Nikon’s entry into the camera sensor business could be a smart move.
Things haven’t been going great for Nikon over the last few years. The company mistakenly thought Mirrorless cameras would never take off. They bet their hedge funds on DSLRs, and it backfired. Now, though, things do seem to be getting better for the company. Recent restructuring and plant relocations have seen their stock prices jump in value. On top of that, Nikon has just announced a crazy new camera sensor that could really turn their fortunes around. Could Nikon end their reliance on Sony camera sensors? Let’s talk about this after the break.
So, what’s all the noise about, and why is this such a big deal? Nikon has been a slave to Sony for a long time when it comes to camera sensors. The fact that they have been working on camera sensors behind closed doors is a huge deal. Nikon will still likely have to use Sony camera sensors for a while longer. Still, this new camera sensor, which is a tech demo of sorts, could be the start of a very bright Nikonian future.
Impressive Is an Understatement
We first heard about this sensor from a post on Image Sensors World. After taking a look, we decided to dig deeper into this new sensor tech. It’s impressive! The 1-inch sensor, which has been designed for mobile and automotive cameras, boasts some incredible specs. It’s capable of shooting at 1,000 frames per second.
It has local dimming on the sensor itself, which will help create ridiculous amounts of dynamic range, and the pixel sites themselves are super tiny. This means that if this chip is ever scaled up to, say, Full-Frame camera size, it will pack a ton of megapixels. The 1-inch sensor has just under 18 Megapixels, can record 4K, and it is a stacked BIS model. And breathe: that’s a lot to take in. While we might not see this sensor in a traditional camera any time soon, the future for it is very bright.
Why You Should Care About This and Future Nikon Camera Sensors
This new sensor is revolutionary; there are no two ways about it. The sensor features local dimming. This is tech that modern TVs use to create selected areas of light and dark. It’s the reason why newer LED and OLED TV panels have such bright whites and such inky dark blacks. This tech is built right into this tiny sensor. Look at the detail it was able to capture in the image above. Mind blown! This is just one of the reasons why this sensor is so great. Then look at the other features like incredible frame rates and pixel density. You can start to imagine what kind of beastly camera Nikon could create when they scale this tech up.
Super Cameras Could Be Coming
It’s very possible that Nikon could create a mega camera like the Sony a1 that does it all. Incredible burst rates. Insane dynamic range, high resolution, and so on. Or Nikon could create a whole line of cameras with each camera focusing on just one aspect of this sensor. One camera that boasts incredible dynamic range. Another camera that has crazy amounts of megapixels, and another that will shoot speedy bursts. This is why this sensor is so important. It could open the gateway for Nikon to create bleeding-edge cameras that blow everyone else away. It also means they can end their reliance on Sony sensors. That will be huge.
For now, we’ll have to accept that this 1-inch sensor is destined for phones, automotive use, and other specialized applications. Still, this announcement from Nikon fills us with joy. Why? Because Nikon is innovating again. It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to say that. Are you excited about the new camera sensor from Nikon? What do you think could come down the pipeline in the future? Let us know in the comment section below.