Nikon New Products 2nd/3rd Feb Announcement

Started Jan 28, 2010 | Discussions thread
Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: Sensor cripled Nikon?

zzddrr wrote:

I wonder what do think about Nikon's key parts sourcing/production etc. Since Nikon does not make its own sensors it is kind of cripled and have to rely own sources that may not necessarily have the same goals/strategy as Nikon does?

Nikon declared early on that they're agnostic on sensors. They claimed that they would use the best sensor available, regardless the source. I believe that has changed. Goto's recent comments lead one to believe that Nikon now sees that controlling their own sensor destiny is probably a better option. It is as long as Nikon can stay near the state-of-the-art. Current evidence says they can, but things change.

That said, even given their current relationships I don't think that there are any serious gating issues for Nikon. They have options they haven't taken so far.

For example, how many different sensors does Nikon use in the dslr line?

10mp Sony: D3000
12mp Sony: D5000, D90
12mp Sony w/ Nikon change: D300s
12mp Nikon: D3s, D700
24mp Sony w/ Nikon change: D3x

The big question is what's the next DX sensor. If Nikon opts to do one of their own, Sony just took a big hit because they would no longer have Nikon's volume to subsidize the DX sensor line.

Now, it does not seem very odd for me that Nikon is not capable of making cameras without Sony that is more than 12MP. I mean, we can safely say that without Sony developing its 24MP sensor, Nikon would not have the D3x as some bits and pieces of the D3x sensor are shared with Sony.

I don't know that you can say that. And it's still unclear how much Nikon contributed to Sony designs along the way. Some of us suspect that Nikon helped with the CCD to CMOS transition.

I have a feeling that other manufacturers are not capable or they do not want to make FX sensors for various reasons such as tech issues or profitability.

They're expensive. And they're slower coming out of the fab (both because of the stitching required and because you tie up a stepper for fewer sensors). Thus, you need a high end line to justify even doing them.

Also, do you think that Nikon is late again?

Not exactly. I think Nikon is not reading demand correctly. This means that by the time they figure out a missing element in their line and get it developed, they look late. I'll also point out that the only camera company that seems to believe that customers will always demand more pixels is Canon. This has pushed them into realms where successive models get little additional impact in image quality, but look good on paper and in marketing charts. Some of the other makers, Nikon included, seem more fixated on pushing other aspects of image quality, so they look weak in the pixel count relay.

I think so since left and right people are buying the 5DII just because D700 does not have two simple features (video and more MP).

And why, then, do you think people (right and left ;~) are buying the D700?

My main worry is that Nikon is diverting resources to chase the video tail.

Everybody is. The tail that the camera makers are chasing is that of the lemming in front of them.

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Thom Hogan
author, Complete Guides to Nikon bodies (21 and counting)

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