Panasonic is researching a sensor that captures HDR in one shot

quanta image sensor low light camera 46492036  close up
Traditional camera sensors like this one can only capture a limited range of light, but that could change with a new development from Panasonic. Muhammad Amal Farial Khalid / 123RF
The high dynamic range technique captures more detail and a wider range of light, but the process that requires merging multiple images together limits the method to stationary subjects. Panasonic, however, is researching a sensor that can create images similar to processed HDR photos in a single shot. The research was recently published in Panasonic’s Technical Journal.

The tech is based on organic photoconductive film (OPF) sensors, a type of imaging sensor currently being researched by a number of different companies including Fujifilm as well as Panasonic. Organic sensors use two separate layers, one that’s the light-sensitive “film” and another layer of circuits to transform that light layer into electrical currents to create a digital image. OPF sensors are said to be better in low light because of that multilayer design.

But, since organic sensors already have two stacked layers, Panasonic decided to experiment with designing those layers independently, allowing developers to create a dual sensitivity pixel design that researchers say creates a saturation 10 times higher than what other sensors have been able to capture.

The organic photoelectric conversion film layer is stacked on top of a traditional CMOS chip, according to a Google Translate interpretation of the research. That layer structure allowed developers to divide the pixel’s electrodes into large and small areas. The sensor can then change the voltage applied to the first layer, essentially adjusting how sensitive the sensor is to light on a per-pixel basis. The effect is a wider dynamic range that exceeds the 120dB standard limitation. The sensor was also paired with a global shutter for eliminating motion distortion.

While high dynamic range is a popular technique for photography, researchers suggest the sensor could have a number of potential uses. Self-driving cars, for example, need to be able to see the road even in conditions tough for a traditional camera sensor because of high contrast, like when an object is backlit or when the vehicle moves in and out of a tunnel.

The paper suggests that the technology will be applied to future imaging and sensing devices after expanding on the initial research.

Mobile

Taking shots in the dark with Night Sight, the Pixel’s newest photo feature

The Google Pixel range has always been the home of some of the mobile world's best phone cameras. That performance is now getting even better with the introduction of the low-light Night Sight mode.
Computing

AMD Navi: Everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Cars

Tesla raises prices and simplifies options on Model S and Model X

Tesla is making changes to its offerings of the Model S and Model X. The lower-range 75D models will increase in price, while the higher-range 100D models will decrease in price.
Mobile

Which smartphone has the best camera? We found the sharpest shooters

They say that the best camera is always the one you have with you and that makes your smartphone camera very important indeed. Join us for a closer look at the best camera phones available right now.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Picture this: The Aura packs thousands of photos in a single frame (for a price)

Are you one of those people who miss the good old days of flipping through photo albums to see each and every favorite photo? If so, you might love the Aura digital photo frame. We tested the device and came away impressed.
Photography

Get up close and personal with this telephoto lens for your phone

Moment is replacing its aging 60mm telephoto lens with a new 58mm tele lens, redesigned from the ground up for the latest iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy phones. Mount it onto the phone via a case and get closer with 2x optical zoom.
Photography

Full frame or 4K for less than $1K? These 4 older cameras still have a lot to offer

Looking for a great camera deal? Sometimes, you might be better off buying one that's a few years -- last generation's professional models may not cost much more than today's entry-level models.
Photography

Golf ball-sized Lume Cube Air is a pocketable LED for photos and video

Off-camera lighting for smartphones and GoPros just got even smaller. Meet the Lume Cube Air, a smaller portable LED light designed for photos and videos that weighs only about two ounces.
Photography

Edit portraits with A.I. and adjust focus in the new ON1 Photo RAW 2019 editor

ON1 Photo RAW 2019 now has a dedicated tab for portraits that automatically recognizes faces to help with retouching. The update also brings a new focus stacking tool, enhancements to layers, and improvements to local adjustments.
Photography

Alpha Female: Sony awards five women grants to support artisan diversity

Women can face several challenges in launching a photography career -- Sony's latest initiative aims to help propel women in the industry forward. Sony recently announced the winners of the Alpha Female program.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Product Review

Fewer pixels, better camera? The Nikon Z6 shows the beauty of restraint

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.
Social Media

Build a wish list and shop videos with Instagram’s latest shopping update

Eyeing a product on Instagram? Now there are more ways to shop from the social network. Instagram just rolled out options to save products in a collection as users can also now shop from videos.