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Sony is rumored to announce a new 20MP APS-C sensor

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In the next few weeks Sony will announce a new 20MP APS-C sensor in their upcoming a58 camera. It remains to be seen if Nikon will decide to use this sensor in one of their future DX models. For now, the D7000 replacement is rumored to have a 24MP sensor. Out of the four Nikon DSLRs announced last year, only the D800 and D600 sensors was made by Sony (the D5200 sensor was made by Toshiba, D3200 by Nikon and the D4 by Nikon).

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  • John Tangney

    Perhaps this is the sensor Nikon has been waiting for and will show up in the D400.

    • JimP

      20MP just happens to be a perfect match for 8 fps and Expeed 3!

      • Alex

        No. Expeed 3 does 10mp @ 30fps in the V1. 300mp per second. Equates to 15fps @ 20mp

        What about the Expeed 3a in the n1V2? 14.2mp @ 60fps. Equates to 42.6fps @ 20mp

        • KnightPhoto

          I think fps speed has something to do with sensor architecture capability to offload the data quickly. So I guess it will depend on the 20mp sensor data offload ability. The 1-Series sensor is particular good at this.

          • Alex

            And the autofocus engine and the metering system and the mirror speed . . . .

            My original point was only concerning the capabilities of Expeed 3 though, which is what JimP was talking about

      • Alex

        No. Expeed 3 does 10mp @ 30fps in the V1. 300mp per second. Equates to 15fps @ 20mp

        What about the Expeed 3a in the n1V2? 14.2mp @ 60fps. Equates to 42.6fps @ 20mp

  • hawk1500

    I think you forgot the D600, or was that not last year?

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

      correct, the D600 sensor was also made by Sony

      • St.

        that’s why we have D800E at No.1, D800 at No.2, D600 at No.3 and RX1 at No.4 on DXOMark ranking.

  • Tom

    Let there be a D400… As a sports photographer I really crave for one. Best options now: D4 (not for my wallet, but still), Canon 5D3, D3s (second hand somewhat cheaper than the D4), D700 (high second hand prices…). It feels like Nikon has a very empty spot in its line-up…

  • khaled tolba

    Let’s hope that 20 MP sensor will have some fantastic low-ISO performance to earn its way into the D400, though the fact it’s planned for the alpha 58, a lowly plasticy DSLR makes me a bit skeptical about its true credentials

    • Arkasai

      I’m not too worried, Sony is hurting real bad everywhere else in the company and they know this this is the only market they’re strong in right now. This sensor needs to be a stunner and it needs to outperform its predecessors.

      • ybp

        I truly hope the 20 MP sensor is used for a high framerate replacement to the D300s or D7000. The 24 MP sensor simply does not provide good high ISO performance, and the only reason it survives the DxoMark tests is by interpolation from 24 MP down to 8 MP. I want a sensor that is good in low light without needing interpolation / downsizing to accomplish that, and 20 MP would be much better for that than 24 MP, in addition to helping obtain higher framerates.

        Nikon, please choose a state-of-the-art low-noise 20 MP sensor for your professional high-speed 1.5 crop SLRs.

        • spicynujac

          I absolutely 100% agree. However, D7100 is coming soon. Perhaps it is too late to swap out this new 20mp sensor in? I sure hope not. I will probably buy D7100 no matter what, but if it doesnt impress, a discounted 7000 might suffice for a couple years..

        • Aldo

          are you talking about the 24mp sensor in the d600?

    • Thom Hogan

      The A57, which the A58 is likely to replace, is a 12 fps camera at 16mp. The reason why some are hypothesizing that this might be a D400 sensor is because of the likely speed at which the A58 would deliver pixels (implied 240mp/s, the D300 is 96mp/s).

      I’m on record as saying that burst rates aren’t all that desirable: they basically give you random positioning in sports, wildlife, bird wings, etc. But we’re a gambling society these days, and everyone loves the luck of the lottery ;~)

  • http://www.facebook.com/muganhorse Davidvictormeldrew Idontbeliev

    That 20mp would be perfect in the D400 more fps than the 24mp D7100 and Nikon would sell shed loads of both cameras – hope we see update to the 80-400 and 300 F4 this year 2.

