The sensors of the D3, D3s, D700 and D3100 are made by Nikon *updated*

Nikon D3100 sensor

In addition to the Nikon D7000 sensor which is made by Sony, here is some more information from Chipworks on the different sensors in Nikon DSLR bodies:

Update: another interesting article on Chipworks:

"Nikon have announced that they designed the sensor. Nikon has no wafer fabrication capability so they outsource the sensor production, but they are keeping the foundry close to their chests, so close that we must speculate to identify the source. The obvious choice would be Sony, who build the sensor used in the Nikon D2X, however there are no Sony markings on the device, and the device structure is markedly different from the other Sony CIS we have analyzed. We considered Matsushita/Panasonic the device structure has similarities to the Panasonic CIS we have seen, but it is sufficiently different that we have doubts that it is theirs. Thus we are speculating who else could be the manufacturing source. I believe Nikon would stick with a Japanese foundry. An interesting possibility is Renesas, they have close ties with Nikon, supplying several imager processor chipsets, they have a patent portfolio in image sensors indicating they have active r+d in this field, and they have the fab capabilities."

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  • Sensor


    • Banned

      Yeah man… And I wonder about D300? Someone said it was the same sensor as the D90 I think. But I’m not too sure anymore. I used to have a D300 and the IQ stinks next to D700.

  • Hope it will stay like this fot top models 🙂

    • Anonymous

      I would like to know who made the D3x sensor. Let me guess, sony.

      I can see a pattern here, Nikon cannot make FX sensors that have more resolution than 12MP.

      • Anonymous

        BTW, this explains why Nikon has no response to the 5DII. Also, when you look at all those Nikon sensors, none of then is capable of producing 1080 video.

        I guess we can wait for sony to come through with the new high res sensor.

        • Nicola

          Since when Nikon is in need to “respond” to the uber-overestimated 5DmorkII?A bag if bugs all in one body,launched not too much before being sorpassed even by low end nikons?
          Autofocus?non existent.

          Moreover,we’re talking about “PHOTO cameras”.Read again PHOTO.
          Any middle-level Panasonic pro does eat out ANY dslr-making-kinda-hd on the planet.So,guess what,if you care about video so much just buy pro VIDEO equipment.
          ANY dslr-making-quite-hd is NOT pro video equipment.

          Of course,if one shots fancy hd videos edited on the mac “pro” for the local young artists competition,he will be more than pleased with sony’s or canon’s dslr-making-quite-hdish-capabilities.

          Remember,hd video is a nice plus and just that,otherwise you’re using the wrong tools for the job.

          • Shkacas


          • deer

            Nicola: So what makes a camera good? Huge FPS and best noise performance? I think not. I used to think like this when i was a couple years into photography. Maybe you’re a beginner yourself?

            Now what takes a photo and which camera do you think suites best for making prints? 12 megapixels is nice, but 21 is even nicer.

            Oh yes, most of my lenses are manual focus. How on earth do i survive without 40+ AF points. Oh dog.

            • NotCanonFanboy

              Deer oh Deer, quality of the pixels over quantity for one.
              Tonality/gradations/natural looking files over canon’s ‘mushiness’ /plastic look.
              Not just better high iso but film like, unlike canon’s.
              If you’re printing HUGE invest in medium/large format, just because canon throw mp at every camera doesn’t make their files ‘better’.

              The idiots are winning…

            • Jan

              you sound like my friend who doesn’t take good photos after 3yrs, so now he take video and uses soft lens filters to hide his AF misses.

            • anonymule

              @deer: That is quite a ridiculous comment you made, one that is often made by people who don’t understand PRINTING. Because it’s taken in the context of imager resolution (i.e., megapixels) and not in the context of print resolution (i.e., dpi vs. print size). So you’re saying, 21 megapixels make better prints than 12? I don’t know what’s more ridiculous actually, that statement, or the fact you have the nerve to call someone a beginner.

              The argument is rhetorical. One is more is better, the other is quality before quantity. The truth is, if you wanted to see who’s camera makes the “biggest” print at 300 dpi, 21 megapixels technically wins. Technically. But there’s something the proponents for the 21 mp vs. 12mp canikon conundrum seem to always leave out: the fact that the larger the print (say, after 20 x 30″ or so), the least dots per inch is required for the eye to resolve the image to retain a similar level of perceived quality because you’re typically not looking at such a print 4 inches from your face (unless of course you’re looking for an argument). So the point of megapixels becomes moot after a while, for a person who prints a lot. Because I used to get superb prints at 16 x 20″ from my 6 year old nikon D80, which is 10 megapixels, compared to any one of canon’s rigs of the same class.

              So your argument is invalid.

              It must suck to only have megapixels as an argument to which is better and why. Because while you sit around trying to postulate why your canon is so much better, nikon users are out making better pictures. Straight up.

            • E.T.


            • deer

              Oh dog, 17 year old nikon fanboys.

              NotCanonFanboy: Care to elaborate on the plastic look thing or is it just something you hear all these internet parrots talking about year after year? I’d love for you to post some samples.

              Jan: You sound like an annoying person alltogether. I rarely miss a shot while manual focusing. There’s people who dont care about AF, you know.

              anonymule: All that text and all you got was this simple answer. You got it all wrong. Stop making stuff up in your head.

              Btw, i took 60 pictures today, total. Each of these i sold and i didn’t need a single focus point to aid me and my clients didn’t complain about plastic image quality. What gives?

            • anonymule

              @deer: Prove it. Otherwise, you’re just like any other fake internet persona. I’m actually Barbarino from Welcome back Kotter.

              That’s what I have to say about your claim about selling sixty pictures today. Yeah, whatever.

              As for the other part, I don’t know whether you’re agreeing with me, or not, by writing “You got it all wrong”, in other words I’ve got it all wrong, which I can assure you I don’t, or YOU’VE got it all wrong, with which I am inclined to agree, or that you think I’m making it up, which is absurd.

