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Old Jul 23, 2014, 09:02 AM   #1
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iPhone Camera Supplier Sony Investing $345 Million to Boost Image Sensor Production




As hinted at in an earlier report from Nikkei, Sony today confirmed it is investing 35 billion yen ($345 million) to increase the production of image sensors for smartphones and tablets, reports Reuters.

The electronics firm will use the 35 billion yen to boost production of stacked CMOS sensors at two factories in Kyushu, Japan as well as complete work at a factory it recently purchased from Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics. This investment will increase manufacturing by 13 percent, allowing Sony to produce up to 68,000 wafers a month by August 2015.

Sony is a leader in the imaging sensor market, supplying camera modules for major mobile phone and tablet manufacturers, including Apple and its iPhone since the iPhone 4s. Sony is rumored to be supplying Apple with a 13-megapixel Exmor IMX220 rear camera sensor and possibly the front-camera module for the iPhone 6.

Article Link: iPhone Camera Supplier Sony Investing $345 Million to Boost Image Sensor Production
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Old Jul 23, 2014, 09:04 AM   #2
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Sounds great. Just hope the sensor size to pixel ratio stays well balanced. I love what Apple does with the cameras on new iPhone iterations. I guess these sensors are in very high demand. Even if competitor phones use the same sensor, they are still unmatched to Apple's picture algorithms.
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Old Jul 23, 2014, 09:12 AM   #3
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I have an iPhone because because it doesn't have an oversized display, and it doesn't boast a 45 megapixel camera. By now I'm sure everyone knows this, but megapixels are not important, all they do is increase image file sizes. Sensor size and lens quality are the bottle necks which I am bothered about.

I really hope Apple keeps the iPhone 5S form factor/screen size and continues to upgrade the internals. Its almost got to the point where speed isn't an issue, battery life is the main thing. Continue to make improvements to efficiency without compromising speed. Huge screens and lots of megapixels seem like a backward step. Even if you can fit a bigger battery in a phone with a 6 inch screen, I'm not interested.

Just my opinion. Rant over, very little effort put in so it doesn't flow well. Apologies.
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Old Jul 23, 2014, 09:14 AM   #4
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*prepares for megapixel vs pixel size vs sensor size vs everything else in the camera war*

Just saying, that's what happened last time a camera article was published on here.

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Old Jul 23, 2014, 09:21 AM   #5
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Is it me or does 68,000 wafers not sound a lot?

I assume 1 wafer per camera module?

Apple have supposedly ordered 60-80 million iPhone 6's right?

That would take over 66 years to fulfil the order?

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Old Jul 23, 2014, 09:33 AM   #6
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Is it me or does 68,000 wafers not sound a lot?

I assume 1 wafer per camera module?

Apple have supposedly ordered 60-80 million iPhone 6's right?

That would take over 66 years to fulfil the order?

If they mean wafer like those use by Intel - they could put thousands in them
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Old Jul 23, 2014, 09:33 AM   #7
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This is an example of a wafer. Many chips, or sensors in this case, per wafer.
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Old Jul 23, 2014, 09:52 AM   #8
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They'll never fit of those in an iPhone ;-)
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Old Jul 23, 2014, 10:52 AM   #9
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If they mean wafer like those use by Intel - they could put thousands in them
Yes, that's exactly what they mean because a CMOS sensor is nothing more than a special processor, they're made of silicon, they have logic gates, etc. for all intents and purposes they're the same.
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Old Jul 23, 2014, 11:57 AM   #10
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Is it me or does 68,000 wafers not sound a lot?

I assume 1 wafer per camera module?

Apple have supposedly ordered 60-80 million iPhone 6's right?

That would take over 66 years to fulfil the order?

68,000 wafers... Apple sells iPhones in the tens of millions, so it's pretty safe to say that when they talk about wafers they mean actual silicon wafer discs that can fit large numbers (thousands) of sensors onto each one.
I do like what Apple and Sony are doing regarding imaging. I mean they are always limited by form factor but given the size of the lenses and sensor the pictures being produced are nothing short of phenomenal. They've practically killed off point and shoots.

Although I think it would be nice to see a small bump in megapixels to say 13Mpx or so while retaining the larger sized pixels as I can't see it being long till 4k recording is mainstream - but any bigger is just a waste. My iPhone 5S produces excellent pictures and video but I'd always like to see improvements to focus, changing light (going from sunny outside to dark interior), improved audio recording, but to be fair it's already at the point of being an excellent all round devices for photos and video.

