canon rumors FORUM

Rumors => EOS Bodies => Topic started by: jrista on October 28, 2012, 12:55:30 AM

Title: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on October 28, 2012, 12:55:30 AM
Chipworks recently released an article analysing (http://www.chipworks.com/blog/technologyblog/2012/10/24/full-frame-dslr-cameras-canon-stays-the-course/) the CMOS Image Sensor (CIS) processes from a variety of manufacturers, including Nikon, Sony, and Canon. Historically, Canon has used a 0.5 micron (500nm) process for all of their FF sensors since the original 1Ds. In the Canon analysis, they noted that Canon has a 0.18 micron (180 nanometer) fabrication process (possibly what they used for the 120mp APS-H?) that they may begin using for future FF sensors:

Quote from: Chipworks
Canon does have a 0.18 µm generation CIS wafer fab process, featuring a specialized Cu back end of line (BEOL) including light pipes (shown below). It is possible to speculate that Canon may be preparing to refresh its FF CIS line to supply devices for a new FF camera system.

A move from their 0.5um process to a 0.18um process for FF CIS manufacture would be a fairly significant move for Canon. The accompanying image figure also seems to indicate a double microlens layer...one above the CFA and one below...which could lead to higher Q.E. The article also mentions the use of "Light Pipes", a term I had not heard before. According to a few papers (http://www.silecs.com/download/CMOS_image_sensor_with_high_refractive_index_lightpipe.pdf) I've read, lightpipes in CMOS sensor design make use of high refractive index materials and a reflective wall in the optical stack the  to improve transmission of light from the color filter/microlens to the photodiode, which exists at the end of a narrow tube where all the readout wiring exists (in a frontside-illuminated design). Seems like a lightpipe is an alternative to using a backside-illuminated design that aims to improve Q.E while avoiding some of the complexities and issues with BSI designs. Additionally, the use of copper interconnects should improve efficiency, allowing lower power usage, and hopefully leading to a lower level of electronic noise (the great bane of Canon these days.)

Seems Canon is most definitely not out of the CMOS Image Sensor design game yet. They seem to have some new tricks up their sleeves, and hopefully they will see the light of day in their next FF camera. Ah, competition is good!
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: Neutral on October 28, 2012, 04:18:29 AM
Interesting article.

Mostly Interesting is that Canon for the last 10 years starting with the first 1D was using the same 500nm technology process even for the latest 1Dx !!!
And only now Canon is planning to move to 180nm technology process.
This was really amazing for me from technology evolution prospective in general

Just to think of it - Intel for it's latest IvyBridge is using 22 nm technology process and in near future will be moving to 14nm for second generation of Haswell and then to 10nm process for Skylake
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivy_Bridge_(microarchitecture) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivy_Bridge_(microarchitecture))
Plus to this new 3D (Tri-gate) transistors technology that drastically reduce currents leakage and reduce power consumption (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tri-gate_transistor#Tri-gate_transistors (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tri-gate_transistor#Tri-gate_transistors)). This in general significantly reduce noise produced by them .

More to this ARM year back demonstrated real 3D circuitry technology in their 1mm cube microchip where only circuit layer is grown above another layer forming multilayer chip (3D instead of flat 2D).
All that combined together is promising amazing things now and in the new future.

And just compare current level of Intel microchips technology (22nm) to the same of Canon (500nm)
Intel introduced 600nm process for Pentium P54C in October 1994 and 350nm process in June 1995.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentium)
Though it is not very fair to compare digital circuits with analog ones but still this shows very huge gap in microchips technology process itself - 20 years of difference.
And explanation for that is simple - technology process development is so costly and requires so much investments in R&D and technology equipment that is is possible itself only for few really big players on the market like Intel or AMD or Samsung and other such companies that focus on development and production and manufacturing of microchips for the rest of the industry.
Smaller companies just do not have enough resources to keep pace in microchip technology evolution and if they do so then eventually technology gap would increase and in order to survive they would need to use technology end equipment licensed (leased) for the major players on this market.

To me the best way is not to reinvent the wheel but try to use whatever is already available and to combine all the best in the top level end-user product (similar what Apple is doing including purchasing small companies that invented and patented something really useful but do not have enough resources for further quick development)

If I would be the project development manager in Canon responsible for this imaging area then I would consider establishing partnership with Intel (or AMD or other major players in the microchip technology) to get access to the latest technology processes. Having such technology at hand gives huge possibilities for the new designs for image sensors itself that would be still done within the Company.
Having high density of active elements on the image chip provided by current 3D 22nm process technology from Intel it could be feasible and possible to design new chip with extremely low lower power consumption and current leaks that in turn would could help to reduce electronic noise.
The other thing that would become feasible is to implement phase AF detection for every pixel on the image sensor - that would be biggest revolution in the camera technology ever - just think of the possibilities that this would give to the camera users. Camera could be mirrorless with AF performance of the existing top level PRO DSLRs. And you could be use any variable group of pixels on the sensor to start AF and track subject in AI Servo mode across the full frame.
And if that done on high resolution high ISO performance sensor (e.g. 80 mpx) you could do perfect shots which would be almost impossible to do before - e.g. object tracking without camera move - e.g. shooting acrobatics - you can put in frame the whole performance area , focus on object and camera will be tracking it across all the frame without need to move the camera itself. The same is very useful e.g. for shooting bailey performance.
Then you can do required size crops from the final images and get perfect subject close up.
And if that would be combined also with Foveon type sensor itself that would another step in this revolution
Plus to this each pixel could have it's own ADC with on chip pixel response  uniformity calibration processor - this could totally eliminate low light pattern noise . Similar to what is done currently in astronomy for telescope with multi element mirrors arrays where each channel in real time compensated for atmosphere turbulence and light propagations variances.
There so many exiting possibilities - there would be not enough space to count all of them
And this is what could be done now or in near future with current technology level.
Just combine together all the best technology pieces already available around and get the best product ever
I am talking now just about current technology level possibilities -not about the cost - would be high now and this is different subject. But for building prototype - is something that could be considered
So all above is more to the vision of the future and how to make this future to come faster)))
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: gmrza on October 28, 2012, 06:53:30 AM

Seems Canon is most definitely not out of the CMOS Image Sensor design game yet. They seem to have some new tricks up their sleeves, and hopefully they will see the light of day in their next FF camera. Ah, competition is good!

My suspicion, which remains speculation as I have no proof, is that Canon has managed to get the very last bit it can out of its 500nm process. - What has been achieved with the 1DX seems pretty amazing considering the maturity of the process.

What I suspect Canon has been trying to do is to commercially leverage the 500nm process to the fullest extent.  The current crop of FF bodies has probably been released at the last possible moment when Canon can still get away with using the current process.  That gives Canon 3 to 4 years (or thereabouts) until the 1DX and 5DIII have to be replaced (unless market conditions change). - That gives Canon quite a leverage in terms of sweating an asset.

There are two ways we might see a new 180nm sensor first - either in an APS-C format, where the production yields are higher, and as a result the cost per sensor is more palatable on a new fab, or in a high end high resolution FF body where a high cost per sensor can be absorbed through the premium price of the product.

I, for one, am hoping that the next year will show us Canon's hand when Canon's next APS-C sensor gets unveiled. - There seems to be an increasingly strong body of opinion that a new APS-C sensor will reach the market next year - possibly in the successor to the 7D.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: marekjoz on October 28, 2012, 07:32:58 AM

Seems Canon is most definitely not out of the CMOS Image Sensor design game yet. They seem to have some new tricks up their sleeves, and hopefully they will see the light of day in their next FF camera. Ah, competition is good!

My suspicion, which remains speculation as I have no proof, is that Canon has managed to get the very last bit it can out of its 500nm process. - What has been achieved with the 1DX seems pretty amazing considering the maturity of the process.

What I suspect Canon has been trying to do is to commercially leverage the 500nm process to the fullest extent.  The current crop of FF bodies has probably been released at the last possible moment when Canon can still get away with using the current process.  That gives Canon 3 to 4 years (or thereabouts) until the 1DX and 5DIII have to be replaced (unless market conditions change). - That gives Canon quite a leverage in terms of sweating an asset.
(...)
I also think, that they don't bring to market some technologies they have already developed. Someone could say that this is some naive point of view, but if they can still make money on old technology, then why waste this possibility killing it with quite new devices with superior specification? Everyone - I think - will agree, that they are doing incremental steps forward, rather than revolutionary. Those who bought either 5d3 or 1dx will still spend their money for new toys, if they will be better.
It's just a pity, that the life is too short to see the photos made with full DR, 200MP and 24 bits :) And if they achieve this moment, what would they work on next? Assuming that they have a technology allowing today to make a sensor having 14 stops DR, 100MP and 16bits at 25600 ISO... would it be smart from their point of view to put it into the next DSLR? I am sure, that the answer is NO and if I would be responsible for that in Canon I would simply not allow it to happen, no matter how much as photographer I would enjoy such a tool.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: Woody on October 28, 2012, 10:58:19 AM
Actually, Paul Pope, a highly reliable source in DPReview, has indicated on many occasions that Canon has the next level sensor technology; Canon is not as far behind as what many think. However, he believes the bean counters in Canon are not willing to move their latest technology into manufacturing phase because of low(er) yield.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: nightbreath on October 28, 2012, 11:17:15 AM
Actually, Paul Pope, a highly reliable source in DPReview, has indicated on many occasions that Canon has the next level sensor technology; Canon is not as far behind as what many think. However, he believes the bean counters in Canon are not willing to move their latest technology into manufacturing phase because of low(er) yield.
They might re-consider this taking into account decrease in profit. Even if they don't gain much in camera sales, they would rather hold the first position than loosing their current place (I assume  :) )
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: dolina on October 28, 2012, 11:22:29 AM
Well and good that Canon will be migrating to 0.18um but will it show up in the next generation 1 and 5 series? I chose to skip this generation as I do not shoot as much as last year.\\

BTW folks the single digit bodies tend to have a 3 year product cycle. Double digit 2 years and three or more digits 12 months.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on October 28, 2012, 11:38:50 AM
For those who think Canon needs to build a new fab. The article clearly indicates that Canon already has 0.18um fabrication process. That means they wouldn't have to build some new multi-billion dollar wafer fab...simply that they would need to start using the one they already for commercial products. My guess is they developed it several years ago, as they would have required something smaller than 500nm to produce a 120mp APS-H sensor, which had 2um pixels.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: x-vision on October 28, 2012, 01:10:38 PM

There are two ways we might see a new 180nm sensor first - either in an APS-C format, where the production yields are higher, and as a result the cost per sensor is more palatable on a new fab, or in a high end high resolution FF body where a high cost per sensor can be absorbed through the premium price of the product.

My thoughts exactly.

FYI, the 180nm sensor mentioned in the Chipworks article is the S100/S110 sensor.
This sensor has been on the market for about a year now (the S100 was announced in September 2011).

So, Canon't 180nm sensor technology is in production already; it's not some R&D project.
The question is, when are they going to scale this process to DSLR sensors.

Indeed, because of yields, it makes the most sense to first implement it in a premium APS-C model (7DII?).
But Canon is not known for doing things that make much sense (6D anyone  ::)). So, who knows.

