Confirmed: the sensor inside the Nikon D800 is made by Sony


Chipwors confirmed that the 36MP sensor (IMX094AQP) inside the Nikon D800 is made by Sony. The interesting part is that Sony decided to use a 24MP chip in their upcoming top of the line A99 full frame camera that will be priced at $2,800.

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  • Simon Gosselin

    24 Mp is a better choice for a «top of the line» DSLR

    • Charlie Martin

      That is dependent upon what the needs are regarding MPs for the camera and the job. 24 MP’s may not be the best for a top of the line DSLR. Also, designed by Nikon but manufactured by Sony. Not a bad thing at all.

      • Roland


        I replaced 3 bodies of D800 so far. All three had the left AF problem. Search the web if you want to know more about it. There is bunch of places where it’s explained in great details and how to test for it.

        D800 would be a great camera that deserves 5 starts when the AF issue is resolved. I decided to wait until this happens and to continue taking pictures with the gear I have. As many already mentioned here, what is really disappointing is Nikon’s avoidance of it and not the AF issue by itself.

        • Scurvy hesh

          stop lying.

        • David K

          Really? The D800 has some sort of focus problem? This is the first time I’ve ever heard of that.

          • azhar


        • Andrew

          Roland, so many Canon fanboys are claiming the same thing that we do not know who to believe. I am certain that Nikon would not manufacture the D800 if more than a 5% defect rate occurred, which is standard in many industries. In addition, I suspect that the left focus problem was an early manufacturing glitch that has been fixed.

          It appears that the pros are ignoring these unsubstantiated reports and are ordering their new D800 cameras and observing no left focus problem. Maybe that is why the D800 is selling out and continues to be back-ordered months after its release. When you see all of your colleagues are ordering the D800 with no left focus issues, it goes without saying that you too will ignore the claims.

          • Martin/LAFissuetroll

            No, this is not true.
            When You buy in shop, You have a chance too choose camera that is ok. When You buy it remotely, it is hit/miss game. Unfortunately miss is more common than I’d wish.

          • Sahaja

            Thom Hogan said something like 33% of the initial batches of the camera had the left af problem. Does that make him a Canon fanboy?

            • Am-Expat

              You are reading too much into what he wrote. He said a large number of people who contracted him had a problem with the left-most focus point. That does not mean much in the overall scope of total production.

              The OP obviously never had a D800 or he would have realized that even of the left most FP on some cameras need calibration, it is still the best image capturing machine in the DSLR world. Mine does not have any problem but even if it did, my shooting very rarely depends on outermost left side FP since I shoot events, portraits, landscapes and architecture. The problem was not even noticed for 6 weeks after it was in general distribution and 40,000 were in the hands of pros and hobbyists.

          • William

            This is totally wrong. Have you ever heard of a chappie called Thom Hogan? Rather than pooh-pooh customers who have a disappointing experience you should at least not contribute ill informed views which only irritate

            I’ve had two D800s both with the left side AF issue, but I don’t suppose you will believe me.

            Perhaps you will believe discussions by contributors to the Mansurovs, or Ming Thein (who was one of the lucky ones and who got his fixed eventually) or perhaps Lloyd Chambers or….etc etcc

            People putting down the legitimate experiences of others make me angry.

        • Mirabelle

          Rolland, you little troll. You never even touched the D800 let alone owned one.

        • ginga

          I wish you can be in my shoes and enjoy this great camera and everything it has to offer, but you can’t as monkeys like you still haven’t mastered DSLRs.

        • Rob

          Pics or it didn’t happen.

        • john stevens

          We don’t believe you…I have actually purchased a Nikon D800 4 weeks ago..and those problems are not showing up on mine..or my friends…..People jump on this lying campaign..cuz they are 100% Trolls.

          • St.

            What kind of tests did you perform to make yourself sure you don’t have a problem???

            • ShaoLynx

              A: Take pictures, of course! Macro, for instance.
              The alledged pb is quite clear to see, so they say; it’s not a ”little” pb.
              Not at all present in mine. Ordered it in march, got it in april.
              BTW: innocent until proven guilty, is the normal procedure, except with Trolls in C-major, off-course.
              Jeez, it must REALLY be stinging very hard on you C-fanboys to be so persistent in your trolling…
              Go use a C500 and be happy with it, costs a little more, though.
              Used any duct tape lately? 🙂

          • William

            Seems pretty clear to me who the real nasties on this site are. ( I mean you in case you didn’t get it)

        • Rudi

          Canon boy either still sleeping or not able to read?!

          • D800 still can’t AF

            Cheeses. What numskulls!

            The dedicated Nikon fanboys here would say that a brick with a Nikon logo was the greatest DSLR ever, as long as they had paid lots of $$$$ for it.

            Of course hat would only last until someone posted that Nikon had a newer and better brick…..

            • umesh

              Dej vu. But now with Nikon . Of course with canon it was rightful.

            • Old Dog

              @ umesh

              Ah, you mean Deja vu!

              One of my favorite albums, so apt “…cold soldiers of Nikon coming…….”

            • Lexicon

              @ Old Dog

              That pun works in English, not American.