              Tell you what, you go ahead and believe what you want. How’s about those apples?

            • roos

              There is actually one thing that all those Mp:s are good for, that is cropping. I shoot alot of macros and the pixel density in the D7000 makes it far superior to my D700. One have to find optics that can pruduce that kind of resolution though, and that my friends, is not as easy as just go buying the newest or most expensive macro lens there is, im afraid. Im working on a big macro lens test and the results are definetly not the same when testing macro lenses for actual macro work as when reviewers test them wide open shooting their usual lens charts.

          • Rob

            My god you guys are becoming just as annoying as the “d800” guys. I use my d7000 more then my d700 because if the option to use video. Get off you high horse, you think just because you shoot only photos that you are superior somehow. I love my nikon for taking photos but using to shoot amazing video is very rewarding and takes a lot of skill. Working in the movie business for 10 years I can say that your statements are absurd. If I could squeeze my d7000 and d700 together I would be much happier.

            • Ronan

              Sounds to me like your needs are more video oriented and not photo oriented.

              Nothing wrong with that, just saying.

              Me I work at a studio, we don’t need video DSLR’s (but will be investing in them since the new models come with it, and its a opportunity to expand).

              But IQ is #1 to us, which is why we shoot D3x (and D3), and now DMF.

            • Rob

              I actually use my camera as both pretty much 50/50. I shoot events and sports and shoot plates to deconstruct and use for vfx in film. I also shoot videos for this reason. It’s excellent when you need to composite a boat in a shot and have the ability to go down to false creek and shoot some that day and complete the shot in the same day. Everyone has different needs but complaining about a new feature that’s not going anywhere is just dumb. It’s like the argument in our industry about film still being better then red or digital…..people just need to let go or the future will leave you behind….you can always buy an older d700 if you want it

            • Gen

              making videos take skill, just like photos
              as you said

              that’s why it’s absurd that someone who can’t take good photos yet, thinks they can buy a 1080 dslr and make good video.

              they can’t.

              they can make sucky photos and sucky video.

              meanwhile let me go improve my photo skills before trying to be a jack-of-all trades

              unless you’re saying all dslr users have 10 years movie experience.

            • Rob

              No my main point is that both takesskill and that myself and many included find having both in the same package to be just an amazing thing. We are truly spoiled to have such versatile creative tools. I much prefer carry heavy awesome glass then multiple bodies to do different tasks. 😉

            • anonymule

              I get that you use video, but most photographers DON’T. And most of us don’t like it when you video people get all uppedy about the fact that there is a minority (my word, not yours) of people who actually do use video whenever we say video isn’t important to us. Because the truth is, it ain’t. Get that part straight. There are a whole host of reasons why a DSLR is not suited to capturing video. So when a photographer is hoping his manufacturer is making more of an effort to bring useful tech to cameras, we’re not looking for video output. Because these are still cameras. I can record video on my phone. But the phone isn’t a video camera. It’s just a geedunk feature they threw in for people who can’t find anything better to do with their phones than to record a few minutes of shaky, out of focus video with it. The same applies to DSLR’s.

              So sorry if you get all sensitive when people say video isn’t important. Realizing it isn’t, you should be happy you can get some use out of it. I’ve had a D90 from the day I could get one, and haven’t once used the video function. Get over yourself.

            • @Anonymule: If you’ve used the outrageously expensive and substandard quality equipment from the video field during the 10 years prior to the advent of the VSLR; or if you’d gone a step further and tried to use the 35mm adapters for said camcorders, you’d know that VSLR’s are NOT unimportant. They are actually a HUGE step in the right direction for low/mid-budget video productions the world over. They are also a tremendous boon for the video market, which was languishing in the mire of keepafeatureoutus.

              Look at the video work being produced by a bunch of nobodies over on Vimeo, and tell me that their “geedunk” cameras haven’t helped the quality factor improve at least four to five times over what it was a few short years ago. You may have zero interest in video (as you’ve made pretty clear) but insinuating that this is a worthless feature is the furthest thing from reality. You may not have a need for it, but I know a personally find a significant majority of people that find the feature useful, valuable, and profitable.

          • RD

            Nikon tried to respond to the 5d2, but couldn’t work out how to make a camera that needed a firmware fix every 2 months for 2yrs…

            • scurvy hesh

              what camera was that?

            • iWhine from Apple

              @ RD: LOL ZING!

              @ scurvy hesh: WHOOOSHH!! Went over your head. :p

            • Mock Kenwell

              -10 to this short-sighted comment string. If you honestly think Nikon doesn’t need to respond the 5D, you’re absolutely wrong. That camera is changing the DSLR and the camcorder landscape. Is it flawed? YES! That’s why so many of us are waiting for a Nikon response. But for every one of us that is waiting and making due, there are DOZENS of people buying the 5D. It is filling a need. And it shows a successful, affordable merger of camcorder and camera IS possible.

              The easy solve would have been a D700s. But that did not and will not happen. Too much time has passed. And with each month, Nikon risks entry to a whole market. Just like they’re not represented in the mirrorless market. And the underwater tough compact market. And the serious compact market.

              You people who are still preaching the separation of still and video photography need to get hip replacements and retire at the Nikon Fanboy Home for Fossils. The future is here and it’s not going away. The monster is out of the box.

            • Banned

              Dear fake Kenwell,

              If by monster you mean your schnitzel and by the box your pants, I’m gonna have to ask you to leave this forum.

            • Gerry

              @ Mock Kenwell

              …. so canon sells dozens of 5dmrk2’s everyday? I am sure Nikon which sells 3.67 million DSLR’s every year is worried about the DOZENS of 5Dmrk2’s that are being sold.

          • Philippe

            Faaaaar off this comment. Everyone should find the camera for his needs. There’s no good or bad and the 5DII at it’s launch made quite a bit of noise, for some reason. The D700 is great for what it is and many photographers take stunning images with either one.

