Panasonic Develops Sensor With 100x Wider Dynamic Range Than Traditional CMOS

Today Panasonic has announced that they’ve created new ‘wide-dynamic-range’ technology capable of improving ‘simultaneous-capture wide dynamic range’ 100 times wider than normal by using an organic photoconductive film (shortened to OPF) with a CMOS image sensor.

Colour reproduction will supposedly be more accurate in high contrast situations, the sensor will be able to read more exposure data, yet the size of the sensor won’t actually have to be any bigger.

So how does it achieve this?

Let’s try to get into a few specifics…

According to Panasonic, an OPF CMOS image sensor is different from a normal CMOS sensor because the charge-storage function and the photoelectric-conversion functions can be set independently.


By using this special feature, the sensor can prevent overexposure in bright situations and can render detailed images in dark environments.

“Wide incident angle (60 degrees), high sensitivity, high saturation and highly-functional circuits due to a unique feature of OPF, in which an OPF for photoelectric-conversion and a readout circuits are independent.”

It’s all a bit scientific and difficult to grasp, but basically these technologies work without any “time distortion”, allowing fast and precise imaging even in high-contrast scenes.

From what I understand (and please correct me if I’m wrong), “time distortion” refers to how the previous technology had to capture multiple exposure data at different times to achieve a wider dynamic range.


Meanwhile this new technology captures all the data at once so it’s able to get a lot of exposure information instantenously, meaning the sensor can accurately record moving objects at high speeds without any lag.

As we said before, what’s pretty amazing is that it seems the sensor won’t have to be any larger despite all of this.

“123dB simultaneous-capture wide dynamic range (that is 100x wider than that of common silicon image sensors), while maintaining the conventional chip size, due to our original ‘simultaneous-capture structure’.”

Two pixel technology

Apparently with this new technology, Panasonic now can put “two sensitivity detection cells (one for brightness; one for darkness)” in each bloody pixel, meaning they can capture even more dynamic range.


It’s unclear exactly how this will affect camera technology in the short term, but it seems like a step in the right direction. However, it seems difficult to believe that this sensor tech will suddenly allow Panasonic cameras to go all HDR on the world.

Regardless, focusing on better dynamic range is pivotal now since most camera companies have already gone haywire on megapixels and ISO.

Maybe the GX-9 will be the next game changer. Step aside, Sony.