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Author Topic: What does Sony know that we don't know?  (Read 3789 times)

APBPhoto

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What does Sony know that we don't know?
« on: March 15, 2012, 09:30:45 PM »
Sony produced the 36mp sensor for Nikon but is still using 24mp sensors in it's current crop of cameras.
If they created a 36mp sensor for Nikon are they holding onto 48mp sensor for their next line of camera and if so will people who are switching to Nikon then be switching to Sony?


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What does Sony know that we don't know?
« on: March 15, 2012, 09:30:45 PM »

DavidRiesenberg

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2012, 09:37:53 PM »
Sony produced the 36mp sensor for Nikon but is still using 24mp sensors in it's current crop of cameras.
If they created a 36mp sensor for Nikon are they holding onto 48mp sensor for their next line of camera and if so will people who are switching to Nikon then be switching to Sony?

Not to mention that their 24mp sensor is pretty crappy. Sure, big difference in density but I have a feeling Nikon could do much better with that sensor. I don't know how much input Nikon has on the design or how flexible they are with the hardware once it is in their hands but it seems that Nikon knows how to extract much better performance from their sensors than Sony.

APBPhoto

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2012, 09:56:03 PM »
I would assume Nikon played a large role in the sensor design and may be using Sony mostly for it's production facilities. But still Sony has had 24mp sensors in its cameras since 2009, yet all their new models currently announced still max out at 24mp. So is sensor exclusive to Nikon or does Sony lack the other expertise to utilize the new sensor?

Neeneko

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2012, 10:09:19 PM »
I think, for the moment, 24MP fits in a lot better with their product line then a 36MP one would.  They are focusing on their mirrorless crop cameras and slowly expanding that market into higher end versions.

Though I am seeing rumbling that they are looking at making RGBW CFAs, which would mesh well with a high MP sensor in a non-MP monster camera (since the extra channel would eat up 25% of the sensor), but that is at least a year off.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2012, 10:22:56 PM »
Sony makes Digital Camera components for anyone who will buy them.  Many of the components do not end up in a sony camera, but, of course, many do.

That 3:2 lcd on the back of the 5D MK III, for example, we don't see that in a Sony camera, but Sony has been making those LDC displays for Canon and Nikon almost since the first Digital camera.  Kodak makes MF sensors, but they do not appear in a Kodak Camera.

iso79

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2012, 10:31:58 PM »
Sony makes shitty electronics.
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3kramd5

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2012, 11:41:50 PM »
Sony knows its business model. If they think they can turn a profit putting a 36MP sensor in a camera, they will. Perhaps that's a part of the market they don't wish to enter.
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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2012, 11:41:50 PM »

woollybear

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2012, 12:44:13 AM »
Having worked in the semiconductor industry, I would guess the design is (relatively) the easy part.  I don't think there is any real magic there.  The complexity would certainly increase with each successive generation but I think that is where manufacturing is the problem.  A higher pixel density sensor, of a larger size, is a huge capital investment.  Everything is orders of magnitude more expensive.  The clean room, the manufacturing equipment, etc.  In addition, because the size of the sensor is larger (for full frame, compared to, say, a point and shoot) their yields would plummet.

This would result in a much higher cost sensor.

And if the manufacturer is pushing the limits of the existing equipment and facilities, quality issues would start to creep into the final product.  These would be much more pernicious as they could not be designed out if, for instance, they were told to produce a 32MP sensor on a 24MP production line.  A good analogy might be high precision machining.  The accuracy of the final product is very much dependent on the accuracy of the equipment.  You can't just say machine more accurately if the machines can't hold the tolerances.  I have seen photos taken with an electron microscope showing clearly the difference between a well manufactured chip and one that is poorly done.  In this case it was microprocessors.

When siting new facilities things like a rail line within a few miles of the plant would have to be taken into consideration.  The vibration, transmitted through the ground, could be enough to cause major problems in the manufacturing process.  Just an idea of the kind of tolerances you are dealing with.

A new facility, designed to produce state of the art (read angstroms, for tolerances, and for microprocessors) costs multi-billions of dollars.  If those kinds of investments are involved in camera sensors then it would explain a lot in terms of high pixel density, low noise, and cost of the camera. 

Just my 2 cents.

Stephen Melvin

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2012, 12:48:31 AM »
It seems to me that Sony may be done with FF cameras of their own. But even if they're not, recall that they put the same 24mp sensor in their cameras as Nikon did in the D3x, but the Nikon has much higher image quality.

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2012, 01:29:56 AM »
The sensor is only one part of the equation for getting good images.
The other major part is the algorithms of the processor used to interperate the signals coming off the sensor, and this is where I think Sony has been lacking in comparison to Canon and Nikon.

