Panasonic announces the development of an 8K camera with organic sensor

While Sony was updating its image sensor range and Canon was busy developing 120MP APS-C CMOS and full-frame 100fps sensors, Panasonic began working on an 8K organic sensor.

The Japanese electronics company revealed the organic sensor to the world in February this year, but has now announced that it will begin production on a camera system capable of shooting 8K video.

Currently called the AK-SHB 810, it will be the world’s first camera to incorporate an organic sensor and, according to Panasonic, will be a compact, box-type, multipurpose camera featuring a PL lens mount.

Image courtesy: Panasonic

Image courtesy: Panasonic

Going organic

Don’t take the word ‘organic’ entirely at face value here; it’s a sensor that combines two layers, one of which is an organic photosensitive material responsible for capturing light. This sits atop a CMOS circuit that converts the light into a digital image.

This design, claims Panasonic, allows the sensor to capture up to 450,000 photoelectrons per pixel – meaning the camera system utilizing the 8K sensor will have a really wide dynamic range compared to other CMOS cameras.

Another advantage that the organic sensor offers is the use of a global shutter rather than a rolling shutter found in DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. To put that simply, as long as the shutter speed is faster than 1/120th of a second, the entire image is exposed all at once, and not line by line by moving up and down (as traditionally happens). This eliminates the distortion seen on images of fast-moving objects captured using a rolling shutter, where vertical lines appear to lean.

Image courtesy: Panasonic

Image courtesy: Panasonic

Life in the 8K lane

By incorporating this new organic sensor, Panasonic says the AK-SHB 810 camera will be capable of capturing up to 8K resolution, and will be able to shoot 4K using a dynamic range wide enough to capture details in both light and dark.

The camera will also feature a built-in neutral density filter to allow for long exposures or wider apertures when shooting in bright conditions.

If this camera sounds like something you’d like to lay your hands on, you’ll need to wait for about a year (or even longer if you aren't a professional videographer). Panasonic hopes to start selling the device around October 2019 for broadcast and production-level video work initially, with plans to bring the tech to consumer-level snappers eventually. 

We have no word on the price tag for the AK-SHB 810, but we're guessing it'll likely cost a pretty penny. The good news, though, is photography fans can look forward to cameras capable of better low-light performance and capturing deeper colors in the coming years.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.