Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/11/21

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Digital back for Leica lenses
From: "Sam Krneta" <>
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 11:27:20 -0600


Thanks for all the great info. I'm intrigued by the Faveon sensor
technology, (actually digital technology as a whole) unfortunately none
of the big boys seem to have picked up on it. I don't think that Sigma
can really do it justice and Nikon and Canon seem to have chosen their
high end chips, at least for the near term. I assume the physics behind
that technology would be three fold in comparison. What is the general
buzz in the industry in regards to the X3? Will we be seeing the rapid
jump in pixel count with the X3 as we did with the two other sensor
systems? Are there 6, 10, or even 20 megapixel X3's in the works, or is
it even feasible? Will we see it or variations of it in the future? What
is your gut feeling regarding the business (CCD) as it is today? Is
there anything BIG around the corner, or is today's technology what
we'll be seeing in products for the foreseeable future? Again, thanks
for all your patience with all my questions, I think I'll do a little
poking around on Kodak's site.

Regarding your work I can't think of a more interesting field to be in
today or at least in the past 5 years or so. It must be very rewarding
to see all this digital technology hitting the main stream. What
applications do you design for?

Sam Krneta

- -----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Austin
Sent: Thursday, November 21, 2002 9:57 AM
Subject: RE: [Leica] Digital back for Leica lenses

Hi Sam,

> Does that mean that we are nearing a threshold in CCD development as
> it
> relates to size, using today's format benchmarks? At what resolution
> would the laws of physics start working against the 35mm format?

They already DO work against it.  It's a matter of balancing a number of
things.  First and foremost is you pretty much need %100 sensor yield.
other words, all the sensor elements in the array have to be good.  The
larger the sensor (as in number of sensor elements) the higher the
that some of them will be bad.  Second is balancing sensor element size
noise.  The smaller the sensor elements, the higher the noise.  You can
a lot more sensor elements per unit area, but you get noise images.  For
video, that is fine, but for one shot imaging like photography, it's not

> Are we ever going to see
> 40
> megapixel CCDs based on the 35mm format?

That's an easy thing to calculate.  Assume a 24mm x 36mm (864 sq mm)
array size:

5u (25u sq) sensor elements given an array of: 34M
7u (49u sq) sensor elements given an array of: 17M
9u (81u sq) sensor elements given an array of: 11M
12u (144u sq) sensor elements given an array of: 6M

And 5u sensors aren't going to be that great, at least in current
technology...but it certainly is possible.  Processes for making CCDs
getting better....but along with the physical individual sensor size as
issue, it's getting the wires to/from the sensor elements that becomes

> I once read that digital had
> to
> get to 40 megapixel to equal some of the finer grained 35mm films,

Well, that seems about right, but film grains and sensor elements are
different animals.  One is random in both size and position, and the
is fixed in both size and position.  Apples and oranges.  Plus, digital
imaging sensors, with the exception of Foveon, don't have three planes
color...only one plane, with %50 Green sensors, %25 Blue and %25 Red.
don't confuse number of sensor elements with pixels, they are NOT the
except in the Foveon, which uses a tri-sensor element.

> BTW: How do you know so much about digital?

I have been designing digital imaging systems for over 25 years ;-)

> Any good websites for
> someone to learn the basics, something like a CCD Design 101?

Funny enough, Kodak.  They have a couple of papers on CCD imagers.  Try
poking around their web site in the digital imaging sensor area, and if
can't find them let me know, and I'll email them to you.



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