            Go and take photos and get better at DOING SO.


          • JD

            “ANY dslr-making-quite-hd is NOT pro video equipment.”

            – Tell that to the team of the tv-series House who have shot quite a few episodes on the 5DMkII.

            Maybe you don’t need video yourself on the cameras, but there sure is a market for it, and there are sure people who will love the feature – both professionals and amateurs.

        • HDZ

          If Nikon have D700X with 1080p, I think Nikon will dominate the world and they just don’t want to do that. 🙂

          • Discontinued

            No, they don’t want to do that.
            Far too shy. Their statement is the understatement.

            Only thing I wonder, if so, why the crappy golden writing all over their lenses? Maybe they believe to rule the world already?Some lenses look more like a sceptre than a tele photo.

            And they keep us waiting for this and that. Royals are always last to enter a room.

          • the amount of canon bashing by people that have probably never shot that camera is silly. For whatever reason Canon does better video than nikon. Great. the d700 vs 5d2 is always and has always been based on price. The two cameras have very little else in common. If you do Canon boards the d700 was much like the long wanted Eos3 Digital. Canon has not built it to the chagrin of many canon users. In many nikon boards you have two schools. The people that want an “answer to the 5d2” and the people that attack them saying that video is useless and that canon sucks…if you look at it from the outside the second group seems petty and silly even if they have any valid points.

        • Robert Stoffer photo

          D3100 has 1080 HD video..

        • killjoy


          No, actually Nikon doesn’t remotely need to “respond” to the 5DII and people who think they do obviously aren’t looking at the sales and profit marins.

          Frankly the D7000 IS a response to the 5DII. It takes a better f***ing picture for starters.

      • Mock Kenwell

        Anonymous, you’re a riot. You’ve been bitching that Nikon can’t make sensors—now that that tirade has been proven wrong, you’re qualifying your argument to 12MP full-frame sensors. Nikon is guilty of paralysis by analysis and moving at a glacial pace, but their sensors are second to none save the Kodak M9 sensor.

        • Yagi

          +1. It doesn’t matter what Nikon can or cannot do, Anonymous will have something to pick on. I don’t mind if it’s a valid reason, but I’m sick of his nonsense. I wonder why he visits this site so often…

    • Vandyu

      So, will the D5000 replacement likely have the Nikon sensor?

      • Chris Lilley

        Oh, an on-topic comment that actually relates to the article.

        Is that allowed?

        And yes, interesting question. Look at the model numbers for the D3s sensor and the D3100 sensor, they did the D3100 immediately after the D3S. And there seems to be a bottom to top of the line refresh.

        So yes, I would expect a Nikon-sensor D5100.

        • Man de Labrat

          +1 good call

  • I could imagine someone at a nikon factory sneaking a D3S sensor to another line and putting it in the 3100 body. Now that would be a surprise if it worked : P

    • texasjoe

      The sensor wouldn’t fit. Fx > Dx.

    • Nicola

      Have you seen the model numbers?They’re shockingly similar.
      If they didn’t come to have two different physical sizes(so they must be from two different production lines),I’d ran out to buy a 3100,open it inhalf,and tweak the hell out of it 😉

  • Nikgun

    Took awhile to get this info straight. The upcoming models will really be interesting.

  • lola

    As someone said earlier does it matter if the sensors are made by Nikon or the chips by McCain.
    If it produces the results wanted then who cares?

    • texasjoe


    • Nicola

      Uh well,there are also people who look at the model number/body class *instead* of the picture coming out,so small wonder that a group of people will ignore the image and just take care of buying a Nikon sensor. ;o)

    • Nicola

      (If someone is interested,i humbly tried to make short list based just on what comes out of the raw file: )

    • Ronan

      Exactly, as long they don’t cut corners.

  • The D3 sensor, and probably the same for the others, is developed by Nikon but produced by Sony. Sony and Nikon have always been working closely together on these chips.
    And Nikon is perfectly capable of developing sensors with more MPixs, like the D3x shows.
    NikonRumors said so themselves so it must be true 😉

    • Nikkorz

      This. I believe there is a lot of confusion right now about who “makes,” who “produces,” and who “develops” a sensor, but I’m just going to conclude that Nikon and Sony are collaborating closely together to beat Canon when it comes to sensor specifications.

  • texasjoe

    But what about all those people that said that Nikon is not very sensorly inclined? What about all those people that said nikon is advanced enough to make sensors? Can all those people be wrong? I thought all those people had some inside information on how much Nikon doesn’t invest in technology. Well here you go people.

    • Yagi

      I wonder who those ppl are. Anonymous, any idea???

  • adam

    this is gonna sound like such a noob question… but what effect does taking video have on the sensor? does it wear down the life span of the sensor a lot?

    • Nikkorz

      Shooting video likely does not wear down the sensor of a DSLR. The space that is used on the sensor to record video is a much smaller space than if you shot photos with that camera at full resolution. I’d imagine the lifetime of the sensor is not determined by how much it is used, but if it gets damaged or not. The sensor essentially has 1 main function; to expose itself to light and to record that data – they are engineered specifically to do only that, repeatedly. The thing that actually wears down in a camera is the mechanical shutter mechanism that is located directly in front of the sensor. This element usually has a rating that the manufacturer gives to consumers to tell them how many actuations the shutter can make before it begins to degrade in quality. I hope this spiel of information helps.

      • Ronan

        It does put a strain on the sensor to shoot video, just the same when you shoot in high ISO.

        Will it damage your sensor? Not likely, Nikon doesn’t sell crap.

        Can it damage your sensor? Yes, but see above.

        • Richard

          It is a thermal issue more than anything else. The sensor heats up and has problems. Most of the manufacturers have supposedly resolved this problem in one way or another.

  • Ronan

    Admin start banning the noobs screaming about photo/video nikon/sony… it’s getting quite old and takes away from the GOOD comments.

