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Thread: Chipworks analyzes Canon and Nikon sensors (1DX and D800)

  1. #1
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    Post Chipworks analyzes Canon and Nikon sensors (1DX and D800)

    Chipworks has published a free analysis of full frame image sensors from Canon and Nikon:

    http://www.chipworks.com/blog/techno...nikon-vs-sony/

    http://www.chipworks.com/blog/technologyblog/2012/10/24/full-frame-dslr-cameras-canon-stays-the-course/

    There are lots of interesting bits in there for the technically-minded among us. One thing I read that I did not expect is that Nikon is still using a very old process technology, 180nm (which was first used back in 2000 or so). Even more surprising is that Canon is still on 500nm (think 1996). No doubt these are cost saving measures.

    For comparison, Intel is currently on 22nm, and other image sensors fabs (e.g. TSMC) are selling tons of 28nm. My guess is that the new technology is only being used for small chips right now (digicams, mobile phones, cars, security, etc.) because they need it more and are more cost effective (higher yield, higher volume, lower overhead). I can't wait for it to trickle down into full frame DSLR.

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    Interesting point about the 180nm vs 500 vs 22 process size.
    I'm not a chip designer (not since that final-year uni subject, and not ccds), so I'm unsure what would be better:
    Obviously smaller-interwiring between photosites leads to bigger photosites -> more photons captured -> more exposure latitude (in theory). Using a flip-chip (or backside-illuminated, although that term just makes me laugh and think of the salesmen with whom I have to work), reduces interwiring between photosites to effectively 0, so even more space for photon-buckets.
    But on a sensor, collecting photons is effectively an analogue process, and what's been hurting canon most (compared to Exmor, especially at low-iso), is read noise. So getting those electrons out of the chip and into an ADC means travelling all those electrons over a few cm (at least) of interwiring, so the thinner wiring would mean more resistance and more noise maybe?
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
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    Senior Member btaylor's Avatar
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    Wow Doc, I have no idea WTF you just said. Something about electronic potato chips?
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ben_taylor_au/ www.methodicallymuddled.wordpress.com
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    Interesting read. Thanks for sharing. The question remains: What's next?
    Although I have to admit I'm currently pretty ok with what's available now. If I just had some more of that stuff. Or more time ...
    Arnt

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    And other than that "back in the day" I did some Capital raising for a tech group making 200 nm chip tech. They thought their tech could run down down to 28 nm on the road map. What I found interesting is that the industry had "wire size" mapped out through 2005/6. I should wander back and see how they are doing.
    If you see me with a wrench, call 911

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