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

Started Oct 29, 2008 | Discussions thread
bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 69,259
Re: Two inconsistencies...

Iliah Borg wrote:

Dan Wells wrote:

I, too, was surprised to have a Sony rep say that openly, but he
clearly did

Not for the first time some folks want to make the impression SONY
are not going to share this sensor with Nikon. This contradicts not
only logic. It might happen that Nikon themselves are not going to
use the sensor for one reason or another; and it may be that Nikon
made this decision relatively long ago. However even if Nikon decided
that way, they can also reconsider.

A good reason for Nikon not to use the A900 sensor in a flagship model is that it has become better at designing sensors than Sony (or Canon, for that matter). If you look at Emil Martinecs compilation of sensor tests ( http://theory.uchicago.edu/~ejm/pix/20d/posts/tests/D300_40D_tests/ ) you can see that the D3 sensor is 27% more efficient, area for area than the D300 (and presumably the A900, if it shares essentially the same tech). Presumably, whatever design advances Nikon has made, have not been made available to Sony, otherwise their sensors would perform similarly. That 27% is 1/3 stop better performance on a same size sensor. Not enormous, but I would guess it is quite important to Nikon for the D3x and D700x (or whatever) to perform on a level with or better than the 1DsIII and 5DII.

I cannot see why some people think it would be such an enormous task for Nikon to do a shrink of the D3/D700 sensel design. From what I know of VLSI CAD, it's a relatively small task - Canon manages to keep four different pitch sensors going at the same time.

There are also systems design reasons for this. Nikons FF sensors are based on a 12 channel analog interface with the sensor - to move away from that would involve a new main board (the one with the EXPEED, memory and rear LCD drivers on it). Coversely, the DX line is based on the Sony 12 bit digital sensor interface, which finds its way into the D300 and D90 and presumbably soon a D60 replecement. The digital interface gives substantial cost savings for the camera, and makes sense in the consumer line. I would think it is most likely that the pro FX line will use Nikon sensors and the DX line Sonys. The most likely circumstance in which the A900 sensor will be used is if Nikon ever decides to make a consumer FX, and I can't see the economics of that working at the moment.
--
Bob

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