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Old 20-02-2015, 08:40 AM
Poita (Peter)
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Sony discontinuing all CCD sensor supplies.

I received this email yesterday from our sensor supplier (I am part of a development group for integrating the IMX sensors into machine-vision cameras).
It is bad news for the Astro-Imaging community
I am checking with Sony as to the validity of it, but the supplier has confirmed the news this morning.


Subject: SONY to discontinue their entire CCD image sensor products portfolio
Importance: High

Dear Customer,

This message is to inform that SONY has decided to discontinue all their CCD image sensor products.
Attached please find the official letters from SONY!

The CCD End-of-Life plan of SONY is the following:
- customers need to order their last-time-buy quantities by end of Aug 2015
- SONY fab will shut-down March 2017
- deliveries can be made until March 2020
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Old 20-02-2015, 09:41 AM
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Yikes let's hope not

Mike
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Old 20-02-2015, 09:58 AM
Poita (Peter)
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I just got clarification, it is true for CCD, but they will continue to make CMOS.
Apparently the problem is availability of the dyes used in CCD production.
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Old 20-02-2015, 10:05 AM
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rustigsmed (Russell)
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wow - that's massive news!
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Old 20-02-2015, 10:26 AM
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Do they have other factories other than the Kagoshima plant?

It's huge news otherwise. It looks like it's CMOS only for the future for high sensitivity, low noise chips. Lucky I just bought a brand new CCD - will be a keeper!
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Old 20-02-2015, 01:52 PM
Poita (Peter)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amaranthus View Post
Do they have other factories other than the Kagoshima plant?

It's huge news otherwise. It looks like it's CMOS only for the future for high sensitivity, low noise chips. Lucky I just bought a brand new CCD - will be a keeper!
As far as I am aware, they do not for CCD manufacture.

I'm guessing they are also making huge strides with global shutter CMOS so see that as their future.
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Old 20-02-2015, 03:14 PM
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What a pity - I was hoping Sony would continue production
& make even better chips that were larger & with up to 90% efficiency.
This is a real shame.
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Old 20-02-2015, 04:14 PM
gary
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Hi Peter,

A quick Google reveals that they did have CCD manufacturing taking
place at other wafer lines in Japan and elsewhere including on lines that
had 300mm wafers.

For example, see this map that Sony released January 29 2014 that marks CCD wafer lines -
http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Press/201401/14-016E/

On Feb 18 2015 they announced their ICX816AQG, a 6.84M-effective pixel color CCD image sensor targeted at low light applications such as traffic
monitoring. See -
http://www.sony.net/Products/SC-HP/n.../icx816_e.html

It may transpire they are simply closing an aging 200mm wafer line
and with it EOL'ing the devices that happened to be manufactured there.

I would check with your Sony parts supplier to determine if the specific parts
you were ordering will be affected.

Recent article here about their Pregius global shutter CMOS sensors - http://www.imveurope.com/features/fe...feature_id=280

Best regards

Gary
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Old 20-02-2015, 08:52 PM
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What does this mean for those astro CCD camera manufacturers who use a lot of Sony chips? Do they buy up big in a last-time-buy order. Then what? Wow...

Last edited by Logieberra; 21-02-2015 at 05:39 AM.
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Old 20-02-2015, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpal View Post
What a pity - I was hoping Sony would continue production
& make even better chips that were larger & with up to 90% efficiency.
This is a real shame.
I also wanted such advanced cameras to be cheaper than the cameras we use now -

so much for that dream.
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Old 21-02-2015, 05:33 AM
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Its a bit premature. Sony is a large company and its undergoing restructuring as its not viable as it is.

Its also the worlds largest CCD manufacturer so I would double check the truth of that report. I don't see it anywhere else on the net apart from a reference to this thread.