              My the AF of my D800 still does not work right in any language.

            • Bob the Builder

              No, it just needs to be a newer brick to set the fanboys off !

        • Papi

          You dum-a$$, go and hide in the darkest corner you can find.

          • Mock Kenwell

            And he should play with his monkey_camera…Canon troll.

        • Mock Kenwell

          Lucky we have you Canon specialist to wise us all up with your drivel.

          Go and extingusih yourself somewhere, and dissapear….

        • Truth Will Out

          C’mon guys, we need to see the light here. The so called left af issue is not a problem at all. It’s the way Nikon intended the D800 to be.

          Otherwise D800s fresh from Sendai would not still have it. Would they?

          The misguided among our supportive community need to wise up and fall in line behind our chosen one.

        • another D800 user

          It’s so right. Nikons communication is ignoring the D800 AF-Problem and no real fix is available since 5 months now. All they do is adjustments with very different results, depending on sample. Those who don’t want to accept this facts are helping Nikon to ignore.

        • MikeV

          Why do you keep exchanging D800 bodies instead of just sending in one of the bodies with the issue to get serviced?

        • French Fries

          You’re lying.

          No need to exchange your camera. Nikon is fixing this problem via its service centers. You don’t know what your talking about.

        • Af issue anti-troll


          Any normal person would just get the problem fixed.

          IF you had done that you would have had a normal functioning camera months ago.

          But you are just full of BS and you are emplayed at Canon. They should fire you for being a total failure in trying to run a anti-D800 campaign.

          We look forward to read your post about returning your 4th camera which will make you look even dumber. And when you get to the 10th camera, we’ll make an annivesary-thread for you.

          Dumbass 😉

          • Inquisition

            OOOH! Seriously off message.

            You are admitting that there is an AF problem on the D800.

            Excommunicate that fanboy!

        • Gary

          Roland, please

          1) let us know where you bought your D800 and when
          2) publish some examples (with EXIF data)

          so that we can start to build a picture of how widespread the problem currently is with the D800.

          Thanks, Gary

          PS. to any potential trolls, I’m not doubting anyone. This is a serious request from someone who has a D800 but has not experienced these problems. I simply want to get some facts/evidence into the discussion.

        • Nikon – Doh!

          Know what you mean.

          The various D800 problems are more than enough to turn anyone to drink.

          • Nikon a Fashion stmt

            Nikon has truly lost it’s touch just like Nokia and Dell.

            Nikon is now a fashion statement. No longer follows: Function over Form.

            Sad that we are witnessing a mass exodus from Nikon to Canon.

      • tony

        LOL NO it is not designed by nikon. It is “Developed”, they have 2 different meanings. This sensor is designed and made by sony, Tweaked by nikon. Hardcore nikon fanboy much? take a look at all nikon sensor patents. There is no way in hell nikon designed this sensor.

    • USA

      Agree. More people will buy 24 MP than 36 MP for dslr no doubt about it!

      • EGGZZ

        but…..who cares ???

      • Scurvy hesh

        If you can afford the D800 why would you settle for less? Have you seen the images from that camera. They are breathtaking.

        • Andrew

          The pictures and videos of the D800 are the sharpest out there (and it includes stunning IQ); 36 MP gives you incredible pixel density for awesome sharpness; and yes, nothing else (whether $6,000 or less) comes close! But… at half the price and allegedly offered at $1,500, the D600 is going to be a top seller. Putting a full frame sensor and a relatively high pixel count (24 MP) into a D7000 sized body is a dream.

      • TnT

        for sure people would buy a 2nd body for DX mp density if you have a 24mp ff. But with the 36mp, I only need ONE!

        • Victor Hassleblood

          There are so many other (good) reasons to have a 2nd or even a 3rd body. In fact too many to list them.

    • Paul

      Instead of D800/D800E Nikon could’ve gone with a 24MP D800s and a 36MP D800x

      • …or a 24MP D800 for $2800 and a 36MP D4x for $6000.

        On both counts undercutting Canon on price and making a better profit.

        If the D600 comes in with 8fps, CAM3500, and below $2400, then Nikon is on to something. Sadly, it will probably have the 35pt AF and run 6fps. But a boy can dream, can’t he?

        • Rob

          I don’t think it will have 6FPS, unless you mean DX mode. There’s NO WAY it will have 8 FPS. That’s 33% more throughput than the D800 and 20% more than the $6000 D4. I think even 6FPS in FX would be too good unless it’s closer to $2500 than $2000.

          If it has 8fps I’m buying one immediately even though I hate the cheapo body.

          • Amen to your last point, but I also need to add: at least for throughput, 24mp at 10fps already exists in the Sony Nex7 and A77. That’s without AF, but they’re a different beast in the AF department.

            So technically, 8fps with 24mp (especially from a newer gen of sensor with less noise) is completely do-able from a processing standpoint.

            Oh, also look at the 5Dmkiii. That’s not much less than 24mp and it’s laying down 6fps.

