Special purpose low-light camera?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by rdompor, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. rdompor

    rdompor TPF Noob!

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    It is my understanding that the effective ISO range of a digital sensor is based around the base ISO. Canon has set their base ISO to 100 and can increase sensitivity by 5 or 6 stops to 1600/3200 while Nikon has set their base ISO to 200 and can increase sensitivity by 4/5 stops to 1600/3200.

    My question is, can either Canon or Nikon create a special version of their cameras better suited for low light usage? If the base ISO is set somewhere around 400, then they could effectively create a sensor sensitive up to 5 stops at ISO 12,800 with the IQ of an ISO 1600 image from one of the "normal" cameras.

    Forgive me if I've been mislead, I'm still in my 2nd year of engineering.:blushing:
     
  2. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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    Ummm....

    They already have.
     
  3. rdompor

    rdompor TPF Noob!

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    Haha. Okay, maybe I wasn't very ambitious in my original post.

    What if they make the base ISO something ridiculous like ISO 12,800 and allow it sensitivity 5 stops more than that? Or has this been done as well?
     
  4. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes, it's called a full frame 35mm sensor ("FX" in Nikonese), which is very expensive to make but has less noise because of the manufacturing process and lower pixel density.

    That, or film, which will give you noiseless long exposures.
     
  5. rdompor

    rdompor TPF Noob!

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    No offense, but did you even read my post? I'm talking about setting the base ISO to a higher rating, not just increasing noise performance through technological advancements or whatever.
     
  6. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I like your thinking. None the less I think photographers like to shoot with light. Not against it. Future technology will produce lower ISO's (25) as opposed to catering to higher ones (3200 or 4800). Low noise in the higher speeds is definitely a selling point, but not something the pro or dare I say consumer market is looking for.

    Love & Bass
     
  7. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think it is important to split the consumer market and professional market when thinking about the future of technologies. What attracts consumers is not always aligned with the professional market.

    One such example that comes to mind are high end commercial digital medium format cameras (phase one, Hassy, etc). Most are not capable of high ISO nor perform well at those settings. Slower than Nikon/Canon Autofocus is another aspect that comes to mind. On the other hand, they provide other advantages aimed directly at the commercial/professional end of the market. They perform extremely well in studios when often lighting is actually more important and more crucial for a successful photo than the camera used. In this market, Craig's post hit it on the nail when he said "photographers like to shoot with light".

    THe other end of the spectrum is the consumer market. As a consumer we generally focus on numbers and specifications... after all.. they are easier to understand and market. The MegaPixel race and more recently the excellent ISO performance of Nikon bodies. We are a market that doesn't like to use tripods (hence the success of IS). We are a market that doesn't like to setup lighting (hence high ISO). We don't like to think about exposure (success of autoexposure). This is the market that wants a camera to shoot in any situation and produce "professional" results.... without any trouble or hassle. In this market, high ISO performance will sell.... and sell very well.

    Now there is a grey in the spectrum in the middle that most of us fall into. Wedding/event photographers are often placed in situations that prohibit flash. This is where high ISO performance will help them make the best of a bad lighting situation. BUT there is a HUGE difference between "I can't" and "I don't want to". Those same wedding/event photographers would pull out proper flashes and lighting the moment it is allowed.

    The current high ISO king are the D3 and D700 from Nikon. Who know's who it will be in the future?
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2008
  8. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't believe it works like that. The new 5D MKII will be able to shoot from ISO 100- ISO 6400 natively. The higher ISO's are capable by using the software to push the exposure, which causes noise.

    I'm sure that Canon could make a native sensor with and ISO of 26500 without bumping up the lower range, but IQ would suffer. I don't believe it's that sensors operate on a fixed range of say 5 stops and by bumping the lower ISO, you raise the higher ISO.
     
  9. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Well i'm one that would not get my flash out, a D3 in the wrong hands will produce noise
     
  10. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    On the topic of technology and ISO, I read back in October that they discovered black silicone, which is WAY more light-sensitive than the current (gray / transparent) silicone being used in digital sensors.

    This won’t just have an effect on digital camera sensors, but can totally change solar panels as well as night vision technology.

    Funny thing, it was discovered by accident.

    Sorry for a slight deviation in the topic, but I think its somewhat appropriate. :)
    ---------

    With the accidental discovery of "black silicon," Harvard physicists may have very well changed the digital photography, solar power and night vision industries forever. What is black silicon, you say? Well, it's just as it sounds. Black silicon. It's what this revolutionary new material does that's important, starting with light sensitivity. Early indications show black silicon is 100 to 500 times more sensitive to light than a traditional silicon wafer.

    To create the special silicon, Harvard physicist Eric Mazur shined a super powerful laser onto a silicon wafer. The laser's output briefly matches all the energy produced by the sun falling onto the Earth's entire surface at a given moment in time. To spice the experiment up, he also had researchers apply sulfur hexafluoride, which the semiconductor industry uses to make etchings in silicon for circuitry. Seriously, he did this just for kicks and to secure more funding for an old project.

    “I got tired of metals and was worrying that my Army funding would dry up,” he said. “I wrote the new direction into a research proposal without thinking much about it — I just wrote it in; I don’t know why," he said.

    The new experiment made the silicon black to the naked eye. Under an electron microscope, however, the dark sheen was revealed to be thousands, if not millions, of tiny spikes. As we said above, those spikes had an amazing effect on the light sensitivity of the wafer. Mazur said the material also absorbs about twice as much visible light as traditional silicon, and can detect infrared light that is invisible to today's silicon detectors.

    And there's no change to the manufacturing process, Mazur said, so existing semiconductor facilities can create black silicon without much additional effort or, more importantly, money.
     
  11. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  12. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yep, so while the new Canon 5d Mark II can go up to what 25,600 ISO and still have clearer imaging than older cameras at ISO 800, with the black silicone technology, you would be able to go to an insane 250,000 ISO.
     

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