    Oh and someone tell the annoying kids with their D3100 that believes it takes better pics than Nikon’s semi-pro and pro equipment that the Best Buy clerk lied to them.

    • Panfruit

      A d3100 is very much capable of taking better photos than a d3x. 😛 With how sophisticated all cameras in Nikon’s (or Canon or etc whatever) lineup are, it’s about what you do with it, not the technology. I know I’ve seen soo many killer images from entry-level dSLRs.

    • anonymule

      Actually, it depends on the photographer. I’ve seen some pretty cruddy work shot on pro nikon cameras. Being that I can’t for the life of me, see how your comments add anything useful for anyone, I’m wondering what nerve you have to ask Admin to ban people because they are either novice, or use a lower class camera. Because your argument is both invalid, and ridiculous. Professional only means you’re paid for shooting, not that you’re good at it. Remember that.

      • minivini

        Good call there thinking that post was mostly directed at you – I’m fairly certain it was.

        Clearly the issue is that the vast majority of your posts are condescending, rude, and crass. There are actually people here who try to glean useful information and find posts such as yours distracting, unhelpful, and irritating. I assume that’s your goal, so I have to concur with Ronan. Banning useless trolling posters would make this a better place for those of us more interested in photography than miserably attempting to bolster one’s ego by insulting others.

        Bring on the ban NR!!

        • How do I define the rule to block all trolls? The definition of a troll is very wide. People have different opinions, I cannot ban them for that. I alos want to have only useful comments, but I need to set clear guidelines of what exactly is considered trolling.

          • minivini

            The first and simplest rule should be aimed at condescending and/or insulting posts. That should be fairly easy to define and enforce. In turn, enforcing that rule would eliminate the vast majority of unhelpful, irritating troll-like posts…

            • I do moderate personal attacks/insults – let me know if I have missed some.

            • anonymule

              Why should condescension be ruled as grounds for being banned from a public forum? And what gives you the right to assume such a position, that I [or anyone] can’t perhaps exercise sarcasm in such a manner as to infer that perhaps the person being replied to hasn’t a clue as to what they are talking about? That in my opinion, doesn’t constitute an attack. What’s next, ban people because they shoot canon, if they mention canon on a nikon forum? As we are just voicing opinions here, perhaps now you see that yours is not necessarily shared by everyone here. I can be opinionated and abide by the rules of the forum. I’ll just be that one dude you can’t stand, but have to live with because you’re not the person put in charge of the world. Try having a little tolerance for opinions that differ from your own.

        • anonymule

          I’d like to know which parts of my comments were rude or crass. I’ll own condescending, but then again, the fact that I may be condescending has little to do with the position that I am a troll, from what I have written. People (I assume like you) like to make statements about things of which they are misinformed. I simply rebut those statements. Why do you find this so hard to deal with, as if my 3 comments out of 113 are distracting, unhelpful, or irritating. In fact, I find comments like yours (which by the way, don’t seem to be adding anything useful to the discussion either, by your logic) to be quite distracting, irritating, and unhelpful. But you don’t see me whining about it.

          The comment to which you replied was in response to the comment made by ronan, and I quote, “Oh and someone tell the annoying kids with their D3100 that believes it takes better pics than Nikon’s semi-pro and pro equipment that the Best Buy clerk lied to them.”

          Which part of this was not crass, rude, or condescending? I simply noted that to assume that people who use lower class cameras wouldn’t be skilled photographers is as ludicrous as saying professionals are because they use higher class cameras, or that they are professional.

          I apologize if this offends you, but I cannot curtail my opinion or fear you may disagree. This is me exercising my right to freedom of speech. There were no threats, not personal attacks, or any such other act that may warrant I should be banned. So please, get over yourself and deal with the fact that some people don’t care what you think.

          Thank you kindly.

          • minivini

            The very tone of your retorts are condescending. Sarcasm can, at times, be a humorus and effective tool for making a point. You, however, wield the scalpel like instrument like a twelve pound sledge hammer. I wouldn’t expect you to get the problem with your tone, as you are clearly so numb to it that you are unaware of it. That is why I directed my statement openly hoping that the admin might see it. Personally I don’t really care what you have to say as it becomes easy to see who to tune out after a few consistently mean spirited remarks essentially calling everyone who disagrees with you an amature, uneducated, inexperienced, or otherwise inferior to your self perception. Good luck with all that.

            Anyhow, admin – if you can’t implement a consistent ban policy (and I do understand the potential complexities), maybe an ignore button would be a good second line of defense?

            • anonymule

              I second an ignore button. For sure. And not that I need it but, thanks for the luck.

    • Gerry

      +10000! I am sick of the constant Nikon bashing.

      • MRPhotoau

        I read Canon rumours as it lets me know a bit about where their at.
        I think those that are always griping should read it and they would see all the comments from canon users whinging about their lack of AF or ISO capability and if Nikon can do it why can’t we rubbish.
        Maybe those that want to change should just change. Maybe they could swap gear with the CR trolls and not lose $’s also.

  • aetas

    I still dont care who makes the sensor as long as nikon is doing their job at putting out a quality product. If they can or cannot make their own does not matter up till the time when nikon not making their own sensors is affecting the timeline of the cameras coming out. and please unless you have some info that no one else has dont give me the (thats why we have waited so long for a d800) None of us know why nikon has not replaced the d700. They might just have their own reasons/.

  • PAG

    I haven’t the faintest idea why it matters to people like “Anonymous” (who seem to have a serious Sony Stiffy), but here is Nikon’s official statement on the origin and manufacturing of the D3X processor from Nikon Rumors (perhaps you’ve heard of the site?) back in December 2008:

    “The Nikon D3X’s 24.5-megapixel FX-format (35.9 x 24.0mm) CMOS sensor was developed expressly for the D3X in accordance with Nikon’s stringent engineering requirements and performance standards, with final production executed by Sony. Featuring refined low-noise characteristics, 12 and 14 bit output, Live View capability and more, the D3X’s unique sensor design was carefully blueprinted to perform in perfect concert with proprietary Nikon technologies including EXPEED Image Processing and the Scene Recognition System. Meticulous efforts allowed the sensor to become one of the many essential components and technologies which contribute to the D3X’s superior image fidelity.”

