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November 17, 2014
Posted in news

Another Sony’s first: Stacked sensor with plane phase detection announced!

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Sony keeps bringing many innovation on the sensor world. Today they announced the worls’s first Stacked Sensor with Image Plane Phase Detection! Here is the press text and the explanation of how this works:

Sony Announces the Exmor RS™, the Industry’s First*1 Stacked CMOS Image Sensor with an Image Plane Phase Detection Signal Processing Function for High-Speed AF

Tokyo, Japan – November 17, 2014 – Sony Corporation (hereafter “Sony”) today announces the commercialization of the Exmor RS™ IMX230 for smartphone cameras and other devices requiring increasingly sophisticated image-capture functionality. With 21 effective megapixels, this stacked CMOS imaging sensor features compact size, higher image quality, and improved functionality. This is the industry’s first CMOS image sensor for smartphones to be equipped with an onboard image plane phase detection AF signal processing function to achieve excellent focus tracking of fast-moving subjects. The High Dynamic Range (HDR) function, which captures both backgrounds and subjects clearly and vividly even in high-contrast scenes such as backlit locations, now supports high-resolution still images and 4K video recording. This new CMOS image sensor will ship in April 2015.
  • Exmor RS IMX230 stacked CMOS image sensor
Model name Shipment date (planned) Sample price
Type 1/2.4 21 effective megapixels*2 stacked CMOS image sensor
IMX230
April, 2015 2,100 yen
*2: Based on the method for specifying effective pixels in image sensors

Rather than the traditional back-illuminated CMOS image sensor’s support substrate, the Exmor RS™ uses a chip consisting of signal processing circuits, on top of which is stacked a pixel section consisting of back-illuminated pixels for an original stacked construction. This kind of stacked CMOS imaging sensor, which delivers superior image quality and high functionality in a compact size, was first commercialized by Sony in 2012.

The new IMX230 is a type 1/2.4 stacked CMOS image sensor with a significantly improved 21 effective megapixels, and it is also equipped with a newly developed signal processing function. These features fulfill the growing needs in smartphone photography for high-speed autofocus (image plane phase detection AF) and clear, high-quality capture of bright and dark areas even in backlit scenes (HDR imaging). Image plane phase detection AF is a technology used in mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras, and HDR imaging now supports not only 4K (4096 x 2160) high-resolution videos but also still images. Sony also plans to extend the lineup by adding a 16 effective megapixels stacked CMOS image sensor equipped with image plane phase detection AF and HDR imaging functions by the end of the next fiscal year.

IMX230 Main Features

Image plane phase detection AF
This function enables the camera to capture quick-moving subjects and makes accurate, high-speed autofocus tracking possible when shooting still images and videos, such as kids and animals constantly on the move and other fast subjects including athletes at sporting events. Dedicated image plane phase detection AF pixels are discretely incorporated into the screen of the image sensor, and the distance to the subject (range) and lens position for focusing are calculated based on the information obtained from these dedicated pixels. Up to 192 AF points can be used. All of this is instantaneously carried out by the stacked CMOS image sensor’s internal image processing circuits, making it easy to enjoy shooting photos and videos of fast-moving subjects on a smartphone or other device.
  • Image plane phase detection AF function using 192 AF points
High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging
This function enables the camera to record still images and videos that reproduce details and rich gradations in the highlights and shadows of high-contrast scenes, such as those found in backlit environments. This is made possible by setting two different exposure conditions and applying the appropriate signal processing to the image information obtained from each condition. Through improved pixel placement and signal processing, this new HDR imaging function is now compatible with both video recording and, by popular demand, still image capture, the latter a feature that was not available previously*3. The enhanced resolution and generation of images with a wide dynamic range enable a high level of visibility and the production of images with vivid backgrounds and subjects, even in backlit conditions. This function is also compatible with 4K (4096 x 2160) high-resolution video recording.
*3 The HDR movie function announced on January 23, 2012 supported video recording only.

HDR imaging sample (right) with the IMX230 type 1/2.4 21 effective megapixels*2 stacked CMOS image sensor

  • Traditional HDR movieNew HDR imaging

    Sample using the IMX135 3.2 effective megapixels*4Sample using the IMX230 21 effective megapixels
*4 When using the HDR movie function, the effective pixel count is reduced to 1/4 of its original number.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-11-17 um 11.22.30

Notes:

Exmor RS and Exmor RS logo are trademarks of Sony Corporation.

via Image Sensor World.

November 17, 2014
Posted in news

Sony TidBits…


24 Hours in Alaska
from Ben Klea on Vimeo. (Sony A7s)

When Price is Not an Issue: A Roundup of High-End Photo Gear at BHphoto.
Great Sony Clock site.
One Million Down – with SONY Action Cam (ActionCameraRumors).
Sony α5100 tested at Photoreview.
Zeiss 16-35mm FE test at Kasaypa.
Fotodiox Lens Mount Adapter for Sony A7 Review (Movingelectrons).
16-35mm Zeiss FE test at Fengniao.
White A6000 announced in Japan (Sony).
IBELUX 40mm F0.85 to be released in November in Japan (DC.watch).