OTOH, after the disappointing sales numbers from last quarter, Canon is surely under pressure to show improved sales.
This bodes very well for bringing the (pending) 180nm DSLR sensors to market ASAP.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on October 28, 2012, 01:21:01 PM
Switching technologies is expensive, and the camera industry is in a tailspin.  Canon has released a recent patent which makes a rear illuminated sensor practical for FF and APS-C sensors (It is not used now because there is no benefit).
Unless Canon has already committed and is installing the equipment, don't look for any billion dollar facility updates soon.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: Stu_bert on October 28, 2012, 02:19:13 PM
For those who think Canon needs to build a new fab. The article clearly indicates that Canon already has 0.18um fabrication process. That means they wouldn't have to build some new multi-billion dollar wafer fab...simply that they would need to start using the one they already for commercial products. My guess is they developed it several years ago, as they would have required something smaller than 500nm to produce a 120mp APS-H sensor, which had 2um pixels.

Yes it did, but sufficient for large volume? Unless they predict minimal usage of the new tech, over a 3 year period they would replace most of their sensor tech with it and thus would need the capacity. And that's a big investment.

As another poster stated, it is indeed about the bean counters, they keep the company operating within a risk profile the board / investors are happy with. And with a downturn in profits, I doubt they are to invest majorly anywhere.

I concur with others, bringing out a high end camera, with high MP, is a good signal to your competitors and the market that you have the tech, plus it does not require such high volumes and as you have more headroom to absorb the costs.

I'd vote against the APS-C version unless technicalities prevent Canon from releasing a FF sensor first. Just my tuppence.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: gmrza on October 28, 2012, 05:57:10 PM
Actually, Paul Pope, a highly reliable source in DPReview, has indicated on many occasions that Canon has the next level sensor technology; Canon is not as far behind as what many think. However, he believes the bean counters in Canon are not willing to move their latest technology into manufacturing phase because of low(er) yield.

As has been pointed out - that makes perfect sense.  The 1DX demonstrates exactly how much Canon has been able to pull out of the current process.  Launching the 1DX, 5DIII and 6D using the current 500nm process probably gives Canon 3 years (maybe 4) to get a 180nm process to a point where it will deliver sufficient margins for full frame sensors.  I suspect that the economics of the new process will start working for smaller sensors first - i.e. APS-C.

I haven't been able to dig out any information about what process Canon is currently using on smaller sensors for instance in the G15 - that would be interesting to know as well.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: verysimplejason on October 28, 2012, 07:09:03 PM
I'm just hoping they try it with 6D.  If they do, 6D will be selling like pancakes should performance improve greatly.  They've done it with 5D2, now is the time to do it with another one.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: gmrza on October 28, 2012, 07:55:09 PM
I'm just hoping they try it with 6D.  If they do, 6D will be selling like pancakes should performance improve greatly.  They've done it with 5D2, now is the time to do it with another one.

I think that is highly unlikely - the cost base of the 6D has to be significantly lower than the 5DIII.  The $2000 to $2100 odd price-tag of the 6D is the high water mark for the price.  The price of the 6D will, if anything, follow a similar trajectory to the 7D - possibly testing $1500.  Canon will need every bit of margin it can get to sustain that kind of a price drop.  That would just not be possible with a new manufacturing process.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: dr croubie on October 28, 2012, 08:30:21 PM
I'm just hoping they try it with 6D.  If they do, 6D will be selling like pancakes should performance improve greatly.  They've done it with 5D2, now is the time to do it with another one.

I think that is highly unlikely - the cost base of the 6D has to be significantly lower than the 5DIII.  The $2000 to $2100 odd price-tag of the 6D is the high water mark for the price.  The price of the 6D will, if anything, follow a similar trajectory to the 7D - possibly testing $1500.  Canon will need every bit of margin it can get to sustain that kind of a price drop.  That would just not be possible with a new manufacturing process.

Yeah, I reckon we'll see a new process launched with a 7Dmk2 or 70D, I doubt the 6D is it (although it would go some way to explaining the price vs features of the 6D). Seriously, they can't use the same 18MP sensor in *yet another* aps-c camera. I'm curious as to whether anyone's x-rayed the 650D, maybe that's already on the new process? Either way, the 70D might use the same sensor as 650D if it's launched first, otherwise if the 7Dmk2 is first then it could lead with the new process.

(Also, maybe that explains the 7D v2 firmware? Obviously it was a stop-gap because the 7Dmk2 wasn't ready for market, could it be troubles with the new process? Or just maybe once they go to the new process, the 7Dmk2 will have so much freakingly better IQ than the 5D3 (or even close-to would be nice), that instead they held off on it until the 5D3 is a year old before the 7Dmk2 launch, so as to not cannibalise too much?)
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: gmrza on October 28, 2012, 08:39:31 PM

(Also, maybe that explains the 7D v2 firmware? Obviously it was a stop-gap because the 7Dmk2 wasn't ready for market, could it be troubles with the new process? Or just maybe once they go to the new process, the 7Dmk2 will have so much freakingly better IQ than the 5D3 (or even close-to would be nice), that instead they held off on it until the 5D3 is a year old before the 7Dmk2 launch, so as to not cannibalise too much?)

I suspect you are right - I would expect a 7DII to be announced around a year after the 5DIII was. - The 7D was launched roughly a year after the 5DII.

I don't expect the 7DII to have the same relationship to the 5DIII as the 7D did to the 5DII - a lot of people who could not afford a 1DIV bought a 5DII and 7D.  Given the upgrades to the 5DIII AF (AF points, accuracy and f/8 coming) and frame rate, the 7DII will probably fulfil a different role.
For instance, wildlife photographers will probably start to opt for a 5DIII and 1.4x TC rather than a crop body.

That said, I hope a 7DII and enthusiast-level mirrorless will be platforms on which we might see a new manufacturing process being used.

Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: tron on October 28, 2012, 09:11:49 PM
I don't expect the 7DII to have the same relationship to the 5DIII as the 7D did to the 5DII - a lot of people who could not afford a 1DIV bought a 5DII and 7D.
Now, if -and that's a big IF- 7DII uses the new technology sensors and an AF system that is between the 7D's and 5D3's (hopefully 5D3's) then I cannot think why it couldn't be the new wildlife camera. An 18Mpixel APS-C sensor with a quality close to 5D3's would kill... Of course this would cannibalize the 1DX and the new super telephotos sales
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: verysimplejason on October 28, 2012, 10:28:09 PM
I'm just hoping they try it with 6D.  If they do, 6D will be selling like pancakes should performance improve greatly.  They've done it with 5D2, now is the time to do it with another one.

I think that is highly unlikely - the cost base of the 6D has to be significantly lower than the 5DIII.  The $2000 to $2100 odd price-tag of the 6D is the high water mark for the price.  The price of the 6D will, if anything, follow a similar trajectory to the 7D - possibly testing $1500.  Canon will need every bit of margin it can get to sustain that kind of a price drop.  That would just not be possible with a new manufacturing process.

Yeah, I reckon we'll see a new process launched with a 7Dmk2 or 70D, I doubt the 6D is it (although it would go some way to explaining the price vs features of the 6D). Seriously, they can't use the same 18MP sensor in *yet another* aps-c camera. I'm curious as to whether anyone's x-rayed the 650D, maybe that's already on the new process? Either way, the 70D might use the same sensor as 650D if it's launched first, otherwise if the 7Dmk2 is first then it could lead with the new process.

(Also, maybe that explains the 7D v2 firmware? Obviously it was a stop-gap because the 7Dmk2 wasn't ready for market, could it be troubles with the new process? Or just maybe once they go to the new process, the 7Dmk2 will have so much freakingly better IQ than the 5D3 (or even close-to would be nice), that instead they held off on it until the 5D3 is a year old before the 7Dmk2 launch, so as to not cannibalise too much?)

I don't think it's impossible though highly unlikely.  With the recent Canon sales performance, anything and everything is possible.  Sometimes the goal is to sell move even at the cost of little profit per unit.  Also 6D will be competing with D600 which already have superior specs at least on paper.  In order to compete, Canon might do something revolutionary in their lineup.  I don't know what it is but certainly WIFI and GPS isn't it.  5D3 at least has better AF, better build quality and better in low-light performance than D800 (without downsizing).  Of course, I might be wrong.  You know how stubborn Canon is... :(
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: LetTheRightLensIn on October 28, 2012, 10:50:07 PM
Chipworks recently released an article analysing (http://www.chipworks.com/blog/technologyblog/2012/10/24/full-frame-dslr-cameras-canon-stays-the-course/) the CMOS Image Sensor (CIS) processes from a variety of manufacturers, including Nikon, Sony, and Canon. Historically, Canon has used a 0.5 micron (500nm) process for all of their FF sensors since the original 1Ds. In the Canon analysis, they noted that Canon has a 0.18 micron (180 nanometer) fabrication process (possibly what they used for the 120mp APS-H?) that they may begin using for future FF sensors:

Quote from: Chipworks
Canon does have a 0.18 µm generation CIS wafer fab process, featuring a specialized Cu back end of line (BEOL) including light pipes (shown below). It is possible to speculate that Canon may be preparing to refresh its FF CIS line to supply devices for a new FF camera system.

A move from their 0.5um process to a 0.18um process for FF CIS manufacture would be a fairly significant move for Canon. The accompanying image figure also seems to indicate a double microlens layer...one above the CFA and one below...which could lead to higher Q.E. The article also mentions the use of "Light Pipes", a term I had not heard before. According to a few papers (http://www.silecs.com/download/CMOS_image_sensor_with_high_refractive_index_lightpipe.pdf) I've read, lightpipes in CMOS sensor design make use of high refractive index materials and a reflective wall in the optical stack the  to improve transmission of light from the color filter/microlens to the photodiode, which exists at the end of a narrow tube where all the readout wiring exists (in a frontside-illuminated design). Seems like a lightpipe is an alternative to using a backside-illuminated design that aims to improve Q.E while avoiding some of the complexities and issues with BSI designs. Additionally, the use of copper interconnects should improve efficiency, allowing lower power usage, and hopefully leading to a lower level of electronic noise (the great bane of Canon these days.)

Seems Canon is most definitely not out of the CMOS Image Sensor design game yet. They seem to have some new tricks up their sleeves, and hopefully they will see the light of day in their next FF camera. Ah, competition is good!

Hopefully. Hopefully they take advantage of it and can fit column ADC and stuff on their sensors now.
It sounds like there is some promise there, hopefully it will be delivered.



Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: DB on October 28, 2012, 11:57:17 PM
A lot of people here are making assumptions about Canon not releasing new products for a variety of reasons, from pricing policy, to milking older technology, to marketing decisions, even to a reluctance to invest capital expenditure in the new machinery required for even thinner chips and sensors, but few people are considering the simple logistical facts: manufacturing enough quantity (inventory) prior to shipping.

Canon is a victim of it's own success, it has made and sold more than 50 million digital-SLR bodies since 2000 (starting with the D30, then D60 up to the 1DX and 6D bodies). In the first 8 years Canon sold 24 million DSLR's or about 3 million per year. Over the last 4 years they've sold almost as many again, now averaging 6.5 million DSLR bodies each year - that is nearly 542,000 per calendar month and more than 27,000 per working day! Assuming that Canon requires a minimum of a 3-month inventory of a new product prior to launch + another 2-3 months supply in-transit (got to ship those boxes half way around the world, time in bonded warehouses, customs etc.), then they have to have a half years Sales Supply in hand before launch. This is probably why the 6D is not being delivered till early-December (which means they could have been manufacturing it since May).

These logistical supply constraints add up to a considerable lead time. This delay in manufacturing enough new product to physically deliver to specialist camera stores goes a long way to explaining why many CR bloggers feel that Canon has slipped behind competitors in the recent product launch stakes - perhaps the decisions to go ahead with a specific feature-list were made 18 months prior to actual launch, or some figure like that. Whichever way you look at it, Canon has to produce hundreds of thousands if not millions of sensors and digic processors for their cameras, months even before they arrive in your country.

