Is FF sensors going to slowly phase out?

Started Apr 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
forpetessake Veteran Member • Posts: 4,892
Re: Those are APS compacts with slow lenses

Erik Magnuson wrote:

forpetessake wrote:

Maybe, I just grabbed the first picture, but we all remember there were plenty of small 35mm film cameras.

Sure - here are a few of mine:

Small, black 35mm cameras.

True, but it's a sensor design, not a camera design limitations. The shifted microlenses, variable size pixels, binary pixels with completely different microlens design, and maybe other ideas will eventually make it a non-issue.

It's one reason why FF digital cameras like the Olympus XA (front, right above) do not exist today.  BTW, the RX1 is not that much bigger than the to fixed lens cameras in the back row.  And the Pen EF is only 1/2 frame.

And yet, the chips are getting bigger,

When they get bigger, the get more expensive until they hit the next process shrink and get smaller cheaper (e.g. microprocessors).

and yields are getting better even as the processes shrink.

Yields get better when there is economic pressure to to so.   CPUs sell a lot more units than FF sensors.

Sensors will have an excellent yield (maybe they already have), so it's just a matter of time when we see $100 FF sensors sold in bulk.

Nope.  The only wafer cost that is process-dependent is the amortization on the fab.  A set of masks can be a million or so.   A prepared wafer pretty much costs the same per area for anything but solar cells.  The processing steps cost about the same per wafer. Older processes mean using smaller wafers so fewer sensors per these fixed costs.  Really, google this and learn - the information is easy to find.

I don't know what information you have found on the web making you saying that, but what I've seen even from 5 years ago the APS-C sensors were selling in the range of $50-100 pop, and some estimates indicated that FF sensors were 5-10 times more expensive, i.e. comfortably in the range of $250-1000. I've found costs quoted $43 for a 4/3rds sensor, $91 for an APS-C and $650 for a full frame sensor in 2008. I would expect FF sensors to be well under $500 now as the production volumes increased and R&D and equipment costs being amortized. Also margins on FF sensors were historically substantial and will be falling as the case with every other commodity, so there are all reasons to believe that $100 goal will be achieved sooner rather than later.

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