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06-27-2012, 05:09 PM   #691
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
CMOS vs. CCD is partly a power consumption issue.

CCD has become very rare as the mass manufacture of the CMOS tech has well overtaken CCD.

MF cameras are using 10 year-old CCD designs which are very capable, but they do not scale well to low-power consumption, video, and portability.
I know the up and down sides but im very curious why you said that CCD is not great for video while actually almost all video cameras use them?

06-27-2012, 06:43 PM   #692
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Google Nikon sensor patents and you will find plenty.
Sorry, I didn't. Can you post some that relate to sensor technology (not to the use of sensors)?

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
So the idea that anyone can just order a FF sensor is nonsense. Hogan is right; you need in at the foundry phase both with money (proven market assets) and design (for this much $$$, what do you want?).
Why would it impossible for Pentax to (re-)use a sensor that Sony produces primarily for Nikon (potentially with a delay in getting access to the sensor)? This already happens with APS-C sensors and I see no reason why it should not happen with FF-sensors.

I know you have used an "exclusivity" argument before that claimed that Nikon has control over Sony to whom they sell their sensors. AFAIC, however, this is just your speculation and given Nikon's dependency on Sony sensors (at the moment, you cannot get the same quality anywhere else; Canon, with its own sensors, is not looking good in comparison to Nikon because of Sony sensor technology), I believe Sony will be able and willing to sell more of their sensors to other customers as soon as the latter are ready to enter the FF market.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Oh, that's right. You lost an argument in another thread so you're back for more.
Don't you think it is beneath your dignity to attempt an ad hominen attack?

I wrote "attempt" because I disagree that I "lost an argument in another thread", quite the contrary, actually. However, let's not go there, as this is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.
06-27-2012, 06:56 PM   #693
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anvh Quote
I know the up and down sides but im very curious why you said that CCD is not great for video while actually almost all video cameras use them?
This is speculation on my behalf, but it could be an issue of scaling.

CCD sensors are read out in a serial manner. This may work sufficiently quickly up to a certain sensor size.

Consumer video cameras use small sensors and if you combine this with the fact that a 3-CCD design allows parallel read-out of three colours (which is not possible with a Bayer-matrix 1-chip solution) then this may explain why 3-CCD video cameras exist but larger CCD sensors with a Bayer-matrix do not support video.

Again, I'm just speculating. Whether my explanation attempt has merit depends on the actual read out speed limits of which I have no knowledge of.
06-27-2012, 07:38 PM   #694
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Sorry, I didn't. Can you post some that relate to sensor technology (not to the use of sensors)?
Interesting Nikon patents (curved image sensor and more) | Nikon Rumors

Did you miss the part about how Nikon makes photolithography equipment?

QuoteQuote:
Why would it impossible for Pentax to (re-)use a sensor that Sony produces primarily for Nikon (potentially with a delay in getting access to the sensor)? This already happens with APS-C sensors and I see no reason why it should not happen with FF-sensors.
Like the D700 sensor?

Probably because Sony re-tools its fabs. Those photolithography assembly systems are expensive, as in $200 million investments from line start to end for the volumes and wafer sizes these guys produce. Ever been to a fab? I've been to an Intel one in Oregon. What I viewed had a capital net worth of US$2.2 billion. These are not small systems. They require substantial re-tooling and calibration so ROI requires downtime to repurpose for next generation products.

Remember: camera sensors are physically the largest mass produced chips available. Camera needs actually go against the grain, so in themselves are a niche. Most chip fabs are trying to put out a smaller product, not a larger one.

QuoteQuote:
I know you have used an "exclusivity" argument before that claimed that Nikon has control over Sony to whom they sell their sensors. AFAIC, however, this is just your speculation and given Nikon's dependency on Sony sensors (at the moment, you cannot get the same quality anywhere else; Canon, with its own sensors, is not looking good in comparison to Nikon because of Sony sensor technology), I believe Sony will be able and willing to sell more of their sensors to other customers as soon as the latter are ready to enter the FF market.
I never said Nikon had control over Sony.

