Sunday, August 15, 2010

Speculating the Canon G12 CMOS Sensor

It turns out, my hunch was rather accurate. Canonrumors reported the rumor a few days ago, giving the G12 the following specs:

- CMOS Sensor (10mpx BSI?)
- HD Video (1080p?)

... and ofcourse the S95 will follow suit with a similar spec.

Looking at the specs, I cannot help but speculate at what could be Canon's strategy in the new G12...

Traditionally, Canon do not create custom sensors for their PnS range like they do for their dSLRs, though I really hope this will change. If it is indeed a 10mpx CMOS sensor, then this should be the same one from Sony used in the IXUS 300HS/SD4000. This IMX050CQK is a 1/2.3" sensor which seems to have roughly the same high ISO performance as the 1/1.7" CCD from S90/G11.

The only added advantage is that it supports HD Video and faster fps in still mode, due to the faster CMOS readout speed, while consuming less power at that. Since this is a smaller sensor, Canon could create a faster lens at the same size or reduce the overall size of the G series camera. Strangely, despite being used by numerous manufacturers, the performance of this sensor varies across all the different models. It could be that the true potential of this sensor has not been released and it has more to offer.

Let us now explore two possible scenarios.

Scenario A - Canon uses the same Sony sensor as the IXUS 300HS , the benefits of using the IMX050CQK 10mpx 1/2.3" sensor are:

- True HD Video (1080p)
- Faster FPS
- Longer Battery Life
- Faster Lens (maybe f2.0)
- Longer zoom is possible
- Wider angle is possible
- Reduce overall size

However, being a smaller sensor, lens sharpness, bokeh, and other qualities may suffer.

Scenario B - Should Canon use a brand new CMOS sensor at 1/1.7" or bigger, things could get even more exciting. Here are the benefits:

- True HD Video
- Faster FPS
- Longer Battery Life
- Better Bokeh, than 1/2.3"
- Even Better High ISO Performance (potentially)

Decisions decisions decisions... Someone once said 'Engineering is all about making the right compromise'

One interesting thing to note is that if the G12 does indeed have a 1/2.3" sensor, it would have a smaller sensor than the Nokia N8 smart Phone!

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