Sensor Race

A few days ago Nikon announced a minor upgrade to their highly-regarded D800, to be called the D810. Pixel count stays the same (36.3MP), though the anti-aliasing filter has been removed entirely and there will only be one model instead of two. DPReview offers more comments on what they consider minor but important changes.

So where does this leave us in the sensor race? In terms of “full frame” pixel count the D800/800E, followed by Sony’s Alpha 7r, have led the field. Dedicated Canon users have waited—not all that patiently—for something with a larger MP sensor than the 22.3MP unit in the 5D Mark III, but have so far been disappointed. In the meantime, in certain circles (particularly those more interested in landscapes and a methodical shooting style) many have lauded the high resolution and stunning image quality produced by the Sigma DP Merrill cameras (1,2,and 3) with very different Foveon X3 sensors (non-Bayer Matrix, APS-C-sized).

And the contest isn’t over. Sigma is just delivering the first of its new line of dp cameras labeled “Quattro” with a newly-designed Foveon sensor. In addition, there are strong rumors that Canon will use a new type of sensor in the long-awaited 7D upgrade, and likely in other follow-on models (see new sensor patent info here). Sony also has a non-Bayer 54MP sensor waiting in the wings. All this is occurring in a Photokina year when manufacturers like to strut their stuff. It will be a very interesting next few months.

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