It has been reported that Nikon and their sensor supplier Aptina have announced a new sensor which could possibly herald Nikon’s entry into the digital cinema market.
The new new AR1411HS sensor is reportedly a super 16mm sized 4K sensor capable of capturing up to 80fps. Nikon have openly stated that they want to include 4K in future mirrorless Nikon 1 releases and keen enthusiast have even managed to to get 4k RAW footage in 1 second bursts from their current Nikon 1 setups but could this pave the way for future DLSR 4K products?
This new sensor can support the cinematic standard of 4096 x 2160 and the quad HD format of 4K (3840 x 2160) and for me the most exciting development, 1080p at 120fps. Aptina specifically mentioned broadcast video cameras and digital cinema as an application of this sensor and state that it is It is also 40% faster than the old technology at 1.1 gp/s .If Nikon can deliver this sensor in a DLSR or even digital cinema specific camera like the Black Magic Cinema Camera and do that at a fair price, I think they just might be onto a winner, they will at least make themselves a realistic alternative for the current crop of Canon DSLR’s, especially since the release of the 1DC, C300 and 5D mkiii, left many ‘Canon-heads’ fairly disappointed how many features Canon decided to omit from their recent range of cameras. Hopefully this is Nikon’s way of addressing that.
Whether or not this is the same sensor or one pretty similar to that in the current Nikon 1’s remains to be seen, but with this sensor now being sold to the open market. Provided Aptina decide to offer them for a decent price of course, it gives all companies out there with an eye on the ever increasing cinema market the opportunity to put these sensors in cameras without having to bolt on the added R&D costs. It is an exciting prospect really, with these sensors ( or relatives of them ) providing even in their current burst mode, moire and aliasing free images at 12-bit colour depth and suffering very little from rolling shutter ( from what I’ve heard ), I can see that in a camera with a clear focus on digital cinema they might just cause somewhat of a mini revolution – imagine a Go Pro with this sort of power!?
If I had to lay money on it, Nikon are going into digital cinema. I’ve always loved the image and build quality of Nikon products and I for one can’t wait.