It is a physical impossibility for Canon to launch e.g. a 7D2 in Spring 2013, if they're not already making the parts for that particular body right now....in large quantities.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on October 29, 2012, 01:10:43 AM
Chipworks recently released an article analysing (http://www.chipworks.com/blog/technologyblog/2012/10/24/full-frame-dslr-cameras-canon-stays-the-course/) the CMOS Image Sensor (CIS) processes from a variety of manufacturers, including Nikon, Sony, and Canon. Historically, Canon has used a 0.5 micron (500nm) process for all of their FF sensors since the original 1Ds. In the Canon analysis, they noted that Canon has a 0.18 micron (180 nanometer) fabrication process (possibly what they used for the 120mp APS-H?) that they may begin using for future FF sensors:

Quote from: Chipworks
Canon does have a 0.18 µm generation CIS wafer fab process, featuring a specialized Cu back end of line (BEOL) including light pipes (shown below). It is possible to speculate that Canon may be preparing to refresh its FF CIS line to supply devices for a new FF camera system.

A move from their 0.5um process to a 0.18um process for FF CIS manufacture would be a fairly significant move for Canon. The accompanying image figure also seems to indicate a double microlens layer...one above the CFA and one below...which could lead to higher Q.E. The article also mentions the use of "Light Pipes", a term I had not heard before. According to a few papers (http://www.silecs.com/download/CMOS_image_sensor_with_high_refractive_index_lightpipe.pdf) I've read, lightpipes in CMOS sensor design make use of high refractive index materials and a reflective wall in the optical stack the  to improve transmission of light from the color filter/microlens to the photodiode, which exists at the end of a narrow tube where all the readout wiring exists (in a frontside-illuminated design). Seems like a lightpipe is an alternative to using a backside-illuminated design that aims to improve Q.E while avoiding some of the complexities and issues with BSI designs. Additionally, the use of copper interconnects should improve efficiency, allowing lower power usage, and hopefully leading to a lower level of electronic noise (the great bane of Canon these days.)

Seems Canon is most definitely not out of the CMOS Image Sensor design game yet. They seem to have some new tricks up their sleeves, and hopefully they will see the light of day in their next FF camera. Ah, competition is good!

Hopefully. Hopefully they take advantage of it and can fit column ADC and stuff on their sensors now.
It sounds like there is some promise there, hopefully it will be delivered.

Yeah, I really hope they implement some kind of CP-ADC. At the very least, it could help them minimize vertical banding noise, and reduce noise introduced by the ADC itself (since each one per-column could run at a lower frequency.) Every time I read the press release about the 120mp APS-H, I swear it vaguely describes some kind of on-die ADC...column-parallel or not, it would at least be a step forward.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: neuroanatomist on October 29, 2012, 07:27:47 AM
A lot of people here are making assumptions about Canon not releasing new products for a variety of reasons, from pricing policy, to milking older technology, to marketing decisions, even to a reluctance to invest capital expenditure in the new machinery required for even thinner chips and sensors, but few people are considering the simple logistical facts: manufacturing enough quantity (inventory) prior to shipping.

Canon is a victim of it's own success, it has made and sold more than 50 million digital-SLR bodies since 2000 (starting with the D30, then D60 up to the 1DX and 6D bodies). In the first 8 years Canon sold 24 million DSLR's or about 3 million per year. Over the last 4 years they've sold almost as many again, now averaging 6.5 million DSLR bodies each year - that is nearly 542,000 per calendar month and more than 27,000 per working day! Assuming that Canon requires a minimum of a 3-month inventory of a new product prior to launch + another 2-3 months supply in-transit (got to ship those boxes half way around the world, time in bonded warehouses, customs etc.), then they have to have a half years Sales Supply in hand before launch. This is probably why the 6D is not being delivered till early-December (which means they could have been manufacturing it since May).

Wow - that's a lot of cameras!  But, the vast majority of them are xxxD/xxxxD bodies (and some of the latter are made in Taiwan).  The higher-end bodies likely do not need that level of pre-release stock build-up.

In a way, though, we are victims of Canon's success.  They're on top, have been on top for a long time, and thus the pressures to innovate are less strong.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: caruser on October 29, 2012, 09:03:26 AM
In a way, though, we are victims of Canon's success.  They're on top, have been on top for a long time, and thus the pressures to innovate are less strong.

So we should all publicly hold off from buying a new Canon (FF) DSLR until they migrate to the new process.

Assuming that it will bring the desired/required/imagined advantages (and it's not too late, like for Neuro' :-).
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on October 29, 2012, 11:26:40 AM
A lot of people here are making assumptions about Canon not releasing new products for a variety of reasons, from pricing policy, to milking older technology, to marketing decisions, even to a reluctance to invest capital expenditure in the new machinery required for even thinner chips and sensors, but few people are considering the simple logistical facts: manufacturing enough quantity (inventory) prior to shipping.

Canon is a victim of it's own success, it has made and sold more than 50 million digital-SLR bodies since 2000 (starting with the D30, then D60 up to the 1DX and 6D bodies). In the first 8 years Canon sold 24 million DSLR's or about 3 million per year. Over the last 4 years they've sold almost as many again, now averaging 6.5 million DSLR bodies each year - that is nearly 542,000 per calendar month and more than 27,000 per working day! Assuming that Canon requires a minimum of a 3-month inventory of a new product prior to launch + another 2-3 months supply in-transit (got to ship those boxes half way around the world, time in bonded warehouses, customs etc.), then they have to have a half years Sales Supply in hand before launch. This is probably why the 6D is not being delivered till early-December (which means they could have been manufacturing it since May).

These logistical supply constraints add up to a considerable lead time. This delay in manufacturing enough new product to physically deliver to specialist camera stores goes a long way to explaining why many CR bloggers feel that Canon has slipped behind competitors in the recent product launch stakes - perhaps the decisions to go ahead with a specific feature-list were made 18 months prior to actual launch, or some figure like that. Whichever way you look at it, Canon has to produce hundreds of thousands if not millions of sensors and digic processors for their cameras, months even before they arrive in your country.

It is a physical impossibility for Canon to launch e.g. a 7D2 in Spring 2013, if they're not already making the parts for that particular body right now....in large quantities.

I'm not sure all of that really qualifies Canon as a "victim" in any respect. Every company wants to be so popular that they can't keep up with demand...that is kind of the holy grail of the free market and supply & demand.

Also, if Canon makes a move to a 180nm process, it won't be in their highest volume products, which are all the APS-C parts. FF sensors are low-yield, just as the product sales are. If Canon has a fraction of their facilities dedicated to 180nm wafer fabrication, I don't see why that would be a problem for manufacturing a low-volume part, such as a 40-50mp FF sensor using new technology. The camera will either be a 1D or a 2/3/4D (although all of those kind of have "dimensional" names, and half of them carry some kind of mythical superstitious connotation to the Japanese, so...I'm guessing 1D line.)

It'll be a costly camera, although probably not as costly as some people seem to think (Canon won't sell a non-flagship body for $9k...it'll probably wind up somewhere between $5k - $7k.) They aren't going to be selling tens of thousands of those a month, nor will they need to stockpile hundreds of thousands before launch. A lower fabrication capacity should do quite well for a low-volume part like that.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on October 30, 2012, 01:30:03 PM
Chipworks recently released an article analysing (http://www.chipworks.com/blog/technologyblog/2012/10/24/full-frame-dslr-cameras-canon-stays-the-course/) the CMOS Image Sensor (CIS) processes from a variety of manufacturers, including Nikon, Sony, and Canon. Historically, Canon has used a 0.5 micron (500nm) process for all of their FF sensors since the original 1Ds. In the Canon analysis, they noted that Canon has a 0.18 micron (180 nanometer) fabrication process (possibly what they used for the 120mp APS-H?) that they may begin using for future FF sensors:

Quote from: Chipworks
Canon does have a 0.18 µm generation CIS wafer fab process, featuring a specialized Cu back end of line (BEOL) including light pipes (shown below). It is possible to speculate that Canon may be preparing to refresh its FF CIS line to supply devices for a new FF camera system.

A move from their 0.5um process to a 0.18um process for FF CIS manufacture would be a fairly significant move for Canon. The accompanying image figure also seems to indicate a double microlens layer...one above the CFA and one below...which could lead to higher Q.E. The article also mentions the use of "Light Pipes", a term I had not heard before. According to a few papers (http://www.silecs.com/download/CMOS_image_sensor_with_high_refractive_index_lightpipe.pdf) I've read, lightpipes in CMOS sensor design make use of high refractive index materials and a reflective wall in the optical stack the  to improve transmission of light from the color filter/microlens to the photodiode, which exists at the end of a narrow tube where all the readout wiring exists (in a frontside-illuminated design). Seems like a lightpipe is an alternative to using a backside-illuminated design that aims to improve Q.E while avoiding some of the complexities and issues with BSI designs. Additionally, the use of copper interconnects should improve efficiency, allowing lower power usage, and hopefully leading to a lower level of electronic noise (the great bane of Canon these days.)

Seems Canon is most definitely not out of the CMOS Image Sensor design game yet. They seem to have some new tricks up their sleeves, and hopefully they will see the light of day in their next FF camera. Ah, competition is good!


If competition is to working then Canon must:
1. Buying steppers from Nikon so that they are able to go down in size and expose a greater surface area than the compact cameras surface with the same accuracy
2.Buy lenses from Zeiss that can handle the resolution to expose a greater area than Canon can today
3. Dedicate a line for the APS and 24x36
4.  This is large  and heavy investments and are not shown anywhere in press or business reports
5.Gain experience as Sony and others and has refined its manufacturing , today's column  ADC sensors from Sony are from the third generation.
Time will tell "what they have in theirs sleeves" , myself, I think they have slept too long

I'm not sure what you mean by "buy steppers from Nikon" for the purpose of exposing surface area. That comes off as rather inane and nonsensical when you consider Canon MANUFACTURES CMOS Lithography units.

As for lenses, Canon lenses are some of the best in the world, and I believe they offer at least as much, if not more, resolution than a lens from Zeiss. Canon is at the bleeding edge of optical science, and they have pushed the envelope in that arena farther than any other company, including Zeiss. They manufacture their own scanners with their own optics, and as far as I know they are capable of scaling well below 100nm these days.

The most significant reason I've stuck with Canon rather than expanding my kit to include Nikon is the quality and resolution of their lenses. They are lighter, use better materials, and often have MTF's that indicate they are perfect or near-perfect wide open (particularly in the case of the lenses I need most, their telephoto and supertelephoto lenses.) Canon has also stated in the past that their newer lenses are more than capable of handling the resolution for a 45mp FF sensor, which is no surprise, as that's about the same pixel density as their now-ubiquitous 18mp APS-C sensor. If there is any area where competition from Canon is impeccable, it is their optics...they are second to none these days, regardless of the industry.

