for the colour tendency of the image tone. You can choose as many colours for the tendency as you like! It is not just limited to blue or yellow, or green or magneta for most DSLRs. Instead, you can choose almost any colour you like, say, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, cyan, magneta and so on! :-o (Amazing?)

4. The shutter lag of the NX10 is a big joke, if the Panasonic GF-1 is already a joke (as I think it is)!

5. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) of the NX10 is large and easy to view - much larger than that of my GF-1, but not brighter. But it is also dull and displayed image looks flat and it lacks contrast. The most mysteric thing is that the LiveView finder image is obviously coarser. When compared to playback image in the *same* EVF, the image looks much finer, despite the contrast is the same which is just low.

6. The 30mm pancake lens is astonishingly sharp, even near wide opened, say at f/2.8. In fact, I consider that it is just sharper than a FA 31 limited and it weighs only a fraction of the 31 Limited and do does its size and most importantly its cost! So, if you just use the FA 31 Limited on a Pentax APS-C DSLR with a Samsung sensor, WHY NOT just choose the NX?? (Not even to mention the inferior production quality and QC of the FA 31 Limited for those units made in Vietnam currently.)

7. The 30mm pancake looks good on its own for its outlook. But when it is put onto the NX10, it forms an ugly combo, which just like a black piece of small charcoal in hands! :-( With the 18-55 kit, it looks better. So, I think if I am getting the NX, I shall get its White Limited Edition.

8. The video is in the less popular MP4 (MPEG 4) container format in H.264 encoding. Similar to the AVCHD, it requires huge processing power and fast machine if you are going to playback the video clips on a PC. As with other cameras, the video playback at the camera is smooth. But for universal smooth playback on any newer PCs, I still would prefer the Motion JPEG format, like what the K-x offers (the only format) and like what the GF-1 could be selected, as an option. Do note that the MPEG 4 is the only format availabe for the NX for video recording. So, there is no choice! :-(

9. Unlike my Girl Friend, there is no Continuous AF available during video recording even I selected the C-AF option, which I think only applies to still shooting anyway. To re-focus, one has to press the DoF preview button at the right hand side near the lower side of the mount, using the finger of the right hand. The re-focusing is fast, silent and responsive - fast better than what the K-x can do and similar to the CDAF performance of the GF-1, once again.

10. Last but not least, below is a quick ISO comparison, from ISO 100 to 3200, 100% cropped, pictures taken with everything auto (except ISO of course!), in "Standard" colour mode with default parameters, 18-55 kit @ 35mm, EXIF preserved:-

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200
(Click to Enlarge, in a Separate New Tab/Window)

So, you can judge from the above for the noise level and the image details of the images produced by the NX. I won't comment further as such.

For further review articles and full size samples, I recommend to check the 1001 Noisy Cameras' NX10 review summary page (which is updated from time to time).

Last but not least, it seems that a new global firmware update for the NX10 would be available soon. Let's wait and see if it could do some miracles, or not!

Update (5-25): Samsung has released the new firmware version 1.15 for the NX10, see the following link for the detailed information and instructions for updating:-

The added features and told improvements are as below:-

- Added EVF selection function on the AMOLED displayed menu.
- Added MF Asist On/Off selection function.
- Added MF usage function while using K-Mount Adapter.
- Improved Auto White Balance function of Low color temperature condition.
- Improved SD Card Read/Write speed.
- System stablization

Other Articles:-

Pentax Standard Zooms Shootout (Single Infinity Scene)

Samsung NX is Around the Corner?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Who Will Use This New Sensor?

According to the latest report from the K-Rumors, a new Samsung APS-C sensor has once been leaked at the official Samsung site:-

Just look at the specs and it can be seen that it is a higher speed sensor which has a much higher frame rate and now it supports Full HD 1080p video recording at 60 fps. The pixel count has been reduced slightly, though. But I am just somehow worried about the 8-channel output on the Image Quality of the Still Images. Why? It was proven that the increase of the data output channels of the original Samsung 14.6MP sensor used in the K20D to the newer version of the "same" 14.6MP sensor used in the K-7 from 2 to 4 DOES HAVE adverse impact on the Image Quality, that is, the IQ of the K-7 (sensor) could be worse!

