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Thread: Nikon's Sensor ??

  1. #1

    Nikon's Sensor ??

    I've read something saying that Nikon depends on Sony for its DSLR sensors (I know ... I'm a new one in this field). I also know that the sensor plays a very important role in outputting the picture. I'm about to buy the D3100 Nikon and as if the pictures from this camera differ from that of the Sony in no way...I'd rather buy a Sony.

    Help me out Please!
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 25th September 2010 at 09:24 PM.

  2. #2
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    re: Nikon's Sensor ??

    Nikon tend to play things very close to their chest when it comes to out-sourced components, but it is fairly common knowledge that many of their cameras have had Sony manufactured sensors in the past, although Nikon insist that they are to their own design. The latter argument probably holds good if you read the reviews of some Sony and Nikon cameras that would appear to have similar sensors but their attributes vary widely. Don't forget that the software interpreting the electronic responses is unique to each manufacturer and again varies widely. Rumour has it that Nikon are no longer using the Sony sensors.
    I don't think you will go wrong by buying from either manufacturer, or any other major player come to that. What is important is that apart from budget, the camera feels right in your hands and that you can easily reach and operate the various controls. There is nothing worse than trying to use equipment that just doesn't feel right. What I'm saying is that if you have big hands, a small camera may not be for you, or vice versa. Go to a good photographic shop and handle them all. You'll be amazed at the difference.

  3. #3

    re: Nikon's Sensor ??

    i know the performance of the two are far different. But i somehow feel quite dissapointed. . is it true that the designs and the techiques are of nikon and Sony is only the one who manufactured the sensor.. and it has nothing to do with the sensor except the manual work? i do think the sensors from sony are good too, but i prefer the "heart of the image" is of nikon.

  4. #4
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    re: Nikon's Sensor ??

    Quote Originally Posted by phiduypdn View Post
    i know the performance of the two are far different. But i somehow feel quite dissapointed. . is it true that the designs and the techiques are of nikon and Sony is only the one who manufactured the sensor.. and it has nothing to do with the sensor except the manual work? i do think the sensors from sony are good too, but i prefer the "heart of the image" is of nikon.
    This is just one of those things I put under the "life's too short to worry" category, don't get hung up on it.

    Ergonomics and performance of the camera system, i.e. the whole camera, not just the sensor, are what matter.

    As Mike says, ergonomics is far more important.

    I have to say that "14.2 MP" is a standard Sony 'size', so I suspect it is the same sensor that's in the A350, etc.

  5. #5

    re: Nikon's Sensor ??

    why don't nikon design its own sensor and just let sony do the manual work? at least to fullfil their comsumers . do you mean that nikon buy sensor from sony and there's nothing in the sensor pertaining to nikon ?

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    re: Nikon's Sensor ??

    Quote Originally Posted by phiduypdn View Post
    why don't nikon design its own sensor and just let sony do the manual work? at least to fullfil their comsumers . do you mean that nikon buy sensor from sony and there's nothing in the sensor pertaining to nikon ?
    I have no idea, but the way the electronics industry works, I'd be surprised even if the sensors are actually made in a factory with "Sony" written across the top of the building.

    In electronics, almost everything is outsourced to the few experts in the respective fields of individual component production, exceedingly little of any one branded item is made in the firm's own factories, only final assembly (if that).

    The days of a manufacturer building everything that makes up a consumer item passed many years ago, longer ago for some, more recently than others.

    Also, consider that if Nikon don't make them, they can hardly "design" them as well as the people that build them (whoever that is), yes, they can specify them, but if Sony and Nikon both want broadly similar spec. sensors, why design two and halve the production run of each - putting up the price of both in the process? It just doesn't make sense.

    Cheers,

  7. #7
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    re: Nikon's Sensor ??

