December 18, 2017, 12:07:02 PM

Author Topic: Off Brand: Are We Closer to Confirming that TowerJazz Makes the Nikon D850 Sensor?  (Read 2337 times)

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Since Nikon started making digital SLRs they have predominantly used Sony CCD and CMOS sensors, especially in their prosumer and professional cameras.

The Nikon D850 has been rumored to not be using a Sony CMOS sensor and there have been plenty of unconfirmed reports that they may in fact be using sensors made by Israeli company TowerJazz, a company that has made sensors for Leica in the past.

It looks like we may have our first confirmation from the company itself that they are indeed working with Nikon on image sensors. Nikon Rumors reports that during Q3 financial results conference call a few days ago, that the CEO of TowerJazz had this to say.

In the CMOS image sensor market we are investing today in technology for three main directions; next-generation global shutter technology for the industrial sensor market; Backside Illumination and stack wafers for the high-end photography market; and special pixel technology for the automotive market.

In the digital SLR market we engage with one of the leaders in the world in the development of their next-generation sensors. And in parallel on track with our 300 millimeter Backside Illumination stack wafer technology development with outstanding pixel performance.

As Nikon Rumors points out, there are only 3 DSLR manufacturers left, Nikon, Pentax (Ricoh) and Canon. We all know Canon manufactures their own sensors for their DSLRs. With all due respect to Pentax, they probably don’t fit into the “leaders of the world” category from the statement above.

It will be interesting to see what sensor Nikon puts into their upcoming full frame mirrorless camera.

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ethanz

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But why would Nikon need to go anywhere else other than the bosom of Sony? ;)
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tmroper

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Hasselblad and Phase One still make DSLRs, too.  Maybe it's not common in American photographer lingo to refer to their cameras as such, but an Israeli company might.

Diko

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But why would Nikon need to go anywhere else other than the bosom of Sony? ;)

Because TowerJazz are a very serious player in the CMOS imaging industry. 

Actually all israeli CMOS players are very advanced in the field.
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l_d_allan

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We all know Canon manufactures their own sensors for their DSLRs.

Am I the only Canon f.f. semi-defector (to Sony a7R2) who wishes that Canon would throw in the towel on using their in-house but not-really-competitive sensors, and the 5dV and/or 6d3 and/or [fill-in-the-blank] would have a Sony Exmor sensor with IBIS? Perhaps enhanced with Dual-Pixel, if possible?
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ethanz

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We all know Canon manufactures their own sensors for their DSLRs.

Am I the only Canon f.f. semi-defector (to Sony a7R2) who wishes that Canon would throw in the towel on using their in-house but not-really-competitive sensors, and the 5dV and/or 6d3 and/or [fill-in-the-blank] would have a Sony Exmor sensor with IBIS? Perhaps enhanced with Dual-Pixel, if possible?

I think you may be.
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ahsanford

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As Nikon Rumors points out, there are only 3 DSLR manufacturers left, Nikon, Pentax (Ricoh) and Canon.

Idiotic question, but is that true?  What about MF systems like Leica S, PhaseOne, H'Blad, etc.?  They have mirrors and in-line VFs, do they not? 

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ahsanford

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And, slightly off-topic, but did they also solve the D500 sensor fabricator mystery?  I recall that being an educated (but unconfirmed) guess for quite some time.  Any chance TowerJazz tackled that one as well?

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raptor3x

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In the digital SLR market we engage with one of the leaders in the world in the development of their next-generation sensors.

This sounds much more like they're talking about future product development than anything currently on the market, hardly a direct confirmation.
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Mikehit

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We all know Canon manufactures their own sensors for their DSLRs.

Am I the only Canon f.f. semi-defector (to Sony a7R2) who wishes that Canon would throw in the towel on using their in-house but not-really-competitive sensors, and the 5dV and/or 6d3 and/or [fill-in-the-blank] would have a Sony Exmor sensor with IBIS? Perhaps enhanced with Dual-Pixel, if possible?

And do away with DPAF that many people actually like?

traveller

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We’ve all assumed that they are not referring to Canon, but what if they are?

https://www.canonnews.com/yet-another-stacked-sensor-patent-from-canon

As the article’s author points out (regarding the potential of Canon stacked sensors):

“This helps Canon in several ways - they can outsource the processing side of the chip to founderies with smaller design rules than they currently have in house while designing and producing the image sensor themselves.”

Perhaps Canon may move to Nikon’s (partial) model of subbing out some of their sensor designs to third party fabs?


tmroper

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Am I the only Canon f.f. semi-defector (to Sony a7R2) who wishes that Canon would throw in the towel on using their in-house but not-really-competitive sensors, and the 5dV and/or 6d3 and/or [fill-in-the-blank] would have a Sony Exmor sensor with IBIS? Perhaps enhanced with Dual-Pixel, if possible?

Canon's Dual-Pixel is a technology baked into their CMOS chips.  So they can't exactly stop making their own silicon, and still use their own silicon's feature's.  And I would argue that Sony's chips have only recently begun to be competitive with Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus chips.

jeffa4444

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TowerJazz bought Panasonic CMOS wafer plants (it was billed as a JV) and with it access to Panasonic back side illuminated sensor tech. TowerJazz has in-house designs and acts as foundry for companies like CMOSIS who design Leica sensors and others of their type and maybe Nikon has an in-house design team and TowerJazz is the foundry. 

Sony control the largest % of the global CMOS sensor market and majorly through organic growth (they did purchase a Toshiba wafer plant) and through their own innovation & patents. Omnivision is a large sensor manufacturer but don't really produce sensors for Photography unless you consider smartphones.

Growing steadily are Hynix and Himax as well as a couple of Chinese manufacturers.

It would be a big move for Nikon to move away from Sony as a supplier but given they are competing in the same space not surprising either.

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