As for "gaining experience" manufacturing sensors, Canon has DEMONSTRATED experience making sensors. It is no mean feat to push a 500nm process as far as they have...they have apparently extracted every last ounce possible from that process, and still remained competitive (thats "competitive", not "best"...not being best does not mean something is no longer competitive.) That demonstrates a particular knack that Canon has for pushing their technology to the utmost limits, and in my opinion, that only bodes that much better for Canon once they do move to a 180nm process. Canon is efficient, efficient to the extreme. They may not stay at the supreme bleeding edge of sensor technology at all times, but they WILL extract every last ounce of benefit they can from it once they get there, and that is why they are the largest, most profitable camera producer in the world.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: win nut on October 30, 2012, 01:40:52 PM
The company I work for used to do 65nm logic devices on Canon steppers, with no problems. I really can't go into details, since I still work there. The ASML steppers (Zeiss) you talk about run about $60 million ea. I am sure Nikons aren't much different. Those guys are for running 14nm logic stuff, not sensors at 180nm. There is a huge used semiconductor equipment market where the steppers that Canon needs to run 180 nm is much cheaper than that.  There logic devices we made were larger than camera sensors, roughly 4 die.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on October 30, 2012, 01:49:00 PM
The company I work for used to do 65nm logic devices on Canon steppers, with no problems. I really can't go into details, since I still work there. The ASML steppers (Zeiss) you talk about run about $60 million ea. I am sure Nikons aren't much different. Those guys are for running 14nm logic stuff, not sensors at 180nm. There is a huge used semiconductor equipment market where the steppers that Canon needs to run 180 nm is much cheaper than that.  There logic devices we made were larger than camera sensors, roughly 4 die.

Canon uses their own scanners for their wafer fabs, I don't think they buy much of it from other companies. Canon is in the business of manufacturing Semiconductor Lithography Systems. Not just parts of systems, but entire lithography systems, including the ones capable of sub-100nm manufacture. Canon is more than capable of manufacturing the necessary lenses for a 180nm process. Their glass is impeccable and on the cutting edge, has been for a long time...I don't doubt they have the capability to manufacture a lens capable of etching tiny transistors into a silicon wafer. As a matter of fact:


If competition is to working then Canon must:
1. Buying steppers from Nikon so that they are able to go down in size and expose a greater surface area than the compact cameras surface with the same accuracy
2.Buy lenses from Zeiss that can handle the resolution to expose a greater area than Canon can today
3. Dedicate a line for the APS and 24x36
4.  This is large  and heavy investments and are not shown anywhere in press or business reports
5.Gain experience as Sony and others and has refined its manufacturing , today's column  ADC sensors from Sony are from the third generation.
Time will tell "what they have in theirs sleeves" , myself, I think they have slept too long

We don't need to wait for time. Here is Canon's latest Deep-UV Sub-wavelength Scanner that can be used for sub-100nm manufacture: FPA-6000ES6a Scanner (http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/semiconductor/products/semiconductor_equipment/duv_scanners/fpa_6000es6a_scanner#Features)

Quote from: Canon
* The NA0.86 projection optics system developed through Canon's advanced lens design and measurement technology enables the ES6a to print down to 90nm.

* The AFIS (Advanced Flexible Illuminator System) improves efficiency of special illumination, and its flexible mode-settings allows users to freely design their own illumination modes.

* Its high throughput and high resolution enables ES6a to replace some of the ArF layers needed at 90nm production and even at 65nm production, reducing the total cost of ownership.

I've added emphasis that highlights the fact that these DUV Lithography units use CANON'S own optics, for 90nm manufacture...there is no need for Canon to run to the nearest competitor to "buy up" all the "necessary technology" to be competitive. THIS IS WHAT CANON DOES, and they are very good at it.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on October 30, 2012, 02:30:39 PM
No
Canon has no steppers who can do the job with larger sensor areas and  the cells we are talking about
And no, Zeiss is the only one who can provide lenses  for larger  sensors areas with smaller geometry we also are discussing

You don't necessarily have to use standard stepper for manufacture of sub-wavelength features. You can use a scanner, or scanning stepper, as well. In Canon's own words:

Quote from: Canon
The FPA-6300ES6a KrF single-stage lithography tool is designed for the mass production of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), flash and other memory devices; logic devices such as microprocessors for personal computers; color filters and other imaging sensors and image-processing devices.

Emphasis added to highlight where they explicitly state their DUV scanners can be used to manufacture bayer (color filter) and other types of imaging sensors. Canon isn't manufacturing these things as a single full-sensor exposure in a standard stepper...they use scanning steppers to expand the exposure field:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stepper#Scanners (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stepper#Scanners)

Quote from: Wikipedia
Modern scanners are steppers that increase the length of the area exposed in each shot (the exposure field) by moving the reticle stage and wafer stage in opposite directions to each other during the exposure. Instead of exposing the entire field at once, the exposure is made through an "exposure slit" that is as wide as the exposure field, but only a fraction of its length (such as a 9x25 mm slit for a 35x25 mm field). The image from the exposure slit is scanned across the exposure area.

There are several benefits to this technique. The field can be exposed with a lesser reduction of size from the reticle to the wafer (such as 4x reduction on a scanner, compared with 5x reduction on a stepper), while allowing a field size much larger than that which can be exposed with a typical stepper. Also the optical properties of the projection lens can be optimized in the area through which the image of the projection slit passes, while optical aberrations can be ignored outside of this area, because they will not affect the exposed area on the wafer.

The DUV Scanner I linked before is what's described above...a sub-wavelength scanning stepper designed to manufacture large area (200mm and 300mm wafers) with details (90nm, or even as small as 65nm it seems) smaller than the wavelength of light used (which in the Case of the 6000ES6a is 248nm from a Krypton-Fluorine laser.)
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: TheSuede on October 30, 2012, 04:01:02 PM
One of the main differences between a logic line and a sensor line is in how deeply you can work into the substrate surface.
I'd suggest you take a look at the specs on the machine you mentioned.

Canon's main (almost only...) customer for their stepper line is Canon Semi. They're on a very steep downwards revenue curve, and have been for the last five years. Canon semi's only large customer is Canon imaging. See a slightly disturbing picture here?

The effect this has on available budgets is quite profound:
Sony invest about 1.0-1.5 billion dollars per year in new and improved lithography and processing lines. Having spent almost 7 billion on the Kumamoto TEC site for the last 5 years, next year the smaller Nagasaki TEC is getting 1.5 billion next year.
This IN ITSELF is more than the total revenue of Canon Semiconductor.

And Sony is only the third largest manufacturer (at 18% total market revenue), Both Samsung and Omnivision are larger than Sony. Then comes STM, Toshiba and Aptina. Those big six corner about 80-85% of the world revenue in CMOS imaging sensors. Canon has about 6.5 to 7% of the world market in sales value - though only about 3% in sold units, since they are heavily specialized in large sensors.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: TheSuede on October 30, 2012, 04:20:35 PM
The main problem as I see it is that Canon don't really have any real development momentum (or budget!) on higher resolution processes. They outsource almost everything except for the larger format sensors.

The biggest difference between the others and Canon is that all the other manufacturers are all dominated by their small-sensor image sensors sales, that already now are manufactured at 90 and 110-130nm metal processes on 300mm wafers. Panasonic and TSMC will start volume shipping of sensors made on 65/45nm rules in Q1 2013. Lower mask resolutions than 130nm are not enough to land you any sales any more. Most cellphone and compact camera sensors are manufactured at those levels now, and have been for the last few years. Also consider the fact that some of the others have very large yearly revenues from logic CMOS processes at 45, 32 and even 22nm levels. All of those markets are areas where Canon totally lack any type of experience. Canon outsource all more advanced fabs on their camera bill-of-materials.

The Digic sensors are made by UMC http://www.umc.com/english/class_300/index.asp (http://www.umc.com/english/class_300/index.asp), and were designed by Texas Instruments http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/apps/videovision/end_equipment.page (http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/apps/videovision/end_equipment.page)
The memory is most often made by Samsung http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/product/consumer-dram/overview (http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/product/consumer-dram/overview)
The memory/Digic package-on-package mount has to be outsourced, since Canon cannot do it themselves, and it is believed that UMC does the mounting too.
Other peripheral control and logic chips are TI, Mitsubishi, AD and Fairchild.
.........

Going from a 500nm process to 180nm is like going from a 10MP FF camera to a 70MP camera in one generation. This means some really noticeable strains on the process, especially since the CMOS manufacturing process isn't as forgiving as just "taking pictures". You cant "scale to web size" and sharpen in post when you're making CIS wafers.

What you're basically asking from your equipment is to all of a sudden provide compact camera type linear resolution in a FF lens projection coverage - something almost unthinkable in the normal photographic world. The process has to be precise, to a degree where every single contrast and item on the new 70MP image is equal to or better than the 10MP camera - per pixel. In normal photographic resolution usage, we just want the final output to be good enough, which means that we downsample most images - we seldom deliver full-res images to the customers, and we seldom use full-res images in our own output.
Going from a 350nm mask to 250 and then 180nm and 12" wafers was a BIG step for most CMOS manufacturers, and most other manufacturers are a LOT bigger than Canon in this area.
............

So it's not that Canon COULDN'T do it. Even really small (in the imaging field) firms like STMicro can do it by stitching, and thereby tripling the unit prices. For Leica this isn't really a problem since the total BoM on a M series camera is most certainly lower than 2k USD. This gives a healthy margin up to the projected 7k USD end price point.
This isn't what Canon does. They live on volume, not on extreme margins.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: aznable on October 30, 2012, 04:48:15 PM
The effect this has on available budgets is quite profound:
Sony invest about 1.0-1.5 billion dollars per year in new and improved lithography and processing lines. Having spent almost 7 billion on the Kumamoto TEC site for the last 5 years, next year the smaller Nagasaki TEC is getting 1.5 billion next year.
This IN ITSELF is more than the total revenue of Canon Semiconductor.

i get the point, but sony is in the verge on Bankruptcy...maybe they are investing too much
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: Canon-F1 on October 30, 2012, 05:57:58 PM

The effect this has on available budgets is quite profound:
Sony invest about 1.0-1.5 billion dollars per year in new and improved lithography and processing lines. Having spent almost 7 billion on the Kumamoto TEC site for the last 5 years, next year the smaller Nagasaki TEC is getting 1.5 billion next year.
This IN ITSELF is more than the total revenue of Canon Semiconductor.

and we all know how good sonys profit is....  ::)

while sony was deep in the reds the last years, canon made profit.

so maybe canon has enough money to spend to do the jump to a smaller process.... now.
without spending money on smaller steps over the last years... like sony has.


Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: Canon-F1 on October 30, 2012, 06:12:17 PM
Well, think know how and it takes time to develope a new sensor, nothing any one do in few years.

what process was the 120 MP aps-h sensor?
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on October 30, 2012, 06:16:09 PM
The main problem as I see it is that Canon don't really have any real development momentum (or budget!) on higher resolution processes. They outsource almost everything except for the larger format sensors.

The biggest difference between the others and Canon is that all the other manufacturers are all dominated by their small-sensor image sensors sales, that already now are manufactured at 90 and 110-130nm metal processes on 300mm wafers. Panasonic and TSMC will start volume shipping of sensors made on 65/45nm rules in Q1 2013. Lower mask resolutions than 130nm are not enough to land you any sales any more. Most cellphone and compact camera sensors are manufactured at those levels now, and have been for the last few years. Also consider the fact that some of the others have very large yearly revenues from logic CMOS processes at 45, 32 and even 22nm levels. All of those markets are areas where Canon totally lack any type of experience. Canon outsource all more advanced fabs on their camera bill-of-materials.

The Digic sensors are made by UMC http://www.umc.com/english/class_300/index.asp (http://www.umc.com/english/class_300/index.asp), and were designed by Texas Instruments http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/apps/videovision/end_equipment.page (http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/apps/videovision/end_equipment.page)
The memory is most often made by Samsung http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/product/consumer-dram/overview (http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/product/consumer-dram/overview)
The memory/Digic package-on-package mount has to be outsourced, since Canon cannot do it themselves, and it is believed that UMC does the mounting too.
Other peripheral control and logic chips are TI, Mitsubishi, AD and Fairchild.
.........