    Here’s the link to the post.

    Sounds to me like Nikon works with chip fabricators. What a shock … to anybody with an IQ below that of an eggplant.

    • … to anybody with an IQ below that of an eggplant.

      i like that expression!

    • good find (quote):

      “Nikon have announced that they designed the sensor. Nikon has no wafer fabrication capability so they outsource the sensor production, but they are keeping the foundry close to their chests, so close that we must speculate to identify the source.”

  • MRPhotoau

    LMAO!!! Some seriously funny comments surrounded by droppings of various descriptions.
    Nikon hasn’t brought out a D800 yet because it doesn’t need too. It is a kick arse camera that easily out performs most users. It will eventually be replaced and will have 1080 and a number of other upgrades that everyone expects from a camera that sits where it does in the lineup. But it was intended to be used by the pro/semi-pro market of photographers not videographers. Yes everyone is starting to want it (even a lot of pros) wedding photographers especially, so they WILL get what they need 1080/30fps at least, Nikon will trump Canon, then Canon will trump Nikon, then Nikon will trump Canon, etc. etc.

    Nikon is actually spending most of its time developing a camera that can be used without the need for a person. It has a built in tripod with sensors on the legs that help it move around. It takes far better pictures than any person ever could, because as everyone here already knows:


    Has anyone even noticed that it is always the same people commenting on NR’s. Maybe the other 6 billion people on this rock DON’T CARE!!! Can someone out there let us know the stats on how many of those that don’t care actually own cameras and take photos and how many of the wingers photos here have won awards. These would tell an extra aspect to the big story. (before you ask the answer is yes) There have been thousands of awesome pictures taken on this planet by cameras that according to some are extremely out dated and incapable of doing so, and hundreds if not thousands of awards given for both pro and amateur work.

    Education then practice, education then practice, repeat after me, education then practice. This is what makes great images, not extra ANY FEATURE in a camera. If you can outperform your camera then you may be in the wrong job. If you are already in that job and that good then why are you wasting your time, get that MF and realise that you can still take very awesome pictures with:
    Very limited ISO
    Extremely limited frame rates
    No video
    No projector
    No no no no NO

    BTW, I think I just wasted a lot of time reading and writing CRAP!!!

    • scurvy hesh

      LOL! Welcome to the club. I still have a “pos” D2hs kicking around. Somehow I manage to take great portraits on it. GO FIGURE?!?

      • MRPhotoau

        Are you sure it was you. There seem to be a lot of people here that think its the camera, and it can’t possibly do it properly without a lot of extra MP.

        I have taken a lot of ‘WOW!, that is awesome’ pics with an old 5MP p&s one of which was just the other day. (For all the commentors, yes I own a lot of big boy gear. But I realise that a pro body can only take a picture of no greater quality than I can)

        Education then Practice
        (repeated again incase there are still some that are unsure)

        • Mock Kenwell

          If you can’t use the extra MP and video, God bless you. I’m glad you’re happy. But I can. More MP sure helps in billboard, event and double-truck advertising. The 5D needs an answer.

          • CajunCC

            Your examples are moot. Most magazines print between 150 and 200 lpi. A 12mp camera will get you 21 inches wide at 200 lpi. That’s more than enough for double-truck. Remember, it’s a magazine, not a gallery print.

            Billboards are a terrible argument. You view them from the highway!

            You can’t just say “oh I print big, so i need more pixels” because no, you really don’t need more pixels. Figure the bigger a print is, the further away it’s generally viewed.

            Not to mention the 21mp 5D gets you a whopping 30% more linear resolution.That means you get an 11×14 instead of an 8×10 at about the same resolution. Big deal. Print both at 11×14 and find me someone who can see the difference without a microscope.

            In my opinion, if you truly do NEED higher resolution, you’re probably going with medium format. Just like before digital, where people who NEEDED more resolution than 35mm film shot medium format or large format film.

            • markus

              + 100

            • PAG

              Cajun, there ya’ go … mucking up a good rant on why somebody NEEDS a massive megapixel camera with knowledge and facts.

              I would truly love to see the galleries of some of the people who trash Nikon’s camera bodies.

          • MRPhotoau

            Hi Mock,
            I actually do want more MP as it would make the occasional large print order quicker to accomplish.
            When Nikon announces there new line up this year and it is a D800 (or whatever they want to call it, their choice not ours) if it has 24+MP, I will be ordering one, video or not, as personally I don’t need it (I am sure it will have it as it is a camera that has a huge following in the wedding market and they want it) But, if it doesn’t have a 100% viewfinder I will be getting a D4 and when they bring out the D4x I am fully expecting 36+MP (If this is true, I will be ordering that also)
            I think its possible you have missed my point, I am not against any advancement in tech or features even 1080 video (although I wouldn’t have a use for it YET, and hope it has no detriment to IQ). What I am commenting on is all those that seem to have no real need for the extra MP (or whatever feature) they just think bigger is better. More MP is not going to give anyone BETTER IQ unless it comes at no detriment to DR and the lenses are up to it. However I am very certain that Nikon will not release extra MP’s in their pro models if they cannot resolves those issues (I’m also certain that the tech-heads can do it, they amaze us every time) I have personally blown up an image from my D700 to 120inx60in@300dpi and nobody who has seen it says anything of the horrible quality of my 12MP camera (do the math, billboards are printed at 72dpi, most of which at least in Aust. are shot using MF)
            I really don’t know how a pro can run a business with such crappy gear!

