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Today I read about the launch of Sony’s new sensor technology Exmor R and the launch of the new compact cameras DSC-TX1 and DSC-WX1 on heise and dpreview.

The new sensor: Exmor R

Sony is stating that the new sensor — now they are putting the wires on the back, and not between lenses and light receiving surface — will have nearly twofold sensitivity and less noise. (Details here).

My first thought was: Why are they calling this “back illuminated”? And why the hell did they put the wires between lenses and surface up to now? Well, I assume they had and have reasons for this. I am looking forward to the results in real world of those sensors. This sounds promising.


Another interesting feature is the automatic panorama shooting, called “Sweep Panorama mode”:

Capturing wide landscapes is as easy as “press and sweep.” Sweep Panorama mode lets you reach beyond the traditional wide-angle lens and capture breathtaking shots. Using the high-speed “Exmor R” CMOS sensor, the cameras shoot continuously while you sweep across the scene. Using the BIONZ imaging processor, they automatically stitch the pictures together to create one stunning panoramic photo.

Well, I don’t want to get too excited about this before seeing some results, but I really like the idea. Lets hope that it works. I heard about a guy (not sure if it was him, but for example Olaf Matthes doing this with an old russian panorama camera using film, automatically winding forward on sweeping the camera. There are newer ones doing this, too. This would be a “real” sweeping mode, no stitching afterward.

As I am using Nikon, the sensor perhaps will make it some day into a new camera of mine… Not sure if the panorama technology will make it into digital SLRs. Possible that it will, but I am not sure, because they won’t merge RAWs together. But perhaps in JPG mode. This won’t be for any professional use I assume, but for travel panoramas for the web or your own album this would be quite nice.

Update: Some rumors here: http://photorumors.c … exmor-r-cmos-sensor/

  1. Rolf

    I think “back illuminated” comes from the way they manufacture such a chip.
    Classically they start with a silicon wafer and build all the needed structures on that, starting with the big sensor pits at the bottom, stacking all the other stuff on top of that.

    And now I ASSUME that they turn the whole thing around and remove the silicon base until the reach the bottom of the light sensitive pits. Now the light comes from the bottom of the chip and they can use nearly the whole area as a light sensitive surface, leaving only strips for insulation between the pits.

    But as I said, this is my guess. But I’ll research that a bt more, sonds good for my new tech segment in the podcast.

  2. paul