    • Blog

      Well, who cares really…..Nikon proved they can design (Sony manufactured) a 36 mp sensor that leads all others…but most will go for the 24mp just because the age old reason that less is better (well sort of…but not)…they said we’d never fly, never….land on moon, never…need more than 640K and so on….but hey, look where we are…..and look where we are heading….and look at what we got.

      • Andrew

        Blog, you are dating yourself when you talk like this… in mid 1980, the IBM PC came with 640K of memory. I purchased in 1987 the IBM PS/2 Model 50 personal computer with a 20 MB hard drive and soon thereafter I purchased a Borland Turbo C compiler (yeah, this thing is used to write computer programs). Good old days!

        I agree with you, the fact that Nikon designs their sensors show how deeply technical the company is. They don’t just assemble products, they also do the serious engineering design work.

        • Chris

          Ahh Andrew, you were the one were you, MCA archiecture OS/2 and the death of IBM as we knew it.

          Let’s see if I can get this back on track. Ahem…

          OS/2 and MCA were nice technologies, but too little too late, [beat] a bit like a 24mpx sensor in a camera after the D800 has shown us the future.

          C (who is deeply in love with hs D4 and would buy an 800 if he had any money left)

          • Really!

            That’s perverse!

            I never envisaged how far the fanboys would go in their love of the latest Nikon.

            BTW how do you clean that off your D4 sensor?

          • Andrew

            Chris, yeah… that computer gave me such joy. I loved it and that Micro Channel Architecture (MCA) made me feel on top of the world! Compaq licensed MCA from IBM for $300 million and abandoned it – oh what travesty! Mentioning OS/2 is a whole n’other story… how a superior operating system was undermined by Windows 3.1 et al. Then Windows 95 came with its GPF (General Protection Fault error)… the worst operating system in history. It shows how an inferior product never dies if it is a monopoly.

            The D800 definitely has shown us the way… it is the modern equivalent of the IBM Model 50 (but I digress…). What Nikon has accomplished is stunning. They took an extremely high megapixel sensor (36MP) and have given us a camera with an arguably better ISO performance than the D700, a 12MP camera. But don’t be too hard on the D600, its 24MP sensor will not be lame, Nikon will surprise once again!

        • Am-Expat

          The original IBM PC had a whopping 16kb of memory which took up a large portion of the main processor board. I bought one, added the optional $500 upgrade to 256k. It ran at the amazing clock speed of 4.7Mhz. I used that in a network to run my recording studio, do all the scheduling for 3 studios, all the accounting etc. At about $5k per machine(back with $5k was a decent down payment on a 3 bedroom house), we set up 3 PCs and added a Corvus external hard drive that was the same size as the PC(10Mb monster) for $4200 and had a Arknet twisted pair network going. Considering the alternatives at the time, it saved $100,000 and continued to work for years.. We had a System 32 on lease for a while, and just the lease of the OS cost more than our little network. The big plus was not needing a full time staff programmer to get useful reports or output.
          Computers were expensive back then but if everyone had to pay on the same cost playing field, the cost did not seem too out of line. At the time, each tape deck costs more than a nice suburban home with swimming pool, and we needed 6. Each reel of 2″ tape was $150-175 and a project might require 30 rolls. But when costs are high, it is valued more and there was less resistance by the industry to pay for services that required such initial investment.
          We have just been spoiled by all the tremendous camera gear and lenses for such competitive prices. Starting a photography business is one of the cheapest small businesses in equipment costs.

      • Sky

        “Nikon proved they can design (Sony manufactured)” – HAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahah HAHAHAHAha HAHA HA HA
        You really believe Sony build this sensor on Nikon design? Stop fooling yourself! It’s Sony sensor designed by Sony, just like most of the others. If Nikon provided anything for it – it’d be how contacts are suppose to look. Period. Stop spreading this BS over and over again. Get over it – Nikon uses Sony sensors, been like that for ages.

        • jake

          right, you seem to be the only one rational person here, most of others all sound too die-hard Nikon fanboy.

        • SS

          Simple truth is that Nikon do very little sensor designing or try to innovate on that area. They just don’t have enough resources and need for that. And how do I know that? Well just look at the recent CMOS-sensor patents. Nikon have ~3 patents against the 50-100 patents from Sony. That’s why you know who is making the designing. I’m sorry Nikon fanboys if you really thought otherwise.

        • Reilly Diefenbach

          All het up about who builds a particular sensor?
          Need a life, there.

      • Sahaja

        @Blog , @Charlie Martin, @mikils – How do you know Nikon designed the sensor?
        It has properties similar to the D7000 sensor which was deigned by Sony and used in several Sony cameras, the Pentax K5 as well as the D7000.

        Nikon certainly designed the filters they put on top – which is enough for them to claim that they “developed” the sensor. But the actual chip is likely pure Sony.

        Do you mind when your PC has “Intel inside”?

        • Mock Kenwell

          To all you Canon fanboys whose lives are apparently so sad and empty that you must lie and obfuscate on a site you should have no interest in, I ask you this. If Nikon has nothing to do with Sony’s sensor development, why are all their cameras inferior to Nikon’s? Inferior in res, speed, dr, etc.?