Riaan R Roux:High Speed Sync studio strobe to Sony A99 up to 8000th second: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWJ0oA49vvU

Peter:For those interested to see how the Sony a7 or Sony RX1 perform for relative amateur family, everyday and landscape use, my blog (kathmandustories.com) contains plenty of photos shot with both cameras (and in earlier entries the Sony Nex5n).  Pictures in the latest entry – Langtang Redux – were taken on the 35 f2 RX1, and on the a7 with either the 28-70 f3.5-5.6, the Zeiss 55 f1.8 or the Sony G 70-200 f4.  When hiking I have the RX1 in a small padded case strapped to the hip belt of my rucksack (I actually use a Granite Gear ice cream case, intended for brining a Ben & Jerry’s to a picnic, but the RX1 fits perfectly).  Easy access combined with some padded protection – perfect for most shots.  When I have more time I use the a7 which is otherwise packed away.  I also use a 3 Legged Thing Brian tripod with the Airhed 0 ball head – fits the slim profile of these cameras perfectly and is a versatile and stable mount for landscape and long exposures.  Weighs a lot less than my Manfrotto, although the Manfrotto is a bit more stable and quicker to set up – the 700g difference is too much so the 3LT comes with on hikes.  Overall, I love the light weight and versatility of the set up.  I went for this over a Canon or Nikon, despite the lack of lenses initially, because the bodies and lenses are all at least 30% lighter if not more, and I like to travel light (especially when I have a 15kg 3 year old on my back too!). Hope you enjoy the photos. http://kathmandustories.com/2014/11/07/langtang-redux/

Daniel:So I had a recent project which I thought you may find interesting. I was recently graced with the opportunity to film a short with Daniel Ilabaca who is one of the top parkour athletes (traceurs) in the world. In this short Daniel traverses through the Los Angeles landscape in ways and places that are rarely seen. It is a unique glimpse into a city that everyone knows but that few have known like this. 90% of this short was shot on the Sony FS700. It has been my go to camera for actions sports for a couple years now. Daniel Ilabaca – L.A. Found http://youtu.be/p9m-ujtNkHs

Jorge: “2014 ZeissImages.com Contest.
It’s that time of the year again. The 2014 ZeissImages.com contest has officially begun.  Just like the previous contests we have hosted,  A big thanks to Richard Schleuning  of Carl Zeiss, Camera Lens Division for providing the winning prize once again.  This time the winner can choose one lens from the following list.
Distagon 2/28 ZE or ZF.2
Distagon 2/35 ZE or ZF.2
Planar 1.4/50 ZE or ZF.2
Planar 1.4/85 ZE or ZF.2
Makro-Planar 2/50 ZE or ZF.2
Touit 2.8/12 E or X
Touit 1.8/32 E or X
Touit 2.8/50M E or X
Loxia 2/50 E
Loxia 2/35 E
This year’s theme will be “In the Open”.  This could be any subject photographed outdoors where the surroundings blend well with the main subject and contribute to the overall image.  For example,  a nice landscape where the overall scene is the main subject, a cow grazing on a field where the surroundings make the cow seem interesting rather than boring, a portrait where bokeh from the surroundings  enhance the subject, a fire fighter surrounded by a blazing building. Being captivated by the image is what we want.
Try and avoid portraits where you are only drawn to the main subject and ignore the rest of the frame. Avoid macro work and the proverbial cornucopias.  Avoid heavy post processing that makes a photo look unnatural.
I think you get the picture now J The objective is to maximize use of the entire frame and captivate the viewer.
You are allowed three entries under the category 2014 – Contest.  This time, the contest is open to Zeiss users and non- Zeiss users as well. This will give all photographers a chance to own a coveted Zeiss lens. The only catch is that whatever camera you use must accept a Zeiss lens.
The contest will close on Dec 31, 2014 23:59:59 GMT and the judges will include staff members of Popflash Photo and ZeissImages.com

November 16, 2014
Posted in news

Shooting in 4K with David McLain and the a7S

Sony posted that new video titled “Shooting in 4K with David McLain and the a7S”. It’s a behind the Scenes with National Geographic photographer and filmmaker, David McLain, as he captures the beauty and culture of Brazil during the World Cup with the Sony a7S Mirrorless Camera.

Sony A7s store links:
Sony A7s in USA/CA at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, Sony USA, Sony Canada.
Sony A7s in Eu at Sony DE, UK, ES, FR, IT, NL, BE, AT, CH, SE, NO, FI, PL. And Wex UK.
A7s Gariz leather case in Black (Click here), Brown (Click here), Red (Click here) and Orange (Click here).

November 16, 2014
Posted in news

This week SAR readers photos selection.


Josselin Cornou·
Shot with A7r and 17-40mm. Three exposure, directly from an helicopter

1) Submit your picture with a message and picture here: facebook.com/sonyalpharumors or on the SonyAlphaForum image section.
2) Like and comment the pictures from other readers here: facebook.com/sonyalpharumors/photos_stream?tab=photos and on SonyAlphaForum.
3) A selection of most liked pictures by the community and by me SAR admin will be posted weekly on SAR.

Note: When sending a pic feel free to also add a link to your site to promote yourself!

Read the rest of this entry →

November 15, 2014
Posted in deals, news

New great book from Sony Artisan Vivienne Gucwa (Interviewed by Brian Smith).

cover

What you see here on top is the cover from the latest book of Sony Artisan Vivienne Gucwa. You can buy the book at Amazon US (Click here). Almost all images have been taken with the Sony A99. To learn more about the person and her work click over at Brian Smith’s interview with Vivienne.  About the camera she uses:

The majority of images in the book were taken with the Sony A99 which was the camera I used for a large portion of my photography once I went full-time as a photographer. I recently switched to mirrorless cameras this year which has been nice for my back and arms in terms of the weight of the gear. It’s also been great in terms of shooting photography with a higher level of image quality than before. Many of my clients request large scale prints of my work. Being able to shoot with the A7R which is a 36 MP camera that produces images with a striking amount of detail has made me very happy and has made my clients extremely happy as well.

Her story has also been featured on TheGuardian (plenty of pictures can be seen there). And that’s her thumblr page with the list of gear she uses.

Thanks Vivienne and Brian for sharing this story!

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