How are camera sensors still improving?

Christopher Schodt


How are camera sensors still improving?

Cameras keep getting better, but it sometimes feels like the pace of improvement has slowed. You can look at photos from the original Canon 5D, released in 2005, and they look pretty good! In some tests of performance, sensors seem to have barely changed in the past decade. However, there have been big advancements in noise reduction, dynamic range and how fast sensors can be read, which have not only improved image quality, but enabled photographers to work in more challenging environments and shoot in new ways. While the original 5D could capture three 13-megapixel images per second at a native ISO 1600, Sony's latest a1 can shoot 30 50-megapixel images at a native ISO 32,000 in the same timeframe.

In the latest episode of our Upscaled series, we explain how sensors work, and how camera makers have overcome the physical challenges of trying capture a lot of light in a very short time. For the full story, check the video below.

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