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Could Nikon be about to enter digital cinema market?


Andrew Reid
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It would be good if Nikon entered the game as well. I remember sending them email once explaining to them that they should make a proper video DSLR. That was around when 5DII was launched.

 

Should the Nikon 1 system be used as a video camera platform the let down atm would be from Nikon perspective the lack of pro lenses for the 1 system that are made by Nikon.

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This video was posted here before, which shows the Nikon capabilities.  4K would be amazing.  Nikon has an unique look.  Cheers.

https://vimeo.com/57786264

 

Holy crap - is that really shot with a D3200? Really great image. Great storytelling, cinematography and color grading too.

 

Honestly I like that short much more than the Nikon D800 horror short film Broken Night - in every way.

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Not the V1. It is 14MP so likely the V2. (This announcement was made yesterday by the way)

 

The Nikon 1 V2 uses the Aptina AR1410 according to chipworks:

https://chipworks.secure.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=APT-HBCPR&viewState=DetailView&cartID=&g=&parentCategory=&navigationStr=CatalogSearchInc&searchText=ipr

 

Nikon 1 V3 with this new high speed sensor? :)

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They probably never will. The dynamic range figure they quote is a computed value, not an observed one as "X stops" would imply. It's derived with the following equation:

 

dynamic range in dB = 20 x log(fullwell capacity ÷ readout noise)

 

As you can probably guess, this is a theoretical figure, not an observed one gotten by looking at a chart. And the "X stops" figure we toss around here is derived from that figure (i.e., by dividing by 6). That's why I'm a little suspicious of BMD's 12-stop claim for the 4K Pro camera, as the theoretical limit is 10 stops without the CMV12000's HDR tricks. Of course, the CMV could in practice be somewhat better than its specs suggest, but it's unlikely to be two stops better.

I tried finding articles or theory to proof my point, but still can't find any.

 

As the measurement is for each channel, RG and B, as the blue filter is about 2 stop darker than the green (red about -1stop), whenever there is white light (probably at 5000k or 6500k), the blue channel will clip 2 stops later (probably 3 stops in tungsten).

 

I think that's why we have a lot of people measuring charts in their garage and getting 14 stops of DR (15 if measured in tungsten light) even when the sensor theoretical dynamic range is at 72dB (12stops) (measured should be lower than theoretical DR because no analog to digital converter is 100% efficient.)

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Can't see why they would have any interest in the cinema market. The camera side of the industry is in a race to the bottom

 

It would seem so, yet Sony has gone from selling $200,000 cameras to selling ones under $30,000. Why? Because they can sell a lot more of them. What difference would it make if it cost a company a little more in R&D and manufacturing to produce a video/still hybrid that was excellent at both? They'd sell a lot more of them as a result. And 4K, once the data-transfer and heat issues are solved (and they will be), is in some ways easier to deal with, because you no longer have to deal as much with binning or line skipping, and the same OLPF is more likely to be suitable for both video and stills.

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Sony has the corporate infrastructure required for servicing high end, cinema based clients. It is an industry they understand and generally thrive in.

 

Nikon might make an amazing, video based DSLR.... But the idea that they will create a new sub division of cinema cameras is unlikely, imho.

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"...the biggest question is whether Nikon has the corporate vision and leadership to execute a dedicated video/cinema camera division."

Well. Long time Nikon pro here (40years). Nikon has not been sleeping at all, only slumbering. They're fully awake now. Do you want me to put a fire under the Corporate Direction? I can. I've been simmering myself you see.
As I have said many times before. The smart money during a global recession is to sit it all out in the sidelines, watch, listen, learn and plan a sweeping battle strategy.
Nikon have done that.
Newcomers like BMCC, RED and other small players will eventually be eaten up unless they have solid IP that can be traded or sold to the big boys.
Deep in my heart, I want Nikon to wake up completely and knowing that the recession is coming to a close ( 2 more years) you should see way more action from Nikon that so far.
My vision is a better form-factor and I will approach Nikon with that part of the plan. The sensor modules MUST be make modular for in-factory upgrades.
The nonsense of non-upgradable components must come to an end soon. ;)

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"...the biggest question is whether Nikon has the corporate vision and leadership to execute a dedicated video/cinema camera division."