I said it appears Nikon has an exclusivity agreement with a very willing Sony, who dropped their own FF pine entirely and supplies Nikon with 100% of their FF sensors. The current Nikon rumours on which much speculation is based actually state an exclusivity to market agreement. And many market analysts have said so as well, especially as to how Sony pretty much gave up for at least 2 years competing on retail shelves with Nikon for FF. And how Pentax has no FF.

If the produce was available, then Sony would sell it. Instead, they sold it all to Nikon and dropped themselves out. In any there industry, that's a sign of exclusivity. Thom Hogan speculates that some of it may do with design,patents, and licensing. Makes sense.

This is common in many industries. Apple routinely locks up supplies for core items for fixed time periods. For a time, IBM had Intel locked down.

Canon uses Sony sensors in their P&S cameras, as does Fuji. Sony is dominant, but Nikon and Sony see Canon as enemy #1.

I think Canon is just fine. The 5DMkIII is a peer of what Nikon is offering, and in some ways better.

I agree FF will come to more retail manufacturers like Pentax, but only until the price per unit comes down based on volume. To get that volume, Nikon and Canon and Sony have to move the market. Pentax has too feeble market share to do that and buy in volume to get there. Cameras above $2,000/body are a very, very hard sell for Pentax as volume drops off a cliff above $1,500.

Unless you want 645D pricing. There, using CCD chips, you can go small yield and high margin.

QuoteQuote:
Don't you think it is beneath your dignity to attempt an ad hominen attack?

I wrote "attempt" because I disagree that I "lost an argument in another thread", quite the contrary, actually. However, let's not go there, as this is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.
I have no dignity. Dignity is beneath me. Would I lie?

06-27-2012, 07:40 PM   #695
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anvh Quote
I know the up and down sides but im very curious why you said that CCD is not great for video while actually almost all video cameras use them?
The Red One is CMOS.
06-27-2012, 08:05 PM   #696
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OK, let me ask again. Can you point me to any Nikon sensor patents that are relevant to the cameras we are discussing here?

If there are none, then the whole "Sony only manufactures what Nikon designs" or the weaker "Nikon has important input on sensor design and hence Sony is not entirely free to sell their sensors to anyone" assumption does not hold.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Did you miss the part about how Nikon makes photolithography equipment?
I didn't miss it, but I didn't see the relevance of this factoid to the current situation/discussion.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Like the D700 sensor?
Any sensor.

I understand that fabs are expensive, but I do not understand why you repeatedly bring that up.

Your point only makes sense, if one assumes that Nikon needs as many or more FF sensors than Sony can produce. If the latter is not the case, then it would be in Sony's interest to sell more sensors, to Pentax or anyone else.

Whether FF sensor production is at its current limit or not, we don't know, but given that Sony just bought more production capacity, it seems likely that Pentax will have access to an affordable FF sensor soon.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
I said it appears Nikon has an exclusivity agreement with a very willing Sony, who dropped their own FF pine entirely and supplies Nikon with 100% of their FF sensors.
You are assuming that Sony stopped the production of their own FF cameras just because Nikon needed all sensor production capacity. While I cannot rule out this scenario, it appears more likely that the market simply didn't accept Sony as a serious DSLR manufacturer at the time they introduced the A900 and A850. The combination of "SONY = electronics (but not optics) expert" + high-ISO weaknesses of the sensor + very expensive and limited lens choices, did not work out and Sony had to stop bleeding money with their A850 which probably was priced to break into a market, not to earn money.

