The Future of the Digital Camera Sensor – TWIP
I’ve had some rare free time to think this week – just think. And in the course of firing up the old synapses, I decided that I have an idea of what the digital camera sensor will look like in five years or so…
I make these predictions having SOME inside information. I have spent some time with engineers at one of the major camera manufacturers in Japan. I received some insights there. But more than half what I write here is conjecture.
This list is just a starting point for me. Nobody can say I am right or wrong, because nobody knows. You can, alongside my conjecture, come up with some of your own, and add it to the comments section.
a. The sensors of the future will al be full-frame. The technology will exist to make these things for pennies, removing the need for cropped sensors.
b. Price – well that’s easy. It will go down – way down. Future sensors will be far more advanced and cost far less to produce.
c. New sensors will be capable of very high dynamic range. In the old days when we shot B&W film, it had about 11 stops of dynamic range (or the ratio of maximum light intensity measurable, to minimum light intensity measurable.)
The digital sensor of the future will exceed that and closely mirror the human eye.
d. Light sensitivity will be improved. ISOs of 12,800 will look as good as ISO 250 today.
e. Future digital cameras will capture 64 bits of data.
f. The future sensors will all incorporate some sort of vibration reduction, eliminating the need for stabilized lenses.
g. Megapixel madness will have finally stopped at about 100 megapixels with most cameras offering sensors in the 25-50 megapixels range.
h. The new sensors in digital cameras will be more like high-end digital movie cameras, incorporating three chips rather than one. Each chip shall be responsible for red, green and blue color capture rather than the current all-in-one RGB capture.
i. Future digital camera sensors will come with special coatings making them 100% dust resistant, eliminating the need for sensor cleaning.
j. Image processing algorithms will be significantly improved, potentially eliminating the need for separate image processing engines. Higher-end chips will do DSP on-board.