Organic Sensor on its way?
There are rumours circulating hinting that within a month or so Panasonic and Fuji will jointly and officially announce the production of their ground breaking “Organic Sensor”. The concept and basic patent was revealed some 2 years ago, so in theory any potential sensor could be near production?
The organic sensor in very simple terms uses an organic “photoelectric conversion material” to collect light as opposed to the use of silicon as found in more conventional photodiodes.
In doing so the new sensor design promise twice or double (yes double) the current dynamic range of the best sensors on the market (i.e. Sony designed ones in general).
In very basic terms that would mean the new sensor delivering a scarcely believable near X30 stops EV as opposed to say the 15 stop EV delivered by the sensor in the Nikon D800E, that’s some improvement.
So what does this potential sensor development mean in practical terms?
Well for a start you would have far greater dynamic range flexibility before highlights were clipped, in other words you could capture a far, far greater degree of shadow and highlight information in a scene allowing immense flexibility in post capture editing.
Additionally the new sensor is meant to be able to detect light from a greater angle, so each pixel exhibits increased light sensitivity, apparently 1.2x greater over a traditional sensor.
This would allow a user to keep the ISO low and hence the avoid the introduction of “noise” until later in the ISO range. One presumes it would also allow slightly more populated sensors to be produced without the fear of the greater pixel density introducing much more noise overall?
One doesn’t have to be a brain surgeon to realise that ultimately this development would mean even relatively small CMOS sensors would be able to compete on a more equally playing field to their larger brethren. Although this would be especially true for a cropped i.e. Four Third (43rd) sensor it would equally apply to say a Trans X APS-C sensor?
Although Panasonic appears initially to have tied itself to a 20mp Sony produced Four Third sensor as debut in the new GX8 it would be most surprising if this new organic sensor doesn’t appear in future Panasonic cameras not mention future Olympus MFT cameras?
As for Fuji , maybe a 24mp APS-C organic sensor with Fuji’s unique trans X design which has been rumoured may actually debut in the forth coming X-Pro 2 camera?
Just as exciting would be the introduction of smaller organic sensors (say 1″ ones) in high end compacts and future bridge cameras.
Organic sensors promise much, lets hope the rumours are true
Mark Baynham (September 2015)