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Sony Curved FF Sensor
Old 06-14-2014   #1
Samouraï
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Sony Curved FF Sensor

http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/first...e-for-the-rx2/

So Sony has developed this curved full-frame sensor. Apparently it'll be showcased in the upcoming RX2.

What does this mean for lenses? Will traditional designs work the same, but better? Or will new lenses need to be created to properly utilize the curved sensor? Can anyone better explain what this might mean for the future of photography and the future of using legacy lenses?
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Old 06-14-2014   #2
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Hi, great news...a curved sensors will enable light rays to fill each pixel location in a better angle (hpefully 90º) so quality will be increased and italian flags will be avoided in some degree or fully.

Edges should improve a lot and for instance VC wides will perfomr great in comparison to the A7.

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Old 06-14-2014   #3
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Kind of says this int the article - but sensors generally have a more limited ability to capture light when the light rays are not perpendicular to the sensor
Some Lenses are now designed to make more of the light exiting the lens nearer in angle to the lens axis
My guess is if you curve the sensor, you can collect more light easier
Better low light performance, less falloff and less need for adaptive optical mechanisms between the lens and sensor (micro lenses)
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Old 06-14-2014   #4
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A curved sensor will substantially simplify lens design.

This will allow for small, high performance lenses at competitive prices.

However, legacy lenses will NOT work (on a curved sensor body) as they are designed to focus on a flat plane (rather than a spherical surface).
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Old 06-14-2014   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gustavoAvila View Post
A curved sensor will substantially simplify lens design.

This will allow for small, high performance lenses at competitive prices.

However, legacy lenses will NOT work (on a curved sensor body) as they are designed to focus on a flat plane (rather than a spherical surface).
That's what I wanted to know. I think I'd prefer simpler, cheaper, and more perfect lens design at the cost of losing the ability to shoot legacy glass.

Is this something that will work fine with multiple lens lengths in an ILC? You just design every lens with the curve in mind? I guess the Sony FE lens lineup won't be filling out after all.
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Old 06-14-2014   #6
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Hmm sensor clean in future isn't that trivial job anymore.
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Old 06-14-2014   #7
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Will be interesting to see the results from this sensor in the future.

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Old 06-14-2014   #8
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The rumour is for the Sony RX2 with a fixed lens 35mm 1.8 So this is a fixed special design lens/sensor for RX2, so no need to worry about sensor cleaning and legacy glass just yet! Unless they port the same tech to Sony A7 Mark ii at some stage. Can't wait for the RX2 ...
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Old 06-14-2014   #9
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Funny, my D700 seems to work fine as is. So does my D300. And my X10 and my X100. I can see that a curved sensor could be a good idea, but I'm not buying lenses all over again.
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Old 06-14-2014   #10
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"Flatness of field" i.e. the ability of a lens to focus light passing through the centre of the lens and the edge of the lens on the same plane (i.e. a flat sensor or film negative) has been the much sought after objective ever since cameras have first been made - and more particularly when they became "miniaturized" a la Leitz's efforts. This is a particular problem for fast lenses hence the expense of good ones due to the the need for special measures such as additional elements and aspherical elements to cope better with this problem. Think of the number of lenses that are sharp in the middle and poor in the outer edge. This is a hugely common probleem in lens design as there is a need to trade off performance against cost of manufacture. With a curved sensor, in theory you do not need the lens to deliver flatness of field as the sensor itself is not flat. It also means lenses will be smaller and lighter I would imagine. (I suppose such sensors are a good idea in theory in any event - think of the millions of years of evolution that went into the development of the human eye - with its curved "sensor", the retina.)

It should mean that lenses will not need to be quite so expensive (ie will not need to have extra elements to cope with spherical aberrations). Neither will aspherical elements be required for this purpose. Hence the benefits of a curved sensor. (I imagine the curve does not need to other than very very slight for this effect).
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Old 06-15-2014   #11
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... surly it would need to be a parabolic-dish not a curved plane, and wouldn't either make it really complex to make a lens that focused from a fixed focal-point?
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Old 06-15-2014   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarski View Post
Hmm sensor clean in future isn't that trivial job anymore.

That was my first thought!
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Old 06-15-2014   #13
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I already have a fixed lens camera with curved sensor. It's called Agfa Clack. Beautiful German engineering from the -50's.
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Old 06-15-2014   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
Funny, my D700 seems to work fine as is. So does my D300. And my X10 and my X100. I can see that a curved sensor could be a good idea, but I'm not buying lenses all over again.

That's the crux of the matter for sure.

But incremental improvements suck in new buyers every time ... and that's exactly what they are intended to do.