Greg.
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Old 21-02-2015, 07:41 AM
Alchemy (Clive)
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Don't see a problem, if Sony discontinues, probably some Chinese company will pick up the pieces, or another will add to its line, supply and demand will create the market, and anyways technology is continually changing, I'm sure they were upset when they stopped making glass plates for photography, or Kodak stopping film was an end of an era, no doubt some yet to be revealed method of imaging will be better in the future, the fact someone drops out creates opportunities and possibilities for others.

20 odd years ago a 1-2 megapixel camera was incredibly expensive, now everyone has one 10 times better in their phone which is a disposable product.

The future WILL give us products that make today's best chips redundant.
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Old 21-02-2015, 08:03 AM
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I hope so
A bit off topic, but in the RC heli/plane market there was a wonderful German manufacturer of high-end charging gear, ESCs etc - Schulze (http://www.matthias-schulze-elektron...e/index_uk.htm). They went under. I have one of their chargers (ISL6330DE) and 15 years later it still works beautifully. I've also dabbled with Chinese-made chargers over the years. All trash. All crapped out and now in landfill... Yes, a very different product to our CCDs, but you get my point. Hope it all works out for our little astro corner of the world
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Old 21-02-2015, 09:47 AM
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Yeah just when Sony has started to put out some high end astro sensors with very high QE and super low noise.

I was hoping they would bring out an APSc sized sensor version of the ICX694/814/834 family.

But per that article the crossover from CCD to more advanced CMOS has already happened. It just hasn't filtered down to our uses.

Lets hope the True Sense CCDs continue as they seem to be sold around a bit and a tad unstable. If you go to the new owners website, all those Kodak CCDs are some totally minor drop menu in a more vast set of menu items on their website. So it does not seem to be a big part of their business at all.

Greg.
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Old 22-02-2015, 09:14 AM
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So, let's see. I have 3 cameras with Sony CCDs. Do I "assume" my CCDS will just work forever (or as long as I think the camera's useful life is)? Do I assume technology will move so quickly that I will want to upgrade before they die (or I do!)? Or, do I buy potential replacement sensors while I still can in case one or more die? Or take a punt and "hope" that if I have a problem down the line a CCD at a reasonable price can be found? It also puts the resale value in some jeopardy, though perhaps if the camera were sold in the future - along with a replacement CCD - the value would hold or perhaps not drop to zero. But then CCDs are expensive so it's a pretty big gamble any way one looks at it.

What do you think? Too much worry just now?

Peter
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Old 22-02-2015, 09:54 AM
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CCDs do deteriorate over time but from my experience with various CCDs its pretty minor. The KAF6303E seems to be one of the worst for deterioration in my limited experience.

You may see a few new hot pixels over time or perhaps a vertical line on a Kodak KAF sensor that dark subtract out but as far as a failure goes that seems pretty rare.

In fact the only one I am aware of is an STL11 where the cover slip cracked (I think the owner had an accident with the camera and it cracked the cover slip). Otherwise its more like USB 2 ports damaging (USB 2 ports are a pretty flimsy design).

So I wouldn't worry about it. In fact it may mean resale goes up as there is no new version or later version to replace it. A bit like an AP scope.

Also per that article, if indeed Sony is ceasing all CCD sensor production (not yet verified as there is no other reference to it on the net I can find)
then their CMOS hybrid sensor sounds promising as does sCMOS sensors.
Its probably good news for True Sense (whoever owns it now).

I'd love an APSc sized Sony 77% 2 electron read noise CCD though. It would suit my CDK perfectly.

Greg.
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Old 22-02-2015, 04:41 PM
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From 2 Feb 2015:

http://www.electronicsweekly.com/new...nsors-2015-02/

Sony is to invest $900 million to boost CMOS imaging sensor production. The investment will boost sensor production at three fabs from 60k wpm to 80k wpm by the end of June 2016. The boost will require a shift of 220 fab staff from other semiconductor operations.

Last edited by Logieberra; 23-02-2015 at 06:16 AM.
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