          I anxiously await your childish and illiterate responses…

    • mikils

      Couldn’t agree less. Sales Number on D800 demonstrate 36 MP (designed by Nikon) are the good choice for a top of the line DRSL unless you do not take D4 into account. And for the competitors that can’t make it, tough.

      • jake

        mikils stop it , it is getting too ridiculous , it is a Sony deisgned Sony sensor , that’s all about it.
        no Nikon design or Nikon tech is in it.

        • Am-Expat

          Obviously Nikon does something different, they always come up with better performance and image quality than other makers with the same raw Sony die. I do not care who is the foundry but the results sure point to Nikon versions being better.

    • French Fries

      “24 Mp is a better choice for a «top of the line» DSLR”

      Still the 36MP sensor inside the D800 performs way better then Canons sensor inside the 5D MKIII.


  • KnightPhoto

    There’s some weird stuff going on between Nikon and Sony:
    – Nikon uses the 36mp sensor but Sony doesn’t
    – RX100 comes out in 1 inch size same as Nikon 1 but doesnt include on sensor PDAF
    – J2 comes out but not with RX100 sensor
    – NEX-5R comes out with on sensor PDAF but remains at lessor mp amount of 16mp. I wonder if D400 would share this sensor ? I would love on-sensor PDAF on a DSLR for use in live view. Or maybe the D400 will go Mirrorless?

    • Yoan

      1) As far as I remember, Nikon have paid Sony so that they could use their sensor exclusively for a year.
      4) There’s no way D400 will be mirrorless. Mirrorless cameras are now taking the place of low-end DSLRs (that’s why the difference between D3100 and D3100 is that big).
      My guess is the next top-of-the-line DX camera would be a successor to both the D300 and D7000.

      • gt

        that’s my guess too. exclusivity agreement in their license.

  • Eric

    They are saying the price point of the A99 will be $2800. If the new D600 is going to compete with it will it also be around $2800. Only 200 less than the D800??

    • Jake

      The D600 will not compete with the A99. The A99 will be Sony’s top-of-the-line pro camera. The D600 will be a low-end full-frame camera.

      • nuno santacana

        I still prefer D600. So is that 24 MPx Sony sensor the same that the one in D600? If so we can expect better High-ISO performance than D800. (Because if Sony uses it in their best camera means that probably is the best they can do)

        • Andrew

          Yeah, I don’t see Nikon putting a 24 MP sensor in the D600 and wasting its high ISO potential. The D800 will always command a high price premium because of its industry leading 36 MP sensor. Remember the D3x? It came with a 24 MP sensor in a professional body and was priced at $8,000. People who need the sharpest possible picture and a professional body to boot are always willing to pay a premium. Having said that, the D800 at $3,000 is a steal for this caliber of camera. So my point is that the D600 should have a better low light performance than the D800. I believe this (high ISO) is one area where it (i.e. D600) will excel.

          • Michael

            So far, reports show that D800 and D4 shares similar low light performance, while D3x (supposedly D600 will use that sensor) has about half a stop worse than both D800 and D4. D3s is still the best in terms of low light performance, beating both D800 and D4 by about 1/6th of a stop, which shouldn’t be noticeable. Having a sharper (with more resolution, you get sharper pictures) picture allow you to perform more noise reduction before turning it into a smudge, so in practice, a higher resolution sensor could actually be better in low light.

        • jake

          no for sure , cause the Sony 24mp for their own camera uses sensor based PDAF and the Nikon one does not.

        • Sahaja

          We now know that the 36mp sensor in the Nikon D800 is made by Sony. However we don’t yet know whether or not the 24mp sensor in the D600 will be the same 24mp sensor Sony are using in their own A99.

          My hope is that the D600 sensor is made by Sony – because they currently make very good sensors.

    • I think the pricing here will be very interesting.
      a99 is the top level dslr, and D600 is entry level of full frame, I don’t think they will have the same price.

      it’s more reasonable for D600 to be $1500~$2000. Then it’s almost at the middle between D800 and D7000(D7100).

      for the a99, it should be almost at the same price level as D800 and 5D3.
      So, i agree $2800 makes senes..

      • Andrew

        I believe the D7000 and D800 could have four middles… a D400 16MP DX sensor with 10 fps and ISO 6400, a D7100 with a 24MP DX sensor and a larger buffer etc., a D600 with 24MP full frame (FX) sensor, and a baby D4 with the same 16 MP FX sensor as the D4. The bottom line is that after the release of the D600, we will all come back to Nikon Rumors for more rumors!

      • Sky

        A99 is designed to compete with Canon 5D mk3 – and I suppose it’ll crush it easily in every respect. It’s not a competition to D600 in any way, besides using same sensor.

        • Am-Expat

          Crush the 5DIII? Sure, as soon as Sony gets serious about pro level still photography. They do not have a “system” approach which results in pros investing in either Nikon, Canon or one of the narrow range MF brands.
          Every Sony camera has been touted as the next big thing yet when released, it turns out to be underwhelming. It is as if they can’t shake their consumer market philosophy that longer feature lists trump usability, actual performance and long term support.
          Every friend who bought a Sony camera soon after replaced it with something else.

