Is FF sensors going to slowly phase out?

Started Apr 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
Bart Hickman Veteran Member • Posts: 7,256
Re: Nope, it's rather the opposite.

forpetessake wrote:

As sensor prices continue to fall, the FF will become dominant. The APS-C, m4/3, and other odd formats are transitory, the only reason they exist is the large sensor manufacturing costs. But eventually, silicon will drive away the metal (and glass). By increasing the sensor size the lenses become cheaper to produce. Sensor QE of modern sensors is not far from the maximum (ideal sensor), there isn't much room for APS-C improvements left, the sensor size will soon become the only determining factor.

Where did you hear sensor prices are going down?  I'm just curious.  I'm pretty sure they aren't getting cheaper, but maybe you have some data to the contrary.  The recent less-expensive FF cameras are not an indication of cheaper sensors.  They are a defensive move to protect market share from advances in small sensor cameras.  I suspect the profit margin on the bodies isn't that good.

Also, why would a FF lens be less expensive to produce than a lens for a smaller sensor?  I would think the cost/performance function is a curve, not a straight line.  Ie., a huge sensor is difficult to produce a lens for (due to massive moving parts), but a super tiny sensor is also difficult to produce a lens for (due to requirements on the optical precision).  It's not clear to me where the optimal spot on this curve is--it could be FF, but where's the data?

I would think the optimum would depend on the field of view.  I can see how a larger sensor is easier to design wide angle lenses for.  But not for telephoto lenses.  And the NEX system has the very short flange distance which should also make wide-angle lens design easier (probably makes no difference for telephoto lenses.)


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