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Author Topic: Is Sony getting out of the 36x24mm sensor business?  (Read 5811 times)
BJL
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« on: February 07, 2012, 11:09:10 AM »
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It seems that Nikon is moving to designing its own sensors for its 36x24mm "FX" format cameras; the D800 and D4 both use sensors designed by Nikon. With this, and the discontinuation of the Sony A850, and the considerable age of the Sony A900 with no real news of a replacement coming, is Sony phasing out of 36x24mm format? It would not surprise me if the entrenched position of Canon and Nikon in the high end SLR market has made it hard for Sony to gain enough market share to make 36x24mm format profitable no matter how good its products, so that sensor sales to Nikon have been its main profit sensor in that format. And Sony is desperate to find profits lately, in almost any of its divisions.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2012, 12:00:14 PM »
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Hi,

According to Thom Hogan and some other sources the D800 uses a Sony Exmoor derived sensor, similar to the one used in the D7000.

There are what seems solid rumors about three new FF cameras from Sony, but we will see if they will materialize. It seems that Sony has better fortune with NEX than with Alpha and that may affect future strategy.

Best regards
Erik


It seems that Nikon is moving to designing its own sensors for its 36x24mm "FX" format cameras; the D800 and D4 both use sensors designed by Nikon. With this, and the discontinuation of the Sony A850, and the considerable age of the Sony A900 with no real news of a replacement coming, is Sony phasing out of 36x24mm format? It would not surprise me if the entrenched position of Canon and Nikon in the high end SLR market has made it hard for Sony to gain enough market share to make 36x24mm format profitable no matter how good its products, so that sensor sales to Nikon have been its main profit sensor in that format. And Sony is desperate to find profits lately, in almost any of its divisions.
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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2012, 12:50:20 PM »
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I have never owned a Sony...Phase, Canons, Nikons over the years and more recently a Leica.  My Sony NEX 7 might be shipped to me from B&H today ( it arrived in stock and is at their warehouse)  and i'm really anxious to see how this Sony sensor can preform!  I have been enchanted by many of Michael"s front page images from this camera. Eleanor

Hi,

According to Thom Hogan and some other sources the D800 uses a Sony Exmoor derived sensor, similar to the one used in the D7000.

There are what seems solid rumors about three new FF cameras from Sony, but we will see if they will materialize. It seems that Sony has better fortune with NEX than with Alpha and that may affect future strategy.

Best regards
Erik


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BJL
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2012, 01:19:03 PM »
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According to Thom Hogan and some other sources the D800 uses a Sony Exmoor derived sensor ...

There are what seems solid rumors about three new FF cameras from Sony ...
I can easily believe that Nikon is still using some Sony technology, if only under license, and that Sony still sees Nikon FX SLRs as a good market to supply.

Until I see solid evidence, I put down rumors of "three new FF cameras from Sony " to wishful thinking from people living in denial of actual market trends. That is, "rumors" only in the original sense of noise, but lacking any reliable signal.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2012, 01:59:51 PM »
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Hi,

Regarding the rumor departement it's coming from SonyalphaRumors.com and they normally have pretty solid info. I guess it is a part of Sony's marketing strategy.

Sony is striving to dominate the sensor business, and the imaging business is something they plan on expanding. Don't forget that they are also a major player in professional video. Sony doesn't only supply the FX market but also the DX market.

Best regards
Erik



I can easily believe that Nikon is still using some Sony technology, if only under license, and that Sony still sees Nikon FX SLRs as a good market to supply.

Until I see solid evidence, I put down rumors of "three new FF cameras from Sony " to wishful thinking from people living in denial of actual market trends. That is, "rumors" only in the original sense of noise, but lacking any reliable signal.
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BJL
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2012, 02:26:40 PM »
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Sony is striving to dominate the sensor business, and the imaging business is something they plan on expanding. Don't forget that they are also a major player in professional video.
I was only talking about Sony's place in 36x24mm format, which is of little relevance to the above. (Sony's high end 35mm format video sensors are "motion 35mm format", meaning about 24mm in the long direction.)
I know that Sony is doubling down on the "24x18mm" both with its own NEX and SLT systems and also sensors for Nikon and Pentax.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2012, 02:39:45 PM »
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Hi,

Well, I guess that Sony's position on FX sensors just got a bit stronger as the D800 is based on it. Nikon will probably sell more D800 than they did sell D3X, don't you think?