I believe Sony will come back with an FF camera sooner or later even if Nikon continues to sell many FF cameras and thus maintains a high need for FF sensors.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
And how Pentax has no FF.
This may well due to Pentax only decisions. Pentax may not have had the (Hoya) support to design an FF camera, they may feel that they don't have the FF lenses to go with an FF camera yet, etc.
Pentax not offering an FF (yet), to me is not a proof that Sony cannot or does not want to sell them an FF sensor.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
I think Canon is just fine. The 5DMkIII is a peer of what Nikon is offering, and in some ways better.
If I were Canon, I'd be worried about DxOMark placements and other such comparisons. Current Canon shooters may not necessarily jump ship, but what about the new customers, who are deciding on which brand to go for?
06-28-2012, 05:53 AM   #697
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
The Red One is CMOS.
though it is well controlled the red one also suffers from rolling shutter as well. the 2-4k cameras do seem to be moving towards Cmos though.
06-28-2012, 07:24 AM   #698
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
OK, let me ask again. Can you point me to any Nikon sensor patents that are relevant to the cameras we are discussing here?
Nikon has hundreds if not thousands of photolithography and processor patents:

Patent US5835275 - Catadioptric system for photolithography - Google Patents

For all we know this is key to FF stitching:

Patent US6842226 - Flexure supported wafer table - Google Patents

Nikon is primarily an optical camera manufacturing company. Almost all their patents are related to optics and photolithography.

Which patent for which product is not discernible unless you have access to the shop floor and shop drawings. Every litre of gasoline has 60 patents or so involved in its processing, additives, etc., but you cannot tell by looking at petrol as a consumer. The cross-licensing of patents is rampant and normal.

QuoteQuote:
If there are none, then the whole "Sony only manufactures what Nikon designs" or the weaker "Nikon has important input on sensor design and hence Sony is not entirely free to sell their sensors to anyone" assumption does not hold.
It absolutely holds. The market dynamic is that Sony and Nikon competed in the FF market, then Sony quit and made 100% of its FF sensors for 2 generations across multiple models to Nikon.

And no one else.

Exclusively.

Ergo, market analysts surmise that Nikon and Sony have a sweetheart deal.

There's lot soy evidence that sensor generations have some deign features by the purchaser. Thom Hogan makes that assertion and it is likely true. Even for Pentax, which is how they get better output in the K-5 than Sony can from the same basic sensor. I bet Pentax had some foundry input into the 645D sensor. why goes to the A/D converter is critical and needs tone known for so much else to function.

QuoteQuote:
Your point only makes sense, if one assumes that Nikon needs as many or more FF sensors than Sony can produce. If the latter is not the case, then it would be in Sony's interest to sell more sensors, to Pentax or anyone else.
Obviously, with D800 backlogs, sensor supply is constrained.

QuoteQuote:
Whether FF sensor production is at its current limit or not, we don't know, but given that Sony just bought more production capacity, it seems likely that Pentax will have access to an affordable FF sensor soon.
That's the current rumour, coming from the Nikon camp relating to the D600.

QuoteQuote:
You are assuming that Sony stopped the production of their own FF cameras just because Nikon needed all sensor production capacity.
In retail it is extremely unusual for a major brand like Sony to have no replacement product in a category when it publicly announces it will no longer manufacture in that category.

The D700 and 800's and D3s and D4's all had production backlogs well before the earthquake. Sensor supply was often seen as a limiting factor.

Ergo it makes sense that if Nikon can sell far more Sony sensors than Sony can inside a camera body, and at higher prices, then Sony should sell to Nikon and cut the A900/850 production, which they did.

QuoteQuote:
While I cannot rule out this scenario, it appears more likely that the market simply didn't accept Sony as a serious DSLR manufacturer at the time they introduced the A900 and A850. The combination of "SONY = electronics (but not optics) expert" + high-ISO weaknesses of the sensor + very expensive and limited lens choices, did not work out and Sony had to stop bleeding money with their A850 which probably was priced to break into a market, not to earn money.

I believe Sony will come back with an FF camera sooner or later even if Nikon continues to sell many FF cameras and thus maintains a high need for FF sensors.
I think Sony head office read Sony Imaging the riot act about bleeding red ink and gave Sony Industrial the green light to max out profitable production. When Sony comes back in it will be in such a way as to retain margins, not undercut pricing. Sony is so badly in the red it is sad.

Can Pentax get in? It will depend on price and market timing. If the camera body can get in sub-$2,000, likely, but only after Sony and Nikon chew up sensor supply runs first to market. This is what the rumours say and I see that as being a known business tactic, very common in the world of silicon chips.

