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03-03-2012, 06:03 AM   #271
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A more detailed estimate of FF sensor market prices

QuoteOriginally posted by Ayoh Quote
What about the additional costs associated with stitching?
OK, let me redo my analysis with greater care. It is a while back I did it the last time ...

I am basically aware of two public sources:

#1 http://smithsonianchips.si.edu/ice/cd/CEICM/SECTION2.pdf (1997)
#2 IC Knowledge - Technology Trends

#1 contains a detailed break-down of 166MHz Pentium CPU cost, at that time one of the most complex chips around:

Defect density 1.2/cm^2 (DRAM was better at 0.5/cm^2), yield was 37%, wafer cost was $1890, function test yield was 70%, final cost per CPU was 112$, sales price per 1000 was 350$. That's $26000 revenue per wafer. At that time, DRAM was more like $3000 revenue per wafer cost of $1500, despite the same yield rate (larger die for 64MB).

Intel has a monopoly on the "Intel" processor and asks 3x the manufacturing costs as chip price. DRAM is more like 1.8x. Image sensors may be between 2x 1/2.3" and 2.5x (FF).

#2 suggests that the defect density today is between 0.005/cm^2 and 0.05/cm^2. Which is between 0.05 and 0.43 per FF chip. In my model, I use a value of ~0.33 per FF chip. Yield on FF should have improved dramatically over recent years. So, after functioning test, there should be at least 30 FF chips sold per 300mm wafer. With 2.5x ASP, a single FF sensor should sell to Nikon et al. at 1/12 cost per 300mm wafer. Let's be pessimistic and say 1/10 the cost.

(note: #2 contains an offline calculator for good units out, given defect density, die size and wafer size
-> http://www.icknowledge.com/misc_technology/die_calculator.xls )

#2 also suggests that die sizes slowly grow, a result of decreasing defect densities. By 2001 (outside the imaging market), dies became as large as an APSC sensor (Intel IA64 etc.). This explains, why 10 years ago, the imaging market was clipping at the APSC size and why Olympus who started early, selected an even smaller die size. But #2 suggests that 10 years later (the corner in their chart), "normal" die sizes should have reached ~1000 mm^2 (I need a source though, although more recent IA64 CPUs seem to almost as large as an FF die).

Wrt to stitching.
You're correct, many reticle machines or steppers don't support such large mask sizes (900 mm^2). However, I guess Sony invested into this and now has large enough reticles w/o need for stitching. Two reasons:
- they make 1/2 million FF sensors per year so it is a cost cutting investment.
- And the D800 chip is 35.9x24mm rather than 36x24 (like Canon who do stitching AFAIK). Looks like an optimization like the reticles their machines support are just a tad to small.

Still assuming stitching, the extra cost is small though. According to #1, cost for masks and reticles is only about 1% of overall cost, although growing faster than average. But the xtra cost due to stitching should remain below 10%, already covered by our 1/10 pessimistic estimate. BTW, #1 contains an estimate on R&D overhead as well: below 10% too.

So, it all boils down to the cost of a wafer.

I only found this hidden link in the open net, most studies are very expensive to purchase.
#3 http://www.icknowledge.com/economics/A%20Simulation%20Study%20of%20450mm%20W...vision%201.pdf

It is recent (2008) and studies 450mm wafers, thereby exhibiting the 2008 cost of 300mm wafers: 1936$.

Even assuming image sensors need a more expensive process, I think $3000 / 300mm wafer by 2012 is a fair cost estimate.

According to the reasoning above, this translates to an average sale price ASP per FF chip of $300.

In my previous post, I said $500 and that may be what Sony asks external customers when using column-parallel A/D technology. But that's about it.

Still no cost driver when it comes to understand why not all cameras are FF when they were APSC back in the early days.


Last edited by falconeye; 03-03-2012 at 06:14 AM.
03-03-2012, 08:33 AM   #272
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
According to the reasoning above, this translates to an average sale price ASP per FF chip of $300.

In my previous post, I said $500 and that may be what Sony asks external customers when using column-parallel A/D technology. But that's about it.

Still no cost driver when it comes to understand why not all cameras are FF when they were APSC back in the early days.
So what about the costs when Pentax buys the sensor as a pack, complete to put in the camera. That is production (just without the stains) in a module ready for clicking in the new camera body?

