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Archive 2013 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent
  
 
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent

Canon files an important patent for improved sensor dynamic range.

Canon's patent application US20130206961 "Solid-State Image Sensing Device" by Ikeda Yasuji, Hashimoto Seiji, Muto Takashi, Matsuno Yasushi, and Yoshida Daisuke describes a dual gain column-parallel ramp ADC

(Reference Signal 1 & 2 are the two different scale ramps):

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Aug 29, 2013 at 01:27 AM
skibum5
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


Thank god! (well assuming they actually bother to implement it, as some anonymous contributor on another site just pointed out, Canon had been sitting on a well hidden column ADC patent of their own since 2001!!!!! apparently thanks to marketing droids, although this patent is for a fancier version of that, so who knows, what if they just sit on this one forever too? Hopefully all the DxO scores and incessant whining in forums will force them to finally make use of their tech. It was claimed by a different anonymous contributor that Canon got the tech for this improved patent due to a secret partial buyout of a MF company. I don't know if either of those stories are true, they certainly might not be, but the patent above is for sure real and that could be very good news).

According to some electronics techies, it should allow a match for Exmor at low ISO while keeping the 1DX/6D/D4 non-exmor high ISO DR range lead.

But it is a bit worrisome that they have apparently sat on better DR patents since 2001 and blew off other Canon divisions offering other improved DR options over the years too. So we have to hope they plan to implement it and not simply block others from doing so.

One would hope this will be ready for 7D2/5D4 and 2014 and such and not another bunch of years out and 7D3/5D5 generation.

If they pull this off soon and combine it with 70D PDAF they could have some pretty nice sensors to go along with arguably the nicest AF lens range and friendliest (IMO, this can be a particularly individual thing) UI and, thanks only to ML really, the by far the best video (so long as they don't lock out the vastly improved way ML gets video out of the cameras). Basically they could produce pretty much the best across the board in all regards be it video, UI, sensors, AF, lenses.



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Aug 25, 2013 at 09:12 PM
mttran
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


They finally have enough complain from all canon forums, let's hope their bean counter approves it. They have to, they are way behind the game compared to everyone.

Edited on Aug 25, 2013 at 09:29 PM · View previous versions



Aug 25, 2013 at 09:29 PM
snapsy
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


Isn't this what the Magic Lantern firmware uses in their recent Dual ISO feature? If so it's been implemented on Canon chips for some time (but not used).


Aug 25, 2013 at 09:29 PM
StillFingerz
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


A few dayz ago I read an article about Canon concentrating/moving heavy into the video surveillance market. I doubt they are standing still, never have, the digital camera consumer end of their business is only a portion of the production.

There is no "if they pull this off soon" problem that Canon is facing. That's just ego thinking a few that continue to scream, yell and whine about DR; sorry you are little fish in a big ocean of other happy buyers/consumers.

Canon as stated applies 'innovative and practical' methodology for it's consumer based ventures. If I'm not missing anything, that translates to a slow steady 'trickle' of tech to the masses and does not sound like a cutting edge tech leader...not at the consumer level.

Higher res, wider DR, faster image processing, that cutting edge, bleeding edge tech is 'dark' development probably already in use by DOD and is in the hands of other security related users. Our consumer cameras are not the worrisome bit, it's our dollars/wallets, the worldwide economies that require balance, we as a world need security and that is the effort at the top, it doesn't just include our consumer level of 'picture taking'.

There be spies about, corporate, government, they've bigger wallets, they get first dibs. We get the next bit of 'WOW' tech when they are done with it...ready for us to know about it and not smart enough to understand it's consequences.






Aug 25, 2013 at 09:56 PM
mttran
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


How about some consumer protection? it would be nice to have 9001 ISO DR Noise Ratio Label sticking outside the box. So, no more funny arguments on which way is right or better. Let the consumer be smart with his/her own money. This way, MFG will correct themselves to compete


Aug 25, 2013 at 10:49 PM
RobDickinson
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


Patents dont mean its mass producable in a worthwhile form at an affordable price.

Regardless Canon are milking their current sensor Fab for all its worth.



