Pros and cons
The 2/3in format is a mature, stable design, with the main development being the shift from CCD to CMOS technology and the addition of 3Gb/s 1080p50 outputs. The format, along with the 1/2in and 1/3in versions, provides broadcasters with cameras with the performance demanded for HD and the versatility of ENG through to studio cameras. There is a wide range of field and box lenses, with the apertures and zoom ranges needed for sport, through to the lightweight lenses for shoulder cameras.
For some genres, especially drama and episodic production, the Super 35 PL-mount lenses provide a filmic look, partially stemming from the shallower depth of field with the larger sensor. The larger image format is more suited to fixed-focal-length prime lenses, and in this format, zooms are limited in their ranges, typically 3:1.
The CCD has been the original technology for solid-state sensors in television cameras. For some years now, DSLRs and digital cinema cameras have moved to CMOS technology for single-sensor cameras. Continuing research and development has raised the performance of CMOS to the point where it is starting to be used in regular 2/3in broadcast cameras.
CMOS has advantages, lower power consumption being one. In addition, CMOS does not suffer from the vertical smearing of CCDs.
Proponents of the CCD imager point to the “Jello” effect exhibited by the rolling shutter of most CMOS sensors. However, it is perfectly possible to design CMOS sensors with a global shutter, which eliminates the effect. They are more complex, with extra transistors per photosite. The real estate of the additional transistors lowers the sensitivity of the sensor, but advances in semiconductor manufacturing allow the transistors to be made smaller, increasing the fill factor of the active sensor to that of earlier rolling shutter CMOS designs. With Super 35 sensors, this is even less of an issue than with 2/3in sensors.
With any solid-state sensor, the designers try to maximize the active light gathering area (the fill factor) to maximize signal-to-noise ratio. They will also endeavor to improve highlight handling and maximize dynamic range. The larger Super 35 sensors inherently gather more light, so they will have less noise.