Panasonic’s OPF sensor also planned for TV cameras

In a long blog entry full of technical details, Panasonic once again described its plans for an image sensor with “Organic Photoconductive Film” (OPF). The device is still in project status, although the company first described it in June 2013.

The basic idea of ​​the OPF is the conversion of light into an electrical signal using an organic film. It should only be 0.5 microns thick. A conventional photodiode of a CMOS sensor consists of a silicon layer of 2 to 3 microns, says Panasonic. So far, the company has mainly advertised its invention with the fact that a particularly high dynamic range of 123 dB can be achieved. However, Canon recently announced a 148dB CMOS sensor.

However, this is primarily intended for surveillance cameras and those in cars, because clearly recognizable but not necessarily beautiful images are important there. Apparently as a reaction to this, Panasonic has now added: The OPF sensor is intended for similar areas of application. The company names cameras for industry, cars, medicine and the food industry. As the only cinematic application, Panasonic still specifies live cameras from television stations.

In all of these applications, high color fidelity is important, for example when examining human skin with medical cameras or checking the degree of ripeness of food. In doing so, the sensor should demonstrate the advantages of its design, because compared to the Bayer array of CMOS sensors it should have less crosstalk of the color information. One of the reasons for this is that the thin film means that less light can emit to neighboring pixels than is the case with typical Bayer sensors.

As with previous announcements of this technology, the supposed benefits of OPF read downright fantastic. So far, however, apart from the promises, there have been no concrete products or even a date for the market launch of the sensor. And conventional photo or video cameras are no longer mentioned in Panasonic’s new blog entry, except for those for TV stations. This is surprising, among other things, because the organic film for OPF has been supposed to come from Fujifilm since the beginning of development – so both companies, Fuji and Panasonic, would have an interest in making this sensor technology available for their cameras for photographers and filmmakers.

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