Sony will double their image sensor production in the next financial year

According to Reuters, Sony will spend $1.2 bln to double its image sensor production in the next financial year. Part of this plan is the buyback of a semiconductor production line from Toshiba that will bring the output capacity to 40,000 silicon wafers a month.

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  • Camaman

    That means more cameras to be released to use all that CMOS… :-)

  • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

    Explains why full-frame Sonys have taken a back seat, more than anything else.

  • Just A Thought

    Lets see – double production – for what reason?

    To use twice as many sensors Sony, Nikon and Pentax would have to sell twice as many DSLR and EVIL cameras. Another option is the doubling of sales of point and shoot cameras which use a Sony sensor. THe 3rd optioin is that Canon is planning to exit out of Sensor production and buy Sony chips. Neither of these options make sense. To double sales volume, the price of cameras would have to drop by more than 50%. Highly unlikely for Canon to stop producing sensors.

    What else is there?

    FULL FRAME in a big way in the next year or two? I suspect (as in it is only my opinion) that Sony is positioning itself to be a major supplier of Full Frame sensors as Full Frame cameras are moved down to the mainstream. That would use up the doubling of chip production. Yields per wafer are far lower with FF sensors than with crop sensors. If you want to sell more Full Frame cameras then you need to have more productions lines to handle the larger wafers and lower sensor yields.

    • Sky

      I can bet that company spending over 1 billion USD actually does know market better than you and they find it to perfectly make sense in doubling the sensor production.

      They already outsourced part of their sensor production, so it could get back “home”. Full Frame sensors on the other hand ain’t and certainly till 2012 won’t become big enough part of the market to make double production capacity have any sense. Part of potential is Pentax which just started to develop SLRs with Sony sensors. They’ll expand and Sony needs to supply them. Another part is Mirrorless market which has immerse growth recently – most likely some other companies look into expanding in this direction (fuji? leica?) so they’ll need sensors too. Finally Sony needs sensors for it’s own cameras – A560 was delayed due to sensor supply problems so with new factory it won’t happen again, hopefully. :)

      • Just A Thought

        From the Reuters article “The investment will bring its total production of image sensors, including CCD and CMOS types, to 50,000 units a month by March 2012. ”

        I doubt that Pentax will have significantly more market share in 2012 than they have at present, let alone being the basis of Sony doubling sensor production. Leica going into mirrorless will be a relative drop in the bucket as far as sales volume. Leica is not likely to jump from Panasonic chips. Fiji can produce their own. Again not huge market share.

        Doubling capacity by 2012 has no bearing on sensor supply problems for anything that Sony announced in 2010 or will announce in 2011.

        Of course Sony know what they are doing. The fact that the Japanese Government is funding part or all of this move proves how smart Sony is.

        Full Frame moving to mainstream cameras is IMHO the only way that that Sony will utilize the doubling of present capacity. Since the doubled capacity will not be online till 2012, then I would not expect Full Frame sensors cameras to go mainstream on Jan 01 2011.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/subhrashis SGN

    Can this solve Nikon’s supply problems?

    • Just A Thought

      Canon buying Nikon would solve all those supply problems.

  • Myst

    my 0.02$
    Nikon, Pentax and now even Fuji supposedly buy Sony sensors, Fuji hinted that they will try to come back into the DSLR market, Pentax is winning a bit of share lately, nikon also, but the biggest growth has to be in the mirrorless camera department, which is taking over most of the sales and used big sensors so no wonder sony decided to make a big investment for the future.
    Canon needs to stay in the market, they still make good sensors, their problem is that sony is starting to make better.

  • Camaman

    The know that the future is in bigger sensors, it is what people want.
    But, consumers won’t pay more for their new but tangibly better compacts, so they need to ramp up the production to make the sensors cheaper.
    FF market is due to jump up to. 2nd gen FF must meet peoples expectations, and most of all lower entry price!
    :-)
    Good times ahead. Thank you Sony, for telling everybody how to do it. :-)

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