Going from a 500nm process to 180nm is like going from a 10MP FF camera to a 70MP camera in one generation. This means some really noticeable strains on the process, especially since the CMOS manufacturing process isn't as forgiving as just "taking pictures". You cant "scale to web size" and sharpen in post when you're making CIS wafers.

What you're basically asking from your equipment is to all of a sudden provide compact camera type linear resolution in a FF lens projection coverage - something almost unthinkable in the normal photographic world. The process has to be precise, to a degree where every single contrast and item on the new 70MP image is equal to or better than the 10MP camera - per pixel. In normal photographic resolution usage, we just want the final output to be good enough, which means that we downsample most images - we seldom deliver full-res images to the customers, and we seldom use full-res images in our own output.
Going from a 350nm mask to 250 and then 180nm and 12" wafers was a BIG step for most CMOS manufacturers, and most other manufacturers are a LOT bigger than Canon in this area.
............

So it's not that Canon COULDN'T do it. Even really small (in the imaging field) firms like STMicro can do it by stitching, and thereby tripling the unit prices. For Leica this isn't really a problem since the total BoM on a M series camera is most certainly lower than 2k USD. This gives a healthy margin up to the projected 7k USD end price point.
This isn't what Canon does. They live on volume, not on extreme margins.

Sure, it's a big step. Which is probably why Canon has held onto their 500nm process for so long, and pushed it to the limits of it's capabilities in recent years. We aren't necessarily talking about Canon making the leap from 500nm to 180nm in one single generation, all or nothing style. As far as I understand Canon already uses 12" (300mm) wafers, so there wouldn't be a need to "switch" to a larger wafer. I gather that they have been producing scanners capable of 90nm manufacture since 2008, so that is not particularly new technology either. Even 180nm processes for CMOS image sensor design are relatively new, and while other manufacturers have already moved much of their CIS design to 180nm, as you stated, it was a VERY COSTLY endeavor that has, in some cases, and very well could, in other cases (Sony?) put them in unstable financial predicaments. I figure Canon will put ONE part on the new process, a low volume part...say, a 46.1mp megapixel monster sensor in a body priced around $5k - $8k a pop? It doesn't even sound like that sucker will be released any time soon, end of next year, possibly later? I wouldn't exactly state that Canon is racing towards a 180nm design and fabrication process for their CMOS sensors at breakneck speed...

All things considered, Canon is not the only IC manufacturer or lithography systems producer or even DSLR company in a bind. Even Sony, the giant it is, is struggling, with numerous bankruptcy rumors floating around. The worlds largest semiconductor manufacturer, Intel, just recently missed estimates and is down in revenue, particularly for larger desktop CPU's as consumers look towards cheaper devices to fulfill their computing needs...Intel may be behind ARM, but that doesn't mean they are inevitably doomed to fail in totality in the near future. Most of all that is thanks to a shitty economy, and not a lack of competitiveness or capability.

Finally, I'd like to know where you get your information. How do you know TI designed the DIGIC sensor, or that UMC manufactured it? According to Canon, Canon themselves designed the DIGIC sensor, and as it stands, I cannot find any explicit information about who actually manufactures them, although Canon generally stands by their "Made In House" mantra for their critical components...sensor and processor. It does not surprise me if the memory chips were made by Samsung, and there is actually some direct evidence for that (link below). Same goes for peripheral control and logic chips, wouldn't be surprising if they were manufactured by other companies, however there is still no definitive information available about who manufactures what that Canon uses in their DSLRs, which makes the explicit nature of your proclamations of "nothing is made by Canon" a bit suspect.

The only piece of evidence I was able to find about DIGIC's design and manufacture was on Wikipedia:

Quote from: Wikipedia
DIGIC units are made by Canon and used in its own digital imagery products.

I call your claims about the general source of IC's used in Canon cameras into question, particularly regarding DIGIC. Unless you can produce some solid evidence that clearly indicates Canon does not design and manufacture their own DIGIC processors, the facts currently seem to indicate Canon designs and manufactures them. DIGIC itself makes use advanced fabrication processes. This technical analysis (http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/20090218/165866/) of DIGIC 4 clearly demonstrate it used 65nm fabrication technology, and also indicates it does use Samsung memory (not surprising), in a PoP design. At the very least, they certainly seemed to design the DIGIC 4 (http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/20080922/158348/):

Quote
Canon Inc unveiled two astonishing features of its in-house designed "Digic 4" image processing LSI for digital cameras to Nikkei Electronics at a new products presentation Sept 17, 2008.

Canon's lithography units are capable of package-on-package and even 3D CMOS manufacture, so I wouldn't be surprised if it was Canon who manufactured the processor and packaged it with Samsung memory.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on October 30, 2012, 06:20:39 PM
Well, think know how and it takes time to develope a new sensor, nothing any one do in few years.

You are assuming they only just started. Canon demonstrated an extremely high density sensor with 2 micron pixels a couple years ago (the 120mp APS-H) that had on-die image processing (very much like a Sony Exmor). Canon has apparently been developing prototypical 180nm Cu sensors for at last a little while, long enough that they have been thoroughly analyzed by the likes of Chipworks (a painstaking process that takes time and expensive equipment). I suspect Canon started prototyping 180nm sensor design and fabrication a few years ago, demonstrated it with the 120mp APS-H (or a similarly small process...I can't imagine they managed to pack enough circuitry at 0.5 microns such that they could actually produce 2 micron pixels), and have probably continued perfecting the technology since (which seemed to be evidenced by their use of high refractive index light pipes, which is pretty new technology only very recently employed in phone camera sensors.)
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: Canon-F1 on October 30, 2012, 06:37:08 PM
Now you get your self in a tuff position, is common knowleadge that digit 5 is  a texas instrument device
And so also other components in the canon cameras, i think it is time for you to stop thinking so much and controle facts

then it should be no problem for you to present a source?

im more into photography then what company produces what part for my cameras... so no it is not common knowledge i fear.   ::)
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: Canon-F1 on October 30, 2012, 06:41:11 PM
Well by some of us

so where is the source ?

i looked at the provided links in "thesuede´s" posting but i did not see any infos relating to that.

but i found this about the digic 4:

http://www.canon.com/technology/interview/digic4/digic4_p1.html (http://www.canon.com/technology/interview/digic4/digic4_p1.html)

Quote
Am I right in saying that Canon has always had a policy of developing its image processors in-house, right from when the first digital cameras started being developed? Given that, today, most other camera makers customize processors provided by specialist LSI chip suppliers, what is Canon's stance regarding in-house development now?

Ikeda : I think it's more than that. There's also the pride that we feel at being the world's leading camera manufacturer. Canon has built up a great deal of knowledge with respect to image capture. However, with traditional cameras, camera makers didn't really need to have much to do with camera film or developing. With digital cameras, on the other hand, we are in a position to handle everything ourselves, right up to the "developing" stage. There is no way we are going to just abandon all of the possibilities that this opens up by entrusting it to someone outside the company


so is this a fake development team.... or has canon abandoned it for the digic 5?

if this is common knowledge it must be easy to provide a link to a source for his claim?

Quote
The Digic sensors are made by UMC http://www.umc.com/english/class_300/index.asp, (http://www.umc.com/english/class_300/index.asp,) and were designed by Texas Instruments
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: marekjoz on October 30, 2012, 06:46:45 PM
The main problem as I see it is that Canon don't really have any real development momentum (or budget!) on higher resolution processes. They outsource almost everything except for the larger format sensors.

The biggest difference between the others and Canon is that all the other manufacturers are all dominated by their small-sensor image sensors sales, that already now are manufactured at 90 and 110-130nm metal processes on 300mm wafers. Panasonic and TSMC will start volume shipping of sensors made on 65/45nm rules in Q1 2013. Lower mask resolutions than 130nm are not enough to land you any sales any more. Most cellphone and compact camera sensors are manufactured at those levels now, and have been for the last few years. Also consider the fact that some of the others have very large yearly revenues from logic CMOS processes at 45, 32 and even 22nm levels. All of those markets are areas where Canon totally lack any type of experience. Canon outsource all more advanced fabs on their camera bill-of-materials.

The Digic sensors are made by UMC http://www.umc.com/english/class_300/index.asp (http://www.umc.com/english/class_300/index.asp), and were designed by Texas Instruments http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/apps/videovision/end_equipment.page (http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/apps/videovision/end_equipment.page)
The memory is most often made by Samsung http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/product/consumer-dram/overview (http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/product/consumer-dram/overview)
The memory/Digic package-on-package mount has to be outsourced, since Canon cannot do it themselves, and it is believed that UMC does the mounting too.
Other peripheral control and logic chips are TI, Mitsubishi, AD and Fairchild.
.........

Going from a 500nm process to 180nm is like going from a 10MP FF camera to a 70MP camera in one generation. This means some really noticeable strains on the process, especially since the CMOS manufacturing process isn't as forgiving as just "taking pictures". You cant "scale to web size" and sharpen in post when you're making CIS wafers.

What you're basically asking from your equipment is to all of a sudden provide compact camera type linear resolution in a FF lens projection coverage - something almost unthinkable in the normal photographic world. The process has to be precise, to a degree where every single contrast and item on the new 70MP image is equal to or better than the 10MP camera - per pixel. In normal photographic resolution usage, we just want the final output to be good enough, which means that we downsample most images - we seldom deliver full-res images to the customers, and we seldom use full-res images in our own output.
Going from a 350nm mask to 250 and then 180nm and 12" wafers was a BIG step for most CMOS manufacturers, and most other manufacturers are a LOT bigger than Canon in this area.
............

So it's not that Canon COULDN'T do it. Even really small (in the imaging field) firms like STMicro can do it by stitching, and thereby tripling the unit prices. For Leica this isn't really a problem since the total BoM on a M series camera is most certainly lower than 2k USD. This gives a healthy margin up to the projected 7k USD end price point.
This isn't what Canon does. They live on volume, not on extreme margins.

+100 for this info. I was looking for this kind of information and couldn't find anywhere. Appreciate it a lot!
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: Mick on October 30, 2012, 06:59:38 PM
All i can say is that when i left making semi conductors in 1998, we were making critical dimentions on 8 inch wafers down to 250. Theory and experiments already had us down to 180. Guess whos steppers we were using? Heres a clue, the companys name begins with a C and they make a lot of cameras. That was 14 years ago.  I wont bore you with the technical stuff about how its done etc as thats boring.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: Canon-F1 on October 30, 2012, 07:03:00 PM
Heres a clue, the companys name begins with a C and they make a lot of cameras. That was 14 years ago.

casio?
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: AdamJ on October 30, 2012, 07:07:34 PM
Much as I'm hesitant to support (albeit partially) Mikael's contention about the Digic 5+ chip, chipworks believe it to be designed jointly by Canon and TI, and fabricated by UMC.

https://chipworks.secure.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=CAN-CH4-6501&viewState=DetailView&cartID=&g=&parentCategory=&navigationStr=CatalogSearchInc&searchText=digic%205+ (https://chipworks.secure.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=CAN-CH4-6501&viewState=DetailView&cartID=&g=&parentCategory=&navigationStr=CatalogSearchInc&searchText=digic%205+)

But that doesn't matter. This debate is ultimately about the sensor, not the processor.

OK, I've got myself more popcorn so, please carry on.