  • Ken Hogan

    Because Sony knows none of its lenses can resolve beyond 24MP.

  • BillM

    hmm, that IS interesting. I wonder if this will be a corrected version of D800 on the focusing issue.

    • Lars Grepstad

      How many have had “the focusing issue”? I have a D800 which focus perfectly well, nobody else I know have had it..

      • Geoff_K

        Mine backfocused across all 3 points. had to -20 to get about spot on, but NO left focus problem. Mine is going back and I wait for another.

        • Gary

          Geoff_K, please

          1) let us know where you bought your D800 and when
          2) publish some examples (with EXIF data)

          so that we can start to build a picture of how widespread the current problem currently is with the D800.

          Thanks, Gary

          PS. to any potential trolls, I’m not doubting anyone. This is a serious request from someone who has a D800 but has not experienced these problems. I simply want to get some facts/evidence into the discussion.

    • umesh

      And I am really getting drunk here !!!!!
      Why don’t the people with left AF problem post the pics compulsary
      just so we know that they are not trolls.

  • Jerry Robinson

    I found this interesting from the Chipworks site: “At the heart of the D800 is a brand new Nikon-developed sensor that boasts 36.8 million pixels in total, with a maximum effective output of 36.3MP. Its ISO span more…”

    What they are saying is that Sony is manufacturing it but Nikon designed it. I would guess that the reason that Sony isn’t using it is that Nikon owns the chip design and Sony lacks the right.

    • Blog

      +100 agree

    • Jabs


      Nikon = sensor designer
      Sony = sensor designer
      Sony = FAB that makes sensors often for Nikon as in they manufacture a sensor to Nikon’s proprietary specifications and design. Basically Nikon hires them to make their own sensors as in ‘fabbing’ them for them in quantity.

    • Drazen B.

      Spot on brother.
      That’s what I learned as well.

    • Rudi

      Same with CD or DVD producton. If you create a CD you need to get it pressed in some factory. But this doesn’t mean that the factory own the rights or can use the CDs. Easy as that.

    • Victor Hassleblood

      Who cares?

      I know that my Nikon D800E performs just great. And I know there is no other DSLR (except MF cameras) out there to compete with it. I couldn’t care less about who made the battery or who designed the sensor.

  • C

    I found discussion of Sony / Nikon sensor uninteresting, don’t know who will feel the same?

    • Rudi

      Yup, as stated above. If you produce a music CD nobody will tell/is interested in that the CD is pressed in factory xyz.

  • Hmm. This is kind of interesting. This means it’s not the D600 sensor. No way Nikon would let Sony put out a camera with its sensor before Nikon does. Even if they did manufacture it. Hmm. Let’s see how this one performs. Looking forward to seeing how the D600 does as well.


    • Rock Endwell

      Can’t D600 use Sony’s 24 MP sensor?

  • Mike

    Still a Nikon camera. Just like it was when the ‘sensor’ was film. Just like an Apple iPad with 30% Samsung guts is still an Apple product. Expeed is actually a Sanyo chip. i.e. who cares?

  • Spy Black

    As I understand it, Nikon is merely using a Sony fab plant to manufacture the sensor. It is a business agreement. Nikon designed the sensor and has the rights to it, the Sony plant is merely licensed to manufacture it. Therefore Nikon is NOT using a “Sony” sensor. Sony cannot use Nikon’s technology in their own product line, and vice-versa, unless they cross-license (a possibility). Sony MAY decide to license the technology from Nikon and use it, but I doubt it. Not invented here, so to speak. Sony will design their own sensor

    That is the reason why the Sony 24 meg sensor is different from the Nikon 24 meg sensor. They are two different designs, two different sensors. They are merely manufactured at the same fab plant.

    • Sky

      Nope, not at all. Sony designed sensor, owns all the rights to it, but Nikon bought rights to use it all by itself for 1 year. It was known even before first rumours about D800 emerged.
      You think that Nikon designed this sensor? So how do you explain the fact that Sony got 64 patents for CMOS sensors last year while Nikon got something close to none? And portfolio of Sony patents related to sensors design in many, many times larger then the one of Nikon? The fact that Sony is releasing camera with this sensor in next year, when the deal expires.
      Sorry if it saddens you, but Nikon DOES use Sony sensor. Nikon is using Sony technology as a key in their DSLRs, although they build up layers on top of it – like using different AA filter, AD converter, image processor, Sony also makes sensor towards Nikon requirements, like preparing contacts in a way that’s compatible with subsystems Nikon bought from other companies. That’s why they advertise it as “designed” by Nikon, it doesn’t have anything to deal with Nikon using it’s own technologies for sensor though.
      The “not invented here” pattern doesn’t have anything to deal with manufacturing world where it’s all about getting best results for lowest costs.
      Just look at Apple – they’re using Samsung components all over their phones or tablets – yet they’re still Apple. Just like Nikon camera is still Nikon – with or without Sony sensor. Don’t cry. Nikon made a very wise choice using Sony tech – it’s currently the best thing on market.

      • Spy Black

        Well, that was merely my understanding of it, but you appear to know better. I’m not “saddened” by this, it was merely my apparent misunderstanding.