So, who will use this new sensor? Pentax? For the K-7 replacement? For the coming higher grade body above the K-7 (which was told by the Managing Director of Hoya Europe just weeks before)? Or, if this sensor will just be used by Samsung themselves as it seems that the Samsung/Pentax partnership and collaboration had been come to an end since Samsung developed and launched the NX on their own.

Let's wait and see.. I guess things will be cleared up before the Photokina, by September.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

NX10 Brief Hands-on Impressions

(Image Source: Samsung Imaging)

Played and shot with the NX10 twice at shops and below are my brief impressions:-

1. Body is comfortable to hold (obviously better than my Girl Friend), feel solid and it is yet compact (for the body only). With the 30mm Pancake lens, the overall small size is maintained;

2. The back LCD display is glorious, high resolution, bright and contrasty, but it is not so for the EVF, which is still good to acceptable, but not a Wow;

3. I like the seamless automatic operation of the EVF which is turned on and off automatically with sensor detection;

4. AF is really fast, it is quite fast and is on a par with my GF1, if not faster;

5. Image quality is good, colours are exaggerated but looks solid. In-camera JPEGs just look sharper than what I could see with the K-7. Noise control seems to be a bit better than the K-7, but yet still a bit noisy at ISO 400/800 and up;

6. The (US)$200 something K-mount adaptor is just a JOKE! It does no more than my $30 adaptor which I purchased from my local radio shacks. It loses both AF and automatic Aperture Control for any K lenses with such an adaptor! The aperture level has a loose control without any f-number marking (but only a wide opened position) for the user to change the aperture of a Pentax digital/DA lens which has no aperture ring. That means that the user will have no idea on what actual aperture he is choosing practically. How dare Samsung could make such an useless adaptor and dare to ask for that price for such a purely mechanical tube? I guess they just have forgot all those Chinese made "cheap" m43 adaptors that are widely available over the net! And they do also forget that Olympus made an 4/3 to m4/3 adaptor that retain both AF and AE for the old 4/3 lenses!

7. In MF mode, or when an adapted lens is used, I have not been able to figure out how to use a similar function as the Focus Assist of my GF1 with the NX10. As such, MF is not as accurate as what I can achieve with my GF1;

8. With the kit zoom 18-55, the camera looks more bulky. The Samsung NX 18-55 is not smaller than the Pentax DAL 18-55, I compared them side by side. And, it uses a larger 58mm thread filter (against the 52mm of the Pentax kit);

9. The Samsung lenses, for both the 30mm Pancake and the NX 18-55 are very sharp, though. I have no problem with its corner sharpness even at wide opened on the NX10, which is quite good comparatively and more than acceptable indeed. (better than both the Pentax 18-55 WR on K-7 and DAL 18-55 on K-x! :-()

10. The prices of the NX10 kits (with 30mm or the 18-55) are not expensive. They are sold at around (US)$750 for what I can get. But if I want a smaller camera, especially when I want a standard zoom, the GF and EP m4/3 cameras are smaller and lighter.

Overall, I think the NX10 is a good EVIL camera. You may like or may not like the colour response of it for that Samsung taste, i.e., cooler and more exaggerated colours, especially for the green and blue colours. But, it does have a larger APS-C sensor which has slightly higher resolution and with slightly better noise performance, too. With the 30mm Pancake, it is just a light and compact setup with everything in it (flash and EVF). The operation of the EVF is seamless (in contrast to the stupid manual operation of my GF1 with the optional EVF on it - the worst is that the on/off button is also placed at a rather inconvenient position! Damn! >:-().

I have not tried the video recording for the NX10, but I don't believe that it would have any special problem. I expect it should be at the same level as my GF1. But anyway, I may try it next time and verify if my guess is right or wrong..