Edit: Sorry, I meant ljunglinus, not Mikael.  ;)
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: Canon-F1 on October 30, 2012, 07:12:19 PM
Much as I'm hesitant to support (albeit partially) Mikael's contention about the Digic 5+ chip, chipworks believe it to be designed jointly by Canon and TI, and fabricated by UMC.


believe.. i thought that belongs in church?   ;)

so it´s not common knowledge... it´s common believe?
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: win nut on October 30, 2012, 07:18:33 PM
The digic 5 and 5+ were designed jointly withTI and Canon. Prototyped and qualified by TI and then farmed out to UMC for mass production.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: Canon-F1 on October 30, 2012, 07:50:53 PM
Yes many belives a lot here and I keep to facts , digit is not a canon processor

so canon is lying and the digic(!) development team is just for show?

http://www.canon.com/technology/interview/digic4/digic4_p1.html (http://www.canon.com/technology/interview/digic4/digic4_p1.html)


Quote
Am I right in saying that Canon has always had a policy of developing its image processors in-house, right from when the first digital cameras started being developed? Given that, today, most other camera makers customize processors provided by specialist LSI chip suppliers, what is Canon's stance regarding in-house development now?

Ikeda : I think it's more than that. There's also the pride that we feel at being the world's leading camera manufacturer. Canon has built up a great deal of knowledge with respect to image capture. However, with traditional cameras, camera makers didn't really need to have much to do with camera film or developing. With digital cameras, on the other hand, we are in a position to handle everything ourselves, right up to the "developing" stage. There is no way we are going to just abandon all of the possibilities that this opens up by entrusting it to someone outside the company
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: marekjoz on October 30, 2012, 07:55:57 PM
Yes many belives a lot here and I keep to facts , digit is not a canon processor

so canon is lying and the digic(!) development team is just for show?


You think, that inscription design on the chip comes for free? :)
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: win nut on October 30, 2012, 07:58:55 PM
I would not say that Canon is lying, they got a little help. No the Digic 5 is not a Divinci derivative, I can't say what it, but I can say what it not.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: Stu_bert on October 30, 2012, 07:59:42 PM
The main problem as I see it is that Canon don't really have any real development momentum (or budget!) on higher resolution processes. They outsource almost everything except for the larger format sensors.

The biggest difference between the others and Canon is that all the other manufacturers are all dominated by their small-sensor image sensors sales, that already now are manufactured at 90 and 110-130nm metal processes on 300mm wafers. Panasonic and TSMC will start volume shipping of sensors made on 65/45nm rules in Q1 2013. Lower mask resolutions than 130nm are not enough to land you any sales any more. Most cellphone and compact camera sensors are manufactured at those levels now, and have been for the last few years. Also consider the fact that some of the others have very large yearly revenues from logic CMOS processes at 45, 32 and even 22nm levels. All of those markets are areas where Canon totally lack any type of experience. Canon outsource all more advanced fabs on their camera bill-of-materials.

The Digic sensors are made by UMC http://www.umc.com/english/class_300/index.asp (http://www.umc.com/english/class_300/index.asp), and were designed by Texas Instruments http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/apps/videovision/end_equipment.page (http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/apps/videovision/end_equipment.page)
The memory is most often made by Samsung http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/product/consumer-dram/overview (http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/product/consumer-dram/overview)
The memory/Digic package-on-package mount has to be outsourced, since Canon cannot do it themselves, and it is believed that UMC does the mounting too.
Other peripheral control and logic chips are TI, Mitsubishi, AD and Fairchild.
.........
And is that different from Nikon how? Canon design their sensors and currently co-design the Digic 5, but to what extent they do it and what extent TI do it is not clear. What is clear is that TI don't sell that part or even mention it on their web site, so it is exclusive to Canon. Does not infer of course who own the most significant IP.

Quote
Going from a 500nm process to 180nm is like going from a 10MP FF camera to a 70MP camera in one generation. This means some really noticeable strains on the process, especially since the CMOS manufacturing process isn't as forgiving as just "taking pictures". You cant "scale to web size" and sharpen in post when you're making CIS wafers.

What you're basically asking from your equipment is to all of a sudden provide compact camera type linear resolution in a FF lens projection coverage - something almost unthinkable in the normal photographic world. The process has to be precise, to a degree where every single contrast and item on the new 70MP image is equal to or better than the 10MP camera - per pixel. In normal photographic resolution usage, we just want the final output to be good enough, which means that we downsample most images - we seldom deliver full-res images to the customers, and we seldom use full-res images in our own output.
Going from a 350nm mask to 250 and then 180nm and 12" wafers was a BIG step for most CMOS manufacturers, and most other manufacturers are a LOT bigger than Canon in this area.
............

So it's not that Canon COULDN'T do it. Even really small (in the imaging field) firms like STMicro can do it by stitching, and thereby tripling the unit prices. For Leica this isn't really a problem since the total BoM on a M series camera is most certainly lower than 2k USD. This gives a healthy margin up to the projected 7k USD end price point.
This isn't what Canon does. They live on volume, not on extreme margins.
Hold on, your making multiple assumptions here

1) Canon needs to make the leap, in volume, on FF at once otherwise they'll what exactly... go bankrupt?
2) Canon needs to sink billions (immediately) in order to compete with Sony's sensor manufacturing capability or indeed other (sensor) manufacturers to stay competitive on their own products
3) A 180nm sensor is the only way Canon can provide competitive products to Nikon / Sony
4) Canon cannot survive if it manufacturers its' own sensors

oh and presumably, Canon has been ignoring all this, has changed culture and wants to do it all together?

They presumably know what investment is possible, and what is required for their next iteration of sensors. I'm also assuming that this information is not something recent, and that they have been developing capability. Not to the level to suddenly compete with Sony, but to a level that would be sufficient to remain profitable. Whether the next FF or APS-C will be 180um and whether they will design or design / manufacturer frankly is high conjecture. Anyone who wants to make a decision on their future camera purchases based on this conjecture is someone with more disposable income than I!

In another thread, it was mentioned that the latest Sxx sensor was 180um. And clearly that's an ocean away from FF manufacturing @ 180um, but maybe that is the first "volume" process for Canon and that elsewhere they are refining a low-yield FF capability. I'm happy to be wrong, but Sony & Nikon have not been manufacturing FF sensor for more than 5 years (less?), and that's not exactly a high volume capability either. Agreed it is more than Canon have been doing, and that may explain why Canon has taken so long to switch (problems) or just the bean counters (sweat assets / more risk adversed in a shrinking market)

But Sony doesn't have too many other lines of business making money for them. Finding their position in sensor manufacturing has been a great success. Canon is not looking to manufacturer sensor for smartphones and other areas, either because they don't have the capability or don't want to be there.

And presumably, that investment Sony has made is based on the diversity of sensors they produce and indeed the volume. Again, Canon is not in that market, and surely that means the investment - should they decide it will be viable over the next 10 years, is considerably less than Sony needs to.

Finally, are we sure a 320um or 250um with the other sensor tech that has been outlined would not provide a significant step-change for Canon sensors, and since it's been done to death that a photographer / photography is more than his sensor, then if Canon's next APS-C or FF sensor is not 180um does that definitively mean it won't be much different from the current sensors???

Think I'll go back to err, taking pictures on my dinosauric kit... :)
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: Stu_bert on October 30, 2012, 08:06:23 PM
I would not say that Canon is lying, they got a little help. No the Digic 5 is not a Divinci derivative, I can't say what it, but I can say what it not.
The Digic V is the first joint-design is it not? But not one which TI mention one iota on their site. Not even a press-release, "we helped design Canon's next gen Digic processor in their dSLR"?

TI definitely provided some know-how, but perhaps more around the "manufacturing design" aspects and not in the critical imaging side based on what Canon has developed before. Sorry, don't consider the TI angle to be anything significant....
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on October 30, 2012, 09:07:36 PM
Well by some of us it is knowledge , digit Is davinchi processor from TI

You need to back that claim up with some actual facts, man. I've been searching the web for an hour now, and I have yet to find any actual evidence of that. The ONLY direct link between DIGIC 5 and Texas Instruments DaVinci specifically is a hypertext link to the Texas Instruments DaVinci wiki page from the DIGIC wiki page's References (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIGIC_5#References). The only references to ARM on that wiki page are DIGIC II and III, so it stands to reason that if DaVinci ARM-only processors are related, that they would be related to those two versions of DIGIC. The only other source of information is someone on DPReview (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/38209615) claiming that the ARM subprocessor embedded within DIGIC 5 "was probably a Texas Instruments DaVinci series of application processors". According to Tech-On's dissection of a DIGIC 4 (http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/20090218/165866/), it does appear to be a package-on-package, however it appears there is only a DIGIC 4 and the Samsung memory...if there is an ARM processor embedded in the DIGIC 4 die, they don't say.

As for ARM, that is simply the general purpose sub-processor contained within some DIGIC packages, however there is also a DSP for high speed image processing. TI may have made or designed the ARM processor (I still have yet to find any actual evidence of that, but it stands to reason Canon would outsource such design to a third party that has more experience with GENERAL logic processing units), but historically Canon designs and manufactures their own DSP/image processors according to all of the actual evidence I've been able to find thus far. The ARM processor is also only a confirmed part of DIGIC II and III, I have yet to find any direct evidence that DIGIC 4 or 5 also contain an ARM processor or if so whether it was designed by TI.

Much as I'm hesitant to support (albeit partially) Mikael's contention about the Digic 5+ chip, chipworks believe it to be designed jointly by Canon and TI, and fabricated by UMC.

believe.. i thought that belongs in church?   ;)

so it´s not common knowledge... it´s common believe?

Yes many belives a lot here and I keep to facts , digit is not a canon processor

Here's the problem...what you just posted there, and all of your previous posts? Those are not actually facts...they are what we call an anecdote. You are making anecdotal proclamations in the total absence of fact. If you wish to make a claim, and intend for that claim to be accepted "as fact", you need to back that claim up with some external references that allow others to VERIFY your claims as fact. Simply stating that what you say is plain and simply fact does not actually make it a fact.

Based on the information I've been able to find, information which I have also linked within my posts, The Suede is at the very least being very misleading about DIGIC being designed by a third party. He makes it sound as though Canon had no hand in the design, and that it was entirely designed and manufactured by third parties. I've found a single reference from Chipworks that the DIGIC 5 (and quite specifically JUST the DIGIC 5, not the DIGIC 5+ or other variants) was jointly designed by Canon and TI. I can't figure out exactly why they make that claim, and if the DIGIC 5 includes an ARM processor like the DIGIC II and III, then it is entirely possible that TI is only responsible for the ARM processor embedded within the rest of DIGIC 5's logic gates. There does not seem to be any information at all that indicates DIGIC 5 of any variant is specifically a DaVinci DSP either. As far as I can tell, the reason Wikipedia linked the TI DaVinci page was the same reason they linked the Nikon EXPEED page...DaVinci, EXPEED, and DIGIC are all digital camera DSP's, some of which have a general purpose ARM processor embedded.