    • 7XXX-4XXdilemma

      In case Nikon comes out with both D7000 and D300 replacements with Expeed3 and 8-10 fps and similar goodies it will be difficult for many to choose between. Like choosing between two girlfriends!

      • Roman

        That’s why I have TWO girlfriends and plan to pick up another one.

    • KnightPhoto

      Yes, 20mp very interesting. Likewise I immediately thought of the D400 ;-) When you think about it, the D7000 replacement sits around the $1199 price point and that is too low to fund all the top-end features needed for a D300S replacement. We need a D400, and it doesn’t matter a whit if it is more expensive than the D600 (and even cheaper FX models to come). Many buyers of the D400 will already have an FX camera or two, we’re buying it for the DX advantages, but we want full on pro AF, buffer, FPS, grip matching D800, etc. etc.

      • Vin

        Nikon would hopefully make the D400 slightly better in quality and speed in DX then the D800 in DX mode. So 20mp. At 8+ fps. Then that would be on schedule. I am not sure if it will be slightly above or bellow price of D600. It seems like the build cost of body only would be almost the same.
        $1600-$1800.

    • Anonymous Maximus

      I think this new sensor will have low high-iso noise characteristics which is essential for a pro DX, along with speed & ergonomics as well.

      D400 may be bundled with new 16-85mm f/4 VR, to match 20 mp resolution.

  • Vin

    I think D7100/8000 will have Toshiba 24mp. D400 Will have 18-20 mp, this might be it? The APS-C and FX are getting close in all having great images. Its now about processing speeds and the packages they are wrapped up in.

  • LarryZach

    I can only hope that it will be used for a D400 if the quality of the sensor is up to it. This camera is sorely missing right now. I hope soon. I’ve been waiting 3 years for it.

    • Rob

      What have you been using in the meantime?

  • halo9

    20MP is plenty for APS-C, all we need is for it to have great ISO performance and for Nikon to chuck it into a camera. Though I know consumers wishes never come true.

    Wouldn’t it be great if camera makers stopped the MP war and concentrated on performance, better ISO and throughput. Just like Intel and AMD did with CPU’s, the MHz got hight enough and it was time for efficiency and performance per watt.

    Imagine if rather than developing new sensors every year or two, time was spent on refining and optimising an already great sensor……

    I love fantasy land.

    • Aldo

      sooner or later you will get what you want or “fantasize” about… it is only a matter of time. Question is how long are you willing to wait?

    • Aldo

      sooner or later you will get what you want or “fantasize” about… it is only a matter of time. Question is how long are you willing to wait?

    • Caleb

      Well, it is important to remember that you cannot change MP for lower noise. You just get same noise dynamics with less resolution.

    • iFLAME

      Yep, I’ll pick a moderate frequency quad-core CPU any day over a high-frequency dual core for my PP works. The former approach is simply more balanced, practical and elegant (not to mention future-proof!). I hope future APS-C DSLRs come out as better all-rounded cameras – not just great sensors!

  • NRA Advocate

    Respectfully, all these people hoping for a D400 need to get over it. It’s not coming. Whatever sort of replacement Nikon is cooking up for the D7000 will sit at the top of the DX range, as prices for FX begin to fall.

    If we assume that the D7000 replacement is going to get more pixels, a faster buffer, greater frame rate, plus 51 point autofocus points, then anything between it and the D600 splits hairs and is far too much bifurcation of NIkon’s existing lineup to warrant a business case.

    • patto01

      The name is irrelevant.
      If a new DX camera has the specs you list, it will be the D300S replacement.
      If it has specs that relate to the D7000 in the same way the D5200 does to the D5100, it will be the D7000 replacement.
      A rose by any other name…

    • Aldo

      a good 51 point focusing system like the d700 d800 on a dx camera is gonna put the d600 in a tough spot.

      • Joe

        Honestly, I don’t get why 51 points vs 39 points in an AF system matter. a wider distribution over the image area is nice and the D600 is maybe a bit poor in this regard, but who cares if it’s 39 or 51 points in that center area?

        • Thom Hogan

          Part of it has to do with the way the focus sensing areas are allocated. The 39-point system is highly centralized, the 51-point isn’t. I don’t mean just the position of the sensors, but the size of the sensing areas. When you want tracking focus, you want highly distributed capability, not highly centralized capability.

