Nikon Japan has been busy creating the next generation of 1″ stacked sensors. The latest is a 17.84 Megapixel stacked design with hyper-fast memory interconnect that shoots up to 1000fps at 4k resolution which is no slouch. The sensor is still in development but it will be a possibility to see it in a camera that could compete head to head with the Sony RX series which now dominate prosumer P&S sales. It was announced at ISSCC (International Solid-State Circuits Conference) held in San Francisco, February 15, 2021.
The sensor works by shooting in buckets of 16 x 16 pixels as one block, and then subsequently 264 x 264 pixel blocks (4224 x 4224 pixels) are conformed to form the final image at nearly 18MP. It is unclear at this time if 4k video will be a windowed resolution or a supersampled then reduced final image from the full sensor. The market for this sensor goes beyond consumer cameras as it is aimed at other applications like self-driving cars and production lines.
Nikon Stacked CMOS Sensor Specifications:
|Manufacturing process||65 nm BSI + 65 nm CMOS stacking process|
|Image sensor||1-inch CMOS image sensor|
|Pixel size||2.7 × 2.7 μm|
|frame rate||1000 fps|
|Dynamic range||110 dB (at 1000 fps)
134 dB (at 60 fps)
|Total number of pixels||Approximately 17.84 million pixels (4224 x 4224 pixels)|
BSI Sensors are notoriously better at low light applications than regular CMOS and this sensor shoudl be capable of delivering excellent low light capabilities that are very much in demend for high speed applications.
Images taken at 1000 frames per second with the BSI stacked sensor!
The sensor is specifically designed for HDR capture and it can do so on the fly by using the frame buffer to blend exposures and increase dynamic range far above what a single 1″ chip exposure could ever deliver. As with any camera that shoots high speed, the higher the frame rate the less dynamic range that will be avaliable. However the sensor here is able to deliver very comparable results from 60fps to 1000fps in 4k.
HDR is comprised of blended exposures in the sensor delivering a superior dynamic range of 110 dB (at 1000 fps) & 134 dB (at 60 fps):
The sensor remains in development but it is estimated to be ready for market this year or early 2022. As for a camera developed by Nikon that will have it included, no information has been mde avalable to corroborate that. With smartphones taking an ever greater piece of the camera market, manufacturers will need to deliver quality and features that smartphones will seldom replicate. In our view, high speed quality video at over 240fps in 1080p and 4k will probably be a feature that will peak the interest of many and allow for camera sales to increase in such a model. -HSC