As the successor to Canon's revolutionary EOS 5D Mark II DSLR, the EOS 5D Mark III shows a logical, iterative evolution, improving on features and feedback gained from professionals shooting with the 5D Mark II (www.usa.canon.com). Canon's CMOS sensor in the 5D Mark III has a much improved gain structure, higher resolution and an impressive value equation.
The EOS 5D Mark III features a newly developed Canon full-frame, 22.3-megapixel CMOS sensor that's designed from the ground up to create high-resolution, perfectly detailed images with unprecedented speed and clarity. A full 24x36mm, the sensor captures 5784x3861 large, individual 6.25 µm pixels and has a much improved S/N ratio, resulting in better images from the start. A new photodiode structure with an increased photoelectric conversion rate increases the sensor's sensitivity by approximately 2 stops over previous models, meaning higher ISOs with the lowest noise of any EOS digital camera. The 5D Mark III's new sensor and processing engine also eliminate line skipping, reducing moiré, jello vision and aliasing over its predecessor.
It was September of 2011 when RED began shipping the new EPIC-X, the 5K camera with the Mysterium-X sensor (www.red.com). The RED EPIC-X was revolutionary, a digital cinema camera with the ability to shoot such a high-resolution image. The camera has gained some pretty influential fans, with filmmakers like Peter Jackson and Marc Webb using the camera to shoot The Hobbit and The Amazing Spider-Man, respectively. RED has recently announced the new Dragon Monstro sensor, which will be available to all RED EPIC and SCARLET owners, as well as in new EPIC and SCARLET cameras.
As with all RED announcements, exact specifications and details are hard to come by, but as of press time for this article, Jim Jannard of RED has announced that the Dragon Monstro CMOS sensor will have 6K resolution and 15+ stops of dynamic range and will be able to shoot at up to 120 fps at 5K resolution. The Dragon sensor is scheduled to be available for upgrades in 2012; it will cost EPIC owners $6,000, with the price for SCARLET owners to be announced.
Announced in August 2011, the Sony F65 represents the company's attempt to compete at the highest end of the digital cinema market with established competitors like RED and ARRI (pro.sony.com). What sets the F65 sensor apart from the competition is its 8K resolution. Sony has stated that the design goal for the F65 sensor is to "surpass the limits of human vision."
THE F65 CMOS image sensor boasts the most photosites of any digital motion-picture camera (20 million) and is the world's first to offer a dedicated green photosite for every pixel in the 4K output image. The F65 can provide exquisite, highly detailed images of supersampling 1080p high definition, perfect for episodic television. The F65 also can output 16-bit linear RAW, which preserves all the information obtained from every photosite on the image sensor—up to 8K of resolution. This gives you phenomenal ability to demosaic, adjust grayscale, color-correct, composite and even re-frame the image in post. The advantage here is the ability to derive 4K, 2K and HD from 16-bit linear RAW.
WHAT ABOUT TOMORROW?
While technology typically changes at a fairly rapid pace and undoubtedly will continue to do so, with this new crop of sensors, it appears that the large hurdles of achieving the dynamic range, contrast and resolution of 35mm film have been met and surpassed. This is encouraging and hopefully will drive cinematographers and directors to tell visual stories while developing a new visual language instead of just trying to imitate film's visual language. As the ancient expression says, "May you live in interesting times." In regards to camera technology, we definitely do.