Since we do know that a K-5 (or a like) camera body can't cost more then a few hundred dollars total cost including electronis, excluding the sensor. Making a basic FF camera (just one PRIME processor) wouldn't cost much more then K-5.
03-03-2012, 09:44 AM   #273
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
So what about the costs when Pentax buys the sensor as a pack, complete to put in the camera. That is production (just without the stains) in a module ready for clicking in the new camera body?

Since we do know that a K-5 (or a like) camera body can't cost more then a few hundred dollars total cost including electronis, excluding the sensor. Making a basic FF camera (just one PRIME processor) wouldn't cost much more then K-5.
Thats a very odd conclusion. If an FF senmsor cost between $300-$500, and this is just one component of the camera, it means that FF camera prices are already pressed to the limits. Do not expect any significant price reduction on FF anytime soon unless a revolution in sensor manufacturing happens.
03-03-2012, 09:52 AM   #274
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What stops Samsung from making FF sensors for Pentax with the same tech as their latest APS-C? I don't understand why that is impossible/too expensive.

Aristophanes has said there can be no FF so many times that it must be true tho. Someone should lock all FF threads.

03-03-2012, 09:53 AM   #275
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
Thats a very odd conclusion. If an FF senmsor cost between $300-$500, and this is just one component of the camera, it means that FF camera prices are already pressed to the limits. Do not expect any significant price reduction on FF anytime soon unless a revolution in sensor manufacturing happens.
This is based on what??? FF camera manufacturers have absolutely no incentive to compete on price, that's why these are still expensive with lots of margin for the manufacturer. For what it's worth: it's the APS-C camera prices are pressed to the limits.
03-03-2012, 10:10 AM   #276
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QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote
This is based on what??? .


It is based on the parts cost in relations to the finished products cost to the consumer. There must be very low margin for FF DSLR's!
In comparison a processor for the Ipad cost $17.....

There are all reason to assume that Nikon and Canon already compete on price on FF; thats how they hinder the competition to make a break in this market. Prices are already low....

Last edited by Pål Jensen; 03-03-2012 at 10:39 AM.
03-03-2012, 10:11 AM   #277
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QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote
This is based on what??? FF camera manufacturers have absolutely no incentive to compete on price, that's why these are still expensive with lots of margin for the manufacturer. For what it's worth: it's the APS-C camera prices are pressed to the limits.
lots of manufacturer margin. the retailer still makes the same crappy points he would on a mid level product, the main difference being there is less out and out whoring of the price in Ads for FF

I agree though, but to estimate what a FF should cost then i would need to know the price the apsc sensor is as well (so the new 24mp sensor headed for the K5 replacement) If it is a $150 sensor then FF should be able to hit $2200 easily
body construction and various component costs aside from sensor won't vary by a significant amount and in fact many things that may come for a FF can have the cost amortized over more then 1 model (apsc, Ff and 645) - things like improved AF, Flash, SR and Prime engines - all 3 could easily be applied to the 3 models (and all 3 need these things)
03-03-2012, 10:57 AM   #278
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
Thats a very odd conclusion. If an FF senmsor cost between $300-$500, and this is just one component of the camera, it means that FF camera prices are already pressed to the limits. Do not expect any significant price reduction on FF anytime soon unless a revolution in sensor manufacturing happens.
The main difference would be making a basic FF camera. So not so sofisticated as 1Dx or D4 with pacs of electronics. A capable camera, but not hte fastest, smartest or so. That would make a huge difference in development and productioncost.

When I look at Canon 5Diii -> 7D -> 1Dx I also see an increase in electronic performance of the camera's wich is likely to keep on when the 7Dii gets out.

03-03-2012, 11:10 AM   #279
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
Thats a very odd conclusion. If an FF senmsor cost between $300-$500, and this is just one component of the camera, it means that FF camera prices are already pressed to the limits. Do not expect any significant price reduction on FF anytime soon unless a revolution in sensor manufacturing happens.
That is $300/sensor if you are buying 20,000/month!

Less and you pay proportionately more. I have heard that FF sensors cost between $450 and $600 each.
03-03-2012, 11:26 AM   #280
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What would it cost?

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
That is $300/sensor if you are buying 20,000/month!

Less and you pay proportionately more. I have heard that FF sensors cost between $450 and $600 each.
Well lets assume it wil cost $600.

Lets make a (for FF camera's basic model) simple FF camera. Develop a new AF-module (also for 645D2 and APS-C) and new metering system, white balans and a new processing system. The base for this processing could also well be hte current PRIME M that is in K-01, but I would like it to be faster. So either next genereation processor (available by the end of the year) or a dual processor. A new SR system for that larger sensor is needed. Pact in a K-5 like body (larger to carry it all, but still smallish). Some of the developement is coming from all productionlines and thus are not only for this camera.

