To mark the occasion of the new year, our editor has asked me to come up with some predictions for the coming twelve months
Recently I've been expressing the view that all cameras are pretty much the same, because they all use the similar technology (give or take) for their sensors. I don't mean to be unnecessarily cruel about the work of camera manufacturers – taking an electronic component such as an imaging sensor and making it into a usable tool is far from trivial. Still, the absolute performance of cameras is determined by what you can get off the lump of silicon behind the lens
Most large-sensor cameras use a Bayer colour filter pattern to allow full colour images to be output - after "debayering". This entire process is now pretty routine but unfortunately what is also routine is the amount of light lost through the colour filter process. Less light means more noise, and noise is what ultimately limits the low-light capabilities all cameras
As we saw in my previous article on sensor technology, we can now build sensors with enormous numbers attached to them - if not trivially, at least reliably. Given that current 4K sensors are more than adequate to replace 35mm film in terms of sheer resolution, we need to be careful about turning this into a numbers game.
Over the weekend we brought you the first images that were from the new RED Dragon sensor. We thought they looked sensational, and said so, but before everyone (including us) gets carried away, it's worth injecting a note of caution into the frenzy that surrounds this new sensor