Anyway ... Panon made a camera called the Widelux in the early fifties and from memory it uses a curved sensor!
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Old 06-15-2014   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
Funny, my D700 seems to work fine as is. So does my D300. And my X10 and my X100. I can see that a curved sensor could be a good idea, but I'm not buying lenses all over again.
I don't think this technology is intended to boost performance rather than create the possibility for compact, large-sensor systems.

Theoretically you could pull off a large-aperture design with 2-3 elements in a compact lens design, and still get good resolution over the entire sensor area.
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Old 06-15-2014   #16
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It will need a new kind of lenses that are not campatible at all with the old ones. So you can start buying all over again. Think DVD -> BluRay. Sony is master in consumer electronics. It is another shift to mass production of simpler things with more profit margin.

Quote:
I already have a fixed lens camera with curved sensor. It's called Agfa Clack. Beautiful German engineering from the -50's.
Thought about that one as well. And it has an even much larger sensor.
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Old 06-15-2014   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanik View Post
It will need a new kind of lenses that are not campatible at all with the old ones. So you can start buying all over again.
The Sony RX1 and this rumored RX2 comes with it's own specially designed lens, no need to purchase 'new' lenses - just the camera ...
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Old 06-15-2014   #18
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As each focal length and lens design would need a different curvature, that is a rather irrelevant development regarding interchangeable-lens cameras - the corrections needed to match a lens to a mismatched curved field are just as complex to design as those for a flat field, so there is no (cost or quality) benefit from it. But it can help the makers reduce the amount of glass in fixed-prime compacts - so we'll see faster, better and/or smaller lenses there...
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Old 06-15-2014   #19
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I certainly like its potential if/when (for sure it will be) exported to camera modules with fixed lenses.
If it can help fit a bigger sensor with better performance in a phone it's good. I am sure that sooner or later they will end making modules with this technology, as it will help a lot for overcoming some boundaries (physical size, thinness, lens limits). Together with its implementation on larger sensor imaging with fixed lenses (X100, RX2, RX100, etc)
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Old 06-15-2014   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevo View Post
As each focal length and lens design would need a different curvature, that is a rather irrelevant development regarding interchangeable-lens cameras - the corrections needed to match a lens to a mismatched curved field are just as complex to design as those for a flat field, so there is no (cost or quality) benefit from it. But it can help the makers reduce the amount of glass in fixed-prime compacts - so we'll see faster, better and/or smaller lenses there...
Exactly. If Sony makes an RX2 with this sensor and a fixed 35mm f1.4, perhaps with a tele-converter to 50mm FOV, I'm all in...
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Old 06-15-2014   #21
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I know it's the wrong company, but I'm thinking full-frame (or larger) sensor Ricoh GR1 style body.
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Old 06-15-2014   #22
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Ha! Big deal! Single use film cameras have had curved 'sensors' for years.
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Old 06-15-2014   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mablo View Post
I already have a fixed lens camera with curved sensor. It's called Agfa Clack. Beautiful German engineering from the -50's.
And Arthur Seibert (who also worked for Leitz) designed the Minox lens for a curved film gate, in order to maximize IQ.
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Old 06-15-2014   #24
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Quote:
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And Arthur Seibert (who also worked for Leitz)
... as a subcontractor for slide viewer and projector lenses.
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Old 06-15-2014   #25
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This discussion finally shook the cobwebs loose and I remembered a lens Minolta made in the 70's. It was a 24mm f2.8 and had adjustable field curvature. They called it a VFC for Variable Field Curvature and the shape could be adjusted to convex to flat to concave. I would think they are quite rare and expensive now.

You can read about it over at 'the rokkor files' website
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Old 06-15-2014   #26
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Could Sony fit a swing lens in front of that curved sensor and give us a digital Widelux? Curve the sensor even more if necessary.
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Old 06-21-2014   #27
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Quote:
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Could Sony fit a swing lens in front of that curved sensor and give us a digital Widelux? Curve the sensor even more if necessary.
No, because the sensor is spherical, not cylindrical.

But let's all get real here - like a lot of things Sony has pioneered (like backlit sensors), the real point is to keep performance constant while lowering the manufacturing cost. There is no insurmountable issue with flat sensors; it's just that Sony doesn't want to put the extra 3 or 4 pieces of glass in the lens.

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Old 06-21-2014   #28
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You're taking it a bit too rose-tinted.

Sony is a consumer minded company that looks for easy to produce methods that are cheap and thus raise profits by using less materials, less production time and less testing.

