Panasonic Develops 8K Global Shutter CMOS Sensor

February 20th, 2018 Jump to Comment Section 14
Panasonic Develops 8K Global Shutter CMOS Sensor

As stated in Panasonic’s press release: this new sensor features “8K high-resolution, high-performance global shutter technology using organic-photoconductive-film CMOS Image sensor, which enables 8K and high picture quality imaging without motion distortion, even in extremely bright scenes.”

This announcement, made by Panasonic last week, consists of two important, breakthrough achievements: 8K combined with Global Shutter. This is interesting, especially in light of the Sony announcement of a (for now) much lower resolution global shutter that we reported about yesterday.

The sensor’s new technologies: CMOS plus OPF

According to Panasonic, the sensor is 36M pixels at up to 60fps. It’s a CMOS image sensor with an organic photoconductive film (OPF). In this case, the OPF allows independency of the photoelectric-conversion part and the circuit part.

“By utilizing this OPF CMOS image sensor’s unique structure, we have been able to newly develop and incorporated high-speed noise cancellation technology and high saturation technology in the circuit part. And, by using this OPF CMOS image sensor’s unique sensitivity control function to vary the voltage applied to the OPF, we realize global shutter function. The technology that simultaneously achieves these performances is the industry’s first”

We have written about CMOS OPF technology before, check it out here

In other words, as explained by Panasonic, this unique structure allows for a combination of 8K resolution, 60fps readout, wide dynamic range and global shutter function at the same time. Usually, there are some trade-offs. Of course, the advantages of global shutter are obvious: reducing the image artifacts. 

Have a look at a scheme of the sensor: 

“OPF CMOS image sensor design technology, in that, the photoelectric-conversion part and the circuit part can be designed independently”

The press release contains a lot of details with further technical information regarding the sensor design and color science. There are various new technologies employed in this sensor (“135 Japanese patents and 83 overseas patents”), as Panasonic describes them: 

  1. ”In-pixel capacitive coupled noise cancellation technique” which can suppress pixel reset noise at high speed even at high resolution.

  2. ”In-pixel gain switching technology” that can achieve high saturation characteristics.

  3.  “Voltage controlled sensitivity modulation technology” that can adjust the sensitivity by changing the voltage applied to the OPF.

Read more in the press release if you’d like to dive further into the tech stuff.

But this question remains: what would be the perfect camera for this sensor? 

In my opinion, the obvious answer is whatever the successor is to the GH5 (or GH5S). Even if a GH6 will not be too long out, this 8K global shutter sensor probably won’t be ready for the upcoming Panasonic camera. This sensor will likely only be ready for implementation in 2020. 

Do you think there’s a point in a squeezing that many pixels in – potentially – a Micro 4/3 sensor? Will you wait for this camera?

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