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What if the GH3 uses a Sony sensor too?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by With_Eyes_Unclouded, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    It has been mentioned before, what is your take on that and how would you react if it came to be true?

    Personally I'd consider it a very very sad development, in the long run...


    A recent high ISO testing video, showing great results:

    Panasonic GH3 HIGH ISO testing - YouTube
     
  2. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    The thought crossed my mind the day the GH3 was announced... I would be disappointed personally. I don't know that I'd cancel my order based on that, but it'd bother me for the following reasons:

    1) They took a step backward with losing the mutli-aspect sensor in the GH2; it'd be a shame if they did that because they jumped to using Sony sensors rather than their own which was doing very well in previous cameras.

    2) I don't really care for Sony overall as a business (rootkit fiasco years back, QC problems in the past, proprietary technology focus). I'd rather not see Panasonic in bed with them for sensors.

    3) Having a large chunk of the market (Olympus, Nikon, Panasonic, and Sony) all using and dependent on the same source for sensors isn't ideal for competition or technological advancement. One of the best parts of m4/3 is the competing ecosystem between Olympus and Panasonic evolving and leap-frogging each other. It'd be unfortunate to see them both turn to Sony for the heart of their cameras.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    In the short term I would be psyched about it, because Sony makes the best sensors right now. In the big picture, I'd be worried about our system becoming dependent on Sony for chips.

    In the big picture though, things are probably much more complicated than that. For example, Apple sued Samsung successfully at the same time that they are paying Samsung for millions and millions of displays. Just as Samsung is willing to sell displays to their competitors in the phone space, I think Sony will probably always be willing to sell sensors to their competitors in the phone space.

    FWIW, my money is on the GH3 sensor being made by Sony. We may never know, but if the DxOmark eval shows a big advance in DR, that would be highly suggestive.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    Even more than that, I think, the whole camera market is becoming a one-man show.

    Canon's current sensor tech is unimpressive (to say the VERY least), Samsung seems to not know what to do with theirs and from there on you have a number of small companies (what is this Belgian company providing the Leica chip all about?) obviously unable to compete globally by their own. And Panasonic doesn't trust their own sensors? Even as an interim solution, this is an alarming suggestion.

    ISO performance from the video above, shows the exact same performance as the OM-D (from the little we can tell), an indication it's the same chip.
     
  5. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Can it be the same chip and offer 60p and 80Mbps bit rate maximum for video?
     
  6. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    I don't know that from a technical point of view. Is it dependant exclusively on the sensor? Perhaps another iteration of a basic chip? Can't tell really.
     
  7. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I don't know if it's the same exact chip, but it sure sounds like it might be a Sony product to me...

    From Interview with Yoshiyuki Inoue, Senior Engineering Planner for the Panasonic GH3 | EOSHD.com

    If it was a Panasonic sensor, I can't see them not taking the credit proudly for it, so that "no comment" answer is pretty telling.

    EDIT: by the way, some interesting tidbits in that interview worth reading, like the bit about batteries and Japanese regulations. Perhaps there's more to it than just making yet another battery to milk consumers for more money after all :wink:
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Don't forget Pentax and Fuji using Sony sensors. I wonder if Canon is also considering using Sony sensors as their own ones falling behind competition in high ISO and DR. Canon did use Sony sensors for their compact cameras in the past.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I didn't realize they were both using Sony sensor also. That's just even more depressing. I hope Canon doesn't go that route also, or it'll become a market of "pick what body you want your Sony sensor in" :frown:
     
  10. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    That's not good.

    Maybe Samsung/Panasonic/Canon can combine resources and develop some competitive technology? :eek:

    I have to say I'm surprised there's still such a gap that you would go to your competitor for a sensor instead of your own. It's not like there's not money being thrown around these R&D departments.
     
  11. zapatista

    zapatista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    668
    Mar 19, 2012
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    Mike
    So I think this is extremely unlikely. Sensor investment in R&D and more so, production is quite expensive/capital intensive. Panasonic giving this business to Sony would be kinda ridiculous. Panasonic is a much larger company than Sony on a top line (revenue) basis, even though they haven't been extremely profitable. More likely from my point of view would be Panasonic ending m43 support and further development for everything if they were bleeding cash from the camera operations.
     
  12. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    Panasonic a "much larger" company? Don't think so:

    Fortune Global 500 2011: The World's Biggest Companies - Sony - SNE

    Fortune Global 500 2011: The World's Biggest Companies - Panasonic - PC

    (2011 data, please have a look at Sony's assets too)

    The biggest overall player in this game is Samsung:

    Fortune Global 500 2011: The World's Biggest Companies - Samsung Electronics

    By comparison, Canon is puny:

    Fortune Global 500 2011: The World's Biggest Companies - Canon - CAJ
     
  13. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    And now Leica and Hassleblad also turned to Sony. My understanding is when it comes to sensor manufacturing, the only way to keep the cost down is large scale production. I wonder if Canon will find itself not cost effective at some point and thus far leas competitive, let alone tiny Panasonic imaging division (Samsung doesn't count of course:)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Ouch.
     
  15. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    • Like Like x 1
  16. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    If I may be so bold to add this....
    Sometimes the sensor is designed by a company but fabricated using the Sony sensor fabrication facilities. Case in point is the Nikon D3s sensor. That was designed by Nikon but fabricated using Sony's sensor production line....
     
  17. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    We don't really know what that means though. If a company designs slightly different microlenses or AA filter on an otherwise unchanged sensor, they call it a new sensor. Even a new JPEG engine working in tandem with the same sensor qualifies as a "new sensor" according to some of these companies. Basically everything is a "new sensor" to them, and they have a very low threshold to say "designed by us" when really they have little or no contribution to the sensor architecture.
     
  18. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    Amin,
    Put it this way, that D3s sensor doesn't exist in a Sony product nor a Pentax product.

    Why? - I say because it was exclusively designed by Nikon for Nikon. Problem was, Nikon had no way to fabricate (i.e. make them). Thus, Nikon pays Sony for the use of their facilities to design that unique sensor.

    Whereas the D7000 shares the same Sony sensor with other Pentax & Sony bodies...
     
  19. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    Edit:
    Another example is the D3100 sensor (designed by Nikon & fabricated on Sony sensor production lines).

    That D3100 sensor isn't found on any Sony or Pentax body either......
     
  20. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    [OT]
    Speaking of manufacturing facilities, the current state of affairs between China and Japan had the temporary cease of operation for Panasonic and Canon factories. Don't know how it would affect delivery dates, etc, just thought I'd mention it. Sorry for the off topic. [/OT]