Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Is Pentax's new K3 A Game Changer?

Hats off to Pentax. They have done something different. In case you haven't already heard, Pentax has introduced a new optional "low-pass filter." I put that in quotes because it's not technically a filter.

I don't mean to take away from the, um, coolness, of what they have pulled off, though. It's impressive and something I would have expected a bit sooner. Basically, the K3 shakes the sensor very quickly on a sub-pixel level to add a tiny amount of blur to the image, effectively providing a low-pass filter effect. This can be turned off whenever maximum detail is desired.

It's probably a rejiggering of an extant technology. Most IL cameras have a sensor that sports some sort of "sonic" dust removal system to keep the sensor clean. By sonic, they mean that the sensor shakes the dust off. So to me, this is an implementation of technology that's been long in the making. It's still good, don't get me wrong, but not a huge shift... pun unintended.

I have also been waiting for a camera company to use the sensor to take multiple, quick exposures while moving the sensor to set locations to increase resolution. I could have sworn one of the MF camera companies was doing this already, but now I can't find it. Regardless, we are already doing it for HDR photography where the camera quickly takes three shots in succession. One sub-pixel shift to the left or right would theoretically double resolution.

But forget all that. Thank you Pentax for giving us something new. We now have Sony, Pentax, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic, and especially Blackmagic all giving us new, or at least new-ish, stuff. Now, who's missing... who's missing... oh right! Canon and Nikon! Who are off doing fuck all.

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