New Sony Sensor: 21 Stops of Dynamic Range at Base ISO of 5120

by Hugh Brownstone3 Comments

THIS is what innovation looks like, and Sony’s leading the charge.

Do you REALLY want to complain that Sony is already releasing a Mark II version of the A7?

Get real.

Sony has been innovating, continuously improving and putting itself on the line in the marketplace at a torrid pace over the last several years, and we are richer for it.

This is what kaizen is all about, a term first popularized in the U.S. with the Toyota Production System during a period which saw Toyota rise to dominance in the auto industry.

The irony, of course, is that the process originated with American engineer and statistician W. Edwards Deming.

No matter. The idea of a digital video sensor in an A7s Mk II – or in any other camera — which has a base ISO of 5120 and a dynamic range one to two orders of magnitude greater than the best cameras we have today is… startling.

Film doesn't have 21 stops of dynamic range.

And you think the A7s is the low light king? If the new Sony sensor is real, it will make the low light performance of the A7s – and that means EVERYTHING else as well — look like Super 8 film that fell out of the back of the family station wagon and unraveled all over the driveway in 1965.

If it’s real.


New Sony Sensor: Offers 21 Stops of Dynamic Range & a Base ISO of 5120

Via No Film School:

To recap why this sensor could theoretically provide a massive leap forward in all aspects of image quality, it uses a new technology called Active Pixel Color Sampling that allows each pixel to sample RGB data individually, which eliminates the need for color filter arrays and complex debayering processes. Because of this technology, Sony can use roughly 1/3 of the amount of pixels to output an image with the same resolution as a much more pixel-dense sensor of the same size. This also means that the individual photosites can be much larger, which theoretically will allow for tremendous gains in low-light ability and dynamic range, depending on how the sensor data is processed.

That leads us to the more recent developments. The fine folks at the Sony Alpha Rumors Forum were recently sent a few documents that provide more details about how the sensor works and how it is theoretically expected to perform in terms of ISO and dynamic range. Here is one standout chart from their post which shows latitude

New Sony Sensor

Photo Credit: Sony Alpha Rumors


Yes, you read that correctly. If this graph is factual, and that's a big “if,” Sony's new sensor will have a base ISO of 5120 and slightly more than 21 stops of dynamic range at that sensitivity. Those specs alone are enough to leave most of us salivating, but it's important to keep a few things in mind.

Read full article at No Film School “Sony's New Sensor May Offer 21 Stops of Dynamic Range & a Base ISO of 5120”


Note: it is our policy to give credit as well as deserved traffic to our news sources – so we don't repost the entire article – sorry, I know you want the juicy bits, but I feel it is only fair that their site get the traffic and besides, you just might make a new friend and find an advertiser that has something you've never seen before


(cover photo credit: snap from No Film School)


  1. Yeah I do want to complain.  It’s what I do lately.  I think progress is great but with all the ‘innovation’ going on it makes me not want to buy anything because it will be outdated or legacy in 3 months.  I no sooner got comfortable with 1080 HD and 4K came along to tell me how worthless everything I just purchased is.  It’s ridiculous.  Good for Sony for innovating but they’re just milking all of us because they know we’ll line up to drink the koolaid.  Innovation and progress is good but do we really need it?  Do I really need a 4K system or a better sensor than I’m already using?  No.  I don’t.  I don’t need a car that has touch sensitive panels or GPS when levers and a smart phone have served me well for a long time.

  2. John Brune Hey John! You’re not alone in your thoughts… I’ve got no need for 4k etc. and there are plenty of people with you on your thoughts.

  3. But this isn’t touch panels and fluff, this is moving sensor technology forward. Going from bayer to each individual pixel being able to sample RGB at 21 stops and beat out the a7s in low light, which is pretty much night vision, would be more similar to moving from horse and buggy to gas cars. This isn’t just going from 1080p to 4K, which requires you to sit about 4 feet from a 55″ TV to benefit, so it’s really only useful in theaters and home theaters, this is a major leap in sensor technology, if this is true.
    It’s normal to be afraid of your gear becoming obsolete, but as long as it takes good pictures, you’re not far behind. And I agree that Sony is releasing a little too much too fast, but all of their advances are great, and it’s good for competition.

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