    Whilst Nikon is a major player in the camera, and optics world, it is still a small company in comparison to the major electronics firms such as Sony, and even Canon. The cost of R&D, tooling and manufacturing costs to make their own sensors just wouldn't make sense. Have a look at some of the great camera manufacturers that now use Kodak sensors. Are their products any the worse for that? No of course not.
    Dave is right Choose a system that suits you and don't worry about who makes what.

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    Re: Nikon's Sensor ??

    I'm not sure the Sony sensor would be a negative in this context. If Nikon has decided that the Sony sensor makes more sense, that may be a good decision. I know, it could be for reasons of cost, or "not our core competency," but as Dave says, you can drive yourself crazy worrying about that stuff.

    I think the reason most serious DSLR photographers go for Nikon or Canon is 1) their lenses, and 2) their overall experience in photography. If a particular component is out-sourced, that doesn't change that equation. To go with Sony would ignore the fact that the lens where it all starts. Problems with the lens can create issues that a theoretically ideal sensor and processing chain can't fix. And if the lens is good, a decent sensor will give you very good results.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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    Re: Nikon's Sensor ??

    Quote Originally Posted by phiduypdn View Post
    why don't nikon design its own sensor and just let sony do the manual work? at least to fullfil their comsumers . do you mean that nikon buy sensor from sony and there's nothing in the sensor pertaining to nikon ?
    There's probably nothing in the space shuttle made by NASA either, but we still consider it to be a NASA space vehicle, and nothing in an iPhone made by Apple, but I'm sure many still consider it to be an American made product.

    At the end of the day, results are all that matter - who designed it - who manufactured it really doesn't enter into it. Keeping in mind too that it's not just the sensor that determins image quality - there are also a LOT of supporting components that have a BIG influence on the outcome ... and that's before us photographers start playing with it as well!

  10. #10
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    Re: Nikon's Sensor ??

    Neither Sony nor Nikon made the silica in the chips…

  11. #11

    Re: Nikon's Sensor ??

    thankyou you guys for your explanations and advice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    There's probably nothing in the space shuttle made by NASA either, but we still consider it to be a NASA space vehicle, and nothing in an iPhone made by Apple, but I'm sure many still consider it to be an American made product.
    yeah. i get your point. but the important thing here is that.. there are many cameras of Sony use the same sensor as nikon. i wonder if there's any other spaceship uses the same core as the one of NASA...


    thankyou Colin

  12. #12

    Re: Nikon's Sensor ??

    Quote Originally Posted by phiduypdn View Post
    yeah. i get your point. but the important thing here is that.. there are many cameras of Sony use the same sensor as nikon. i wonder if there's any other spaceship uses the same core as the one of NASA...
    The Nikon D3x uses the same sensor as the Sony A850/A900. However, the image quality of the D3x is without a doubt better than the Sony. Just refer to any review of the D3X (See http://bit.ly/djP4lp as an example). If you're dead set on buying the Nikon, go for it. Don't worry about who makes the sensors, as that's pretty much irrelevant.

  13. #13
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    Re: Nikon's Sensor ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip Goh View Post
    The Nikon D3x uses the same sensor as the Sony A850/A900. However, the image quality of the D3x is without a doubt better than the Sony.
    Do you have any "below 800 ISO" references for that?

    I have heard the a900 is noisey at higher ISO's.

  14. #14

    Re: Nikon's Sensor ??

    You could always take a look at DXOMark. Take it with a pinch of salt, as graphs do not convey the whole meaning.

  15. #15

    Re: Nikon's Sensor ??

    Quote Originally Posted by timo2 View Post
    Neither Sony nor Nikon made the silica in the chips…
    Do you know who did? Nikon has pretty clearly used Sony sensors in the past, but the D3100 has a different pixel count (and physical sensor size) from Sony's 14.2MP dSLRs so I think you might be right... Then again there are only so many companies that fab decent sensors and they're clearly not using a Canon chip.

    FWIW, I hear most CMOS and CCD fabs have terrible yields by modern standards.

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