Curved sensors will solve some of the challenges posed by the laws of physics that manufacturers battle with when designing lenses, but when is this new technology going to bring about dramatic changes to the world of photography?
In this short video, Dave McKeegan explains the practical, scientific reasons that curved sensors make more sense than conventional flat ones, and discusses why this groundbreaking shift might not happen in the very near future. In addition, if and when they come to market, the transition might be slow, especially when you consider that entirely new systems will need to be designed and manufacturers prefer to wait around 30 years before launching a brand new lens mount — especially one that will have no backwards compatibility.
The Petzval field curvature inherent to today’s lenses — i.e., the curved image plane — isn’t the only difficulty posted by flat sensors, by the way. Colors have different points of focus which lens manufacturers are constantly trying to correct.
While chatting to engineer and camera guru Dave Haynie, he suggested that one option to achieve interchangeable lenses is to bundle the lens and the sensor together, as seen with the Ricoh GXR released back in 2009. Given that the cost of sensors is constantly falling, this might not be such an outlandish idea.
Will curved sensors change our cameras? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.