          • raizee

            On an FX camera (the D600), the 39 AF points are too centralized, yes. But on DX (i.e. D7000) they are spread out quite neatly.

            • Aldo

              I think the 39 system was designed for the d7000 and adapted for the d600

            • Smudger

              On FX the 51 points are too centralised!!

            • KnightPhoto

              Yes they are, so is a DX advantage. Is a physical limitation related to the maximum size of the mirror that must swing up and away exposing the sensor, and the submirror used for AF at the base of the camera. On sensor PDAF will overcome this, at least when the mirror is swung up and away.

          • Joe

            Ok, I got it. It’s just so… I mean I bought a used F100 for fun a few days ago that was considered to be the top of the world camera 10 years ago and was vowed for it’s action tracking capabilities – and it has 5 AF spots.

            I also found an old box of casual family-and-friends photos shot 20 years ago, and man, each and every photo out of every DSLR today is technically so much better than that. It’s also a bit “dunno” to complain about the “unprofessional” AF system of a D600 if it has a better image quality output than the 7000 Euro D3x from 12 months ago. ;)

        • raizee

          As I understand it, the major advantage of the 51-point system isn’t the additional 12 af-points, but instead that it’s faster and better in low light situations.

        • Aldo

          Yeah it is not just about the number of points, but the coverage and over all engine that makes the 51 superior. If you borrow the 51 system and put it on a dx you’d be looking at an entire frame coverage, which would make the d600 look silly, I mean it is like an insult to the consumer to advertise 39 points and have such poor coverage just to make it look good on paper.

        • Aldo

          Yeah it is not just about the number of points, but the coverage and over all engine that makes the 51 superior. If you borrow the 51 system and put it on a dx you’d be looking at an entire frame coverage, which would make the d600 look silly, I mean it is like an insult to the consumer to advertise 39 points and have such poor coverage just to make it look good on paper.

    • nobody

      IMO, the D7000 successor’s AF system will answer the question whether there will be a D400 (or D9000).

      If it has the 51 point AF module, then there will never be a D400. If it gets the 39 point AF module, it’s clear that a high end model with the 51 point system is coming later.

      • KnightPhoto

        Nobody, you are probably right. 51pt AF with f/8 focussing on the D7000 replacement might seal the deal on a D400? But if Canon comes with a rocking 7Dii I am not sure where that puts Nikon. Less of course both Canon and Nikon are issuing 70D/D7200 pkus the 7Dii/D400 are going mirrorless with on-sensor PDAF, full on high fps, huge buffer, XQD, and killer 4K and 1080/60p video. I suppose that could be what’s happening.

        OK – if the new 20mp DX sensor has great on-sensor PDAF, then we’re good to go on the high-end mirrorless D400. Not sure if we’re there yet.

    • nobody

      IMO, the D7000 successor’s AF system will answer the question whether there will be a D400 (or D9000).

      If it has the 51 point AF module, then there will never be a D400. If it gets the 39 point AF module, it’s clear that a high end model with the 51 point system is coming later.

    • Vitantonio Dell’ORto

      Is not just about the specs. The body also makes a differences between market segments. D7000/D600 bodies aren’t the same than D300/D700s, and pros using Dx (there’re a lot, including me) don’t want to cope with a smaller D600ish body without the 10pin cable port (just to mention one thing). D300s is still a “superior” camera than D7000 under several points of view, even if the specs are outdated. I can’t believe Nikon will miss this: they will be shooting in their feet.

      • Sat

        What exactly is the use of the 10pin cable port?

    • Vitantonio Dell’ORto

      Is not just about the specs. The body also makes a differences between market segments. D7000/D600 bodies aren’t the same than D300/D700s, and pros using Dx (there’re a lot, including me) don’t want to cope with a smaller D600ish body without the 10pin cable port (just to mention one thing). D300s is still a “superior” camera than D7000 under several points of view, even if the specs are outdated. I can’t believe Nikon will miss this: they will be shooting in their feet.

    • BigLensMan

      What yous knowing, man? I’s got my heart on thems D400s

    • itznfb

      So you’re saying the D300s will forever remain the best DX camera?