If you want an alternative EVIL and system, the NX10 would be your choice. But if you just want to use your K lenses on an EVIL, the NX is clearly having no advantage, nor the original Samsung adaptor is worth to buy. Just forget about it, those Chinese made K to NX adaptors would be available later anyway, at only a fraction of the cost - if you are still getting a NX later, or already have it now.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The NX is Not K-Mount. (So, let's forget about it from now on!)

Three pictures of the upcoming Samsung NX10 are leaked. As previously rumoured and expected, Samsung uses a new mount of their own for their NX system. (Thus, it is NOT a K-mount.)

Since it is not having a K-mount, I think from now on we Pentaxians can forget about this body and system as it is clearly not compatible. I see no reason neither that I shall continue to report more about the upcoming NX news in the future as it is nothing related to Pentax and it is not a K-mount (compatible) system!

Moreover, this NX10 is utter ugly in outlook, I have to say. From the printed words of "14.6 Mega Pixels", I bet it uses the same sensor as the K-7, which has been tested to be noisy and has inferior Image Quality by the sensor itself.

I bet the NX system will be a complete failure. Atheistic wise, the Oly EP and Pana GF are far better. Lens quality and reputation wise, Oly and Leica are surely better. System wise, m4/3 is undoubtedly a better and wiser choice with higher popularity and investment in the m4/3 system is surely much safeguarded than investing in an orphan system like the NX, very frankly.

The NX system don't look small neither, especially for the viewfinder structure and part.

With all the cons but without any pro that I can think of right now, what's the reason to choose the NX? Who will choose it?? :-< :-o

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

K-7 White Sesame Bug under HDR Mode? (Should NOT Be!)

Bug report source:

Or, the K-7 is being afraid of working under cold temperature, just like what some K20D units did as reported - sensor artifacts and noise patterns would appear when they were used under just lower temperature?

Update (12-11): According to the discussions here and at the original DPR thread, I have re-visited some of my snow photos and I think that it is not a bug but just the reflection of some snow crystals that could exist at the snow scenes and environment.

Well, I normally could not see snow as there is no snow in Winter at Hong Kong. But still, I took some snow photos before elsewhere in Winter and would like to share two of these here, as below:-

(Taken with a FA 24-90 on a MZ-30; Scanned with a Minolta Dual Scan II - Well, with careful inspection I can also see "White Sesame" in my *film* photo! :-o)

(Taken with a weather-sealed Olympus u-Zoom Compact P&S (at that time it was snowing); Scanned with a Minolta Dual Scan II.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cypress Full Frame CMOS Sensor is to be Used in the Rumoured Upcoming Pentax Full Frame Body?

With surprise and to doubt about the reason(s) behind, Cypress has updated their datasheet of their 36 x 24mm CMOS sensor at their website, recently:-

And, a rumour has begun recently for that the "upcoming" Pentax Full Frame DSLR body will use this sensor:-
(Text in Simplified Chinese)

..of which the contents are 90% the same as another Chinese article that was posted two years ago at another Chinese site:-
(Text in Simplified Chinese)

But just don't look down at those Chinese websites' reports. My experiences were that they were either pure rumours and imaginations or the cases were just in another extreme - the authors received REAL information from insiders and they dared much to disclose, without anything of being afraid! :-)

As for the Cypress sensor, below are some of my impressions on the published Specs:-

1. 8um Pixel Size is really large. The K-x pixel size is only 5.6um, as I have calculated last time;

2. The "Rolling Shutter" capability means that it should be video recording ready, and also the Live View (For more technical information about the "rolling shutter", read my last post here);

3. The Master Clock is of 15MHz is slow (The old K10D Sony CCD is clocked at 25MHz);

4. As such, the Maximum Frame Rate of the sensor is low, too, at only 3 fps;

5. The Full Well Capacity at 65,000 electrons is large;

6. The Dark Current at a rate of 223 electrons per second is very low (which affect noise performance and dynamic range);

7. The Dynamic Range of 65.4 dB means a theoretical maximum DR of 10.86EV steps which is not too impressive, in contrast;