  • haha

    I really don’t understand the mentality of some photographers, or at least I assume all that visit this site are photographers.

    Just because some company manufactures the chip does not mean they own it or designed it or have rights to use it.

    It is the same as someone engage you to shoot an assignment for them, they give you the concept and you just shoot it. The rights of the photo belongs to who? The person who hires you or you?

    • Legally the rights belong to the photographer unless he/she explicitly signs those rights away. It would better to use a wedding as an example. Even though the photographer fab’d the image, so to speak, it was still the wedded couple’s wedding design (or the wedding planner’s). The photographer is not the brains behind the wedding typically.

      I think your core point is the designer is the effectual brains behind the sensor. That point is correct.

    • Jabs


      You are talking or comparing apples and/to oranges perhaps.
      A sensor is a mere PART of a camera.
      A sensor is connected to lots of sub-systems that make up a final digital camera.

      For example:
      Sony makes the camera sensor in the iPhone yet it is an Apple product as they do the final assembly and have a patent on their own designs, as Samsung just found out.
      Therefore, a component manufacturer might have made a sensor which they have patented, BUT they sell this to others who make products containing that and the whole item is thus patented as being made by others.

      Best example I can think of would be a Company making apple pies with Washington State apples and then say that the farmer who grew the apples now made the pie – No!

      Sensor = component
      Camera = finished product containing these components and is a product all its own!

  • I like these posts, keep them coming!

  • D4ve

    All I see are a bunch of bitter trolls.

    I’m sorry you couldn’t afford the best DSLR of all time. A future legend doesn’t come cheap.

    Feel free to keep reassuring each other that 24 mp is more than enough.

    • Mike

      I have a D3s and D800. They each have their strengths. I’m happier than a pig in poop.

      • Jeff

        D3s and D800e here. Different pig; same poop.

        • Drazen B.

          D700 and D800 here. Different pig, different poop.


          • umesh

            Only D800e as of now. D400 too when comes. Different pig, different poop.

  • Jabs

    I suspect that Nikon might have made an exclusive deal with Sony to use their 36meg sensor -OR- Sony was not able to use its own sensor as their analog pipeline and the usual 12 bit instead of 14 bit output they use would have probably made a ‘messy’ output at 36 megapixels.

    Everyone needs a digital pipeline like Nikon has in Expeed 3, as it has more channels plus multiple processors, so maybe Nikon alone is now able to process this amount of data and then get clean files PLUS clean Video also.

  • Yannick

    It’s funny to read you complaining about the D800 and it’s 36 mpx, just try one (without the focus issue) and I’m sure you will never want to go back! …the fps is not good to do sports? Put on your 70-200 and shot in dx mode at 16mp. The IQ will be similar to the one on a D700 and you will be at 6 fps with a grip. The way I shoot, more than 5fps is a waste, but if you like to load a CF/SD card, go get a D4 or a 1DX.

    Please try one and stop complaining.
    Downsize a 36mpx at 16 mpx and the iso noise will be pretty similar to the one on a D3s…

    • Rob

      I agree the 36MP is great. I don’t always get the framing just right and to be able to notably crop and still have more than enough resolution for an 8×10 really helps.

      I disagree about sports though. Some sports you can time shots and could get by with 2fps, let alone 4fps. In others when you are literally guessing when a player will make a move that will give you the shot, even 6fps is tough. In DX mode you lose the narrow depth of field and lose the high ISO ability (downsizing). At that point you might as well use a D7000, or better yet D300S.

  • Richard

    Well I have a D800E with a 5 year extended warranty, and I dont even bother to test the left AF point. I am blown away by the image quality only using the center AF point, that’s it. I dont have time to test it anyways, the images look good. I may test it one day when I have time, and if I find out there is left AF point issue I can just get it fixed. Hopefully by then Nikon already has release a recall of some sort saves me all the time doing the testing to see if my copy is bad or good.

    • Michel

      Hic! I has ansh itsh nosh gud, tink I goesh to sliep npw.. Wash a foucus isu??

    • umesh

      Hey . Richard is on our side . Read it again. Don’ get drunk. He He!!!

  • I ordered my D800 2 months ago.
    I love it, no left focusing issue.
    Love the Mega pixels and ISO performance.

    • Drazen B.

      Careful there, those naysayers and trolls will quickly jump and try to tell you that your D800 is definitely faulty and that you don’t know how to check for the left A/F issue 🙂


      • Troll nope

        And call him a naive Nikon fanboy.

    • Ric


  • AM

    Great! Now I can go to sleep placidly.

  • Take a look. this is an interesting article.

    Nikon and Sony must have a strange marriage. The article states that Nikon did not have any CMOS sensor patents last year while Sony had over 60. I don’t know that their arrangements are but competition is good for photography. I hope camera companies keep pushing each other to put out some amazing stuff.

  • Ablett

    Apparently Sony’s plant in Kyushu make their large size senors.,130.839014

  • Aris

    Interesting to know how world class tech giants work together at the same time they compete against each other. It goes agains “bakery store” common sense but has been the rule in high tech for many decades now.

