EM-1 uses Panasonic sensor per Chipworks

Started Feb 8, 2014 | Discussions thread
Lab D Veteran Member • Posts: 6,938

Jim in Hudson wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

MichaelKJ wrote:

Do you really thing Sony's camera division bought the sensor in the A7R from Sony's sensor division?

Yes, of course they did. Sony Semiconductor is an independent profit centre, it will get no credit within the group for giving profit away - so indeed there will be an internal funds transfer equivalent to the sale of sensors, and it would have to return Sony Semiconductor the same amount as would an external sale, otherwise they'll just make their revenue targets selling outside. Moreover, for Sony Semiconductor, Nikon is a rather bigger and more important revenue source than Sony Imaging. It's unlikely to prejudice its revenue flows for internal brownie points, which very rarely account for anything anyway. In the end, corporations like Sony judge their various businesses by the bottom line.

If so, do you think they negotiated the price and/or solicited bids from other vendors before opting for Sony's sensor?

It's quite possible. For instance, Nikon seems to let its internal sensor operation bid competitively. They had the design wins for the D3100 and D3200, then lost out to Sony for the D3300. I think it's a smart strategy, keeping your own internal capability keeps supplier honest and ensures there is always competition.

From my own experience working in a large multi-business corporation, internal selling is usually done at something that resembles market pricing instead of cost of manufacture.  Yes, the internal transfer might have a discount to market price but probably not by much.  It's healthier this way, too, otherwise you end up going down a road of economic distortions which is what ruined state-planned economies like in the Soviet Union.

As to independent strategies, etc., it's true but wake me up when you see a non-Sony sensor in an important Sony camera or a non-Panny sensor in an important Panasonic camera.

For a while Toshiba made the CPUs in the PS3.  Toshiba makes some of the sensors in Nikon cameras at their plants too.   A companiy like Rambus may not have a single plant anywere, but instead makes money licensing patents to chip makers.

I doubt that Sony or Panasonic own 100% of the patents involved in their sensors.  Instead they contract out to the best or cheapest manufacturing plant to make the sensor they want, which in reality is never a complete Sony, Panasonic, Nikon, Aptina sensor.  It is a sensor made at a plant that uses mutlple patents owned by many companies.

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