8. At a 3.3V operating voltage and a low operating frequency of 15MHz, this would be a low power consumption device (< 176mW as specified). But actually one thing I don't understand is about the DR spec in dB. If I have to calculate it from the Full Well Capacity to the Dark Current, it is only of 49.29 dB, which is yet lower than the published spec and the value is lower than typical, also. (If any of the imager experts read here, please enlighten me! TIA. :-))

Well, after all, actually there is no outsider knows at the current stage if Pentax is really making a Full Frame DSLR body, not even mention to which and what sensor in such a rumoured body. Btw, I think there are still other (limited) choices, but this Cypress CMOS would be a relatively much cheaper option, I bet. Performance wise, it is yet unknown. But normally I would not expect miracles from novices - even the electronics giant Samsung has been striking much for making a better APS-C sensor, with higher performance, better image quality and less bugs, frankly.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Some News on the Latest CMOS Imager Technologies and Developments

Last year, Sony announced their development of their new Back Side Illuminated (BSI) CMOS imager which they intended to use in their digital camcorders and P&S DCs (the sensor is small in size):-

Whilst the light receiving area per pixel are expanded and it well observes the law of Physics for getting more photons (and thus light power and finally energy) on the photo site, the technology is not yet quite mature and other technical issues arisen are yet to be resolved, e.g., more colour crosstalk as a result of less colour separation (thinner grids and partitions) for adjacent different Bayer filters and pixels.

Now that after one year, Samsung also talks about their new BSI sensor is coming. Samsung even dare telling us they are going to make slightly larger sensors (same pixel pitch, more pixel count, will explain more below) based on the same idea and technology:-
(in Japanese, or Google Translation in English here)

But from what are presented in the above (for the diagrams and word descriptions etc.), I am afraid that Samsung's BSI is just 99.9% identical to that of Sony, whom should be the original inventor (patented?) for that innovation and new technology. The pitch/pixel sizes disclosed are exactly the same, i.e., 1.75 um as mentioned, although the pixel counts are different (5MP of Sony Vs 14.6MP of Samsung). What a "coincidence"! And also, I just wonder why Samsung like the 14.6MP pixel count and number so much??

Btw, both sensors are much smaller in size anyway. Let's say a 12.4MP APS-C imager (say, the one used in the new K-x) means 4288 x 2428 in 24 x 16mm (approximately, 3:2), which just implies that the linear pixel size is 0.024m / 4288 = 5.6um. So each pixel is of area in the square of 5.6um. So, as for a 1.75um square pixel, which is just a much smaller sensor in size, even though if it has a much higher pixel count than the Sony prototype (14.6MP Vs 5MP), which is just by no means can match the size of any DSLR sensor format and system so far - Well, 14.6MP = 4672 x 3104. And, 4672 x 1.75um = 8.176mm, i.e., the sensor is only slightly more than 8mm for the long side. Do note that even 4/3 sensors are at roughly about 18mm in length for the long side (to put it simpler, let's assume the 4/3 is half-frame 135 in 3:2, although actually they are in 4:3, i.e., 18 x 12mm).

Next, at the other side, let us see the latest breakthrough in sensor technology and development of Fujifilm:-
(in Simplified Chinese, or Google Translation in English here)

So Fuji has been successful in making their own "Foveon", with some kinds of new "organic" technologies and theoretical improved sensor performance. Their prototype built is still experimental, though. And light fading problem (uneven spectral response/light sensitivity between RGB) of the original "Foveon" is yet to be resolved. I do hope they can succeed shortly and make new generation of superb sensors with their new technologies, as a result of their extensive and intensive R&D and investment made. When the day comes, I am sure all digital cameras will have improved performance, regardless of sensor sizes and formats, which will surely a good news to all people. And, there will be no more Bayer artifacts, which just means better image quality without any doubt. Moreover, demosaic algorithms will no longer be essentially required and much on-board processing power can be saved (and at the same time getting rid of the Bayer artifacts and moires).

Related Posts

Creative Commons License
RiceHigh's Pentax Blog by RiceHigh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.