I have yet to find any concrete evidence that it was manufactured by a third party, however I wouldn't state it as plainly impossible at this point (Chipworks seems to think there are some design markers that indicate UMC (http://www.chipworks.com/blog/recentteardowns/2012/07/06/inside-the-canon-rebel-t4i-dslr/), but that is far from definitive enough to claim as undeniable fact...UMC devices usually have their logo, "UMC" encapsulated in an angular oval or the little wireframe globe symbol). All of the actual evidence indicates that Canon does indeed design and manufacture their own image processors in general. There are also only two verified instances (that I have yet to find) in the past where Canon has included an ARM processor embedded in the same die or package as the DIGIC processor...in the DIGIC II and III. Here's that same link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIGIC_5#Custom_firmware), in case you want to verify. ;)
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on October 30, 2012, 09:22:19 PM
Edit: Sorry, I meant ljunglinus, not Mikael.  ;)

Are we sure they are not the same person? Mikael and possibly ankorwat have been banned...and ljunglinus only signed up on the 28th. Given how much ljunglinus sounds like Mikael and ankorwat, I think the real question at hand is...is this Mikael Incarnation #3?!? :P

Much as I'm hesitant to support (albeit partially) Mikael's contention about the Digic 5+ chip, chipworks believe it to be designed jointly by Canon and TI, and fabricated by UMC.

https://chipworks.secure.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=CAN-CH4-6501&viewState=DetailView&cartID=&g=&parentCategory=&navigationStr=CatalogSearchInc&searchText=digic%205+ (https://chipworks.secure.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=CAN-CH4-6501&viewState=DetailView&cartID=&g=&parentCategory=&navigationStr=CatalogSearchInc&searchText=digic%205+)

But that doesn't matter. This debate is ultimately about the sensor, not the processor.

OK, I've got myself more popcorn so, please carry on.

Well, because of personalities like Mikael and TheSuede, the question they are posing is "Can Canon keep doing what they do?", with the implication that "Canon is utterly doomed and completely incapable of competing at all, on any level, for any reason, and they can do nothing to change that 'FACT' as we proclaim it." I dispute that "fact". I don't think Canon is implicitly incapable of competing. I think Canon's bean counters have a stronger hold over the company than say Nikon or Sony, both of which are in deepening financial doo-doo. It may be Canon's saving grace that they have employees to ensure they remain a profitable company despite tough and toughening economic conditions. Is Canon simply incapable of competing? Or is Canon trying to weather a sour market full of penny-pinching consumers such that they actually survive at all and come out the other side?

Evidentially, it does not appear that Canon is incapable of manufacturing CMOS devices down to as small as 65nm, there seems to be evidence they have been prototyping advanced 180nm parts that use advanced technologies for at least a while (couple years...since the 120mp APS-H?), and have 46.1mp DSLR prototypes out in the field. Cameras that supposedly sport a sensor that is sufficiently advanced from their current line of 500nm sensors that would (according to the specs...high MP, active cooling and "lowest read noise on the market", 16-bit ADC) put them at the front of the back, even against the likes of Sony. Now, whether that is indeed the case or not is a case where only time will tell, but there is no question that there is mounting evidence Canon is still competitive and NOT the end-of-life dud that some among us seem to want us to believe.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: x-vision on October 30, 2012, 10:21:43 PM
And Sony is only the third largest manufacturer (at 18% total market revenue), Both Samsung and Omnivision are larger than Sony.
Hmm, you are quite incorrect, actually. 

Sony is the industry leader with $2.6B in revenue for 2011.
Somewhat surprisingly, second is ... Canon, with $874M in revenue for 2011 (3x smaller than Sony).

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-P_FCHF1wKKE/T7ztbWXV8QI/AAAAAAAACIc/6OhNxMR83uk/s640/2011+TSR+Market+Shares.JPG)

Source: Image Sensors World (http://image-sensors-world.blogspot.com/2012/05/tsr-market-share-data-for-2h-2011.html).

Also, as I said already, Canon has had a 180nm process in house since at least 2007.
See the White Paper on their 52mp prototype (http://www.imagesensors.org/Past%20Workshops/2007%20Workshop/2007%20Papers/076%20Iwane%20et%20al.pdf), which they developed in 2007.
Scroll to page 3 of the White Paper, where the sensor technology is listed as 180nm.

Finally, as I've also said already, the S100/S100 sensor is made on 180nm.
This sensor has been in production for a year now.

Overall, Canon has been working on a 180nm process for at least five years now and has had in production for at least a year.

We can only speculate why this process has not been used for DSLR sensors ... yet.
Probably they are working on the yields - or they are just milking their 500nm process as much as possible.

I feel that the time for change has come, though.
Canon has not had a new APS-C sensor for three years now (since the current 18mp sensor was introduced back in 2009).
For comparison, between 2004 and 2009, they've had a new APS-C sensor basically every year.

This 3-year 'silence' indicates to me that a major change is coming.
Likely the transition from 500nm to 180nm; we'll know for sure next year.

Something else to consider:
Canon entered the high-end video market just last year with the Cxxx series.
Sony, RED, and Arri are the incumbents in this market.

If Canon thinks that they can compete with a 500nm process in the brewing 4K/8K video resolution wars, they are complete idiots.
Or, more likely, they know very well what's coming - and feel that they can compete. 
Certainly not with a prehistoric 500nm process, of course.

Check out the lasted video cams from Sony (http://www.eoshd.com/content/9148/sony-drop-a-bombshell-with-4k-raw-180fps-and-global-shutter-here-are-the-sony-f5-and-f55), btw. This is getting quite serious. 

Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: win nut on October 30, 2012, 11:47:15 PM
The divinici line is mainly for automotive, nav systems, dvd etc....
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on October 31, 2012, 12:24:09 AM
And Sony is only the third largest manufacturer (at 18% total market revenue), Both Samsung and Omnivision are larger than Sony.
Hmm, you are quite incorrect, actually. 

Sony is the industry leader with $2.6B in revenue for 2011.
Somewhat surprisingly, second is ... Canon, with $874M in revenue for 2011 (3x smaller than Sony).

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-P_FCHF1wKKE/T7ztbWXV8QI/AAAAAAAACIc/6OhNxMR83uk/s640/2011+TSR+Market+Shares.JPG)

Source: Image Sensors World (http://image-sensors-world.blogspot.com/2012/05/tsr-market-share-data-for-2h-2011.html).

Also, as I said already, Canon has had a 180nm process in house since at least 2007.
See the White Paper on their 52mp prototype (http://www.imagesensors.org/Past%20Workshops/2007%20Workshop/2007%20Papers/076%20Iwane%20et%20al.pdf), which they developed in 2007.
Scroll to page 3 of the White Paper, where the sensor technology is listed as 180nm.

Finally, as I've also said already, the S100/S100 sensor is made on 180nm.
This sensor has been in production for a year now.

Overall, Canon has been working on a 180nm process for at least five years now and has had in production for at least a year.

We can only speculate why this process has not been used for DSLR sensors ... yet.
Probably they are working on the yields - or they are just milking their 500nm process as much as possible.

I feel that the time for change has come, though.
Canon has not had a new APS-C sensor for three years now (since the current 18mp sensor was introduced back in 2009).
For comparison, between 2004 and 2009, they've had a new APS-C sensor basically every year.

This 3-year 'silence' indicates to me that a major change is coming.
Likely the transition from 500nm to 180nm; we'll know for sure next year.

Something else to consider:
Canon entered the high-end video market just last year with the Cxxx series.
Sony, RED, and Arri are the incumbents in this market.

If Canon thinks that they can compete with a 500nm process in the brewing 4K/8K video resolution wars, they are complete idiots.
Or, more likely, they know very well what's coming - and feel that they can compete. 
Certainly not with a prehistoric 500nm process, of course.

Check out the lasted video cams from Sony (http://www.eoshd.com/content/9148/sony-drop-a-bombshell-with-4k-raw-180fps-and-global-shutter-here-are-the-sony-f5-and-f55), btw. This is getting quite serious.

Thanks a lot for the references. The 52mp prototype paper is an interesting read. Any chance you have a link to a paper like that for the 120mp APS-H? If they were already using 180nm process for the 52mp, I wonder if they were experimenting with an even smaller process (90nm?) for the 120mp version. I think Canon has more up their sleeve than just a 180nm process change...the 120mp sensor had a 9.5fps readout rate, and some kind of on-die processing (CP-ADC, or some kind of on-die parallel ADC). That speaks well to high framerate video on a 180nm process, although who knows yet if it will be able to compete head-to-head with the incumbents.

As for Sony, it sounds like their investment in CP-ADC and high-speed readout is really starting to pay off. A 4k camera with global shutter and 180fps is a pretty astounding feat!!
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on October 31, 2012, 12:26:27 AM
You are bending words, digit 5 is not a canon processor , se chipworks
Im waiting for a  answer from my source regarding davinchi
But like Fuji claims it is a fuji sensor inside  X1 (sony with different color filter) canon present a TI as theirs device
And the sensor you are describing has the traditionell read out, no column adc etc
We all know that canon can make a sensor with small cells, but nothing like sony or panasonic as two examples and columnwise adc

Secret sources make not a verifiable fact...

Evidence, Man! Links! Pages! Text! Images! EVIDENCE, MAN!! EVIDENCE!!! That we can all view, read, and evaluate ourselves....
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: win nut on October 31, 2012, 12:43:37 AM
jrista, pm in your inbox.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: AdamJ on October 31, 2012, 12:55:26 AM
Edit: Sorry, I meant ljunglinus, not Mikael.  ;)

Are we sure they are not the same person? Mikael and possibly ankorwat have been banned...and ljunglinus only signed up on the 28th. Given how much ljunglinus sounds like Mikael and ankorwat, I think the real question at hand is...is this Mikael Incarnation #3?!? :P

Mikael is banned? I didn't know that. I was going to challenge him about the posterisation I'm seeing in Nikon cameras. It can be seen in these comparison photos of an elderly gentleman, if you look closely.  ;)

(http://i758.photobucket.com/albums/xx229/trashcanalive/D800_Posterization_zpsdd18ab83.png)

Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on October 31, 2012, 01:28:14 AM
Edit: Sorry, I meant ljunglinus, not Mikael.  ;)

Are we sure they are not the same person? Mikael and possibly ankorwat have been banned...and ljunglinus only signed up on the 28th. Given how much ljunglinus sounds like Mikael and ankorwat, I think the real question at hand is...is this Mikael Incarnation #3?!? :P

Mikael is banned? I didn't know that. I was going to challenge him about the posterisation I'm seeing in Nikon cameras. It can be seen in these comparison photos of an elderly gentleman, if you look closely.  ;)

(http://i758.photobucket.com/albums/xx229/trashcanalive/D800_Posterization_zpsdd18ab83.png)

Man, you know...I have to scrutinize, but yea...I see a LOT more posterization in the D800. It IS in color...basic color...but color nonetheless. I wonder when Canon will finally enter the modern age and make color sensors like Nikon and Sony....I just hope they skip the posterization. ;)
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: AdamJ on October 31, 2012, 05:58:16 AM
The Digic sensors are made by UMC http://www.umc.com/english/class_300/index.asp, (http://www.umc.com/english/class_300/index.asp,) and were designed by Texas Instruments http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/apps/videovision/end_equipment.page (http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/apps/videovision/end_equipment.page)
The Suede

Finally, I'd like to know where you get your information. How do you know TI designed the DIGIC sensor, or that UMC manufactured it? According to Canon, Canon themselves designed the DIGIC sensor, and as it stands
From Jrista

You twist and turn things Jrista , you have got the answer many times  through Chipworks



Good morning, Mikael. I'll just get some coffee brewing and then make myself comfortable for Round 2.  ;D
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on October 31, 2012, 06:16:24 AM
The Digic sensors are made by UMC http://www.umc.com/english/class_300/index.asp, (http://www.umc.com/english/class_300/index.asp,) and were designed by Texas Instruments http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/apps/videovision/end_equipment.page (http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/apps/videovision/end_equipment.page)
The Suede

Finally, I'd like to know where you get your information. How do you know TI designed the DIGIC sensor, or that UMC manufactured it? According to Canon, Canon themselves designed the DIGIC sensor, and as it stands
From Jrista

You twist and turn things Jrista , you have got the answer many times  through Chipworks


Ah, there is that signature bold and the shoddy quoting of Mikael. The "twist and turn" comment also gives you away. You just keep on creating new accounts as each one is banned, don't you? You have a very distinct online "signature presence", so you might as well just call your next account IncarnationOfMikaelNo4. ;P



Chipworks merely SUSPECTED that the device may have been fabricated by UMC, due to some die markers that might indicate it's them. They did not include any visual evidence of those die markers. The only two markers that would definitively indicate the chip was indeed fabricated by UMC would be its signature logo, a little wireframe globe, or their name "UMC" set inside an angular oval. If the chip was manufactured by a third-party, there are a number of better fabs that Canon could have chosen.

