Sony has announced a new 127-megapixel medium format sensor that has a global shutter. Sony has described it as having "the industry's highest effective pixel count of 127.68 megapixels." This does, however, come with a number of caveats, although it is effectively the highest-resolution sensor with a global shutter.
Sony's latest sensor the Sony IMX661 could bring some huge changes to the medium format industry. As of right now, it's being discussed for industrial uses only. Currently, there's no word about whether or not this kind of sensor will or even can be used in a conventional camera system. The sheer amount of data coming from the sensor may be too much for current data channels to handle.
Another point about this new sensor is the fact that it is slightly larger than current sensors in Fujifilm GFX cameras. The dimensions of this sensor are 46.2 mm x 32.9 mm (H x V), whereas Fujifilm GFX camera sensors are 43.8 x 32.9 mm.
The biggest innovation in this sensor is the chip-on-wafer process. Essentially, microchips are stacked on top of the pixel wafer, where they're able to handle some of the functions. This helps the sensor manage faster readout speeds. In practical terms, the sensor can manage super-fast burst rates with full pixel readout. At 10-bit, the sensor can shoot a whopping 21.8 frames per second, and due to its global shutter mechanism, this will be without any distortions.
- Pixel Size: 3.45 μm x 3.45 μm (H x V)
- Effective Resolution: 13,400 x 9,528 (H x V), 127.68 megapixels
- Sensor Size: 46.2 mm x 32.9 mm (H x V)
- Frame rates: 14 bit: 12.9 fps, 12 bit: 19.6 fps, 10 bit: 21.8 fps
- Main functions: Global shutter, trigger synchronization, ROI, gradation compression, multi-exposure, short exposure, pixel binning readout
In some cases, technology produced for industrial uses can migrate over to consumer products. This kind of large sensor is quite a niche product and could work extremely well in a medium format camera system. The size of the sensor is only slightly larger than current sensors in Fujifilm GFX cameras. Therefore, it shouldn't pose any major compatibility issues with current medium format lenses.
Either way, it's pretty incredible what Sony has produced here, and it could lead to some interesting new cameras in the future.