Regarding the camera business, that is another matter. The impression I have is that Sony tries to find a market where they can sidestep Nikon and Canon. It seems that they may have been quite successful with the NEX, so they may want to focus on that system.

Best regards
Erik


I was only talking about Sony's place in 36x24mm format, which is of little relevance to the above. (Sony's high end 35mm format video sensors are "motion 35mm format", meaning about 24mm in the long direction.)
I know that Sony is doubling down on the "24x18mm" both with its own NEX and SLT systems and also sensors for Nikon and Pentax.
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BJL
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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2012, 02:53:31 PM »
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Well, I guess that Sony's position on FX sensors just got a bit stronger as the D800 is based on it.
If Sony has only provided Nikon with access to technology like column-parallel DAC for Nikon-exclusive sensors ugh as that of the D800, that technology is not particularly format-dependent, and does not require Sony to be doing any R&D that is specific to 36x24mm format. Perhaps I should clarify my original question this way:

Is Sony going to be designing and making any more 36x24mm format sensors of its own, or any cameras using such sensors?
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Fine_Art
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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2012, 03:01:46 PM »
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Hi,

Well, I guess that Sony's position on FX sensors just got a bit stronger as the D800 is based on it. Nikon will probably sell more D800 than they did sell D3X, don't you think?

Regarding the camera business, that is another matter. The impression I have is that Sony tries to find a market where they can sidestep Nikon and Canon. It seems that they may have been quite successful with the NEX, so they may want to focus on that system.

Best regards
Erik



When I got my A55 the futureshop salesperson was pushing the nex 5. She said they were selling like mad, more than anything else. She had one herself. So I believe it.

Sony has had a rumored development 36MP shared with Nikon for about a year. Their relationship is symbiotic not competitive. Nikon designs their own sensor. They add the needed Sony Exmor technology. They have the high end 14 bit camera. About 6 months later Sony puts out their own design, the same number of pixels in each direction, with slightly lesser image quality in 12 bit. This has been going on for years.

Pentax was using Samsung chips. Now they also seem to have moved to Exmor.

It is wishful thinking to expect Sony to stop making FF. The changes in the models are due to the flood wiping out the Sony and Nikon factories. Rather than set it up again for an older model they are moving on to the next.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2012, 03:28:01 PM »
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Hi,

My take is that Sony is both in the sensor business and in the camera business. They are the major actor in the sensor business and they want to be a major actor in the camera business. Nikon is an actor in the camera business but not in the sensor business. They develop some of their sensors but I don't think that they sell any of their sensors like Sony is.

Best regards
Erik



If Sony has only provided Nikon with access to technology like column-parallel DAC for Nikon-exclusive sensors ugh as that of the D800, that technology is not particularly format-dependent, and does not require Sony to be doing any R&D that is specific to 36x24mm format. Perhaps I should clarify my original question this way:

Is Sony going to be designing and making any more 36x24mm format sensors of its own, or any cameras using such sensors?
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scooby70
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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2012, 05:31:07 PM »
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Until I see solid evidence, I put down rumors of "three new FF cameras from Sony " to wishful thinking from people living in denial of actual market trends. That is, "rumors" only in the original sense of noise, but lacking any reliable signal.