    There is a little idealistic and naive dreamer within many of us, who’d like to fantasise self sufficient producers doing it all on their own from drilling the oil to produce the plastics, from mining the magnesium to forging the metal, from melting the silica to produce the glass, from manufacturing the shop floor machines to producing cartons for packages, etc, etc. The kind of fantasies that feed the Leica myths for example.

    Industry is completely intertwined and great products come from great companies collaborating with each other on agreed designs at agreed prices. Buyers and sellers and producers. Nice to find out who produces what component though.

    Seems Sony have fantastic know how and production capabilities when it comes to sensors, and Nikon sure know a thing or two about how to design a camera and how components need to perform. And it is good for us that neither can claim being the only one best in class.

    All that said, one more here with a perfectly working D800. I feel spoiled now by the output the D800 enables me to generate, and by the ease of gaining such quality. It beats the pants out of absolutely everything I ever owned (and I have owned way too many systems in the last 4 decades). Never encountered anything indicating any AF weak spot whatsoever.

    All I want now is exactly the same 36MP high DR performance in a full frame “compact” AF camera with 35mm f2 lens. A 2012 35Ti. A bit smaller and much lighter than a M9 + ‘cron. Why is that simple and obvious concept nowhere to be seen?

  • canonononon

    nikon have few good cameras, shame they dont produce their own sensors
    sony should work on their image processors though…


    • Papi

      Don’t drink before posting, please.

    • Rudi

      Sony even had a chip factory before they bought Minolta (or whatever) to produce DSLR.

      What do you think electronic would cost if each company that sell electronics needs their own chip factory?

      As I’d like to say, it’s the music that matters not the CD as a medium!

    • umesh

      Canon no no no.
      Don’t take it in the wrong way. Canons are great too.
      It’s just thaat you are a star wars fan in a trekkie joint.

      • I am your father

        I though we were the star wars guys. Aren’t we called “the dark side”?

  • mr. sarge

    Those who kept saying that the sensor is Nikon design, while being manufactured by Sony, keep on being delusional.

    The IMX part number is clearly a Sony product that is designed and produced by Sony. All imaging sensors produced by Sony (dslr, compacts, mobile phone, tablets, webcams, etc.) indicates the IMX naming scheme. If it was Nikon design it would have a different naming scheme, regardless where Nikon choose to manufacture it.

    • niceguy

      spot on mr sarge! 🙂

  • jake

    Yoan, below is what you wrote.

    1) As far as I remember, Nikon have paid Sony so that they could use their sensor exclusively for a year.

    do you really believe this fantasy?
    if you do , what can I say? stop fooling yourself , really this is a pure Sony sensor based on their own design.

    any way, one thing you are right about is that Nikon is slowly moving away from Sony.
    if you wait , there will be many Nikon sensor based Nikon cameras coming soon.
    but the D800 sensor is Sony , no doub about it.

    • DG

      You are 100% correct. But I would like to add some though.. Sony makes 100% of their sensor, they are designing it and manufacturing it. May be they will sell them to Canon too..who knows, but a sensor is not just all a camera has. Its more like an engine for a car. Other than engine a car needs much more parts for it to ride make smoother etc etc.

      Here the intersting part is Nikon knows how to play with Sony’s sensor more than Sony. Nikon has better image processing chips built by themselves to maximum utilize the Sony sensor. If sony comes up with better image processing chips, then I can Say, Yes Sony is the best. So far, Nikon is maximum utilizing the capabilities of Sony with their advanced image processing techniques.

  • Cyclop

    I just bought 16-35 f4 last week but nvr did a left focusing test on my 18th July version D800, let me have a test tomorrow and reporting here again^^. by the way, it’s really not so nessesary to use that left focus point when shooting a wide angle… It could be very important to some people but definitely not me. And also let me think overnight which situation I need the left fp when shooting wide angle .

    • Cyclop

      Ok, update, it works flawlessly between 16-35 and d800. But I still don’t get it, what situation that must need to use only the left point with a uwa lens?

      • Pablo Ricasso

        Good question, Cyclop. Possibly you have given the best possible answer.

  • an onymous

    Quite a boring article but I guess due to the vast amount of non-tech savvy people it’s kind of a delicate subject to speculate over.

    Nikon doesn’t have the in-house knowledge to design sensors on the substrate level, all Nikon can do is make up a list of speces Nikon expects from the sensor such as electrical/optical characteristics and physical layout/pin-out and then consulting with the Sony people over its feasibility, it’s that boring so let’s get over it who “designs” the Nikon sensors.

  • eduguedes

    … yeah, it’s made by Sony, but developed by Nikon… as mentioned by Chipworks:

    “At the heart of the D800 is a brand new Nikon-developed sensor that boasts 36.8 million pixels in total, with a maximum effective output of 36.3MP. Its ISO span is 100-6400 natively, expandable to a range of 50 (‘Lo1’) to 25,600 (‘Hi2’) equivalent. Nikon’s highest resolution DSLR to date, the D800 more than doubles the pixel count of the flagship D4”

  • Firefox

    Just curious then, Sony and Nikon are both selling DSLR with similar price point. That means they’re competitor, but Sony is designing and manufacturing a chip for Nikon. Wouldn’t there be a conflict of interest? What is the incentive for Sony to put in the top technology for Nikon, and not holding back for their own use in the “top of the line” DSLR?