You cannot get around the sad fact that Pentax is less than5% of DSLR sales. Pentax has little ability to buy in and sell-though volume.

QuoteQuote:
This may well due to Pentax only decisions. Pentax may not have had the (Hoya) support to design an FF camera, they may feel that they don't have the FF lenses to go with an FF camera yet, etc.
Pentax not offering an FF (yet), to me is not a proof that Sony cannot or does not want to sell them an FF sensor.
I have long said Pentax 100% has a skunkworks FF model. I think they have no sensor because of limited supply and Nikon doing what Apple does and buying up everything not made by Canon.

There is no evidence that Sony even shops its FF or even its APS-C sensors around. They do not appear on standard product lists for industrial supply, so they look to be custom manufactured in set volumes:

Image Sensors World

QuoteQuote:
If I were Canon, I'd be worried about DxOMark placements and other such comparisons. Current Canon shooters may not necessarily jump ship, but what about the new customers, who are deciding on which brand to go for?
When the dust settles, the Canon and Nikon FF's are not that different and the pros and prosumers will get that. I think Canon's problem is more related to price than product.

06-28-2012, 08:00 AM   #699
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Nikon has hundreds if not thousands of photolithography and processor patents:
The patents you referenced pertain to sensor production, not to sensor design.

I have no idea how crucial the Nikon patents are for modern sensor production, but the patents certainly do not support the claim that Nikon has input on Sony sensor design.

I'm talking about crucial patents such as the column-parallel A/D conversion that gives current Sony sensors the edge over competitors. Nikon does not appear to have contributed anything to the recent sensor performance advances, despite Thom Hogan and other Nikon evangelists trying to spread such rumors.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Ergo, market analysts surmise that Nikon and Sony have a sweetheart deal.
Well, market analysts may surmise, but your suggested conclusion is not the only one possible. A possibility, but no more than that.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
There's lot soy evidence that sensor generations have some deign features by the purchaser. Thom Hogan makes that assertion and it is likely true.
I wouldn't characterize Thom Hogan exactly as unbiased. He has an (Nikon evangelist) agenda to follow and I do not agree that "it is likely true", coming from him.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Ergo it makes sense that if Nikon can sell far more Sony sensors than Sony can inside a camera body, and at higher prices, then Sony should sell to Nikon and cut the A900/850 production, which they did.
Would it not have been prudent for Sony to not only maximize sensor sales but also support their own camera sales (which would lead to follow-on lens sales, etc.)?

I believe that if the A900/850 had sold in reasonable numbers that Sony would have reserved whatever number of sensors they needed for themselves and only sold the rest to Nikon. It does not make sense to build up a competitor if you still have a horse in the race.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
I think Sony head office read Sony Imaging the riot act about bleeding red ink and gave Sony Industrial the green light to max out profitable production.
Quite possibly, but most likely after the A900/850 didn't work in the market as opposed to destroying a potential camera/lens market just because to maximize sensor sales.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Can Pentax get in? It will depend on price and market timing. If the camera body can get in sub-$2,000, likely, but only after Sony and Nikon chew up sensor supply runs first to market.
Well, let's hope that there will be sufficiently many sensors for everyone. If not, it may still be good thinking on Sony's behalf to keep some Nikon competitors, such as Pentax, alive as opposed to strengthening Nikon to a point where it can completely displace competitors, thus growing even more (and hence be harder to deal with).

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
When the dust settles, the Canon and Nikon FF's are not that different and the pros and prosumers will get that. I think Canon's problem is more related to price than product.
At the moment, the D800 is stealing Canon's show and I don't see the dust it has been kicking up settling anytime soon. And this is before a D600 enters the scene.
06-28-2012, 09:45 AM   #700
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
This is speculation on my behalf, but it could be an issue of scaling.

CCD sensors are read out in a serial manner. This may work sufficiently quickly up to a certain sensor size.

Consumer video cameras use small sensors and if you combine this with the fact that a 3-CCD design allows parallel read-out of three colours (which is not possible with a Bayer-matrix 1-chip solution) then this may explain why 3-CCD video cameras exist but larger CCD sensors with a Bayer-matrix do not support video.

