Friday, March 06, 2009

Why Sony Is Late with Fast Cameras

Tech-On discusses the reasons why Sony camera division is so late with releasing fast cameras based on fast Sony sensor, much behind Casio. The first Sony fast camera, DSC-HX1, is just announced at PMA 2009. The camera is based on 9.1MP, 1.7um pixel sensor providing 10fps with fast mechanical shutter.

Tech-On says the largest factor is a decision made by Sony's digital camera division, which considered that "the specifications of the first-generation product are not sufficient to develop a good seller and Sony should wait the release of the second-generation product (pixel pitch: 1.7um)." The resolution of the first-generation CMOS sensor is 6.6MP. It is difficult to sell cameras that offer fewer pixels than the lowest priced cameras, yet are far more expensive.

Furthermore, Sony's digital camera division thought that the first-generation product has some problems in terms of image quality. It has a pixel pitch as large as 2.5um, but the noise is not substantially low compared with smaller pitched CCDs used in other manufacturers' high zoom cameras. Therefore, "a very clear image," a selling point that can be easily understood by consumers, was not attained.

The noise level of the second-generation product (pixel pitch: 1.7um) is lower than that of CCDs with the same pitch, according to Sony. CCDs incorporated in other manufacturers' high zoom cameras have a pixel pitch of about 1.5um.

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