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.

sonyexmor_imx220s
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.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

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22 weeks ago
They'll never fit of those in an iPhone ;-)
Rating: 2 Votes
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22 weeks ago

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?

:eek:


If they mean wafer like those use by Intel - they could put thousands in them
Rating: 2 Votes
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22 weeks ago
*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.

:D
Rating: 1 Votes
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22 weeks ago
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.
Rating: 1 Votes
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22 weeks ago
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?

:eek:
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
22 weeks ago

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?

:eek:


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.
Rating: 1 Votes
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18 weeks ago

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.
Rating: 1 Votes
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22 weeks ago
This is an example of a wafer. Many chips, or sensors in this case, per wafer.
Rating: 1 Votes
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