This is intriguing. Aptina, known to be a sensor supplier to Nikon, has made a new 4K sensor. And it's available to anyone!
Aptina have created a new general purpose 4K Cmos sensor that can do 60p in 4K mode and 120fps in 1080p mode. (There’s also a rather intriguing looking widescreen mode at 400fps too!) It’s called the AR1411HS and is a 1-inch sized sensor (13.2 x 8.8mm), which is something about the size of a third of a Super 35mm sized sensor and just slightly bigger than a Super 16mm sized frame.
It's creating a lot of speculation as they are a supplier of sensors to Nikon who already make a series of 1-inch sensor sized cameras (The Nikon 1 System series of cameras). Nikon have recently been taking an interest in DSLR video, so a sensor that can shoot 4k video and 120fps in 1080p seems very exciting if Nikon were to continue down that path. In fact the sensor has the potential for creating very interesting combined stills and motion cameras too as it can take 14MP stills at the same time as continuing to record 1080p video uninterrupted.
It also now means we are seeing some pretty serious readily available 4K sensors which obviously implies that companies can now create 4k products with off the shelf parts rather than having custom sensors created for them. I suspect this will lead to more 4k products with smaller price tags in the near future.
The 1inch sized sensor might also find a home in new broadcast cameras as an alternative to 2/3inch sized broadcast cameras perhaps.
It’s worth noting that Aptina also worked with NHK to produce the sensors for the prototype Super High Vision 8k TV cameras, so they are no strangers to creating very high resolution video sensors.
It's amazing how fast camera technology is developing!