Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Canon PowerShot with CMOS sensor: SLR-like vs. SLR or instead?

SMOS for next Canon S5So far all my claims about SLR-like cameras such as well-known Canon S5 (look through Canon PowerShot S5 IS’s pros and cons were based on the small size of a sensor and, as a result, on a big image noise and low sensitivity. But recently I have learned from Reuters that Canon inc. are ready to invest $451 million for building a new CMOS production factory in Japan. It may seem strange to you that a fact about new Canon’s factory in Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo is important for this site. However, the next Reuters remark can be interesting for all digital camera fans, be it Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony or whatever: ‘The new plant will have roughly the same annual production capacity as another factory in Kanagawa which can churn out 3 million CMOS chips a year. The CMOS chips will be used in both single lens reflex (SLR) models as well as in some compact models. Canon's compact cameras have to date used a different type of image sensor called a charge-coupled device (CCD). Canon has procured CCDs from other suppliers, such as Sony Corp., but it has been developing CMOS sensors for compact models as a part of its strategy of bringing key component production in-house to lower costs’. The news about the future generation of low-cost Canon digital cameras makes me happy. It’s a progressive method to attack the modern digital market.
Canon 5D CMOSSLR-like camera with CMOS sensor
The fact that Canon inc. is ready to use CMOS sensors in some compact cameras is very important. Canon has worked on the semiconductor process for many years and is concerned with in-house development and production of high-grade advanced devices. The most important aspect of CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) sensor performance is sensitivity (signal-to-noise ratio), to which the noise removal technology developed by Canon is applied. CMOS sensor line of Canon ranges from APS-C, size 22.2 x 14.8mm with 8 million pixels Canon Rebel XT CMOS(Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT) and APC-H, size 28.1 x 18.7mm with 10.1 million pixels (Canon EOS-1D Mark III) to 35 mm full-frame size sensors (36 x 24 mm) with 16.7 million pixels (EOS-1Ds Mark II). Maybe it’s interesting that Mark II’ full-frame sensor offers an area 34 times bigger than the size of sensors for digital compacts.
If you look through my posts about SLR-like cameras, you can see that ultra-zoom’ main disadvantage, in my opinion, is the small sensor size and as consequence the big sensor noise. But I think that with APS-C size 22.2 x 14.8mm sensor we won’t have preciseCanon XTi CMOS Canon S5 or S3. And we can get a new level of SLR-like cameras with a great sensitivity and low noise images or, if one is fortunate, with a small price. For example, such names as Canon PowerShot S7 APS. But it can become a trouble for my favorite SLR cameras. And that will be a problem for other compact and SLR-like cameras manufacturers as well.For more look through The summary table of the best SLR-like camera specifications.
Low-cost HD camcorder from Canon
On the other hand, the fact that the new factory in Kanagava can churn out 3 million CMOS chips a year is important not only for photographers. It is good for HD shooting, because Canon HV20 is just one of the first Canon camcorders which enables to characterize Canon designed and manufactured CMOS image sensor. For more look through Puppet Sanyo Xacti HD2 vs clever Canon HV20 or groovy JVC GZ-HD7: it's time to buy a HD-camcorder or wait?. In the HV20, the CMOS sensor reproduces high-resolution images at 1920 x 1080 resolutions with full HD information in video images. And, what is more, the CMOS sensor provides outstanding image capture in scant light conditions or in vibrant images with deep, rich, accurate color and natural-looking tones similar to what you would obtain with 3CCD camcorders. Unfortunately that HV20 (look at 3 Canon’s HD camcorders: HV10, HV20 and HR10: is only PowerShot TX1 still groovy?) costs more than $1000 but with the new factory and with 3 million CMOS chips in year we can see a new low-cost HD camcorder from Canon. It’s not bad news, I think.


Courtney said...

I'm looking at the Panasonic DMC-FZ50 for my first SLR-like camera. However, I'm highly concerned about the sensor/noise issue. Does anyone know what kind of time frame we're talking about for the next generation of sensors hitting the consumer market? I'm thinking that maybe I should wait a while longer before making a purchase...

fototramp said...

Panasonic DMC-FZ50 has larger sensor size 1/1.8 " (7.18 x 5.32 mm) than Canon S5 or Sony H7 / H9 (1/2.5”) and as a result better signal/noise. But if you need more, look at Sony DSC R1 with CMOS sensor. For more: Canon vs. Sony: 5 billion more for better ultra-zoom with CMOS sensor
Please, send me your opinion after purchasing.