Well. Long time Nikon pro here (40years). Nikon has not been sleeping at all, only slumbering. They're fully awake now. Do you want me to put a fire under the Corporate Direction? I can. I've been simmering myself you see.
As I have said many times before. The smart money during a global recession is to sit it all out in the sidelines, watch, listen, learn and plan a sweeping battle strategy.
Nikon have done that.
Newcomers like BMCC, RED and other small players will eventually be eaten up unless they have solid IP that can be traded or sold to the big boys.
Deep in my heart, I want Nikon to wake up completely and knowing that the recession is coming to a close ( 2 more years) you should see way more action from Nikon that so far.
My vision is a better form-factor and I will approach Nikon with that part of the plan. The sensor modules MUST be make modular for in-factory upgrades.
The nonsense of non-upgradable components must come to an end soon. ;)

 

If you have influence with Nikon by all means use it. Make it happen!

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The Nikon 1 V2 uses the Aptina AR1410 according to chipworks:

https://chipworks.secure.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=APT-HBCPR&viewState=DetailView&cartID=&g=&parentCategory=&navigationStr=CatalogSearchInc&searchText=ipr

 

Nikon 1 V3 with this new high speed sensor? :)

 

Nice find. So AR1410 and AR1411HS specs seem pretty similar to me, maybe they have just tweaked the Nikon sensor and put it on the market or maybe HS does indeed stand for 'high speed' and it is a faster chip, 1080/120p etc.

 

I always assumed the sensor was always capable of high frame rates just that Nikon couldn't be bothered to write the firmware to support it :)

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Although Nikon 1 system own this superior spec for high potential of further development, that’s still a barrier of making this system getting popular for the film making market, which is the lens system.

 

If one have the experience of using Nikon 1 the first thing that you may dislike should be the lens. The optical quality of Nikon 1 lenses are really not bad but the operation is really suck that there is no mechanical or electro-control ring on the lenses. If you are a serious film maker, you might need to adapt the Super 16mm lenses from the used market. And of cause, the newbie might think that it is too complicate to handle and prefer to stay on the current DSLR market which all lenses are ready and the shallow DOF is more attractive from the DSLR.

 

I always wander should Nikon digs deeper into the film world or not. The history of Nikon is producing good still image quality rather than moving image, which Canon has involved into several decades already. If Nikon wants to remind the users that she can make good movie, some cine style lens must be made – large aperture, wide and ultra wide angle lens, manual focus and aperture ring just like what Canon used to make for Cinema EOS. The price range might be maximum 2/3 of the Zeiss product line. This market is niche but Nikon should be open mind to accept that the film makers have their own freedom of adjusting their combination.

 

If Nikon realize this earlier, they might acquire Blackmagic in early stage to make the movie system more mature. I think it is a little bit too late to let BM use M4/3 mount and now Nikon can’t dominate the film system anymore. The competition of film making is really hard now. Nikon has to face Canon EOS, M4/3(Panasonic, Blackmagic), Red and Sony in this moment. Especially Sony, she makes FS700 for a while and the low cost slow motion is already there. Nikon should act faster to release the high speed shooting function to draw attention. For me, 1080p@120fps is sweet enough to pay for it.

