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Nikon’s new 1-inch sensor shoots 4K 1000fps with HDR — will we have a 1000fps 360 camera?

Nikon's new 4K 1000fps sensor
Nikon’s new 4K 1000fps sensor

Nikon announced a new 1-inch sensor that can capture 4K video at 1000fps, with HDR.   Here’s how it could impact 360 cameras.

4K 1000fps

Frames from a video shot at 1000 fps
Frames from a video shot at 1000 fps

Usually, videos captured with a high frame rate have limited resolution.  For example, Sony’s RX100 VI has a 1-inch sensor that can capture 960fps but only at a resolution of 1244 x 420.  By contrast, Nikon’s new 1-inch sensor can capture 1000 fps video at 4K x 4K resolution (4224 x 4224).  However, one thing we don’t know yet is how long the Nikon sensor can shoot at this high frame rate.

HDR

Not only can the new sensor capture high frame rate video at high resolution, but it can also do so with HDR.  The new sensor can capture exceptionally high dynamic range by using two layers, with the top layer grouped in blocks of 16 x 16 pixels.  Instead of taking two or more separate exposures, the new sensor captures a wider dynamic range by adjusting the exposure of each block separately.

Nikon's new sensor can capture HDR
Nikon’s new sensor can capture HDR

As impressive as this is, the sensor can capture an even higher dynamic range at a frame rate of 60fps, which increases the signal-to-noise ratio from 110dB to 134dB.

Potential for use with 360 cameras

The new sensor may be useful for 360 cameras.  The sensor has a square capture area, which is ideal for circular fisheye lenses used in dual-lens 360 cameras.  However, the sensor’s large size could limit the number of companies that are able to use the sensor.  Thus far, only Ricoh has been able to use a 1-inch sensor for its flagship 360 camera, the Theta Z1.  If a 360 camera can use two of the Nikon sensors, it could have a video resolution of 5.7K at 1000fps, which would be unprecedented in the 360 camera industry.

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Mic Ty

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  • Almost more intriguing is that, if they have a processor to encode at this rate for a substantial time, this brings 8k/250 12k/120 and 16k/60 into the realm of possibility. 16K rectilinear has always been my benchmark for realistic VR.