        • scurvy hesh

          haha fo sho’

          Anyways Nikon will definitley come out with the camera all the whiners are clamoring for. they just need to calm down, take some great photos and let the product cycle behave as it has for the past 50 years

          • Drab

            Hesh, do you work in the reactor core?

            What are your thoughts on Pod 6?

    • it’s all about my fx

      Agree with MRPhotoau,

      One can cut sushi with a rusty butter knife.

      But the chefs keep wanting to use these master-crafted blades. Noobs.

    • manfred

      I’m with you in some aspects. But notice that development goes on. Nikon makes it’s money with people buying new cameras and lenses.
      However, there are some interesting signs reading the rumors and comments. It seems obvious, that a majority of Nikon fans in the (semi-)pros league think, that accordingly models (D300s,D700,D3x) are due for a makeover. So how come, that Nikon just calmed us down with a sidestep D7000 out of the line-up?
      I think the major players in this industry are standing at a brink of a very difficult decision. 24MP on APS-C and 30MP or more on FX format are surely technical possible since months. But the tests on D3x as well as now on the D7000 betrays, that the performance of these bodies is only achievable with the best glass there is. I bet 80% of the Nikon (likewise Canon, Sony…) lenses in front of a 30 or 35 MP sensor would make the outcome look like a D3x with the cheap kit-lenses. So the companies have to worry more about the lens-performance than the pro-bodies. The question arise, if an accordingly lens-performance is still achievable with the existing mounts at all and the costs for a make-over of the major focal lengths. A lens like the 80-400 is already inferior on the D3x, major lenses like the 14-24 and the 24-70 most likely will be on 30 or more MP.
      So why do users aim for higher MP rates at all? I don’t know about you, but my budget doesn’t let me buy new stuff every two years. So if investing in a pro body I’d like to have one being up to the market for at least some years. Remember, with a 5MP camera back then one got jpgs around 2MP. If you show up with 2MP pics today, no matter what content quality they have, you’ll just get funny looks.

  • Just A Thought

    In the secret fab manned by Santa’s Elves during their off season.

  • anonymule

    I don’t know, a lot of this ‘sensor manufacturer’ stuff is hard to digest for regular photographers (or people, for that matter). On the one hand, I have to say that I honestly don’t care. I mean, I doubt very much that it really matters now that you know the sensor in your D7000 is made by Sony. Does it change anything? No, it doesn’t. But on the other hand, I know a little bit about this sort of thing because I work in the manufacturing industry, and at one point, integrated circuit development and manufacture, which is to say that there is a lot that is required on the part of any company, to both design and fabricate their own integrated circuits, not to mention a camera manufacturer to design and fabricate their own image sensors. That being said, there’s nothing stopping nikon from having a relationship with sony, or any of their other suppliers, when it comes to development. And I think we’ve all read enough to that effect. I think it’s a fair bet to assume nikon doesn’t really need to go into their design and development strategy with the general public. If they make a play on words and claim they built a sensor, it may be just that, another way of saying they are involved wholly, in the design and development of their image sensors, and that they have sony make them. Because that’s what sony does. And it wouldn’t be the first time there was a nikon/sony mashup. I wonder why so many people get bent about this?

  • Man de Labrat

    Pardon another noob question, but is the filter array considered to be part of the sensor for chip number purposes, or is this added ‘later’.

    The image chain would be something like:
    IR filter
    Bayer mask
    A-D (built into sensor these days?)
    Dead pixel mapping / replacement
    Raw array
    Contrast / luminance adjustment
    Noise suppression
    JPEG conversion
    Memory card

    I guess what I am trying to ask is how different can the raw data be between two cameras if they use the same sensor?

    • Anton

      1)There is no IR filter, but there is a low-pass filter.

      2)if A-D = is analog to digital, then it always was (not only these days) build into the sensor (that is the sensor is the a-d converter).
      3)”how different can the raw data be between two cameras if they use the same sensor” depends on what extra signal processing is done after the a-d phase. I think that Nikon know more about the micro-lenses and therefore uses better formulas.

      • Drab

        There IS an IR sensor, as well as the microlens array, as well as the AA filter (what you refer to as the “low pass” filter).

        There appears to be some confusion between spatial frequency and EM frequency.

        A milky piece of glass is a low-pass filter to spatial frequencies, ie thin lines are not distinguishable through it but thick ones would be.

        The test (and eventual proof that you are mistaken) is that IR is lower frequency than visible light and therefore a lowpass filter which allows visible frequencies would also allow IR.

        • Just A Thought

          There is an IR CUT filter in front of all visible light sensors unless they were designed or modified for IR. See Life Pixel for more info:

          An IR CUT filter stops IR from going thru it.
          An IR filter allow IR, but stops visible light from going thru it.
          You can convert a normal camera to IR by either removing the IR Cut filter from in front of the sensor or by adding an IR filter to the front of the lens.

          The IR filter is very dark and you end up with slow shutter speeds using an IR Filter on a lens. Removing the IR Cut filter you get normal shutter speeds. Also normal brightness viewfinder.

  • BenS

    So ” The sensors of the D3, D3s, D700 and D3100 are made by Nikon “… WHY THEN IS THE SENSOR for THE D7000 from Sony ? Is it bec Nikon sensors lag in video capabilities or has Nikon decided to outsource all their sensors ?

    Oh now i know why the D7000 has so many dead or stuck pixels, its a DAMN SONY !

    • Just A Thought

      And yet the Pentax K5, which is rumored to use the same Sony sensor, did not have a problem with hot pixels, nor did the Sony model using the same sensor.

      Sure Pentax had a different problem which they have stated was their own fault.

      All sensors display hot pixels under certain conditions. The camera assembly line most often have a step where the hot pixels are mapped out.

      Hope this helps.

