Regarding camera evolution and technological innovation, it’s Sony that leaves the rest high and dry, continuously showing us that we don’t know what we want until it’s given to us. Canon, however, may have a trick up its sleeve in the form of a new global shutter, and that’s exciting for a few reasons.
Understand first, however, that Canon also spoke in August last year about its development of a global shutter with higher dynamic range, but nothing ever seem to come of it. Now, according to CanonRumors’ reports from Canon’s global shutter technical presentation at ISSCC last month, they really have developed something of a marvel by way of a global shutter with better dynamic range.
The CMOS sensor has become the common sensor – the conventional sensor type due to many things related to production and cost; they’re easier, faster, and cheaper to produce than CCDs, and while that’s all fine and dandy, CMOS sensors suffer from the affliction of rolling shutter, unlike CCDs. This is most commonly, and perhaps most easily seen in DSLR video whereby moving the camera tends to produce a wavy, ‘jelly-like’ effect particularly when panning at speed. If you’re not shooting video perhaps you care little about it, but it has ramifications for still shooters also.
Rolling shutters as found with CMOS cameras scan a line of pixels at a time until the image is ‘dveloped’ in entirety, but a global shutter behaves more like a frame of film where the sensor is exposed entirely at once so the entire scene is captured at once, thereby removing the wobbly video. But global shutters should also be able to do more than that, namely it should lift limitations on sync speed and perhaps allow for truly quiet camera actuations. Historically, however, global shutters have proved lacking in dynamic range, but Canon claims to have figured this out. Not only that, but it seems the claim also suggests it will lower noise. If this is in fact true, and they actually get these out the door, this would signal a major shift in camera tech, and thus a tectonic shift in the industry.
At a time where Canon is earning a reputation for not innovating, this would seem a brilliant way for them to make everyone eat their words. But again, we’ve heard these rumors before…
If you want more in depth information on rolling shutter and so on, check out the video below from VSauce.