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FUJI SENSOR


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#16 CASTELLO D

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:02 PM

Another question on the Fuji X PRO 1 and XE 1,does either camera work with studio lights in a studio?



#17 David Schneider

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 08:03 PM


Another question on the Fuji X PRO 1 and XE 1,does either camera work with studio lights in a studio?


Obviously any camera that has a hot shoe can use a device like a Pocket Wizard to trip strobes or use an on-camera or in camera flash to trip strobes with optical slaves.

Edited by David Schneider, 08 February 2013 - 08:04 PM.


#18 Larry N. Bolch

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:38 PM

The X-Pro1 has a traditional PC flash connector built in.



#19 GLYA

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:56 AM

Great contribution Mike S, i'm impressed



#20 nixda

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:32 AM

With regard to the sensor question, in disassembly of the X-Pro1 it was confirmed the sensor was made by Sony.

 

Very interesting read. Would you have a link to a description of the process or any supporting information regarding the statement above that I lifted from your post? I'm quite curious.



#21 MikeS

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 05:50 PM

Confirmation came in a round about way through some detective work and finally a video of the disassembly of an X-Pro1. By comparing a known Sony 16mp sensor to the image stopped repeatedly during 5:34-5:36 of this disassembly video,

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it is possible to conclude the widely available Sony 16mb was used.
 
The Pentax K series uses a Sony 16mp sensor. It is shown clearly at

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. Note the pattern of the tiny, thin gold traces extending from the edges of the sensor. The pattern is the same in both cases. From this alone one can conclude prima facie they are both Sony 16mp sensors. The only weakness would be to argue these offsets are NOT unique to this sensor. Such a particular counter argument is highly unlikely to disprove the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Differences in output traces are usual in different silicon media used for the same purpose from different wafer foundries. Most are however, encased in a hard shell and we never see them. The traces and surface of a sensor much remain exposed, certainly helpful in identification in this instance.
 
On careful inspection, the outside perimeter of the K5 photo mounting frame also has the two indentations on one long edge to the bottom of the image. In the Fujifilm disassembly, it is difficult to see this just until when the individual places the sensor on both left and right finger tips and quickly rotates the unit. One has to freeze just right to see the outlined indentions shadow in the video. Due to the relatively poorer quality of the video compared to the still image, some viewers, or their monitors, may not pick this up without repeated effort, but the shadows made are present for an instant. But, the traces are readily apparent. We have a Sony sensor, no big deal.
 
********************************************
Perhaps some back story is appropriate. 
********************************************
 
At present there is no knowledge of FujiFilm running a large scale wafer foundry. There has been speculation that because of the wide use of the Sony 16mp sensor, it was used. Remember, at the chip level, it is not a trivial matter to produce sensors. That is, to go from the design to the physical thing itself. It is one thing to use a software simulation in a supercomputer to design firmware around it, quite another to actually manufacture just the sensor, what is a very complex analog-digital converter. That is all the sensor is: Anlog photons to digital electrons, yes, a scary thought.  Sony, already known for their wafer foundry plus the current success of their 16mb APS-C sensor technology, was always the prime suspect.
 
Also, at some point, someone threw out Toshiba as the maker. One has to know that Toshiba has a large sensor foundry, but has no record of 16mp APS-C sensor production. They make a lot of smaller sensors, and have an ultra-high density 20mp sub-MFT (Micro Four Thirds) product for small consumer cameras coming on line soon.  There are other players such as Canon, but none known for wide commercial availability of a 16mp APS-C CMOS sensor. So, speculation fell back to the widely used Sony unit.
 
Even though Fujifilm is not a wafer foundry player, that does not mean the research and development of sensor technology is not pursued by Fijifilm. They have published sensor research. As an example there is "Proposal of New Organic CMOS Image Sensor for Reduction in Pixel Size" published in

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. Please note the wide variety of project undertaken by Fijifilm in any particular time period. It gives some indication of the scope of Fijifilm activities. Number's 53-57 of their yearly technology review are on line.
 
At the moment, most of the basic research being done in photographic sensor technology is centered on novel approaches to high pixel density solutions for smaller than MFT (Micro Four Thirds) size sensors. Larger sensors have the luxury of larger light gathering pixels, with attendant advantages in a number of areas that concern us as photographers. These larger sensors, MFT, APS-C and larger do not have quite the intensity of research at the moment, rather the trend is to 1) make them bigger,  2) improve their function (focus peaking, for example) or 3) continued development in firmware to take best advantage of these larger sensors.
 
One could argue small sensor, high pixel density research by Fujifilm and others might apply to also to MFT, APS-C and larger sensors make their pixel density greater. However, it is widely discussed that with present technology, a practical limit on sensor pixel density seems to have been reached in large sensor, APS-C and above, high quality cameras. MFT is a grey area, as we shall see.
 
On the other hand, cell phone cameras, small sensor consumer cameras and up to say the X20 or LX-7 cameras, improvements are being rapidly made. Again, much of these improvements are not applicable in large sensor design. We can expect to see similar kinds of developments for MFT from Panasonic in the future, but for the present, large pixels in large sensors are why large sensor cameras exist.  Subject to technological change, and may be soon or maybe later, but during the past four years of development to the first X-Pro1, this has been the rule.
 