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some research:

first of all i also almost sure that v2 and j3 uses AR1411HS sensor. 

here i find a photo of j3 sensor. as you see it design is different from sony sensors used in larger nikon cameras.

regarding Aptina website info AR1411HS has 79.0dB and older AR1011HS (used in j1 and v1) 66dB of dynamic range, so its pretty big difference.

but bad thing it that looks like some companies have a policy to limit sensor possibilities on consumer cameras to be able sell better professional models. look here, sony nex 5&6 and fuji series response curves are very film-like in highlights and its clearly seen on real photos. same time panasonic gh2&3 and nikon are tune sensor to burn highlights very hard. 

dpreview has very useful charts regarding real life dynamic range of cameras but it is not tested v2 or j3 yet.

bfj14j.jpg

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On that DR chart the Fuji X Pro 1 never reaches super white. It may have a smooth roll off in the highlights but it isn't a free lunch.

 

Also, these are raw photographic tests remember, so little to no meaning when it comes to video mode.

 

AR1411HS is not what is printed on the V2's sensor when Chipworks opened it. Says AR1410.

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on Fuji X Pro 1 chart those curve pushed to its limit, but the curve shape stays same on various modes.

Andrew, can you post a link on Chipworks V2 teardown? i search their site same as others yesterday but didn't find any info about V2 or J3 cameras. All i find currently is DxO test of those cameras http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Camera-Sensor-Database/Nikon/1-V2, but its unknown how and in which modes they are measure dynamic range 

 

and yes photographic or video mode is different, but i hope for some potential future budget cinema cameras with this sensor somewhere...

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The chipworks link is on this very page. Scroll up.

 

Your flyer refers to the 1011, the old 10MP in the V1.

 

We're talking about the 1410 and 1411. The former is in the V2. The latter is similar in spec but now available on the open market.

 

What is so hard about this?

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Here's a more technical description of the new sensor http://www.vlsisymposium.org/circuits/program.html#pro03

 

 

A 1-inch Optical Format, 14.2M-Pixel, 80fps CMOS Image Sensor with a Pipelined Pixel Reset and Readout Operation,

H. Honda*, S. Osawa*, M. Shoda*, E. Pages*, T. Sato*, N. Karasawa*, B. Leichner**, J. Schoper**, E.S. Gattuso**, D. Pates**, J. Brooks**, S. Johnson**and I. Takayanagi*, *Aptina Japan and **Aptina Imaging, Japan

A 1-inch optical format, 14.2M-pixel, 80fps, digital-output CMOS image sensor that employs a row-shared dual conversion gain pixel is presented.  To achieve the 80fps readout rate, a pipelined pixel reset/readout scheme named "nesting scan" has been introduced, where the charge sense node inside a pixel is reset during the previous row. Readout noise and maximum handling signal charge of the sensor are 1.7e-rms and 16ke-, respectively, and the ratio of column FPN to readout noise is lower than 0.03 in all gain conditions.

 

-----

 

Also note Panasonic are developing an organic sensor with a similar effect on colour as an OLED panel has on an LCD display.

 

 

An Ultra-Low Noise Photoconductive Film Image Sensor with a High-Speed Column Feedback Amplifier Noise Canceller,M. Ishii, S. Kasuga, K. Yazawa, Y. Sakata, T. Okino, Y. Sato, J. Hirase, Y. Hirose, T. Tamaki, Y. Matsunaga and Y. Kato, Panasonic Corporation, Japan

We developed an ultra-low noise image sensor in which an organic photoconductive film (OPF) is laminated on the entire surface of the pixel circuits. In order to suppress the kTC noise in the pixel circuit of a three transistor configuration, a high-speed column feedback noise cancel circuit is newly developed. An ultra-low noise of 2.9 electrons during the horizontalblanking period of only 5 μs has been achieved.

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Readout noise and maximum handling signal charge of the sensor are 1.7e-rms and 16ke-, respectively . . .

 

Those are the two specs used to calculate the dynamic range:

 

dynamic range, dB = 20 x log(16,000 e- ÷ 1.7 e-) = 79 dB, rounded to an integer.

 

The AR1011HS's dynamic range is either 66 dB (in the flyer) or 84 dB (on the product page). If it's the latter, the sensor's somewhat larger pixels (3.4 x 3.4 μm vs. 2.86 x 2.86 μm) might, at least in part, be the reason.

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