      • Spy Black

        Yes.

  • Neopulse

    Well it’s kinda obvious it was gonna be around 20+ the successor to the D300. Even if it’s 18 or 20MP, it’s definitely gonna have great noise performance and hopefully dual card slots like an XQD with a CF or SD slot.

  • Eric Calabos

    D400, if goin to be existed, needs high quality video
    and a 20mp sensor is not a clever choice for that .. there will be moire, or it will be soft

    • Aldo

      Canon seems to be doing better on the video end and the sensors have high mp counts. They also seem to have figured out the moire all together. I’m sure sony can catch up with them.

      • Spy Black

        The Canon has a relative high bit-rate, which is why the video quality looks better. Some guy compared the D600 to the Mk III and you can clearly see the difference in bit-rate. Granted, it would be nice to see what the D600 looks like compared to the 6D, or what the D800/D4 would look like compared to the Mk III, but this is the only direct comparison I’ve seen here (go to 16:16): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot7aMeUmojY

        • Aldo

          Yeah that’s right canon doesn’t have uncompressed out so you can’t really compare them directly as far as full potential quality goes. I think most users would record to a card though. Nice video thanks for posting the link.

  • Sebastian

    20 mp d400, 24 mp d7x00 makes some sense. That’s a similar concept to the D4 / D800 combo. One for speed, one for resolution, and really both have plenty of both for 95% of the users.
    It does seem possible, though, that there will not be a D400. Seems like even Thom Hogan has given up on it and he’d been saying it’s inevitable otherwise Nikon can’t sell enough overall units.

    • spicynujac

      Really? You think an extra 4mp of resolution is going to noticeably improve image quality?

      • Sebastian

        No. But 4 mp less will allow higher frame rate, and Nikon needs to differentiate their offerings. And this is what they did with the d4 vs d800.
        I didn’t mean it technically makes sense, but that I can see the logic Nikon might apply. Then again I’m just guessing for fun like we all are.
        Either way they need to do something about DX otherwise people will jump ship. Some will jump into the FX boat, good for Nikon. But others will tend more towards lighter systems (I’m one) and Nikon has only the 1 system for them, which is just too much of a downgrade. So on to nex or m43 it is, and out of the Nikon camp for good. That’s why I think they will have a DX mirrorless sooner rather than later.

  • Sebastian

    20 mp d400, 24 mp d7x00 makes some sense. That’s a similar concept to the D4 / D800 combo. One for speed, one for resolution, and really both have plenty of both for 95% of the users.
    It does seem possible, though, that there will not be a D400. Seems like even Thom Hogan has given up on it and he’d been saying it’s inevitable otherwise Nikon can’t sell enough overall units.

  • gsum

    APS-C is Canonese and covers at least three chip sizes. Could we have mm measures please – much clearer.

    • Sebastian

      whatever. we all know what is meant. a detector with roughly 1.5x smaller diagonal than a 35-mm film.

      • gsum

        Whatever. See, I can use stupid meaningless yoof speak too.

        The 1DMk2 had a 1.3 ratio sensor that was referred to as AP-C by some people. 1.3 isn’t all that near to 1.5 and is even further from 1.6 hence the need for a bit of clarity.

        • jake
        • Sebastian

          well ok so whatever is not considered polite. sorry. Nevertheless, pretty clear what is meant with APS-C.

          • gsum

            Cheers Sebastian but I’ve just read Jake’s Wikipedia link and am now even more convinced that specifying mm measures would be better – hadn’t realised that there was so much history behind the term APS-C. It’s also all the other terms (1 inch, 2/3rds etc and their mm sizes) that are too much to commit to memory. We’ll just have to disagree on this one.

        • d00d00

          1.3x is APS-H, not APS-C. Only 1.5/1.6x is referred to as APS-C

  • Sebastian

    coming to think of it, it would make perfect sense to release a 20 MP D400 with the 80-400, and a 24 MP D7x00 with the 16-85 f/4.
    No 300 f/4 VR ever because Nikon has signed that secret agreement among the lens makers that no modern affordable telephoto prime will ever be made. Only zooms and superexpensive exotics. :)

  • neversink

    I’m thrilled with my D4 sensor – I think it is the best out there. That being said, I also feel the D800 sensor is superb. My self, I am not yet interested in a DX camera anymore. However, if Nikon were to introduce a sensor for the D4 or D800 that would be truly a breakthrough… ..