Fujifilm wanted to make a statement with an high quality camera. They did it in what everyone agrees is a unique way and they did it by concentrating the third aspect: firmware. As stated in my previous post in this thread, that is the brilliant achievement, but not an achievement having anything especially to do with pure sensor design. The big story with the X-Trans Engine, how the data off the sensor is processed and the particular use of the pseudo random Color Filter Array in front of the sensor. Let us not confuse the word engine for the word sensor. This would be a fatal error in judgement. The sensor is only the tip of the iceberg.
 
To repeat the earlier post, the type or level of engineering cooperation between Fuiifilm and Sony  cannot be described in detail. Nor, is it particularly important. We can see that it is a sensor mounted on a mini-system board stamped Fujifilm and that sensor has the same trace lead pattern as the K-5 Sony sensor.


#22 nixda

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:07 PM

Mike,

 

I knew of evidence for the X-Trans being based on a SONY sensor but haven't heard as detailed an account as yours. What about the 24-MP sensor made by Toshiba in the Nikon 5200? Looks like Toshiba could still be a contender for manufacturing the X-Trans, at least theoretically based on capabilities, no?

In any case, I don't think anyone doubts Fuji didn't come up with the overall design. It would make complete economic sense to utilize an established, well-performing sensor as the basis for adding on their unique CFA and the data processing hardware and firmware.

Thanks again for the interesting insight.



#23 flysurfer

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:34 AM

Yes, it's a Sony, just like in the orginal X100. I heard about it in November 2011, a few months before the X-Pro1 was officially announced at last year's CES show. At that rime, there was severe flooding in Thailand, shutting down one of Sony's sensor production plants, affecting availability of several Sony cameras. This meant there was a real concern that the introduction of the X-Pro1 might have to be delayed and that the camera would not be available in numbers for several months. Basically, another Fukushima situation. Luckily, things didn't turn out that bad in the end.

Sony sensors are kind of the gold standard for larger sensor cameras these days. Nikon is using them in their most advanced DSLR cameras, too. I have heard that for the D800, Sony signed an agreement not to use the sensor for their own cameras for at least a year. So Nikon wanted exclusivity, and I am sure they had to pay for it.


Edited by flysurfer, 12 February 2013 - 01:08 AM.


#24 PhoTom

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:47 AM

There certainly seems to be a preponderance of evidence now that points in the direction of Sony.



#25 MikeS

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:00 AM

Thanks 'nixda'! (and to everyone for their kind words). I'm not really up on really that much of everything photographic, as will be seen again, I am sure.  My interest is in just the camera I own. Nikon Toshiba sensor 24mp large size I did not know about. It is fairly new, I gather.  I did see current news for smaller, high density version planned or nearing production. Well, Toshiba was a contender, but I think it is a Sony unit for being able to compare it physically.

 

Now - Never say never - I'm not afraid to be proven incorrect, mistaken or even just dumb wrong! It would not be the first time, that is for sure! In one sense, we could just replace Toshiba with Sony in this narrative and be good to go. I hope the basic narrative gives a feeling for the business structure, That was the main point. I have seen what I honestly believe is strong evidence that this is a Sony unit.

 

 

I will re-emphasize that the sensor itself, just that brick of etched silicon, is only the very start of a set of circuitry that has to get the information processed. Sensors have an electron (not electronic) buffer, I believe of 32 bits on each pixel. I was told that is a standard feature and these have to be pipelined off the sensor quickly onto a system board, stored and organized into array format for processing. That is the chain of design elements my chief scientist friend was careful to point out, "no single person understands it all" in the various details. "It is much too complicated." 
 

Perhaps to much is made of the words, "sensor design" in the scheme of things by us laypersons, when in fact the firmware is also a huge design responsibility. I gather so much so that using commercially available sensors streamlines the design effort with no negative effect on overall results. Why build your own sensor when there are units that work sitting on the shelf?

 

The only exception to this I can think of would be the placement of the micro lens array, which is an actually a layer part built into the sensor die process. The placement of these micro lenses can be adjusted to account for the optics of the camera lens design, if need be. This is exactly why Leica made the APS-C M8 and had to wait for to make a FF digital camera match their ancient M series lens design. Film is not near particular as digital cameras to the angle of light striking the back plane. Such a micro lens correction is just a customization feature of low impact to a sensor's design. It is more a re-tooling ($$) question.

 

Now "chicken or egg" question arrises with the Fujifim APS-C camera design. Does the short back plane distance and the ultra short back focus design of the X-Pro1/X-E1 system complement the existing sensor properties? Or the other way around? Or both? I really don't want to know the answer, because I already know something else: with the possible exception of the 18mm, all the Fujinon lens releases show remarkable edge to edge sharpness. This means the angle of light thrown to the edge of the image off the rear glass element of every lens so far fits the micro lens placement on the sensor. Not all that many digital camera/lens combinations can make that claim, never mind across the board. This consistency is a good achievement, part of what makes the X series cameras a quality product.