Aug 25, 2013 at 11:33 PM
skibum5
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


snapsy wrote:
Isn't this what the Magic Lantern firmware uses in their recent Dual ISO feature? If so it's been implemented on Canon chips for some time (but not used).


ML loses a lot of resolution in highlights and shadows though



Aug 25, 2013 at 11:59 PM
skibum5
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


RobDickinson wrote:
Patents dont mean its mass producable in a worthwhile form at an affordable price.


True, but this patent appears to be easily carried out real world at an affordable price (so long as you use any reasonably modern fab, not sure their 500nm fab could do it though but that fab of theirs is ancient history compared to anything else these days).



Regardless Canon are milking their current sensor Fab for all its worth.


they sure are



Aug 26, 2013 at 12:01 AM
jorkata
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


skibum5 wrote:
http://image-sensors-world.blogspot.se/2013/08/canon-files-for-dual-range-column.html

Thank god! (well assuming they actually bother to implement it ...


Canon has no choice but to implement something like this.
With their current architecture (off-sensor ADCs), they cannot implement economically high MPs and/or (very) high speed sensors.
For example, high MP body @ 5-6 fps, 1080p/4K video @ 60-120fps, etc..

So, on-sensor ADCs will definitely happen - and most likely soon.
Good candidates for introduction of such a tech are the high MPs body, a high-end Cinema camera, and even the 7DII.
We'll see.



Aug 26, 2013 at 02:20 AM
 

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skibum5
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


apparently it is impossible to make use of this or the earlier 2006 and 2007 patents unless they decide to go to a new fab, their 500 process is far too old, these patents require smallest things to be etched onto the sensor they 500nm allows. So it seems like they have the had the ability at Canon engineering for years (in theory, although without the fab, technically not at all) to get close to Exmor it's just whether marketing has the desire to allow them or want to keep milking the old fab yet another round or not.*

Someone claimed that certain Canon P&S lines recently just got shifted in their latest model incarnations to an older process fab and they are hoping it is because they are moving DSLR to their best fab finally.

Who knows.

apparently this patent still doesn't solve banding the way the sony patent does so that might still be a struggle, although the 1Ds3 and 6D show signs they might get past some of it

* although perhaps they didn't go the new fab since they realized they need to solve banding first anyway so why spend when it wont fully deliver anyway and it wasn;t all marketing though??



Aug 27, 2013 at 11:05 PM
WAYCOOL
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


Canon will milk their 500nm fab tech for another 10 years if they can why put a billion into new tech when your #1 with old fabs. When it makes bottom line sense to spend the yen they will not a moment sooner.


Aug 27, 2013 at 11:20 PM
johnctharp
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


jorkata wrote:
Canon has no choice but to implement something like this.
With their current architecture (off-sensor ADCs), they cannot implement economically high MPs and/or (very) high speed sensors.
For example, high MP body @ 5-6 fps, 1080p/4K video @ 60-120fps, etc..

So, on-sensor ADCs will definitely happen - and most likely soon.
Good candidates for introduction of such a tech are the high MPs body, a high-end Cinema camera, and even the 7DII.
We'll see.


I don't think it works the way you think it works. Canon can do all of that with 500nm for the sensor- they just need to upgrade the processor, and that's very, very easy to do- they don't have to make those themselves.



Aug 27, 2013 at 11:33 PM
jorkata
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


johnctharp wrote:
I don't think it works the way you think it works.


The fastest Canon camera, the 1DX, has only 16 sensor readout channels, connected to 16 external ADCs.

A 24mp Sony sensor has 4000 column-parallel ADCs on the sensor. That is ... 4000 readout channels, effectively.

There's only so much megapixels you can pump through 16 readout channels.
Increasing frame rates and/or megapixels becomes problematic.
So, you can see why Canon would be interested in moving to on sensor ADCs.

But maybe Canon is not interested in a high MPs body and/or high-FPS video camera.
They'd rather let Nikon and Sony have all the fun .



