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plasticman

Pity the M8 wasn't maintained as an entry-level digital M

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That's not how I read it. Jaap is talking about larger sensors being likely to produce a lower yield than smaller ones, not about Kodak struggling to make sensors.

 

 

Let's take an imaginary sensor that is 1cm square, and the average number of 'flaws' in the manufacturing process is 1 flaw per 5 square centimetres. That means that on average for every 5 sensors you manufacture you'll throw away 1 - so that's an 80% yield.

 

Now let's say you are making a larger sensor - lets say it's 2.5 square centimetres. If the process introduces the same number of flaws as earlier, one out of every two sensors will be rejected - that's a 50% yield.

 

Can you see the point I - and I think Jaap - is trying to make? If there's something wrong in my logic please educate me.

 

Now I realise this is a simplification - I haven't defined what a flaw is other than it's sufficient to render a sensor unusable - and it assumes the manufacturing process is similar for both sensors.

 

This is an old page, but have a look here for another explanation of why chip manufacturing costs increase as sensor size increases - you want to page down to "Cost of producing digital sensors"...

 

Digital Camera Sensor Sizes: How it Influences Your Photography

 

I'm surprised you weren't aware of this sort of thing since you were in a related industry - of course it's always possible that the maths used to calculate the imact of sensor size on yield has changed recently.

 

Steve I spent 14 years in the SC industry, and was European Technical Director for Texas Instruments SC, having previously been the buiness manager for w/wide telecom SC products. I do understand about yields, packaging etc.

 

First I agree that:

  • IF the defect density is the same,
  • IF the process is identical,
  • IF the wafer size is identical,
  • IF the wafer fab is the same
  • IF the probe test is identical

......Then chips with a larger area will yield less good chips than ones of a smaller area. However there are 5 "IFs" above! Any one of those IF's if not met can dramatically change the picture.

 

Also none of the above has anything to do with the final packaging yield, the cost of final test, and other factors mentioned in my earlier post.

 

Jaapv is saying that they reject many M9 sensors and suggests that this is due to them having a larger area. I think the above shows that there are other factors in play.

 

Also if the process (probe) yield of a large M9 sensor is say > 95% (in control process) that is going to give one result, if it is < 40% ( out of control process) then that will give another result. It is a similar story when you look at yields at packaging.

 

Steve I hope that the above gives a better picture of the point that I was trying to make and the dangerous simplistic conclusions that Jaapv has made. I also do not know where he gets his data from, and why if it is true that they have so many rejects.

 

If he is correct the Kodak product engineers will presumably be crawling all over the place to fix.

 

FYI In my experience I have had small area chips in process A (yielding <40%) and have found myself needing to move these to another wafer fab with a nominally equivalent process A**, and even an identical process where larger chips of the same type have been made with great success and much improved yield (>90%). Unfortunately all too often the smaller chip yields can drop to awful levels (10%) once in the new wafer fab.

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Guest BigSplash
Being do dismissive of a reasonable response to your original post is just typical. You should go into politics.

 

You seem to have completely overlooked the fact that Leica make products other than the M9. Maybe Dr Kaufmann is planning to increase turnover and profit from Leica's more innovative products?

 

The new Leica facility houses other companies within Dr Kaufmann's portfolio. Such as the metal bashers who make lens components. It makes a lot of sense to have them on the same park. (Subject to keeping them far enough away to avoid contamination)

 

Andy the responses were unreasonable, and as I showed ill founded.

 

I actually am fully aware that Leica has the opportunity to achieve the huge revenue increase through other products, rather than Leica M9 which is the main revenue and profit generator as it levers lens sales. They have a successful sports optics activity, which contributes but is not according to the annual report a main area of high growth and potential. They have the compacts and again year to year this has been steady.

 

That leaves the following:

  • Leica S2 ......maybe it will be a great area of growth, although I know you have been critical of this since many months as being Leica's future. I hope you are wrong given the R&D it has soaked up but I think you are right.
  • Pradovit projector ....basically a superb product with a great Leica lens within a Norwegian unit that sells at 3X the price of InFocus unit that has a more recent chip set from Texas Instruments, and a superb Zeiss lens.
  • X1 ...maybe. This sells at £1300 without a viewfinder and has a fixed lens. My dealer suggest that the Lumix product at a fraction of the price and a Leica lens seems to be the preference of his clients, but maybe he is wrong.

Have I missed something? Is there some other area that will achieve the growth that Dr Kaufmann needs. Personally IMHO they need to build on M9 success, bring out the "figment of my imagination M10" , introduce an entry model M, and bring out a S2 junior. If the S2 junior could use R lenses that would be great, and maybe you would buy one

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You didn't make any response at all!

Edited by andybarton

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Guest BigSplash
Given some constant likelihood of defects per unit of area the yield drops if the chip size increases. That’s why sensor prices aren’t linear with sensor size; price increases much faster than area. Also one should keep in mind that a sensor is an analog device and thus much less tolerant of small deviations. This is common knowledge around here.

 

Please see my previous comment to Steve. The issue of defects per unit area is a factor but these days far less of an issue as defects are much better controlled.

 

The serious area is the one you mention "PROCESS DEVIATIONS" and today wafer fabs follow the lead of Intel where they have since years forced their designers to design according to very tight tolearnce process specs. The wafer fab will not tweak the process in anyway (this was the TI approach many years ago, but now no longer the case) to optimise chip performance. The wafer fab is responsible for maintaining tight process control and this is measured for each wafer batch by plug bars (test cells) on each wafer.