I did find an image that had TI's logo in one of the corners of the die, however the die packaging is clearly Canon packaging, with Canon's signature etching, Canon's signature part numbers, etc. Ironically, the plastic package over the chip is labeled with Elpida, a (once major) memory manufacturer that went bankrupt. Perhaps that indicates the DIGIC 5 is a PoP that combines the DSP with Elpida memory (or would that be Micron memory now)? I still don't see any clear, factual evidence that UMC is the fabricator...just a SINGLE statement from Chipworks that they think it might be. The DIGIC 4 was a 65nm chip, which would have been at the limits of Canon's in-house lithography capabilities. If the DIGIC 5 uses a smaller process than 65nm, then it is logical that they would outsource to a third-party fab like UMC, although TSMC seems to be a more reputable option. I'd still like concrete information about DIGIC's process and fabrication, though. Everyone claiming that there is no question it "is" UMC is just presumption, and that doesn't benefit anyone. And if it is still a 65nm part, then I see no reason it couldn't be manufactured in-house.

I did receive a tip today from someone who stated they work for TI (for over 12 years). I was asked to keep the name confidential and as such this is by no means verifiable fact, so, take this as you will. They indicated that TI was solely responsible for designing a few optimizations to make the DIGIC 5 easier/more efficient to manufacture, but that the fundamental and functional design of the chip was entirely Canon. I am willing to accept that Canon my have collaborated with TI in order to gain their expertise in designing a complex chip on a small die that could be efficiently laid out such as to maximize yield and improve manufacturability, especially if the process was smaller than Canon could fabricate in-house. They also stated quite matter-of-factly that DIGIC was most certainly not DaVinci...DaVinci is more of a general purpose DSP+CPU intended to support a very broad and diverse field where DSPs can be used, where as DIGIC is a family of highly specialized DSPs specifically designed (by Canon) to function optimally for the kind of image processing Canon cameras do.

Cmos
http://www.i-micronews.com/upload/Rapports/Yole_CMOS_Image_Sensors_October_2012_Report_Sample.pdf (http://www.i-micronews.com/upload/Rapports/Yole_CMOS_Image_Sensors_October_2012_Report_Sample.pdf)

There is a surprising amount of redaction in that document...suspicious...! Why can't you just provide complete, unadulterated source information to back up your claims? Why is there ALWAYS something suspicious about your links, assuming you provide one at all?
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: PeterJ on October 31, 2012, 07:07:14 AM
This thread made me wonder about something... red has a wavelength of around 750nm and after some Googling I see a 7D is has a pixel density of 4300nm. To avoid aliasing I'm guessing below 1500nm pixel pitch would be useless, does the 7D sensor use a 500nm process or smaller? Just thinking if 500nm wouldn't a move to 180nm just about be at about the edge of what's actually useful for maximum pixel density?

Anyway would be interested to hear from anyone that knows more about sensor fab. I'm not sure about how the manufacturing process scales down especially with photodiodes in the mix and of course the main advantage might be more sophisticated amplifers and gain control near the photosites.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: TheSuede on October 31, 2012, 07:36:39 AM
When looking at statistics about who makes what, how much they sell for, and how much they invest, it is very important to remember that many internet sources mix up sales of three basic metrics:
1) sales in number of sensor units
2) sales in sales value
3) sales in metric area wafer

I'm looking at number two, that is sales in value. This is the easiest and usually most accurate since the manufacturers can only obfuscate their sales up to a certain point in their economic reports. They can't just lie about how much money circulates, taxation and investor relations prevent that very effectively.

The Value of Sales that Canon Semi has is very well reported in their annual reports, and to a lesser degree (only the overall total amount) in the quarterly reports.

That value is right now 800M USD intersegment (Canon Lith > Canon Semi and Canon Semi > Canon imaging and office), nine months into the fiscal year. This value includes print heads (Canon precision) and stepper motors and piezo motors and all the other stuff that Precision sell to both Imaging and Office.
http://www.canon.com/ir/results/2012/rslt2012q3e.pdf (http://www.canon.com/ir/results/2012/rslt2012q3e.pdf)

The exact number of sensors is another thing, and pretty hard to compare since Canon Semi is predominately a "large-sensor" company, where each unit of sale (average of total over the year) represents a higher value. I can't say the exact proportions, but companies like Omni and STM probably sell (in unit numbers) about 30-50x more sensors than what Canon does.

One thing to note about the sheet from earlier is the very important sentence in fine print below the spreadsheet:
-"...calculated based on shipment of application devices"
This means that in the case where the manufacturer delivers complete SOC packages as "modules" to the customers (buyers of small-sensor stuff almost never buy "sensors", they buy "sensor modules") the price for the base-plate, the image processing logic, the filter package, the mounting package and so on is included in the total. In stead of a sensor, you get everything included downstream up to the point of memory interface to the card reader or internal memory in the device you bought the package for.
Normally this means a tripling of the sales value in total - the sensor cost in one third of the sales total.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: TheSuede on October 31, 2012, 07:40:28 AM
Regarding "Canon says that..."

Well, total BS. Or actually, even worse than total BS - it's "Marketing speak"!  :)

Nikon says they "manufacture" their own sensors for some of the cameras - same sort of BS. They don't even have the fabs to do it. It's IP owned by Nikon, realized by the hands of Renesas, in Renesas facilities, with Renesas manufacturing expertise.

Canon Semi does not have ANY logic/memory/MEMS production of their own. It would be twice as expensive, and most probably a lot worse in both performance and power drain. Leave it to the specialists in stead.
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: nightbreath on October 31, 2012, 11:33:01 AM
Sony  integrates the ADC. Canon still uses off chip, Analog Devices ADC's. That's why they can't get the performance that Sony does. One of the reasons that they can't is because their process geometry, on the old line, is just too coarse

Thoughts on that?
I think we know nothing about current technology progress and it's not that simple as "that's why Canon can't do that". I'd suggest to wait and to see what is presented in the future instead of guessing how bad or good things are.

What direction does this topic turn into? The thread became too "noisy"  ;)
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: sach100 on November 01, 2012, 01:55:23 AM
Apart from the apparent mudslinging going on here there are some great links in the thread.. so thanks for that!
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: AprilForever on November 01, 2012, 02:20:57 AM
Sooo... Does this means that the delay on the 7D mk II means MAD IMPROVEMENTS ON ALL LEVELS?!?!?!? I believe it does!
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: bdunbar79 on November 01, 2012, 12:37:58 PM
Sony  integrates the ADC. Canon still uses off chip, Analog Devices ADC's. That's why they can't get the performance that Sony does. One of the reasons that they can't is because their process geometry, on the old line, is just too coarse

Thoughts on that?
I think we know nothing about current technology progress and it's not that simple as "that's why Canon can't do that". I'd suggest to wait and to see what is presented in the future instead of guessing how bad or good things are.

What direction does this topic turn into? The thread became too "noisy"  ;)

Just fix it in Lightroom :)
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: tron on November 01, 2012, 01:57:24 PM
Sony  integrates the ADC. Canon still uses off chip, Analog Devices ADC's. That's why they can't get the performance that Sony does. One of the reasons that they can't is because their process geometry, on the old line, is just too coarse

Thoughts on that?
I think we know nothing about current technology progress and it's not that simple as "that's why Canon can't do that". I'd suggest to wait and to see what is presented in the future instead of guessing how bad or good things are.

What direction does this topic turn into? The thread became too "noisy"  ;)

Just fix it in Lightroom :)
;D
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: tron on November 01, 2012, 01:59:01 PM
Sooo... Does this means that the delay on the 7D mk II means MAD IMPROVEMENTS ON ALL LEVELS?!?!?!? I believe it does!
There is a rumor that in 10 years from now the sensor of Canon's top APS-C camera will rock!  ;D  ;D  ;D
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: marekjoz on November 01, 2012, 02:18:14 PM
Sooo... Does this means that the delay on the 7D mk II means MAD IMPROVEMENTS ON ALL LEVELS?!?!?!? I believe it does!
There is a rumor that in 10 years from now the sensor of Canon's top APS-C camera will rock!  ;D  ;D  ;D

You meant mirrorless, didn't you? ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jukka on November 03, 2012, 07:36:20 PM
Here in Findland Sony is very strong. I think we will se changes in the SLR  sellings this year  and canon are more  expensive than before  and it will punish them .
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: tron on November 03, 2012, 10:55:49 PM
Regarding "Canon says that..."
Well, total BS. Or actually, even worse than total BS - it's "Marketing speak"! 
Well you happened to use two expressions for something I used a combined one: "Marketing BS"   ;D
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: jrista on December 06, 2012, 01:09:00 PM

The effect this has on available budgets is quite profound:
Sony invest about 1.0-1.5 billion dollars per year in new and improved lithography and processing lines. Having spent almost 7 billion on the Kumamoto TEC site for the last 5 years, next year the smaller Nagasaki TEC is getting 1.5 billion next year.
This IN ITSELF is more than the total revenue of Canon Semiconductor.

and we all know how good sonys profit is....  ::)

while sony was deep in the reds the last years, canon made profit.

so maybe canon has enough money to spend to do the jump to a smaller process.... now.
without spending money on smaller steps over the last years... like sony has.


New figures Sony : http://www.isuppli.com/Semiconductor-Value-Chain/News/Pages/Qualcomm-Rides-Wireless-Wave-to-Take-Third-Place-in-Global-Semiconductor-Market-in-2012.aspx (http://www.isuppli.com/Semiconductor-Value-Chain/News/Pages/Qualcomm-Rides-Wireless-Wave-to-Take-Third-Place-in-Global-Semiconductor-Market-in-2012.aspx)

Sony is the 2nd Best Performing Semiconductor Company in Top 20 List
"Sony's strong results are due to its leading position in the image sensor market, which is expected to grow by 19 percent in 2012, with the CMOS image sensor sector of the market seeing its revenue expand by 31.8 percent. Sony's image sensor revenue, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of its semiconductor takings, is expected to expand by 48 percent. Even more amazing, its CMOS image sensor revenues are forecast to more than double," says Dale Ford, iSuppli's analyst.

Sony has also achieved junk-bond status (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/sony-corporate-debt-downgrade-junk-393692) because they borrow exorbitant amounts of money on an excessive basis, to the tune that people expect a VERY significant return on their lending for each new Sony bond issue. Sony has also reported an operating LOSS (http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=SNE+Income+Statement&annual) for the first time in many years this year. Sony is so deep in debt at the moment that it remains to be seen if their insane bum-rush investiture in CIS technology (to the tune of tens of billions, a significant percentage (50%+) of their total revenues) will really "pay out" in the future, or whether it will require continued debt load to sustain...

On the flip side, to Sony's 7 billion dollar income loss this year, Canon posted a 3 billion dollar income gain for the same period. It is one thing to be the technological king, but another thing to be the king and bleeding to death at the same time...
Title: Re: Canon to start using 0.18um (180nm) process for FF?
Post by: dlleno on December 06, 2012, 04:50:16 PM
striking global economic parallels :D