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(SR2) Strangest A7rII rumor so far: Two “testers” said it has curved Full Frame sensor.


Sony curved sensor image via Spectrum.

First a recap: The A7000 and the A7rII have been rumored to be released in early 2015. But so far it seems that Sony had “production issues” on those cameras and the release keeps being pushed back in the hope they will fix these issues in the meantime. In the case of the A7000 we think to know the issue has to do with extreme overheating. The latest we heard from trusted sources who usually get right info from Sony is that the A7000 is at least coming within June. Please note that I got this kind of information from different good sources who shared correct info in the past. But this doens’t mean Sony can change their mind and schedule for a number of reasons we don’t know yet.

A7rII: I now got a very strange rumor from two different new sources. This means that you have to take them really as a very “wild rumor”. But sometimes wild rumors become true (A7S with half million ISO and Autofocus Zeiss Batis line were two of them). The two sources met official Sony A7rII testers. And they have been told in an “Informal” conversations that this will be the first Sony FF camera having a curved sensor. Now, I have to say I would be extremely surprised if the rumor turns out to be true! So far I have only found patents describing such a FF curved sensor for a fixed lens RX like camera. I don’t even know if current FE lenses would work on such a camera and if yes how Sony has solved that problem. One of the sources said that the FF curved sensor allows increased corner sharpness performance with all third part and current FE lenses.
P.S.: So far the only “real” Sony camera using such a sensor is the [shoplink 37134 ebay]Sony kw1 selfie cam[/shoplink].

Recap of curved sensor news:
First real world Image of the curved sensor from Sony (SAR article here).  RX2 with 35mm f/1.8 lens and curved sensor (SAR article here).

VLSI Symposia tipsheet (via ISW) explained better how this sensor works:

Curved CMOS Image System: When light transmitted by a lens strikes a perpendicular target such as a CMOS image sensor, it forms a circle of light called an image circle. It’s difficult for a flat (planar) CMOS image sensor to deliver high image sensitivity at high resolution (highly scaled pixel pitch) because of the fundamental physical limit known as quantum efficiency. To break through that physical limit and to achieve higher sensitivity anywhere within the image circle at higher resolution, Sony built and will describe an imaging system that comprises a hemispherically curved, back-illuminated CMOS image sensor (BIS) and integrated lens. It doubles the sensitivity at the edge of the image circle while increasing sensitivity at its center by a factor of 1.4, with a 5x reduction of dark current (Jd) compared to a planar BIS. Moreover, a common problem known as lens field curvature aberration (Afc) is mitigated by the curved sensor itself, and so the curved BIS enables higher system sensitivity with a brighter lens with a smaller F number (Fn) than is possible with a planar BIS. In addition, by controlling the tensile stress of the BIS chip to produce a curved shape in the first place, the energy band-gap (Eg) is widened and a lower Jd is achieved. (Paper T2.1, “A Novel Curved CMOS Image Sensor Integrated with Imaging System,” K. Itonaga et al., Sony)

In Summary:
Back in June 2014 Sony said they are ready to produce curved sensors in mass scale (Article here). And there are plenty of patents showing how it works. But so far we only saw them “applied” on a fixed lens RX camera. But if Sony really managed it to make it work on the A7rII and current FE lenses than chapeau. This yes would have been worth the long wait for the A7rII. But for now let’s be clear that this might only be a dream for now…

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Reminder (SR = Sonyrumor):
SR1=probably fake rumor
SR2=rumor from unknown sources
SR3=50% chance it is correct
SR4=rumor from known sources
SR5=almost certainly correct!

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