Some info on the 24 MP Nikon - from a Sony engineer

Started Oct 29, 2008 | Discussions thread
Joseph S Wisniewski Forum Pro • Posts: 34,390
Two inconsistencies...

Dan Wells wrote:

The Alpha 900 team was at PhotoPlus last week, and they let an
interesting tidbit slip... They claim

"They" would get fired for making such a "claim" in a place where it could be quoted and passed on. And considering how badly the assimilation of the Konica and Minolta people into the Sony corporate culture is supposed to be going, "they" would have a great deal of trouble convincing an entirely separate division of the company to do something that actually made sense, let alone something like what you are describing here.

that they convinced the sensor
division at Sony (the folks at PhotoPlus were camera designers) NOT
to sell the A900 sensor to anyone, in order to build Sony's camera
market share.

Sony Semiconductors has a multi-decade history of doing exactly the opposite.

They're treated as a "profit center" by Sony, and do whatever it takes to maximize profits for Sony Semiconductors. This has resulted in them treating the video and still camera operations of Sony as second class citizens, in order to protect their business with Nikon, Canon, Casio, etc.

Looking at the results Nikon D300 and Sony A700 deliver from the same sensor, it's pretty obvious who's getting the preferential treatment from the sensors group.

Pretty much the only time you ever see Sony products featuring an exclusive bit of Sony Semiconductor technology is after that tech has been shopped around to all the other camera companies and rejected. That's why we end up with Sony "powerhouse" exclusives like the RGBE sensor on the 828 or the industry shaking R1.

This is pretty much true in industries from consumer electronics to automotive: the relationship between internal customers and internal suppliers is always tense, at best.

Canon's been doing this for years,

Canon doesn't sell sensors outside.

so it would make sense for Sony to adopt the same strategy.

In what way? Risk the 4 million SLR customer (Nikon) to protect a much smaller internal SLR customer that is rumored to have their heads on the block for a possible shutdown in mid 2008 if they don't get their numbers up?

And risk scaring all the P&S sensor customers (Nikon, Canon, Casio, Pentax, Plympus, etc).

If that is the case, the
highest resolution sensors currently available to Nikon (ignoring
medium-format sensors) are the 12 mp full-frame unit they are using
and possibly the 14.something MP cropped sensor that's in a couple of
Sonys and Pentaxes. If this is true, the rumors of a medium-format
Nikon may not be far-fetched at all (MF sensors are freely available,
although very expensive). If both makers of DSLR sensors (Canon and
Sony) have now decided to restrict high-end sensors to their own

"Both"? Samsung and Panasonic also make DSLR sensors.

Nikon either has to go medium-format at the high end,
design their own sensors or both. I can't see Sony cutting off the
supply of anything except full-frame sensors (they simply make too
much money selling the same crop-frame sensor to everyone and his

As I said earlier, cut off one component, and your customers immediately seel out other sources for all their components. You have to play above ground, across the board.

although I COULD see them waiting a few months to sell each
new sensor after they have it in an Alpha (for that matter, they may
let the A900 sensor go in January or so).
If Sony's playing that game, Nikon had better BOTH add medium-format
AND design their own sensors (they can get someone to fab them) -

That's what they did with D3...

being perpetually behind Canon and Sony in sensor technology, and
never being able to lead even Pentax (Sony will always sell the
sensor to Nikon and Pentax on the same day)

Actually, this is not true. Look at Sony's original 6mp APS sensor, the ICX413-AQ. It was supposed to have a "snap shutter" capability from day one. Sony finally got this working properly (can't remember the model number of the revised part) but only Nikon got the revised part and used it in D70, D50, and D40, giving Nikon a tactical advantage (higher shutter and x-sync speeds from lower cost mechanical shutters) than Pentax or KM (and later, Sony), who never got the newer part.

And this isn't even considering Pentax's use of sensors from their new development partner, Samsung.

To summarize, Nikon is "the" big APS and FF sensor customer from Sony Semiconductor, and will continue to get preferential treatment for some time.

-- hide signature --

Rahon Klavanian 1912-2008.

Armenian genocide survivor, amazing cook, scrabble master, and loving grandmother. You will be missed.

Ciao! Joseph

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