How much more expensive would this be productionwise when Pentax would make 2.000 items of these a month (compared to K-5) and what would this mean for salesprice when there is offcourse money to earn on the project. I guess this has to be the most profatable product in the line (K-01 - K-5 - 645D - FF) so the margin per product must be hi (but not excessive).


Any idea or speculation on this?
03-03-2012, 11:31 AM   #281
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QuoteOriginally posted by fikkser Quote
What stops Samsung from making FF sensors for Pentax with the same tech as their latest APS-C? I don't understand why that is impossible/too expensive.

Aristophanes has said there can be no FF so many times that it must be true tho. Someone should lock all FF threads.
Because it costs tens pushing hundreds of millions of $$$ to set up such a fab. Ever been in one? Samsung doesn't have one.

To amortize that cost, you need market share and volume sales over a long term investment horizon. Pentax would have to switch almost all its customers to FF at $3,000 a camera to come within 20% of what Nikon sells per annum in FF.

That is how huge a lead Canon and Nikon have in the market. Do you see every K-5 and K-3 owner putting up nearly $3,000/camera instead of the $800/camera average because FF is so much better. And new lenses?

Only m43 has been able the chew into market share at that rate, and that consortium did so on price, uniqueness, and compactness. FF has all the opposite.
03-03-2012, 11:42 AM   #282
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Because it costs tens pushing hundreds of millions of $$$ to set up such a fab. Ever been in one? Samsung doesn't have one.
I'm not sure about that. Samsung is one of the biggest customers from ASML, but to be honest I don't know wich machines it takes to make wafers where you can turn out sensors.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Do you see every K-5 and K-3 owner putting up nearly $3,000/camera instead of the $800/camera average because FF is so much better. And new lenses?
Well I'm pretty sure that in my surroundings only 10 % would buy that FF camera. So finding new customers is a big task for PRI (but that is also for all other products).
03-03-2012, 12:00 PM   #283
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
lots of manufacturer margin. the retailer still makes the same crappy points he would on a mid level product, the main difference being there is less out and out whoring of the price in Ads for FF

I agree though, but to estimate what a FF should cost then i would need to know the price the apsc sensor is as well (so the new 24mp sensor headed for the K5 replacement) If it is a $150 sensor then FF should be able to hit $2200 easily
body construction and various component costs aside from sensor won't vary by a significant amount and in fact many things that may come for a FF can have the cost amortized over more then 1 model (apsc, Ff and 645) - things like improved AF, Flash, SR and Prime engines - all 3 could easily be applied to the 3 models (and all 3 need these things)
Consider the puny additional volume to amortize PRIME, AF and mirrorless development costs from that crappy, no-account, amateur, un-serious NoVF camera the K-01 It should never possibly become a hit and sell 1,000,000 units. Boy, Pentax was really stupid to waste money and time on a stupid designer stupid K-mount stupid NoVF stupid yellow stupid camera with a stupid 43mm register distance that nobody can use. I think it is time to give up on stupid Pentax and buy a D800 and all new lenses.

Last edited by monochrome; 03-03-2012 at 12:05 PM.
03-03-2012, 12:14 PM   #284
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Only m43 has been able the chew into market share at that rate, and that consortium did so on price
When I looked at m-4/3rds, about a year and a half ago, it was more expensive than a better-performing k-x.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
that consortium did so on... compactness.
True.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
FF has all the opposite.
A FF is going to be more expensive than a k-x. But if you're going for better image quality, it's cheaper to start with a FF and use 'marginal' lenses than it is to start with an 'equivalent system' with the absolute best lenses for APS-C.
03-03-2012, 12:37 PM   #285
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
When I looked at m-4/3rds, about a year and a half ago, it was more expensive than a better-performing k-x.

A FF is going to be more expensive than a k-x. But if you're going for better image quality, it's cheaper to start with a FF and use 'marginal' lenses than it is to start with an 'equivalent system' with the absolute best lenses for APS-C.
But a K-x is 20% the price of FF.

There is little "better" IQ to the average purchaser. Only to those with BOTH the time to play with large FF files and PP and those with $3,000 for a body is there a market. That's a tiny market.

And Pentax will still need to sell FF lenses which are bigger than APS-C. And to get the desired f-stops wide open, they'll be much more expensive.
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