    • Excellent question. The answer is that Sony almost certainly has different development and engineering teams working on the Nikon sensors and the Sony versions, with strict instructions and processes for keeping the two engineering efforts separate. Many software companies do that, so undoubtedly hardware companies do that as well.

      • More specifically, Sony likely has two divisions – one for its core engineering and one being a partner engineering organization. Nikon sensors would be handled by partner engineering and Sony sensors by its core organization.

    • Fishnose

      The incentive for Sony would be that they can make plenty of money manufacturing sensors and chips for other people. Nikon sell a helluva lot more DSLRs than Sony do.

      This is much like the fact that Korean LG makes the displays for Apple’s iPhone.

  • R8R

    I want to know the company who makes the machines that Sony uses to make the sensors. Even more, I want to know who designed the machines that Sony uses to make the sensors. I also want to know if the company who makes the machines that Sony uses to make the sensors actually makes the machines, or if they are sub-contracted. If they are sub-contracted, I want to know who the sub-contractors are that make the machines for the company that makes the machines that Sony uses to make the sensors. Then we’d really get to the bottom of this.

    • Dave in the USA

      So, you want to see if they are using conflict-fabs?

    • Sahaja

      Sony probably use Nikon steppers .

  • Fishnose

    admin, please do something about the idiot troll (there may be more than one, but I doubt it) screwing up all threads in here. Please….
    If all else fails, stop ALL comments as it’s completely meaningless the way things are now.

    • I was very busy the last 2-3 weeks. I am back to normal now and will be moderating the comments few times a day.

  • R8R

    Note: I was not meaning to troll with my post, only to reflect how silly many of these “who made what” comments.

    In the end, who really cares who made the parts? You spend 10x more money on a car, do you chase down the actual designer and manufacturer of all the parts under the hood? I didn’t think so. Then why is a a tiny chip in a camera that will be obsolete in a few years such a big deal?

    I wouldn’t care if Coca Cola made the damn sensor, as long as it worked.

    Get out and take some pictures.

  • SNRatio

    I think there should be applied a much more aggressive moderation policy here. Much of the comments on this post are about D800 focusing issues – has nothing to do whatsoever with the sensor manufacturing.

    I can’t really see that posts about silliness of the theme has got to do here either. It is self-evident that gear-interested people will go into and discuss a lot of details that others may find absolutely nonsensical. But so what? Just wipe out their complaints.

    Some in-depth knowledge about the characteristics of the single most important part of my camera doesn’t hurt me, at least. YMMV, but if you can’t contribute, shut up! 😉

    • Fishnose

      The ‘D800 focus issue’ troll is the one I’m talking about. He’s EVERYWHERE, screwing up every single thread.
      Anyone who is discussing the actual topic is just fine, regardless of opinion – it’s hard sometimes to even FIND those comments that are actually on-topic.

  • RealityCheck

    Really? We need some xyz company to ‘confirm’ that a sensor is not made by Nikon?
    To help alleviate any confusion (for those with brand impaired vision) Nikon DOES NOT make sensors – PERIOD.

    It is true though you will see silicon with different model numbers and manufacturing codes even though they are produced in the same fabrication facility (that is required by the International Organization for Standardization) but understand the codes are not technically used to indicate who designed the circuitry, if at all – the components are labeled in such a way to identify the items use, contractually.

    To give you a better understanding, in the context of Sony sensors and Nikon cameras, it does not matter what level of design influence Nikon or Sony had in the production of xxmp sensor, the part/model number indicates whether it is a sensor that Sony can/will use in their own products – versus – a Nikon part/model number to show it is exclusive to Nikon and the manufacturer (Sony) agrees they will not use in their own products.

    Why anyone would worry about who physically manufacturers the sensor is beyond logic. There are only a handful of electronic companies who exclusively manufacturer every component of their product, the camera industry is no different. If it matters to you, certainly to the point of trying to argue Nikon making their own sensors, you need to find a new consumer oriented hobby. At the very least stop considering yourself a photographer.

  • Brent

    Andrew, the video is better than the D800? Please shut your a$$, I mean mouth because I’ve used both and the 5d3 is MUCH better at handling low light for video. Also, I found that using the D800’s LCD was a problem for me achieving perfect focus. It wasn’t as sharp and it was choppy in live view! (using the 50 1.4G) I’m not trying to bash the D800 and I have a friend who uses it to help me shoot weddings and it’s nice, just not as nice as you say. Also, just because the D800 has better DR doesn’t make it a better camera. watch these videos and tell me that the D800 IS SO MUCH BETTER……

  • Brent

    I haven’t trolled here in over 4 months and was curious what was going on with Nikon. Looks like the same fanboys pleasuring themselves to their D800’s over and over and over and over and over……

  • Brent

    Meant to say the video is better than the 5D3 in the first sentence, not the D800.

  • felipe

    Hi, I am thinking to buy a new camera. I am between the Sony a99 and the D800….any advice?

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