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Foveon x3 for video?
  • Hello,

    So i've been reading about image sensors (much of it is way over my head) but I'm doing my best to learn and I'm curious about foveon x3 image sensors or at least the concept with regard to video. From what I've read (and much of that is written by foveon or sigma itself so it's hard to know for sure) this sensor or technology seems like it might provide some real benefits. They "say" that it records more color information than regular sensors that don't utilize their stacked pixel sensors as it captures light at different wavelenghts with the use of different layers of silicon within the sensor itself and thereby captures "full color" at each pixel location. This all sounds really good to me but I've looked and haven't really seen any extremely positive reviews of either the sensor or cameras using the sensors. My main question is whether this sensor or concept might make a ripple in video imaging technology or if there are limitations that keep this from being a serious option for sensors in video.

  • 16 Replies sorted by
  • Foveon video sucks. Sigma camera has really bad high ISO performance.

  • @stonebat

    I've found this video from compact camera DP2 and honestly it is very bad.

    Hope to find some foveon stuff well shooted and 1080p (i read this camera do video 640x480, i'm still missing the point :-(

    Ok, welcome back VHS!

  • Yes dp2 merrill takes video. Not HD though.

  • Yeah it is terrible but I was just curious if the same concept in come other company's hands (not sigma) might actually pan out ever or if the concept itself is inherently bad. It seems like just the idea of not running light through a bayer filter might be a good one. Less algorithms and cpu work? Less in camera guess work? (however accurate it is). If someone took the same sensor and increased it's size rather than just the pixel density and worked on it would it be a good base or platform for a camera? I also don't think anyone has made a camera with this sensor that shoots 1080p.

  • Foveon is fantastic. The DP1 is a cult camera. All my cameras are cult cameras. The DP1 has a place beside the GH2 in my travel case.

    Foveon produces occasional pictures with a hyper-reality you feel like you could fall into. Its fixed 28mm equivalent lens makes me walk and get up close, as Robert Capa advised.

    Only about five of my massive collection of shots show this clarity which the Foveon users know and recognise. I've sent them to a noted photographer friend who is baffled by them, saying "you're not supposed to be able to do this with a camera."

    Some people cannot tell the difference. We say those people have no soul, keep greyhounds and, "Oh f*ckit, have another beer."

    It is often said, if only the Foveon sensor could do video!

    Well we asked for video, so Sigma threw it in to shut us up. So now we've got video.

    Getting a Foveon camera and then complaining about the video is like getting a Lamborghini and complaining about the tiny trunk they had to put into it so as to qualify for Le Mans.

  • Would be interesting to see a dedicated video camera with a foveon sensor.

  • I heard it's not easy to boost ISO on the foveon sensor. After ISO 400, noise all over on photos. But when there is enough lighting, it can yield stunning looking photos. If I were you, I wouldn't look at it as a video making tool other than time-lapse purpose.

  • @goanna

    If i were a still photographer, surely i would buy a color-realism camera like DP1 and a black and white camera like Leica Monochrome. Hope they will do, like RRRR says, a dedicated video camera with foveon sensor. Until then, i' m missing the point to see some ugly videos from a cult camera, and comments were only about that aspect. I saw some stills from Merrill and i find them beatiful, it would be interesting to see the photos you are talking about (especially now that i got a decent monitor). Cheers :-)

  • sigma could team up with bmd and make a s35 sized foveon sensored raw cine cam... :)

  • @RRRR Yes! I just can't see that happening anytime soon :/ ... Foveon has development kits. I wish I knew what it took to put a video camera together.

  • They have a video sensor patent now, and had been working on mobile phone versions before. I'm looking to see what updates there has been.

  • @mei

    Patent does not mean much. It is very low probability that they do something really usable for video.

  • I forget the details. They were developing camera phone chips before around the period the thread started, but avoided any talk of proper sensors. A new full sized camera sensor patent has come out, and I forget wherever there were actual chatter or just "excitement".

    In reality, they need the video. The Sony etc still tech is just souch better low light and can have higher dr applied. So, their still tech is not the same selling point as before. Video has become a selling point. X3 video with some newer dr and low light technology, would be a selling point. But Canon has already used vertical filter technology, and Sony is hopefully going to do it's own one day. So, eventually X3 video is not going to be a selling point, and it's best to use it as one while it lasts. I think now is a good time it may happen. I'm certainly on the look out for these vertical filter chips.

  • so the quit developing foveon. Sony wasnt making one also?

  • In February 2020, we announced our decision to restart our plans for a full frame Foveon X3 sensor camera, beginning with the development of a new sensor technology. We have not been able to share any information regarding this project in the time since, and I would like to use this short message to provide an update about the situation.

    As previously announced, we halted development of the project after the sensor we were working with could not go into mass production due to a critical flaw. As a result, we also terminated our contract with the sensor manufacturer with whom we had been collaborating. Further, we determined that the original sensor specifications would make it difficult to develop a product that will meet our and our customers’ high standards, and accordingly we decided to go back to the drawing board.

    At present, we are fully engaged in research and development of the project, led by our head office, and are reviewing specifications to ensure that we will be able to satisfy the expectations placed on this project.