Will the Nikon 1 V3 use the new Aptina 14MP 4k sensor?


Aptina announced a new 1" 14MP sensor (AR1411HS) that can output full 14MP resolution at 80fps and is capable of shooting 1080p at 120 fps and 4k video at 60 fps. The official press release (attached below) describes a "strong interest from several top camera companies that have sampled the image sensor”. Since Nikon uses Aptina sensors in their mirrorless cameras and you can already take short burst of 4k video with the  V1, I would not be surprised if Nikon announces the V3 mirrorless camera by the end of the year with 4k video recording capabilities.

Addition details on the Aptina AR1411HS sensor:


Aptina AR1411HS sensor features:

  • 2.86μm pixel size with Aptina DR-Pix ™ technology
  • • 1/80 sec frame readout time, 1-inch optical size, 14MP imager
  • • 60 fps continuous readout in 14.2Mp full resolution mode
  • • 4K digital Cinema (4096H x 2016V) is supported
  • • Multiple operation modes including; 4K60fps, 1080p 120fps,
  • • High speed differential serial video output (HiSPi™)
  • • External master clock frequency 29.16 MHz

Press release:

Aptina Combines Stunning DSLR Picture Quality and 4K Digital Cinema Video in New Ultra-High Speed 14-Megapixel Camera Sensor

Advancing Imaging Performance for Mirrorless, Bridge and Broadcast Video Cameras

San Jose, CA, April 17, 2013 — Today Aptina announced a new 14 Megapixel (MP) CMOS image sensor for digital cameras, the AR1411HS, providing a unique imaging solution in the increasingly popular 1-inch format. By merging spectacular image quality with extremely fast frame rates, Aptina is enabling top consumer camera makers to develop the next generation of mirrorless, bridge, high-end compact, and broadcast digital video cameras. This sensor, which has attracted great interest from market-leading mirrorless camera makers, extends Aptina’s high-performance camera sensor product line that was introduced with the 10 MP AR1011HS in 2012.

The AR1411HS image sensor competes at the highest level with an ultra-sensitive pixel, using Aptina™ DR-Pix™ technology to achieve superior image quality in both low-lit and brightly-lit scenes. This is combined with the ability to output the full 14MP resolution at up to 80 frames per second (fps) for an amazing 1.1 gigapixels/sec, 40 percent faster than its 10MP predecessor. The high-speed readout gives the sensor the capability of providing full 4K video at 60fps, in either the Quad HD (3840H x 2160V) or the wider Digital Cinema 4K format (4096H x 2160V), and a blazingly fast 120fps 1080p video mode, enabling slow-motion video capture without loss of resolution. This speed also gives the user the unique capability of grabbing full 14MP resolution still images without interrupting a super-sharp, oversampled 1080p HD video stream. “The AR1411HS image sensor delivers superior image quality and the ability to capture still shots and video very fast, in virtually any environment,” said Sandor Barna, Vice President and General Manager of Aptina’s Consumer Camera business. “This 1-inch sensor effectively bridges the performance and price gap between the smaller 1/2.3-inch sensors commonly used in compact digital still cameras and the larger APS-C and full-frame sensors that are used in DSLR cameras. Based on the initial success we are seeing in high quality HD-video enabled mirrorless cameras and strong interest from several top camera companies that have sampled the image sensor, we believe the AR1411HS is a game-changer.”


Aptina’s AR1411HS image sensor is currently in mass production.

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  • joey

    Video my kitty with 4K video at 60fps. He fast, now slo-mo kitty look great.

    • SpaceMan

      Oh oh, me too!!!

  • lorenzo

    The external clock at 29.16 MHz? Quite strange.
    28.0 to 29.7 MHz is a ham radio band.
    Hopefully there won’t be any mutual interferences.
    The rest is absolutely fantastic, when can I get one?

    • Can’t Believe It

      It’s not a coincidence. That also happens to be the exact frequency of the part of the human brain that controls your photographic instincts. Nikon bought the frequency from Heathkit in the late 70s when ham radio was on the wane; It’s how they keep you as a customer despite the lack of a D400.

  • St.

    Heh, when I sold my entire Nikon 1 system (and lenses), they may finally produce something that’s worth it.

  • Neopulse

    Speak of the devil…. holy shyt….

  • Spy Black

    Now let them make an FX sensor that can something similar.