This is why both Nikon and Canon are making a lot of noise about their new "engines" as they have refined and speeded up the number crunching to get good high ISO and picture quality.
I guess that as Canon and Nikon both make so many more DSLR cameras than Sony, they can afford to put more effort and money into getting their processors to work better.

simonxu11

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2012, 02:59:21 AM »
I've heard rumor indicate Sony and Nikon had an agreement, Sony let Nikon use that 36MP cmos first, then Sony will put this cmos into their own FF body after one year, but the condition is Nikon have to use Sony's new XQD card at least in one of their bodies.

gibbygoo

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2012, 03:14:26 AM »
Having worked in the semiconductor industry, I would guess the design is (relatively) the easy part.  I don't think there is any real magic there.  The complexity would certainly increase with each successive generation but I think that is where manufacturing is the problem.  A higher pixel density sensor, of a larger size, is a huge capital investment.  Everything is orders of magnitude more expensive.  The clean room, the manufacturing equipment, etc.  In addition, because the size of the sensor is larger (for full frame, compared to, say, a point and shoot) their yields would plummet.

This would result in a much higher cost sensor.

And if the manufacturer is pushing the limits of the existing equipment and facilities, quality issues would start to creep into the final product.  These would be much more pernicious as they could not be designed out if, for instance, they were told to produce a 32MP sensor on a 24MP production line.  A good analogy might be high precision machining.  The accuracy of the final product is very much dependent on the accuracy of the equipment.  You can't just say machine more accurately if the machines can't hold the tolerances.  I have seen photos taken with an electron microscope showing clearly the difference between a well manufactured chip and one that is poorly done.  In this case it was microprocessors.

When siting new facilities things like a rail line within a few miles of the plant would have to be taken into consideration.  The vibration, transmitted through the ground, could be enough to cause major problems in the manufacturing process.  Just an idea of the kind of tolerances you are dealing with.

A new facility, designed to produce state of the art (read angstroms, for tolerances, and for microprocessors) costs multi-billions of dollars.  If those kinds of investments are involved in camera sensors then it would explain a lot in terms of high pixel density, low noise, and cost of the camera. 

Just my 2 cents.

That's the longest 2 cents ever. Just my 2 cents.

nicku

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2012, 04:43:28 AM »
I've heard rumor indicate Sony and Nikon had an agreement, Sony let Nikon use that 36MP cmos first, then Sony will put this cmos into their own FF body after one year, but the condition is Nikon have to use Sony's new XQD card at least in one of their bodies.

Plausible rumor ....

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2012, 04:43:28 AM »

FunPhotons

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2012, 05:55:52 AM »
Having worked in the semiconductor industry ...

Same here and this is a good explanation. I also heard that Canon is having engineering problems with handling large amounts of data. Look at the dual Digic 5's in the latest 1DX for example, so they can push 12 frames per second ...

Pro cameras are a tough piece of engineering, and everything I see (way overly conservative specs, slow introductions, extensive/crazy beta test, ...) with Canon is they are extremely conservative. Certainly the customers are unforgiving anal-retentative freak heads. All it takes is one bum pro camera, or one bum frame during a sports event or wedding shoot to entirely kill Canon's reputation.

So in addition to the manufacturing difficulties comment, surely even more Canon is having enough success selling existing bodies and glass that they want to take it nice and sloooowwwwww. The present mantra seems to be 'better pixels not more pixels', and they'll push more pixels when it's obvious, easier and cheaper, no doubt.

I ran into a guy that worked at the Hachioji Canon factory (I think it was Canon) on the train there once. Should have asked him ..  ;D

Astro

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2012, 06:12:14 AM »
Having worked in the semiconductor industry, I would guess the design is (relatively) the easy part.  I don't think there is any real magic there.  The complexity would certainly increase with each successive generation but I think that is where manufacturing is the problem.  A higher pixel density sensor, of a larger size, is a huge capital investment.  Everything is orders of magnitude more expensive.  The clean room, the manufacturing equipment, etc.  In addition, because the size of the sensor is larger (for full frame, compared to, say, a point and shoot) their yields would plummet.

well but sony IS making the sensor for others.. so what?

all you say about manufacturing is correct but does not apply to sony in this case.
they are making the sensor anyway... so why not using it for their own cameras?

i think it might be that nikon is just faster building a decent camera around the sensor then sony.

« Last Edit: March 16, 2012, 06:17:26 AM by Astro »

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Re: What does Sony know that we don't know?
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2012, 06:12:14 AM »