Again, I'm just speculating. Whether my explanation attempt has merit depends on the actual read out speed limits of which I have no knowledge of.
With size i assume you mean the amount of pixels and not the physical size.
Well when CCD was normal in FF dslr's they use multiple lanes to speed up the read out so that might work.
06-28-2012, 10:06 AM   #701
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
The Red One is CMOS.
Yes and this one for example doesn't
Panasonic AJ-HPX3700 High Definition VariCam Camcorder - Professional Video Camera

So what was your point?
06-28-2012, 10:10 AM   #702
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anvh Quote
Yes and this one for example doesn't
Panasonic AJ-HPX3700 High Definition VariCam Camcorder - Professional Video Camera

So what was your point?
the Pana actually provides true 4:4:4 as well by virtue of using 3 CCD, the red 4:4:4 output is not actually 4:4:4 due to the bayer filter tech, and the canon is limited to 2:2:2 for the same reason
06-28-2012, 12:07 PM   #703
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
OK, let me ask again. Can you point me to any Nikon sensor patents that are relevant to the cameras we are discussing here?

If there are none, then the whole "Sony only manufactures what Nikon designs" or the weaker "Nikon has important input on sensor design and hence Sony is not entirely free to sell their sensors to anyone" assumption does not hold.


I didn't miss it, but I didn't see the relevance of this factoid to the current situation/discussion.


Any sensor.

I understand that fabs are expensive, but I do not understand why you repeatedly bring that up.

Your point only makes sense, if one assumes that Nikon needs as many or more FF sensors than Sony can produce. If the latter is not the case, then it would be in Sony's interest to sell more sensors, to Pentax or anyone else.

Whether FF sensor production is at its current limit or not, we don't know, but given that Sony just bought more production capacity, it seems likely that Pentax will have access to an affordable FF sensor soon.


You are assuming that Sony stopped the production of their own FF cameras just because Nikon needed all sensor production capacity. While I cannot rule out this scenario, it appears more likely that the market simply didn't accept Sony as a serious DSLR manufacturer at the time they introduced the A900 and A850. The combination of "SONY = electronics (but not optics) expert" + high-ISO weaknesses of the sensor + very expensive and limited lens choices, did not work out and Sony had to stop bleeding money with their A850 which probably was priced to break into a market, not to earn money.

I believe Sony will come back with an FF camera sooner or later even if Nikon continues to sell many FF cameras and thus maintains a high need for FF sensors.

This may well due to Pentax only decisions. Pentax may not have had the (Hoya) support to design an FF camera, they may feel that they don't have the FF lenses to go with an FF camera yet, etc.
Pentax not offering an FF (yet), to me is not a proof that Sony cannot or does not want to sell them an FF sensor.

If I were Canon, I'd be worried about DxOMark placements and other such comparisons. Current Canon shooters may not necessarily jump ship, but what about the new customers, who are deciding on which brand to go for?
QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
The patents you referenced pertain to sensor production, not to sensor design.

I have no idea how crucial the Nikon patents are for modern sensor production, but the patents certainly do not support the claim that Nikon has input on Sony sensor design.

I'm talking about crucial patents such as the column-parallel A/D conversion that gives current Sony sensors the edge over competitors. Nikon does not appear to have contributed anything to the recent sensor performance advances, despite Thom Hogan and other Nikon evangelists trying to spread such rumors.

Well, market analysts may surmise, but your suggested conclusion is not the only one possible. A possibility, but no more than that.

I wouldn't characterize Thom Hogan exactly as unbiased. He has an (Nikon evangelist) agenda to follow and I do not agree that "it is likely true", coming from him.

Would it not have been prudent for Sony to not only maximize sensor sales but also support their own camera sales (which would lead to follow-on lens sales, etc.)?

I believe that if the A900/850 had sold in reasonable numbers that Sony would have reserved whatever number of sensors they needed for themselves and only sold the rest to Nikon. It does not make sense to build up a competitor if you still have a horse in the race.

