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-   -   What's holding back manufactures from using larger sensors? (

Contriver Sep 18, 2006 9:59 AM

Does anyone have any insight on this topic? As far as I can see, only Sony has made any attempt whatsoever with its R1. Now, as I understand it, the R1 isn't the hottest selling prosumer ever due to its price being so much higher then other prosumers and even higher then some low-end DSLRs with their lens kit. In any case, from what I have seen, the sensor size of all othernon-DSLR cameras is about the size of your smallest finger's nail; why is there such a size difference? Wouldn't making the sensor on the average non-DSLR half the size of a DSLR sensor drastically improve its performance.

I suspect this all may have something to do with profit margins of the manufactures. But, truely, how much more money would it cost to release for example a new revision of the Panasonic FZ30 with all of the existing features and such (hence, nothing new to engineer) and simply impliment a larger sensor, how much more money would they realistically have to charge to maintain the same profit they where realizing with the origional FZ30? Is this similiar to what we sometimes see in the automotive industry where instead of developing an engine for a vehicle that would be a good match for it, they simply borrow an engine for another vehicle to save on costs yet end up comprimising on the vehicle's true potential?

Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone might be able to shed some light on this topic for me. Its a confusing and frustrating issue to me. There obviously is a high demand for a capable, yet simple and portable camera that allows for manual adjustments like a DSLR, but without all the bagage of a DSLR and ultimately, something that can give all-around (within reason) similiar quality of a DSLR. I understand no matter how large and greatthe sensor is, a fixed lens cameramay never replace a DSLR, but I think there is alot of room for improvement.

jacks Sep 18, 2006 10:14 AM

If you want to keep the same f-stops and 35mm equivalent focal length then the lenses have to get bigger too. A lot of P&S have lenses in the (eq)35-400 range. A full-frame slr lens of that range, even a slow one, is pretty huge compared to a p&s cmaera. 10x zoom cameras are already almost the same size as an slr with, say, a 18-50f2.8. To keep your p&s that size while increasing it's sensor size you would have to limit it's zoom range, cutting it's versatility. With a price approaching a dslr, limited zoom range and no ability to change lenses, who would buy one?

PeterP Sep 18, 2006 10:20 AM

A larger sensor means larger supporting gear and thus a physically larger more expensive camera body.

The larger the sensor the more/bigger lens you need to achieve the same results, going to an aps-c sized sensor like the Sony mentioned means you need the same sized and expensive lenses as DSLR's.

Sensor cost is also a factor, the larger they are the harder it is to produce clean wafers and thus the higher per unit cost.

It can be done but it is going to cost, and that goes against the more camera for less price everyone seems to want.

Contriver Sep 18, 2006 10:51 AM

Interesting comments guys! Thanks for the feedback. What both of you say makes sense. It sounds like the only way to make a veristile (compactand produce good images ina multitude ofenvironments)prosumer PS is to develope a sensor that is small, yet doesn't produce alot of noise. Maybe future technologies will allow for this to happen. They have definately made improvements so far.

BenjaminXYZ Sep 18, 2006 12:03 PM

Well, the revolutionary Sony DSC-R1 pro has an APS-C sized CMOS& being a live preview one furthermore.

It also doesn't have any problems with having a huge high quality C.Z. glass>>>

14.3 to 71.5mm (24mm-120mm in 35mm equiv.)

F2.8-4.8 aperture.

This is theonly non-dSLRcamera that can match a dSLR in terms ofimage quality. (Until another large sensor fix lens comes out)

The R1 is also the first (and currently only) prosumer to have a CMOS sensor (furthermore a large one) and specially designed for live preview. (Fora large APS-C size image sensor to have live preview is something revolutionary)

The quality of the R1 lens is even better than most of the higher quality dSLR lenses. In terms of reach and quality, no dSLR lens can provide without more than onesolution.