    • Jer


    • Micah Goldstein

      I suspect that there are already FX and DX sensor designs that can handle this. As Thom points out above, Expeed just isn’t up the task at the moment.

      • Spy Black

        Not necessarily. The sensors get hot processing X amount of data per second. They need to run cool enough to allow you to record video for a sizable period of time to make them viable recording devices.

        While no doubt other data processing components also need to be up to snuff, the sensors need to be able to deliver continuously. I have never seen a seen a spec sheet for any other FX sensor (other than that in the EOS-1D C) that makes the 4k capture claims this one does.

        • Micah Goldstein

          Two words: heat sink.

          DSLRs aren’t built with size as the primary design constraint, so there’s probably room to build in a decent heat sink.

          Also, the other manufacturers, such as Nikon, are not marketing their sensor designs to anyone else. Sure Sony sells, but they are established in the market. They aren’t fishing for customers. People come to Sony. Aptina is trying to establish itself, and their marketing is much more public and open. The full capabilities of the sensors that Sony, Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Fuji, etc. use, is not a matter of public knowledge. Like the sensor in the D7100, being related to the Sony part, is most certainly capable of 10fps. Or perhaps better.

          • Spy Black

            Takes more than a heat sink, it needs an efficient design. Canon lists the EOS-1D C 4K recording time at 12 *HOURS*. That would be one hell of a heat sink, and a good look at the camera shows there’s no such provision.

            • Micah Goldstein

              Apparently you haven’t kept up on the 1DX and 1DC dissections–only a heat sink and firmware to differentiate the two. When hackers went public about hacking the 1DX firmware, Canon threatened legal action. It was an empty threat, but if Canon felt worried enough to make that type of bluff, there must have been some merit to a simple firmware hack. Sure it wouldn’t benefit from the heat sink, but how tough could it be to add one? But yes, the 1DC has one, and the 1DX doesn’t.

  • Tom Malewicki

    Knowing Nikon, they will not be that innovative. Though they might use the sensor, but certainly won’t enable the capabilities or use a CPU that can’t handle such output.

  • Art

    Red will be sad. Perhaps they could call themselves Blue….

    • Red won’t be sad. Red will laugh at Nikon.

      • MyrddinWilt

        Read a book called ‘the innovators dilemma’ and you can see where red is headed. Like the medium format crew, their future as an independent company is unlikely to last long. Most likely either Nikon Sony or canon buy them

        Th V1 seems a perfectly reasonable body for a format with no lenses to use on it. It is not the best video format though. I would prefer as in pay for a dedicated video camera with Cx mount.

        Yes I know my d800 would do better for movies but movies are a negligible slice of the video market. The most common use is news gathering and non drama tv. Just like wedding and sports photography make rather more cash than art photography

  • Jon McGuffin

    RED has nothing to worry about. There is so much more to video production that’s beyond the raw sensor. I agree Nikon is likely not going to put around this sensor everything it will require to truly appeal to the “professional” market.

  • Michael Laing

    It sounds a little much for Nikon and would probably be a waste in a V3. Plus you would have to have massive card space to record substantial amounts of 4k video.

    • Micah Goldstein

      I’ve already got two 128gb Sandisk cards. They’re pretty fast too. Should handle a compressed 4k just fine.

      • Michael Laing

        HEVC (H.265) is probably he way to go but there is going to be various issues. Nikon would have to come out with a new multi-core processor, that would have the ability to compress that much data. Now whilst this will happen will it happen in time for the V3? Also whilst SD cards could well compress that much data (I am not sure what speed have to be) the price of a 128 SD card, isn’t that cheap yet. Also Editing 4k video even compressed will take a lot of power and hard drive space. Finally there is the issue of devices which will play 4k, which are currently lacking. Now whilst I do think that all these issues will be sorted in the future, I doubt it will happen by the end of 2013 or when the V3 will be released.

        • Micah Goldstein

          The price fluctuates a little, but the Sandisk 128gb 45MB/s cards have been around $120-$130 for over a year. It’s only going to get cheaper, but does that not qualify as “cheap” for you? Considering we’re talking about bleeding edge 4k?

          • Michael Laing

            I am not from the USA so the current price of a 128SD card is around £110-120, which would be around $169-185 dollars. Which I don’t consider cheap. Also I generally don’t buy big cards, just multiple cards, just in case something goes wrong, with a card when I am out shooting, so I might lose some photos but I won’t lose all.