Quite possibly, but most likely after the A900/850 didn't work in the market as opposed to destroying a potential camera/lens market just because to maximize sensor sales.

Well, let's hope that there will be sufficiently many sensors for everyone. If not, it may still be good thinking on Sony's behalf to keep some Nikon competitors, such as Pentax, alive as opposed to strengthening Nikon to a point where it can completely displace competitors, thus growing even more (and hence be harder to deal with).

At the moment, the D800 is stealing Canon's show and I don't see the dust it has been kicking up settling anytime soon. And this is before a D600 enters the scene.
Nikon has dozens of sensor patents. Here is but one:

Nikon files a patent application for New Sensor Design « NEW CAMERA

Sony stopped making cars but sold the engine to their main competitor. They took their horse and put it out to pasture.

Others don't do that. Want to build an APS-C camera? Aptina flogs their model:

Image Sensors - MT9H004 (Preliminary) - Aptina Imaging

If you stop making your luxury brand of cars to make engines for the other guy, odds are the other guy is going to specify some details as to how that engine is going to work.

Like almost all outsourced industrial products, there is a large degree of collaboration from the design phase. This is the norm, not the exception. No one ramps up a fab to a generic design, then flogs the product without customers lined up. If you're wrong, that's $100+ million of shareholder value flushed.

If they do have interested customers, those customers come with a laundry list of specs and things work from there. If the laundry list is capital-intensive, they share resources and credit to make it work for the bean counters. With a pixel-peeping professional base to service, and Canon all in-house, Nikon would not be practicing due diligence to simply accept someone else's product and work around its substance hoping to compete against Canon. That makes no sense.

Instead, all the prior rumours and tear downs and balances sheets point to a long-term agreement between Nikon and Sony to design and ensure a supply of FF sensors to Nikon spec and priority volume sale. This was common in microprocessor design and implementation, and still is. The Sony A900 and 850 were casualties of pure business: they lost Sony money and interfered with Nikon's industrial needs.

The only rumour we have is that the D600 sensor will be exclusive to Nikon and Sony, then may go on the market, with Pentax on the 6 month waiting list. The other factoid is that the D3200 uses an Aptina sensor, and again, some of the information is Nikon assisted in its design as well. Nikon has a photolithographic division and so knows as much as anyone about sensor design. They have a huge customer base so when they come knocking to Sony or Aptina with a design spec and some engineers, you can bet the door is open.
06-28-2012, 02:31 PM   #704
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Nikon has dozens of sensor patents. Here is but one:
Again, that's not a patent that has any relevance for the sensors we are discussing.
I don't know of any sensor using the described principle, maybe there is one, but surely none of the current FF sensors uses the described principle.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
If you stop making your luxury brand of cars to make engines for the other guy, odds are the other guy is going to specify some details as to how that engine is going to work.
Yes, but requesting certain specs is different from engineering the solution.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
No one ramps up a fab to a generic design, then flogs the product without customers lined up.
Someone who produces the best sensor bar none could afford to do that. It's not the case that a sensor has to be custom built for a particular company or camera.

A few cameras benefit from specific solutions, but the vast majority will work with a generic sensor as long as it fits the general bill.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
The only rumour we have is that the D600 sensor will be exclusive to Nikon and Sony, then may go on the market, with Pentax on the 6 month waiting list.
Yes, and 6 months isn't a catastrophe, AFAIC.

QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Nikon has a photolithographic division and so knows as much as anyone about sensor design.
But apparently it's the Sony sensor design tricks that make their current sensors so dominant. This relegates Nikon to a customer as opposed to someone sharing IP. A mighty customer, indeed, but due to volume orders not because they own some of the engineering IP.

Anyhow, the main thing is that it seems very likely that Pentax will get access to an FF sensor in the near future.

Last edited by Class A; 06-28-2012 at 02:41 PM.
06-28-2012, 02:32 PM   #705
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Yes, and 6 months isn't a catastrophe, AFAIC.
+1 on this, but that only counts for those who didn't left the building before.
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