 

 

==m== 

 


#26 disign

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:47 AM

Confirmation came in a round about way through some detective work and finally a video of the disassembly of an X-Pro1. By comparing a known Sony 16mp sensor to the image stopped repeatedly during 5:34-5:36 of this disassembly video,

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it is possible to conclude the widely available Sony 16mb was used.
 
The Pentax K series uses a Sony 16mp sensor. It is shown clearly at

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. Note the pattern of the tiny, thin gold traces extending from the edges of the sensor. The pattern is the same in both cases. From this alone one can conclude prima facie they are both Sony 16mp sensors. The only weakness would be to argue these offsets are NOT unique to this sensor. Such a particular counter argument is highly unlikely to disprove the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Differences in output traces are usual in different silicon media used for the same purpose from different wafer foundries. Most are however, encased in a hard shell and we never see them. The traces and surface of a sensor much remain exposed, certainly helpful in identification in this instance.
 
On careful inspection, the outside perimeter of the K5 photo mounting frame also has the two indentations on one long edge to the bottom of the image. In the Fujifilm disassembly, it is difficult to see this just until when the individual places the sensor on both left and right finger tips and quickly rotates the unit. One has to freeze just right to see the outlined indentions shadow in the video. Due to the relatively poorer quality of the video compared to the still image, some viewers, or their monitors, may not pick this up without repeated effort, but the shadows made are present for an instant. But, the traces are readily apparent. We have a Sony sensor, no big deal.

.....
 
To repeat the earlier post, the type or level of engineering cooperation between Fuiifilm and Sony  cannot be described in detail. Nor, is it particularly important. We can see that it is a sensor mounted on a mini-system board stamped Fujifilm and that sensor has the same trace lead pattern as the K-5 Sony sensor.

 

Good find!

But some points had to be made.

This

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is definitely NOT the widely available 16 MP IMX071 sensor found in Pentax k-5, nikon d7000, Nikon d5100. See the dissassembly of

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or the marketing materials from Nikon.

Maybe it is a newer sensor made from Sony, but not the one found in K5 for sure.



#27 stuck

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 08:55 AM

Good find!

But some points had to be made.

This

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is definitely NOT the widely available 16 MP IMX071 sensor found in Pentax k-5, nikon d7000, Nikon d5100. See the dissassembly of

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or the marketing materials from Nikon.

Maybe it is a newer sensor made from Sony, but not the one found in K5 for sure.

 Funny - around my neck of the woods the consensus seems to be that the k-01 and k5 sensors are one and the same. Sample photos posted online seemed to support such a conjecture and the k-01 (ugly camera though it was) was touted as the cheapest way to get that stupendous Sony 16MP sensor. I have to say that I haven't seen hard proof one way or the other though.



#28 curveship

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:26 AM

The Pentax K series uses a Sony 16mp sensor. It is shown clearly at

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Thanks for that link.  You don't need a disassembly to compare pin patterns -- just take off your lens (in a clean environment, of course) and the pins are visible.  I just did that with my X-E1 and can say that its pin pattern is identical to the photo of the K-01 sensor.  Definitely the same Sony product.



#29 artuk

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:49 AM

Interesting post Larry.

 

I knew that the way the Japanese firms operated was much more cooperative than the USA/European model as I have dealt with them before. In some ways it makes it much easier to work with them as they usually have a partner firm that can supply but when they say No it is a definite No!.

 

I didnt know all the various interactions and manufacturers and branding crossovers.

Do you have a reference source for some of this manufacturer/brand information so I can have a browse ?

 

Larry is absolutely right.  Many large Japanese multinationals invest in each other (hold shares) as it is seen as a way of spreading risk - so Toyota have a share holding in Nissan, Sony hold shares in Olympus etc.

 

I know for a fact that Minolta lenses were manufactured by Minolta in Japan and Malaysia, whilst other lenses in their range were Tamron and Tokina designs made under license.  Cosina group also did some work for them.  Of course, Minolta also made bodies and lenses for Leica (R system) very qietly under license, and openly collaborated on the Leica CL and later the CLE.  Sony, who hold shares in Tamron, now manufacture the same Minolta lenses and new ones all over Asia, from a variety of design sources, including "Zeiss" branded.  

 

That is one of the reasons that people who have strong marque brand snobbery are only showing their ignorance about the providence of "brand" lenses.

 

As for the original question, it is highly likely the X Trans sensor is the same Sony 16Mp device used in a whole host of cameras, just without an AA filter and with a different colour array.  It is interesting to note that now Sony have made a new version with PDAF capablity in the NEX cameras, Fuji have announced the same thing.  You can draw your own conclusions.



#30 artuk

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:55 AM


Sony sensors are kind of the gold standard for larger sensor cameras these days. Nikon is using them in their most advanced DSLR cameras, too. I have heard that for the D800, Sony signed an agreement not to use the sensor for their own cameras for at least a year. So Nikon wanted exclusivity, and I am sure they had to pay for it.

 

That fits rather well with a Sony rumour that they will introduce a "higher end" DSLR about their existing 24Mp A-99 this year (obviously above the "higher end" pricing point of the A99)