            I just don’t consider that the average V3 (V2 current) user, when it is released is going to want to shoot with a 128gb card at current prices. Not that they will generally have the software to edit 4k and maybe not the computer either.

            Personally I am not that excited about 4k video. It would be nice to have and has some advantages but currently it would be more of a pain for me to use. With added storage, making sure that my computers could process the images properly. I am sure it will become the norm one day but I don’t see that time as being any time soon.

            • Micah Goldstein

              The something that goes wrong is either you have an error on the card or you lose the card. Or physically damage the card.

              Errors on cards are easily fixed with software, and it’s impossible to lose all the files on a card if you have the card.

              Losing the card can be avoided by not removing the card until you’re ready to download the pictures. If you don’t take the card out, you can’t lose it.

              Card damage is more likely with repeated insertions or damaging the card while it’s outside the camera. Larger cards reduce the need for removal/insertion cycles and reduce time spent outside the camera.

              In short, there’s no reason to prefer smaller cards, unless you need the fastest card, which is sometimes not the biggest (ex the 64gb 95mb/s Sandisk SDXC, which doesn’t come bigger.) Still there’s no reason to prefer the smaller versions of said card, except for absolute price. Larger cards are still generally a better deal with price per GB (except the newest and largest Lexar SDXC cards, which are currently a bit of a ripoff for price.)

            • Michael Laing

              That would be great if that was the only thing that can go wrong but there are other factors such as theft (which has happened to me in the past) which the camera and card inside where stolen (fortunately it wasn’t my expensive camera).

              Also Generally for anything short of my D800, I don’t really need a massive card. Especially with my old Nikon DSLRs which where only 12mp and anyway can’t remember the last time I shot more than 16gb with my old DSLR in a day.

            • Micah Goldstein

              Multiple cards is not a valid way to fight theft.

  • Danonino

    They need that Sony 20mp sensor..

  • Why would they not have given the D4/D800 the capability of doing 4K video and much faster 1080p FPS? Surely these platforms were more suited to this capability given the lens quality and more importantly clean HDMI out to external recorder?

    • RMJ

      Because it’s reserved for “s” versions of those bodies.

      • Lcky


    • Global

      They don’t have the OTHER hardware/software requirements developed yet. Its not a matter of just having a sensor. That’s why I’m thinking this could be excellent in a D400. Nikon likes to start its innovative technology in mid-level DSLRs anyway (usually D5000 or D7000 level, but D400 could pick up 4K) and its optimization for video + a much larger buffer = significant differentiation from the D7100.

      • True, I don’t do much video anyway but would be nice to have a bit of 720p 60fps going when i do. I’d just be happy with a D3s sensor in a D800 body (that’s just a fantasy though 🙁 )

  • Zen-Tao

    Yes, yes, yes. It’s likely I’m some kind of moron, but I can’t understand why those guys make a sensor with these stunnig marks and pixel rates and jamm it into a 1-inch sensor.The files this sensor delivers must be enormous uneven for the quality and improvements we could achieve . DX format problem is that there are not enought sharp lenses to take advantage of them when you have high pixel rate. Zeiss, Shneider an thirds are developing lensesf for 4k but the only way, I guess, is to enlarge the sensor so that to achieve a cinematographic aspect. 1 inch sensor is suitable for HDTV broadcast cameras. On the other hand, Blackmgic cinema camera features a MFT sensor close to one inch. Will aptina be the next BMCC 4K sensor? What kind of lense will we have to attach on? We’ll see wonders in a new future…

  • samul

    More likely Aptina announced the sensor because Nikon chose not to use it in V2, and they are currently demonstrating the next gen for Nikon to use in V3 (18-20mpix?)

  • KnightPhoto

    4K video would be more than enough to get my attention as would 120fps in 1080P!

    Would prefer the V3 reverts to the EN-EL15 battery though. And flash compatible with CLS is important also – not sure does the SB-N7 support CLS? V3 must continue to have the Nikon on-sensor PDAF though, or no deal.

    Then I’d look into IR-converting my V1. I see one guy on dpreview has already done this.