A curved sensor means that lenses can be made simpler with less components, less alignment, less precision and less testing while giving results that are almost as good. All things that are not much visible but cost a lot and are difficult to pass on to the customer. In 99.9% of the cases (consumers) just as good with a nice marketing touch "curved sensor" trown in to make it look even better.

They are not a company of precision made optics, they prefer to spend a bit more on electronics that they do master well instead of messing with optics where the margins are smaller.
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Old 06-21-2014   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanik View Post
You're taking it a bit too rose-tinted.

Sony is a consumer minded company that looks for easy to produce methods that are cheap and thus raise profits by using less materials, less production time and less testing.

A curved sensor means that lenses can be made simpler with less components, less alignment, less precision and less testing while giving results that are almost as good. All things that are not much visible but cost a lot and are difficult to pass on to the customer. In 99.9% of the cases (consumers) just as good with a nice marketing touch "curved sensor" trown in to make it look even better.

They are not a company of precision made optics, they prefer to spend a bit more on electronics that they do master well instead of messing with optics where the margins are smaller.
C'mon! you'll be trying tell us next these rumours sites are just a cynical marketing device to fool gullible consumers into thinking a massive global corporation actually cares about anything other than their profits
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Old 06-21-2014   #30
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Quote:
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C'mon! you'll be trying tell us next these rumours sites are just a cynical marketing device to fool gullible consumers into thinking a massive global corporation actually cares about anything other than their profits
Wait… what?!? I thought those sites were there to help me!
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Need spherical sensor!
Old 03-01-2015   #31
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Need spherical sensor!

Otherwise only one dimension is corrected. AND, can you imagine laying a curved image onto a flat plane? Seems like just a new computational problem for raw development algorithm.
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Old 03-01-2015   #32
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Someone needs to inform Leica about it! Make a curved camera.
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Old 03-02-2015   #33
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Quote:
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However, legacy lenses will NOT work (on a curved sensor body) as they are designed to focus on a flat plane (rather than a spherical surface).
I'm not so sure. Especially wide angle lenses were designed with a flat film plane in mind but it was rarely actually achieved. My bet is on older wide angles actually working better with a curved plane, at least at wide stops. They should see less falloff at the edges and less problems due to curvature of field. Unfortunately that would be very situation specific and once you stop down you'd lose those benefits and the film plane would be all wrong for the design of the lens.
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Old 03-02-2015   #34
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To be fair to Sony, there's nothing wrong with wanting to make things simpler and cheaper to manufacture as long as the quality is high at the end. (Disclaimer, I don't own any Sony electonics or cameras, so I'm just talking about the principle).
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Old 03-02-2015   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mablo View Post
I already have a fixed lens camera with curved sensor. It's called Agfa Clack. Beautiful German engineering from the -50's.
Oh yes. I also have an even older one: early Minox.
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Old 03-02-2015   #36
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The thing I'd worry about is sony designing lenses specific lenses for the thing and then ONLY being able to use those lenses because of the specific design.
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Old 03-02-2015   #37
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I wonder if one could DIY this solution by applying a little heat and bending the sensor in your camera to the proper spec.
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Old 04-14-2015   #38
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Apparently, it is not a rumor any more. Sony applied for the patent a few weeks ago.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/news...panying-lenses

http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/brand...me-variations/

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150077619.pdf

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Old 09-13-2016   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gustavoAvila View Post
A curved sensor will substantially simplify lens design.

This will allow for small, high performance lenses at competitive prices.

However, legacy lenses will NOT work (on a curved sensor body) as they are designed to focus on a flat plane (rather than a spherical surface).
Exactly.

Actually a spherical sensor would be best.
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Old 09-13-2016   #40
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Film has an angular sensitivity function referred to as "cosine response". This is typically a response factor of 1 at 0 degrees angle of incidence and 0 at 90 degree angle of incidence. Digital sensors have a very narrow cosine response, so curving the edges of the sensor in this case will reduce the angle of incidence and therefore improve sensitivity. Vignetting is an example of cosine response. Wide angle lenses with short back element to film distances have very high angles of incidence to the film plane in the corners.

Long story short, this should be a major improvement for older glass lenses that basically project their images on a spherical surface, but "got away with it" since film's cosine response is much better than digital sensors.

I also believe this is indicative of the "flattening" that people see with modern lenses versus old glass. I for one ascribe to the theory - it's subtle, but there, particularly at wide apertures. Remember your eye's sensor is on the back of a sphere, not a flat plane.

It'll be expensive, but probably worth it. Time will tell.

One thing's for sure, technology advances, which is sometimes good to see, when it's put to constructive use.
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