Some of these rumour sites have a good record of getting things right and the closer they get to the new camera being released the more accurate they tend to be. IMVHO too many of these sites are now carrying rumours of upcoming Sony FF for it to be fantasy. Of course only time will tell but to write this off as as "denial" seems a little rough.
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Kenneth Sky
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2012, 07:57:35 AM »
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Sony has stated they will no longer make SLR's with OVF's but see SLT's as the way of their future. They have commited to a FF camera by 2013 but have not said whether it will be a SLT &/or a NEX.
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BJL
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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2012, 09:10:43 AM »
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Kenneth,

    That is a very plausible direction for Sony, especially about moving away from cameras with OVFs, but I have never seen Sony say it officially: do you have links?
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peterv
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« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2012, 06:01:52 PM »
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Here's a recent interview with Mr. Mark Weir, Senior Manager of Technology and Marketing at Sony Electronics Inc.

"...all one would have to do is to consider our lens lineup to easily see that we have a commitment to full-frame cameras..."

http://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2012/01/15/sony-interview-10-years-hence-will-mirror-based-cameras-be-a-distant-memory

And another interview with a high ranking Sony representative here:

http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/the-full-sony-interview-translation/

BTW, SAR now talks of only one FF coming from Sony this year. We'll see...

Hope this helps.
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LKaven
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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2012, 11:20:46 PM »
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And here:
http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/02/09/Sony_Full_Frame
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BJL
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« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2012, 08:59:02 AM »
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@peterv and @LKaven, thanks for the links. This information moves me towards guessing that there will be one new 36x24mm body from Sony this year, probably an SLT; especially with the long delayed 500/4 now coming to market.

But not three! It was the idea of _three_ new 36x24mm format bodies that raised my skepticism about the rumors. And the fact that the rumor site has revised it down to one body does put bit of a dent in claims of its reliability. But as someone said, there is usually some convergence of rumors towards the truth as product announcements get closer. Maybe the rumors came from Sony running three prototypes (SLR, SLT, totally mirrorless?) while deciding which to go with?


P. S. I note that the rumor site has the one 36x24mm camera this year being an SLT with the (almost four years old) 24MP sensor, and then a 36MP model next year. If so, does that mean that Nikon now had the lead-dog role, with Sony having to wait a year or so before releasing its version of a Nikon-Sony sensor design? Or is this just more tsunami/flood delay?
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 09:12:08 AM by BJL » Logged
Pingang
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« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2012, 05:35:47 AM »
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SONY is a just a name of the company and it is a public company so the sensor plant owned by SONY does not have the responsibility of supporting SONY cameras exclusively, but certainly SONY camera is a customer to the SONY owned sensor plant which may have some priority. But the sensor plant is a business unit that sells to whoever place order to them, beleived Nikon among them. I think as long as there are demand in the market, they will produce it to sell unless the demand is so small and too costly to run the production.  On the other hand, I think SONY will be one to look at for 2012-2013 for full frame cameras, and hope a mirrorless compact full frame will be out soon. 
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ziocan
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« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2012, 06:05:13 PM »
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Once in a while you read these obituary posts about Sony FF cameras, but they are normally put to sleep.
Thom Hogan has looked rather silly once already, for spreading a rumor about sony stopping development of ff sensors.
The OP is not even a rumor, but a conjecture by someone with some time to spare.
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ziocan
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« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2012, 06:10:23 PM »
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P. S. I note that the rumor site has the one 36x24mm camera this year being an SLT with the (almost four years old) 24MP sensor, and then a 36MP model next year. If so, does that mean that Nikon now had the lead-dog role, with Sony having to wait a year or so before releasing its version of a Nikon-Sony sensor design? Or is this just more tsunami/flood delay?
the 24mp sensor will be a new one.
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BJL
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« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2012, 06:12:23 PM »
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The OP is not even a rumor, but a conjecture by someone with some time to spare.
Actually it was a question with some background information as to what lead me to ask that question, and I got some very useful answers which shifted my expectations. Clearly many others have been asking the same question, leading Sony to make a statement at CP+ in advance of an actual product announcement, for which I am glad.

By the way, do you have more information or links about the new 24MP sensor? It is unusual but not unheard of for a next generation sensor to have the same pixel pitch as its predecessor.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2012, 06:14:16 PM by BJL » Logged
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