  • @admin: you’re asking the wrong question. Almost certainly, this is the Aptina version of the sensor that’s already in the V2. The question you should be asking is why Nikon didn’t implement the 4K video output of the sensor. The answer would likely be “internal bandwidth.” A 4K video stream is a pretty big fire hose, and still camera designs aren’t exactly set up to handle it, especially Nikon’s. Even in the D4 and D800 the HD stream is simply sent along to the HDMI port with as little processing as possible: those cameras don’t appear to have the bandwidth to do anything else (e.g. compress and write the signal to card simultaneously.
    Nikon continues to dabble at video. We’ve seen no clear indication that they understand the dynamics of the video market yet. Raw is more interesting than uncompressed. 4K is more interesting than HD. SDI is more interesting than HDMI. And so on.

    • RMJ

      This is true, V2 already has this sensor.

      It’s just Nikon limiting it’s capabilities at the moment.

      • Agreed. If they are having hardware issues that is one thing. But Nikon is famous for crippling firmware to segment the marketplace.

        • vFunct

          Nikon certainly doesn’t have the ISP that can handle 4k yet. These things for cameras this small need to be low-power as well, something you might not worry so much about in a big industrial-grade video camera.

          • Depends upon how you mean “can handle.” The EXPEED chips are based upon a chip that has a speed limit. If Nikon had to compress or form a raw file from a 4k data stream it is indeed possible that those things would exceed the bandwidth of the chip. It’s also not a multicore chip, and remember it has to put up a live view that is demosaiced and suited for the EVF, so there’s definitely a limit to what can be done without adding parts.

            That’s really the thing that’s bothered me most about the Nikon 1 models: they are overpriced for the cost content. I’m betting that Nikon made a reasonable profit even when they dropped the V1 price to US$399. Thus, I don’t understand their strategy here. They are pricing a less-than-DSLR at more-than-DSLR prices. They could have added some internal bandwidth and produced a V2 that did 4K video right and priced it at the price they charged and dramatically altered the video market, just as Blackmagic and GoPro are doing. Instead, they’ve chosen some other strategy that makes no sense to me. I don’t believe they’ve even sold one million Nikon 1’s yet, certainly not to consumers.

            • Micah Goldstein

              Thank you Thom for confirming my suspicions. I think the future must hold a more powerful next generation of the Expeed chip. The whole line, including DSLRs depends on it! I think Nikon’s future also depends on it.

            • Eric Calabos

              Of course they will upgrade it.. but When? After everybody made a compact reasonably priced 4k cam?

            • Micah Goldstein

              Hopefully sooner! But yeah, ain’t holdin mah breath.

            • Thom the H.E.V.C Code,

            • And the HEVC codec is for up to 4k and 8k resolution in RAW?

            • MyrddinWilt

              Given how the V1 is made, I don’t think they were profitable at full price. The physical build is very good. The j2 and j3 are much cheaper to make, I’ll bet. Same on the Lenses

              Production engineering takes time and needs large voulumes

            • Can’t Believe It

              Thom, it is time for you to start naming names. Tell us who should bear the shame of imposing mediocrity on the company whose products we all love so much (and spend so much money on)?

              Is it president of imaging Yasuyuki Okamoto? CEO Nobuyoshi Gokyu? President Makoto Kimura? VP of imaging Tsuneo Kosaka? Who?

              If we can identify the person who is the roadblock, we can start a worldwide movement to ask him to please relent and allow Nikon to return to its previously preeminent position as maker of all things awesome in the camera world.

      • Denny

        How can this be? The V2 (a 14MP sensor) was announced in Oct. 2012, in production by Jan.2013, and this version of the sensor (a 14.2MP ver.) was announced in April 2013! This does Not compute. Likely this or an update of this sensor, is the sensor in the V3. I do not think 4K video,will be available dur to,form factor, but 1080 60P would be nice, along with ProRes codex.

    • And Optical?????

  • Kynikos

    Having the best 1″ sensor is a bit like being the tallest dwarf.

  • Mike

    You know, Nikon has a real opportunity here, if they adopt this 4k capable sensor, of leading the 1″ sensor camera segment but also taking on the action can segment. The new GoPro does 4k but only at 15fps. Nikon could bundle this chip with their optics and Nikonos type know-how and put something special together. Their current tough Coolpix is no match for brand appeal and function of GoPro. If they are looking for new segments and appealing to a younger generation….. action cam, not Ashton Doucher. I mean Kutcher.