1080p120, 4k30 would be good to see on the 6, yes I know they use a lot of data but with the new HEVC it's not that bad and it's a good set of standards. Also 1080p60 by default for video would be ideal to help with motion blur which I find a tad annoying while recording on my 5S, although I love the 120fps feature, I just wish it was 1080p.
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Old Jul 23, 2014, 02:44 PM   #11
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4k?

I wonder if this will enable 4K video on future phones. This would provide media for all the 4K TVs being sold without any current 4K programming.
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Old Jul 24, 2014, 01:19 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by alex.m90 View Post
I have an iPhone because because it doesn't have an oversized display, and it doesn't boast a 45 megapixel camera. By now I'm sure everyone knows this, but megapixels are not important, all they do is increase image file sizes. Sensor size and lens quality are the bottle necks which I am bothered about.

I really hope Apple keeps the iPhone 5S form factor/screen size and continues to upgrade the internals. Its almost got to the point where speed isn't an issue, battery life is the main thing. Continue to make improvements to efficiency without compromising speed. Huge screens and lots of megapixels seem like a backward step. Even if you can fit a bigger battery in a phone with a 6 inch screen, I'm not interested.

Just my opinion. Rant over, very little effort put in so it doesn't flow well. Apologies.

Pixels aren't everything, we all know that but they do play a part. It all depends on what kind of photography you want to do and what you want to do with your photos. The only problems really is the phone depth for the censor and the lens allowing the full quality of the photo.
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Old Jul 24, 2014, 09:59 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by markfc View Post
Is it me or does 68,000 wafers not sound a lot?

I assume 1 wafer per camera module?

Apple have supposedly ordered 60-80 million iPhone 6's right?

That would take over 66 years to fulfil the order?

One wafer is usually 30 cm in diameter. You get an awful lot of camera chips from one wafer. When I worked at a company that purchased wafers, smaller ones (can't remember if 20 or 25 cm) cost about $1,600 each, so these larger wafers alone will be a few hundred million dollars.
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Old Jul 24, 2014, 10:59 PM   #14
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Why doesn't anyone ever discuss the optics? The most important part of any camera is the lens, but that never seems to merit any discussion at all. The plastic lens in the iPhone ain't ground by Zeiss or Nikon.
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Old Jul 25, 2014, 09:48 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by alex.m90 View Post
I have an iPhone because because it doesn't have an oversized display, and it doesn't boast a 45 megapixel camera. By now I'm sure everyone knows this, but megapixels are not important, all they do is increase image file sizes. Sensor size and lens quality are the bottle necks which I am bothered about.

I really hope Apple keeps the iPhone 5S form factor/screen size and continues to upgrade the internals. Its almost got to the point where speed isn't an issue, battery life is the main thing. Continue to make improvements to efficiency without compromising speed. Huge screens and lots of megapixels seem like a backward step. Even if you can fit a bigger battery in a phone with a 6 inch screen, I'm not interested.

Just my opinion. Rant over, very little effort put in so it doesn't flow well. Apologies.
Megapixels are very important, and are 100% important to a higher quality image. Keep drinking your kool-aid kid. The one thing you said that was right is they also increase the resolution of the photo.
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Old Jul 26, 2014, 11:01 PM   #16
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While I certainly don't want (nor expect) Apple to join in on the Megapixel race, it is definitely time for a boost, especially on the front facing camera.
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Old Aug 17, 2014, 11:49 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by alex.m90 View Post
By now I'm sure everyone knows this, but megapixels are not important, all they do is increase image file sizes. Sensor size and lens quality are the bottle necks which I am bothered about.
I disagree to an extent. Depending on what I am shooting I am not always in a staged environment and larger megapixels have permitted me to crop greatly a picture and still wind up with an excellent quality shot. Even in a large salon in a quinceanera during the dances it's not possible to be in all positions at once, things happen fast and even with one shot you can have several closeups of good quality. It makes a difference. In the early days of smaller megapixels it was not possible.

Granted, someone shooting staged shots will probably never need them, but my point is that what's right for some is not necessarily right for everyone. Bigger megapixel cameras DO have a place.

