The newest from the rumor mill is a leaked press release from Canon Europe. Apparently they put it on their site prematurely and have since taken it down. But not before a bunch of people copied it.
Here's the relevant bit: The EOS-1Ds features the first ever full frame 35mm CMOS sensor with 11.1 million effective pixels. The EOS-1Ds capture astounding detail & colour, almost doubling the resolution ordinarily considered state of the art for a digital SLR camera in the world today.
I would not expect to see a D2 but a new D1 series something like D1z or D1j or something based on the current body design. If by chance there is to be an F6, the D2 wold be based upon it. Though I anticipate a new #5 sereis high end camer like an N/F 85 or N/F95 which the D2 could be based upon.
Personally I wish Canon would get back in its bag
Aaron J. Heiner Team Coast Guard Photographer US Department of Homeland Security
The CCDs for the D1, D1h and D1x were custom made for Nikon - it's widely supposed by Sony although Nikon will not confirm this - and were never generally available, so Nikon could well be sitting on a 10-12MPixel chip.
The digital back you mention is from Sinar and features a massive 50.0mm x 38.8mm CCD with a 5440 x 4080 resolution.
At 10-12 mpx, wouldn't lens resolution become the constraining factor rather than ccd resolution?
Also, the most interesting thing to me was the " full size" cmos on the Canon 1Ds. Although I have begun to get my arms around the D100 and the way it makes photos, the wide angle problem is a real problem for me now. I have a 17-35mm zoom on order now and expect to use it a lot. It will do wonderful things on my F100, too.
That's an interesting question, but I'm not sure how to calculate the system resolution for a lens/CCD combination.
Considering the capabilities of a high end 35mm lens alone, the resolving power varies dramatically with aperture, ranging from around 360 lines per millimeter at f/4 to 65 lpm at f/22. So if we assume a full frame sensor and 180 lpm at f/8 then the lens is capable of resolving around 28 MPixels worth of detail.
The question is whether this calculation is valid - it's certainly not true for film where the system resolution must take into account the resolving power of the film. It also begs an interesting question in that lens resolution is at its best when wide open, but film resolution is best at minimum aperture - so does the fixed pixel array of a CCD behave in a similar fashion (which seems unlikely) or can it take better advantage of the lens?
I'm really not sure, but my guess would be the lens wouldn't become a limiting factor until sensors reach the 30 to 35 MPixel mark, giving a pixel size of about 5um - which is about the limit of film. In terms of image quality, though, 12MPixels will probably equal film while 35MPixels would surpass it.