      • PAG

        Just a Thought, you obviously didn’t take the 15 seconds required to Google “Pentax K-5 hot pixels” (over 35,000 hits) and “Sony A55 hot pixels” (over 47,000 hits). Maybe you should do that next time before pulling a statement out of your butt.

        • Just A Thought

          No I had not. This is a rumor site after all, one should not expect to read facts on this site .

          I’ll take your word for it. Now that you mentioned it, I will do just that. All sensors display hot pixels under certain conditions. Kinda curious why the companies like Nikon and you added Pentax and Sony, did not do that somewhere near the end of the production line.

          Strange to upset users by having them buy a new camera and get hot pixels. Anyhow, I’m off to Google as you had suggested. Thanks for the catch.

  • TT

    What’s the surprise? D300, D200, D90, K-5, K-r, Kx, Lecia X1, Fuji X100, A700, A55, A580, etc etc etc all these cameras use Sony made sensors.

    For point and shoot, most top models (S95, G12, Nikon P7000, etc) use Sony sensors.

    • PAG

      Sounds to me like Sony has figured out how to make a buttload of money selling sensors and using economy of scale to keep prices down. Sounds to me like other camera companies consider creation of their camera to be priority one, and don’t feel the need to build a sensor first and then wrap a camera around it. Sounds to me like these companies know vastly more about running a profitable business then some of the yapping heads who post how Nikon is doomed and sucks as a company because they don’t design and manufacture every one of their own sensors.

      You just gotta’ love people who speak authoritatively about things they know nothing about.

    • Just A Thought

      “For point and shoot, most top models (S95, G12, Nikon P7000, etc) use Sony sensors.”

      Its funny that you never see Canon users crying in the wind about the Sony sensors inside their cameras. Nor Pentax users. Nor Leica users.

      Only some vocal and web savy Nikon users seem to feel that the Sony sensor found in their Nikon camera will somehow make them less of a photographer.

      Sometimes life can be stranger than fiction.

  • markus

    definition of “developed” equals “made”?

    i do remember in a certain interview with Nikon, Nikon rep. dodged the question about who made the sensors and just answered they developed them.

    IF Nikon did make them, why did they avoid answering?

    and both D3 / D300 sensors are developed by Nikon, but D300 is not on the list, why?

    • Just A Thought

      CHipworks showed what I believe to be is a mask identifier. This does not indicate who actually manufactured the sensor. IMHO it identifies the mask used to produce the sensor (works in a way like a negative and the final sensor is akin to the print after developing). If you bought a Nikon camera there is no need to have an inferiority complex because of the lack of clarity in the marketing about who actually makes the sensor. It’s a great camera, whatever model – just get out there and use it.

      • markus

        i know, i dont really care who made the sensors, but just for the sake of arguing LOL

  • So the D2hs sensor was the prototype for high ISO…..interesting!


    o wait…

  • killjoy

    Here’s a side by side comparison of high ISO shots with the Sony A580 and Nikon D7K:

    Without getting into which one looks better, one can see immediately that these are most likely not the “same” sensors.

    • TT

      killjoy, that’s a comparison of jpeg engines. There is even bigger difference between EPL1 and GF1 but that does not change the fact both use same sensor.

      • Killjoy

        TT they are not the “same” sensor, period. Industrial proprietary standards would prevent that.

        You say they are the “same” sensor and that’s a “fact”. Where do you see anywhere anyone claiming they are the “same” sensor?

        • TT

          They are 100% identical sensor made and designed by Sony. They score the same on dxomark. The chipwork took the D7000 apart and showed that not only it’s Sony’s sensor but even showed the exact model number. If you have a computer by Dell, and another one by compaq and if both use identical AMD processor, then both use identical AMD processor! You can’t claim that oh, “my Dell has special processor since it’s Dell”. That’s what you are trying to argue idiotically. These are 100% identical sensors and sold in bulk to Nikon and Pentax and perhaps in future to Leica, or Fuji. Doesn’t change the fact it’s a 100% identical chip made in bulk.

          They are 100% identical sensor made and designed by Sony. They score the same on dxomark. The chipwork took the D7000 apart and showed that not only it’s Sony’s sensor but even showed the exact model number. If you have a computer by Dell, and another one by compaq and if both use identical AMD processor, then both use identical AMD processor! You can’t claim that oh, “my Dell has special processor since it’s Dell”. That’s what you are trying to argue idiotically. These are 100% identical sensors and sold in bulk to Nikon and Pentax and perhaps in future to Leica, or Fuji. Doesn’t change the fact it’s a 100% identical chip made in bulk.

          • killjoy

            “The chipwork took the D7000 apart and showed that not only it’s Sony’s sensor but even showed the exact model number.”

            Exact same model number as the other cameras? Where do you see that? Obviously I’m wrong if that’s correct but I don’t see that anywhere.

          • killjoy

            P.S. :
            “They are 100% identical sensor made and designed by Sony. They score the same on dxomark.”

            They didn’t score identically the same and even if they did that wouldn’t make them the same.

            “If you have a computer by Dell, and another one by compaq and if both use identical AMD processor, then both use identical AMD processor!”

            That is not a direct analogy.

            • TT

              The score is easily within margin of error. There are bigger differences between various Canon 18 MP cameras even thogh we know the sensor is the same. Look up margin of error.

      • Killjoy

        “killjoy, that’s a comparison of jpeg engines. ”

        Really. So it doesn’t matter if it’s a Sony D7000 sensor, or a Nikon D3 sensor, or a Canon 5DII sensor, or a D3100, all that affects jpegs is the jpeg engine?


        • TT

          Exactly. You are comparing jpegs. That’s like using lightroom for one D7000 RAW file and dcraw for another D7000 RAW file and then claiming the two D7000 must have different sensors since the end result isn’t identical

          • killjoy

            “Exactly”, what? That different sensors won’t affect the look of a jpeg? Baloney.

            • TT

              Different jpegs. Oly doesn’t make sensors. They use Pana sensors. Look at EPL1 and GF1 jpegs, even though the sensor is same.

