Atomos New Full-Frame Sensor Shoots 8Kp60 With Minimal Heat

Atomos 8K featured

Last month, Atomos revealed the existence of its new “Sapphire F8” sensor but without going into much detail about any of its specs and features. Now the company has spilled the beans in a broad interview about the new camera component.

In an interview conducted with the website PetaPixel, Atomos CEO Trevor Elbourne explained that the new sensor includes features such as 8K video at 60fps, a global shutter, phase detection AF and most importantly of all, barely generates any heat while operating in a device.

The new Sapphire sensor, as it’s been dubbed, delivers a 17×9 aspect ratio and total pixel dimensions of 8,192 x 4,320.

Image credits: Atomos

Overlaying this is a global shutter that lets this sensor shoot full-res 8K video at 60 frames per second, 4K at up to 240fps and 1080P HD at a rapid-fire 360FPS if needed.

According to Elbourne, the Sapphire also has 15 stops of dynamic range and can shoot HDR video through a rather unique mechanism of line-by-line dual exposure, which means that it alternates between both short and long exposures of a scene to deliver high dynamic range.

However, the very unique thing about the Atomos Sapphire is its power consumption: When shooting in 8K resolution at its maximum frame rate, this sensor draws a mere 2 watts of power which also lets it operate with barely any heat creation.

The importance of this is major because it lets the major 8K recording power of this sensor gets packed into smaller camera bodies without requiring complex heat-dissipating peripherals.

As the Atomos CEO states, “There is nothing that we are aware of that competes, particularly because the 8K global shutter and low power make it unique. This continues to be a real struggle for camera makers. We saw it very publicly when Canon released the R5,”

Elbourne also elaborates that Sapphire’s low power consumption and low heat signature not only lets camera makers remove fans or decrease cooling apparatus size.

They also let them fit additional features such as improved image processors into their cameras because of the sensor’s reduced power requirements.

In his own words, “You can give more power to other features in the same form factor. Lower power gives you more design options,”

The Ceo also elaborates that with the Sapphire, “Across all the modes, including high-resolution 8K, we maintain full 12-bit ADC resolution across the entire operating range. Often you trade off ADC precision, but we don’t do that. That’s fairly unique,”


According to Atomos, its new sensor has been under development for years and was originally slated to be a part of a highly advanced Atomos camera.

However, according to the company’s CEO, Atomos decided to focus exclusively on sensor development and instead license the final product to new entrants such as Blackmagic, which were in any case ahead in the development of entire cameras.

The entire interview with PetaPixel is worth a read for the additional details it provided. The CEO  of Atomos finishes it off by stating that the Sapphire 8K sensor will “definitely” be ready for any new camera design cycle by a willing partner.

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Shotkit Journalist, Writer & Reviewer

Stephan Jukic is a technology and photography journalist and experimental photographer who spends his time living in both Canada and Mexico. He loves cross-cultural street photo exploration and creating fine art photo compositions.

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