Aug 28, 2013 at 12:03 AM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


jorkata wrote:
The fastest Canon camera, the 1DX, has only 16 sensor readout channels, connected to 16 external ADCs.

A 24mp Sony sensor has 4000 column-parallel ADCs on the sensor. That is ... 4000 readout channels, effectively.

There's only so much megapixels you can pump through 16 readout channels.
Increasing frame rates and/or megapixels becomes problematic.
So, you can see why Canon would be interested in moving to on sensor ADCs.



So the Sony and Nikon camera offer much much much faster fps I presume. The problem is you can only move the mirror so fast and already 12fps on FF is close to physical limits. Now they could go mirrorless, but again it doesn't matter how fast you dump data off the sensor if it is bottle necked elsewhere.



Aug 28, 2013 at 12:14 AM
jorkata
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


skibum5 wrote:
Who knows.


This is all speculation at this time.

Canon's 50mp APS-H prototype sensor was made on 180nm (this info is in the public domain).
And their 180nm process has been in production since 2010, when the S100 was announced.
So, they do have a lot of experience with the 180nm process - and likely with on-sensor ADCs as well.

I'd speculate that they have delayed the introduction of this technology because of the Cinema line.
It appears to me that the high-end Cinema camera is in most urgent need of an advanced sensor.

Maybe due to the Cinema line they have shifted priorities - and hence the 1DX/5DIII are using the old tech.
Who knows indeed.



Aug 28, 2013 at 12:16 AM
jorkata
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


Pixel Perfect wrote:
The problem is you can only move the mirror so fast and already 12fps on FF is close to physical limits.


True.

The 1DX is already fast enough, though.
I think the throughput of Canon's current architecture is an issue for stills cameras only if they want to further increase the megapixels.

As I said, I suspect that the most pressing need for fast readout is in the high end Cinema line.
To compete at the high end, Canon needs 4K resolution (or even 8K in the near future) at 60-120fps.
Canon just can't do this with their current architecture.
Hence the need for a change - which will trickle down to the stills cameras as well.



Aug 28, 2013 at 12:26 AM
skibum5
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


jorkata wrote:
The fastest Canon camera, the 1DX, has only 16 sensor readout channels, connected to 16 external ADCs.

A 24mp Sony sensor has 4000 column-parallel ADCs on the sensor. That is ... 4000 readout channels, effectively.

There's only so much megapixels you can pump through 16 readout channels.
Increasing frame rates and/or megapixels becomes problematic.
So, you can see why Canon would be interested in moving to on sensor ADCs.

But maybe Canon is not interested in a high MPs body and/or high-FPS video camera.
They'd rather let Nikon and Sony have all the fun .


Then how come Nikon liveview is so much worse, all slow and choppy due to slow sensor read?
And they can't, even you could hack it, get ML-like RAW video?



Aug 28, 2013 at 12:30 AM
snapsy
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


skibum5 wrote:
Then how come Nikon liveview is so much worse, all slow and choppy due to slow sensor read?
And they can't, even you could hack it, get ML-like RAW video?


It's because for whatever reason Nikon is not using the Exmor's selective-window readout mode on some of their bodies (including D800), which allows a subset of the sensor to be read at 30fps without pixel/line skipping. They use this mode on some of their bodies though, including the D7000/D5100.



Aug 28, 2013 at 12:32 AM
johnctharp
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Canon Files for Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent


jorkata wrote:
The fastest Canon camera, the 1DX, has only 16 sensor readout channels, connected to 16 external ADCs.
A 24mp Sony sensor has 4000 column-parallel ADCs on the sensor. That is ... 4000 readout channels, effectively.


I have to wonder though, if they can't improve the sensor readouts economically.

I understand that there's limitations with their current design; I'm just of the opinion that 'fixing' the design to provide the level of video quality a reasonable person would expect from these sensors after seeing what they're capable of doing with stills isn't that hard. I stand by my assertion that they simply have to 'choose' to do it. RAW video as ML enables on the 5D III should have shipped with the camera- and would actually be feasible if they'd bothered to include any sort of lossless or near lossless codec for it.



Aug 28, 2013 at 01:24 AM
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