I would be happy with a 13 megapixel camera in the iphone just for these situations and I would rely on it more depending on the quality of course, but quality is getting very good on iphone cameras. It's a much better option than putting a protruding zoom on it. Just shoot and crop.
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Old Aug 18, 2014, 08:53 AM   #18
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I disagree to an extent. Depending on what I am shooting I am not always in a staged environment and larger megapixels have permitted me to crop greatly a picture and still wind up with an excellent quality shot. Even in a large salon in a quinceanera during the dances it's not possible to be in all positions at once, things happen fast and even with one shot you can have several closeups of good quality. It makes a difference. In the early days of smaller megapixels it was not possible.

Granted, someone shooting staged shots will probably never need them, but my point is that what's right for some is not necessarily right for everyone. Bigger megapixel cameras DO have a place.

I would be happy with a 13 megapixel camera in the iphone just for these situations and I would rely on it more depending on the quality of course, but quality is getting very good on iphone cameras. It's a much better option than putting a protruding zoom on it. Just shoot and crop.
You really shouldn't be using a phone for pictures like these. DSLR is the only way to go.
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Old Aug 19, 2014, 12:24 PM   #19
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You really shouldn't be using a phone for pictures like these. DSLR is the only way to go.
I have a dslr, am on my 3rd one since my first nikon d70 years ago. The point is that I do not carry it with me 24/7 and it's nice to have a decent phone camera in cases where I don't have it and something pop's up.

I suppose you never go anywhere without a dslr.
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Old Aug 19, 2014, 03:16 PM   #20
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Why doesn't anyone ever discuss the optics? The most important part of any camera is the lens, but that never seems to merit any discussion at all. The plastic lens in the iPhone ain't ground by Zeiss or Nikon.
Because people don't care about quality that much.

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Megapixels are very important, and are 100% important to a higher quality image. Keep drinking your kool-aid kid. The one thing you said that was right is they also increase the resolution of the photo.
LOL, inverse koolaid accusation!
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Old Aug 19, 2014, 05:27 PM   #21
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Because people don't care about quality that much.
Ya. Thats pretty much our world I guess. At least in the US. We're a bunch of TVhead yahoos. Yahoo!
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Old Aug 20, 2014, 09:50 AM   #22
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I have a dslr, am on my 3rd one since my first nikon d70 years ago. The point is that I do not carry it with me 24/7 and it's nice to have a decent phone camera in cases where I don't have it and something pop's up.

I suppose you never go anywhere without a dslr.
I was speaking only about the quinceanera. Of course it doesn't make sense to carry a dslr everywhere. Sorry for the confusion.
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Old Aug 20, 2014, 03:57 PM   #23
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I was speaking only about the quinceanera. Of course it doesn't make sense to carry a dslr everywhere. Sorry for the confusion.
Ok, but I'm not even remotely dumb enough to try and shoot a quinceanera with a phone. Maybe I was vague in my post. I had slr's since the 70's, then went to dslr's when the nikon d70 came out .
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Old Sep 15, 2014, 08:02 AM   #24
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Megapixels are very important, and are 100% important to a higher quality image. Keep drinking your kool-aid kid. The one thing you said that was right is they also increase the resolution of the photo.
Sorry I'm late, rarely log on here. I love megapixels, but not in my phone. I have a dedicated camera for that. 8mp is more than enough for a sensor less than 6mm diagonally. More megapixels will increase image size and resolution, but you just end up with a larger, poor quality picture because the lens is crap and the sensor is tiny hence the low light performance is poor.


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Old Sep 16, 2014, 02:30 PM   #25
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Sorry I'm late, rarely log on here. I love megapixels, but not in my phone. I have a dedicated camera for that. 8mp is more than enough for a sensor less than 6mm diagonally. More megapixels will increase image size and resolution, but you just end up with a larger, poor quality picture because the lens is crap and the sensor is tiny hence the low light performance is poor.


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You're fine. That's your opinion. Currently, smartphone manufacturers are using larger sensors as well as higher MP. The current iPhone didn't increase the MP, but the camera is now protruding, therefore there is nothing stopping apple from increasing the sensor size next year. There was already rumored to be a 12MP camera with the iPhone 6/6+, so that means that we will definitely see the 12MP camera in the iPhone 6S, if not, thent he iPhone 7. There isn't always a "if you have this, then you don't have this" mentality to everything.
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