    • PeterO

      Huh?

      • neversink

        I edited my comment above as I posted before I finished typing. Does it make more sense or do I get a double “huh?”

        • PeterO

          Thanks for clearing that up neversink, I retract my huh.

          • xyz

            Huh !

      • neversink

        I edited my comment above as I posted before I finished typing. Does it make more sense or do I get a double “huh?”

  • EJP

    Nikon does not “make” any sensors. They may design them but Nikon has no semiconductor fab capacity to actually fabricate sensors. They would have it made in a foundry fab which is a third party.

  • David

    I’ll take a 20mp D400 and 80-400mm AF-S VRIII before October please.

  • whisky

    love these dated stock photos showing Kodak has Nikon’s back. :)

  • jake

    the 20mp Sony DX said to be used for new Sony A58 and it is nothing to do with high end Nikon DX but maybe the D7000 successor as the D7k shared the same sensor as in the A57,

  • raizee

    I would much rather that they developed an improved 16 MP sensor.

    • Vin

      I think the improved 16mp sensor is either in the Fuji X cameras.

  • PeterO

    I just don’t see this as relevant to the mythical D400. If Nikon ever does offer one for sale, they won’t release it until forced to by Canon. If Nikon is thinking along the same lines as Canon (because they’re always in lock step for every model release), then the D400 will be something beyond a normal iteration. A run of the mill Sony 20MP sensor which is being used in their low-mid range A58 is not going to be special enough for a top of the line DX like a D400. The pixel count may be suitable but not much else. No one even knows how good it is yet.

    • js200022

      Agreed. When everyone was hoping Nikon to release the prosumer D700s with 24MP they released the consumer D600 (the D800 is NOT the D700 replacement). If Nikon follows the same market strategy, I don’t think we will see the D400 any time soon, but another consumer DX camera to be the top of the line called D7100. And that is it.

  • azur

    Could it be that one of the next APS-C format Nikon cameras will be mirrorless ?
    I mean at some point the mirror-based viewfinders will probably be replaced by electronic viewfinders.

    • Vin

      I think that Nikon could be thinking this as one of there DX options, I have been comparing the D800 to the Fuji X-E1, I am very impressed with the E1 APS-C sensor quality. I also bought my wife the D3200 so it is interesting comparisons.

  • Vin

    So are we back to the irritating and unkown question, who does make the sensor for the D4, and the D3200? Many claim to not care, many seem to get quite irritated at this unknown. Where,? When? How? Irrelevant? Secrete underground fabrication bunker?

  • Guest

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  • http://www.facebook.com/Barbarian555 Martin Barbarian

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  • Anonymous Maximus

    D400 is coming soon !

  • Pabs

    The D40 beats hands down the D400.
    The D40 has a better sensor than the D400.
    Take a picture with the D40, and then one with the D400,
    The picture on the D40, will look nice, good colors, the one on the
    D400 is, we’ll, no colors, no contrast, non existent.
    So as of now, a D40 in hand beats a non-existent D400 in your dreams.

  • DenialIsNotaRiverinEgypt

    Can we please stop this fanboy handjob….
    “Out of the four Nikon DSLRs announced last year, only the D800 sensor was made by Sony (the D5200 sensor was made by Toshiba, ****D3200 by Nikon and the D4 by Nikon****).”

    Nikon does not make sensors – period – hasn’t changed – will make world news when they open a fabrication facility.

    A sensor that has Nikon’s name on it simply means that the sensor is ‘exclusive’ to Nikon, not to be used by the manufacturing company or sold to competing camera companies – BUT – it is still made by someone else like Sony, Toshiba, Kodak, etc, etc. A sensor that is inside a Nikon body that says Sony, Toshiba, etc is simply an example of a sensor that was ready made that Nikon chose, or a sensor that Nikon had design input – but in the end it simply means it is a sensor that the manufacturer free to use in their own cameras or sell to anyone that wants to use it.

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