    • Mike

      Sorry, I had a mild stroke during my first sentence. 😉

  • Why do you need 4K video?? Do you have a 4K TV?? Bigger ain’t always better, sometimes it’s just bigger!!

    • More data is always better. Down resolve at post. No problem.

      Oh, yes, and 4K TVs are already in the marketplace.

      • 4K TVs may be available, but no-one is buying them, ’cause consumers Do-Not-Care.

        • Spy Black

          “‘…no-one is buying them, ’cause consumers Do-Not-Care.”
          No, consumers can’t AFFORD them. Yet.

          • Agreed. I for one would love to get one or more 4K TVs to use as monitors, and the new Mac Pro is built to output 4K out of the box.

            • Spy Black

              You’ll probably be able to afford a 4K TV before you can afford a Mac Pro…

            • We shall see. The base Mac Pro has been $2499-$2699 since they were introduced. The new model is far smaller, less expandable, and less upgradable. Unless it’s as cheap or cheaper than the model it replaces, I’m not interested.

  • Nikonnut

    As soon as Nikon releases a nikon 1 which actually fits in a jacket or jeans pocket they will have a winner. They are almost there with the J3. They would need somekind of (smaller than current) retractable zoom lens or a really good fast 35mm equiv 35mm f1.8 or f2 pancake. Thats the future i see with the 1 inch sensor. The nikon coolpix A may show some of nikons interest in this direction but again if it were an ILC, the lenses would be again far to large. DX and Micro 4/3 lenses are too large and dont have this potential i believe, at least in the near future.

    Worlds first pocketable ILC system. Id buy that.

    I thought the sony rx100 was brilliant but its a little too expensive. I got myself an nex 6 instead which price wise was ever so slightly more.

    • Micah Goldstein

      Check out the new Panasonic P&S with a built in EVF. It’s crap resolution, but it’s still built in. I see no reason why a V1 type camera can’t be that small too.

  • Global

    Would this thing be able to be modified for a D400 with 4K, but as good low-light as the D700 and other bells and whistles?

    • Micah Goldstein

      Bingo. Although the D800 and D7100 are not that far behind the D700 for IQ. Only in frame rate. A model that simply reiterates one of those cameras with a frame rate equal or greater to the D700 would suit me just fine!

  • From the video quality point of view, if you down res 4k down to 2k or 1080p you can move from 4:2:0 to 4:2:2 which would give you way more latitude to color grade in post

  • Spy Black

    Not for nuthin’, but have you ever tried shooting video with a camera designed for stills, even if it’s a point and shoot? Now have you ever tried shooting video with a video camera? Which would rather shoot video with?

    While it’s nice that my D600 and D5100 record video, it’s the most awkward crap I’ve ever done with a camera. While the add-on hardware industry that sprung up around DSLR video helps, when you add up all the costs, you may realize you were probably way better off buying a dedicated video camera to shoot video. Granted, early on there was no way to get a DX- or FX-sensor sized video recording device other than a DSLR, but those days are over.

    I sincerely hope Nikon is working on a video-proper shooting device, a motion-picture camera that handles like one. I would love to see an FX-sized camera from Nikon that takes every Nikkor back to Ai like their present line does. Picture yourself shooting with a real motion-picture camera with something like a 58mm Noct or 13- or 15mm rectilinear superwide, or whatever Nikkor you can dream of putting on that camera!

    • Micah Goldstein

      For family snaps/clips in good light, small sensor video cams are ok.

      For events with low light, larger sensors rule. I use DSLRs and GX1s for events. Yes, sometimes you lose focus, but in the same environment, consumer video cams barely get an image and can’t focus either. And manually focusing them is nigh impossible.

  • TwoMetreBill

    Not being someone interested in video, I’m ignoring those issues.

    For still photographers, the sensor is the least of the V2’s problems. Read Tom Hogan’s review to see why this is still selling to the P&S market with little penetration into the serious still photographer market. Here is the link since he’s not updated the menus for this camera:


    While I’m only one person and perhaps in the minority with my requirements; if Nikon doesn’t get their act together with the V3, I’ll be switching from Nikon DX to Olympus OM-D when the pro body comes out this fall. Currently the major selling point of the V2 (to me) is the ability to mount my 80-200 f/2.8 and 80-400 D VR.

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