            • Drab

              Are you really that dense, killjoy? Or do you just like arguing?

              TT is absolutely right. Camera-produced jpegs are not a valid measurement of a sensor.

              The differences caused by camera settings and native encoding engines completely overwhelms the differences between sensors.

    • Rahul


      Dunno if others agree with my statement but :
      upto 800 ISO, the Sony A850 looks sharper in these crops than the D7000. At 1600 and over, the D7000 looks better , no doubt.

      • Rahul

        OK – I do know lenses are a major factor here, besides the JPEG engine, AA filter and settings used as well, but for the “same” sensor there is a difference in real world performance. For instance, graphics cards may use the same GPU chip, but some brands inherently have lower quality (because besides the chip, there are other non-standard components).

        And I don’t quite agree with the the premise that who makes it is irrelevant. The same design, manufactured by different factories/foundries/machines/raw material/work-force could and does make some difference. An Audi manufactured in China *might* not have the same quality level as that born in the fatherland, you know what I’m saying. Poorly motivated workers, lax QC, maintenance and calibration of manufacturing equipment itself, so many variables that can cause same design template to materialize in substantially different physical artifacts.

  • Xanadu AW18

    To my the most importent is the final product and that is nikon rules.

    • 3D Matrix Meter


      Canon is only market, Nikon is engineering!

  • karlbaxter

    The update is late, you should have investigated more from the beginning…I hate this kind of news because is half assed, it has been known for a lot of time that Sony manufactures the sensors but it is Nikon who designs them which makes a whole lot of difference in the end (compare the performance of Nikon vs Sony designs since the A100 and D200 and you will know what I am talking). The D7000 sensor isn´t designed and manufactured by Sony it is just Manufactured under the designs and specs from Nikon… the same has been true for almost any sensor Nikon has been using in their bodies… Please before releasing news into the wild do you WORK and investigate FIRST.

    • Heidfirst

      the D40, D40X, D50, D60, D80, D90, D200, D300, D300S, D3X, D5000, & D7000 all use essentially Sony standard sensors (there may be differences in filter arrangements & certainly there are differences in the processing electronics in Nikon bodies v Sony bodies).
      The D3, D3S & D3100 use sensors that aren’t known from other sources & could well be designed by Nikon & outsourced to a fab but they sure are not manufactured by Nikon – they don’t have a fab.

      • Just A Thought

        They do have a secret fab. It’s not far from Santa’s toy factory and the fab is run by Santa’s Elves in their off season. Sensors made by Elves must be better than regular Sony sensors – kids love their Christmas toys made by the same Elves. Elves it is also rumored sprinkle magic dust on the molten silicon before the wafer crystals are grown. Just ask any of the vocal Nikon fans here where the sensors in their Nikon cameras to be will come from.

        BTW, you don’t need to ask Canon, Sony, Pentax and Leica users where the sensors in their cameras came from. Strange, but it does not seem to matter to them.

    • TT

      “D7000 sensor isn´t designed and manufactured by Sony it is just Manufactured under the designs and specs from Nikon”

      That’s just false. If Nikon designed the sensor, Sony would not be selling it to Pentax. The sensors are designed and made by Sony. Sony has been developing sensors since 80s, long bnefore anyone working for Nikon even heard of digital camera, not only for digital cameras but also for professional camcorders. I don’t know why you guys think a lens maker like Nikon has more expertise in sensor technology than an electronic giant like Sony.

  • randyravener

    Why should we even care who the hell makes the damn sensors?

    As long as the photos comes out the way you want it, it’s fine already. no?

    • Rahul

      Yep, absolutely. If the images are the best I can get for the price point, I don’t care if the image sensor is made by my neighbor’s half-blind granny in the municipal junkyard or by Santa’s little elves in the cleanest clean-room.

  • thanks for the info agian .

    I wouldn’t care who makes sensor as long as camera is working for me 🙂

  • Being deeply into the Nikon system, I do like that Nikon builds enough of it’s sensors that it can control it’s own destiny as Sony moves more and more into the market.

    At the same time, I just hope we don’t end up with another LBCAST (or whatever it was called)

  • JD

    Lots of comments here, but as I see it, most of you miss the point with those MP/video discussions (which sound familiar somehow):

    There is one clear advantage of knowing who makes sensors for Nikon. It gives us an opportunity to keep an eye on new Sony sensors to better anticipate what’s coming to certain new Nikon models.

  • MB

    There is couple of others Japanese companies with ability to produce image sensors, Toshiba and Fujitsu for example.
    Sony will apparently outsource some image sensor production to Fujitsu so they definitely have the technology, and Nikon is also working with Fujitsu on image processing for a long time now so they are too a good candidate for Nikon sensors manufacturer.

  • MRPhotoau

    My D7000 (I don’t actually own this model) takes great photos, but maybe that has nothing to do with who made or developed the sensor. Maybe it has everything to do with the microcontroller made by Toshiba or one of the many other parts that are outsourced.

    • MRPhotoau

      I know this post doesn’t talk of this model but we do know that Toshiba made the microcontroller for it. I don’t plan to waste money by ripping apart my bodies but I am certain that there is more inside them than the sensor that isn’t made by Nikon. My point is who really cares. I own Nikon bodies because I have many thousands invested in their glass, If I had other glass I would have other bodies.
      I have 3 choices, I can enjoy taking photos and be content with what I have.
      I can sell all I have and change brands to find they still have problems (just different ones)
      Or I can whinge about my problems to people that don’t care!

  • lander240

    For such a long time people are still having discussion about this issue, as long as there is a good sensor packed inside the camera a real photographer take less time in concerning whether it is from mars or somewhere else and more time in taking photo.

    And there is a lot more between Nikon and Sony.

    • MB

      I totally agree, there is way more to a camera and the system around it than just a peace of silicone called sensor 😉

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