Interesting news: apparently, the sensor in the new Nikon D5200 DSLR is made by Toshiba. Why is this interesting? Quite simply because in the past Nikon has been putting Sony-made sensors into their higher-end DSLRs, and reviews have shown that these were (are?) class leading. So how come Nikon went to Toshiba for the D5200′s sensor? Well, maybe it’s not so much Nikon that went to Toshiba, but Toshiba that went to Nikon?
According to a Chipworks quote over at Nikon Rumors, Toshiba is a newcomer on the APS-C sized sensor market. However, just recently we reported about Toshiba’s latest compact sensor which is upping the ante by cramming 20 million pixels onto a 1/2.33″ type sensor surface. Achieving good results with pixels that small is only possible when the whole architecture of the sensor is improved. Maybe Toshiba has been developing some new technology that allows for better results out of smaller pixels?
This assumption would explain why Nikon is using a Toshiba sensor in the D5200 — 24 megapixels on APS-C is as much as 48 megapixels on full-frame, which means pixels one quarter the size of those on a 12 megapixel full-frame sensor (as in the D3S, which was the low light king for quite some time.) Which is comparatively small for DSLR pixels. And we know from our experience with the Nikon D3200 (which also uses a 24 megapixel sensor, but one made by Nikon themselves) that this is really pushing the limits when it comes to signal-to-noise ratio.
Also, Toshiba is aiming for larger market share, as we reported in our article linked to above. So who knows, maybe it was Toshiba who approached Nikon after all? This is all just speculation, though, and we won’t know how the Toshiba sensor performs compared to other comparable APS-C sensors until the first reviews of the D5200 start popping up.
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