I noticed thatquite a number of people doesn't really know much about the R1, most of them just pass if off as a normal prosumer. (I think some of them don't even know how it look like)

The only issue I found with the camera is that; "It is too heavy" I carried it at a Sony outlet. (I underestimated the weight and was shocked to find it so weighty)

Build quality is nothing short of amazing. The H series mega-zooms beside it looks plastic in comparison.

mtngal Sep 18, 2006 4:37 PM

The R1 is a very nice camera, but Sony probably lost a very large number of customers because of the fact it only goes to an equiv. of 120mm. I know that I quit considering it when I found out about that - I wanted more than the equiv. 180mm that the Sony F717 had. As you noticed, it is a heavy camera, and it was pointed out that a camera having a longer zoom would have to be even bigger and heavier than itgeR1already is, making it even more cumbersome than a dSLR, negating any advantage you get by having a fixed lens. It's all a matter of physics.

MikeAusA200 Sep 18, 2006 7:20 PM

"This is theonly non-dSLRcamera that can match a dSLR in terms ofimage quality. (Until another large sensor fix lens comes out)"

- that old truism just doesn't apply with advances in sensor technology.

Have a look at compares the ultra-compact Fuji F30 (1/1.7 sensor) with the Canon 20D (APS-C sensor).

Quotes from the comparison -

"there seems to be similar noise levels which is quite surprising between an ultra-compact and a DSLR"

"Incredibly, images from the Fuji F30 appear much sharper. " "This is actually the most shocking observation since the 20D was equipped with a quality Canon lens. " "This is actually our third batch of images since at first we thought the focus was incorrect. "

"In the end, the Fuji Finepix F30 is an extremely capable camera which produces very appealing images where the effect of image noise is similar to that of DSLR cameras,"

Mike R

jacks Sep 19, 2006 2:14 AM

The R1 completely proves my point.
Yes, it is a very good camera, but it is the same size and weight as an slr. The lens is very good but you are stuck with it. You can't put a fast prime on for low light. You can't get a long focal length or an ultra-wide. You can probably stick a converter on (like that massive thing in the pic) but then the quality of the lens system is going to suffer.
The only advantage the r1 has over an slr is that it is very cheap considering the quality of the lens. A dslr with, say, a tamron 17-50f2.8 and a sigma 70-300 would cost a lot more and a better quality tele would boost this up higher again.
I think slrs will disappear over the next 20 years and get replaced by live preview cameras with interchangeable lens mounts. The advantage in size (no mirror box or pentaprism), ability to shoot movies and lack of mirror slap will show eventually. More effort is going into developing the live chips as the vast majority of cameras have them and they seem to be catching up in quality. Live view screens will have to catch up to optical viewfinders but I see no reason why they can't get good enough eventually. Even then though, there will be small-sensored general purpose point and shoots and large sensored cameras with interchangeable lenses. The r1 looks like a dead-end design to me, no matter how good a camera it is.

Norm in Fujino Sep 19, 2006 4:20 AM

In part it has to do with sensor "yield"--the number of perfect pieces of silicon of a given size possible from a single substrate. The larger you make the sensor, the more difficult it is to produce perfect pieces of the necessary size, thus raising the cost.

Second, as is already known with full-frame (35mm size) sensors, while legacy telephoto lenses do alright, it's more difficult to use very wide angle lenses due to the light fall-off at the corners (vignetting) resulting from the sharp angles of incident light at the edges by very wide angle lenses. To produce a lens that maintained relatively perpendicular rays of light all the way to the edge of a 3:2 35mm full-size frame would require a huge investment in glass and weight.
Or so I've read.

BenjaminXYZ Sep 19, 2006 9:26 AM

Such designin the R1 also have it's advantages over dSLRs in general>>>

Other than being silent (quiet shutter release), having a real time preview, and a tightly sealed lens/sensor compartment, it also have an advantage in the lens design itself;

See this specific page>>>

In this page, you can see a picture ofa typical dSLR back focus design with themirror box^

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