 

The reality therefore is that provided the design is OK, and the process parameters are delivered on spec. repeatedly (I call this in control processing) then yields will be high (>90%). If you do the maths., you will see that chip area is less of an issue than it used to be and is more to do how many chips can you fit onto today's large wafers.

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I didn't know that Intel and Texas Instruments made sensors for digital cameras. I have learned something today.

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Guest BigSplash
I didn't know that Intel and Texas Instruments made sensors for digital cameras. I have learned something today.

 

Andy I think you are guilty of doing what you accuse me of....twisting words, and conjecture. Can you show me where I have said TI or Intel make sensors?

 

TI is pretty good at DSP chip sets which requires digital and analogue chips and a thorough knowledge of process and packaging yields, testing strategies at probe and final test, and much more. They are also a leader in DLP and its associated technologies that require a knowledge of how to build large area chips, comprising many identical cells, and weeding out those chips with a few defective pixels (cells).

 

I was personally heavily involved with this stuff and I have tried to add value by sharing that experience in the above posts. I can see that this is not appreciated so I am out of here.

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What I find more confusing than anything is how the suggestion of a lower cost M body is meet with such rabid resistance...

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What I find more confusing than anything is how the suggestion of a lower cost M body is meet with such rabid resistance...

This isn’t about what would be nice to have … We can wish for a low-cost entry-level M as much as we like, but since it isn’t realistic to expect that Leica will develop and build such a camera that’s neither here nor there.

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I personally believe that Leica can have a great future but needs to change its approach.

 

Do you think, Frank, that Leica might actually have a different raison d'être than you?

 

Every company needs to make money. A monkey with a pen and the stock market pages of his newspaper can do that these days. But maybe, just maybe the folks at Leica have a different reason for going to work each day.

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Jaapv is saying that they reject many M9 sensors and suggests that this is due to them having a larger area.

Actually I'm not saying that. This is a straight lie.

Edited by jaapv

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Actually I'm not saying that. This is a straight lie.

 

Hi Jaap,

 

I'm sure it's a misunderstanding, not an intentional lie, since I also thought that was your position based on your postings in this thread.

 

In any case, it's my impression, based on reading too many Internet Forums, that Canon and possibly Sony now have yields on FF sensors that approach or equal the yields on crop sensors. I'll do some research and see if I can come up with any sources to back that up. Of course, that won't speak at all to Kodak's production capability. They may not have made the progress that others have in the last 3-4 years.

 

Later,

Johnny

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In any case, it's my impression, based on reading too many Internet Forums, that Canon and possibly Sony now have yields on FF sensors that approach or equal the yields on crop sensors. I'll do some research and see if I can come up with any sources to back that up. Of course, that won't speak at all to Kodak's production capability. They may not have made the progress that others have in the last 3-4 years.

Kodak is manufacturing much larger sensors than either Canon or Sony (and for quite some time now); it is not like they didn’t know what they are doing.

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For me. A M9 upgrade is not inconsideration. Love the M8.2, it still takes better shots than any m4/3 (i have gf1 and ep2). And I plan to use it for a long time. Sigh it just that the lenses I have are manually codedqnd I wish for a firmware to allow for manual lens selection. The Olympus E-p2 even has amanual focal lenght selectionfor their lens stabalisation. Don't see why Leica with all it's German tech prowness can't give us m8 customer that function.

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I was personally heavily involved with this stuff and I have tried to add value by sharing that experience in the above posts. I can see that this is not appreciated so I am out of here.

 

A quick dalliance with the search function shows that you have told us about your TI experiences in 12 different threads...

 

...says it all, really.

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Guest BigSplash
A quick dalliance with the search function shows that you have told us about your TI experiences in 12 different threads...

 

...says it all, really.

 

Bill I mentioned it because people clearly are not as smart as you, and they forget. Here we even have a dentist telling me about yields, and as far as I know he has never been in the SC industry, nor has knowledge of it.

 

I felt that I could add value to the debate due to my hands on experience.

 

Anyhow I have been really worried that you were sick as I have not seen any comment from you after pages on this hot topic. Great to have your valuable inputs again.

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This isn’t about what would be nice to have … We can wish for a low-cost entry-level M as much as we like, but since it isn’t realistic to expect that Leica will develop and build such a camera that’s neither here nor there.

 

Well, talking about the desire for an entry level CL-D is no more pointless than debating if the M8.x should have been kept in production as the 'low-cost' model...

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Guest BigSplash
Do you think, Frank, that Leica might actually have a different raison d'être than you?

 

Every company needs to make money. A monkey with a pen and the stock market pages of his newspaper can do that these days. But maybe, just maybe the folks at Leica have a different reason for going to work each day.

 

RedBaron you are certainly correct that the Leica "raison d'être" is different to my own.

  • On the basis that they needed ANOTHER huge cash injection in 2009 without which they would have made a significant operating loss so far (3 quarters). I wonder about your comment that "Every company needs to make money". Clearly this does not apply to Leica
  • If it is to make AND SHIP great products that people really want..I guess we shall see when the annual report is issued shortly. (M9 shipments? M lens shipments? S2, Pradovit and X1 market demand and actual shipments?)
  • If it is to communicate to their dealers, ship reliable, quality products, provide excellent support and be responsive towards clients.......I make no comment.

Maybe it is none of the above and I really would like to know your thoughts about what it could be. I love my M8 and perhaps like "a monkey with a pen" I enjoy taking pictures with it. However I would like to see Leica be profitable, and grow plus be easier to deal with, and be client driven hence my comments.

 

FYI Now after six months and I still have no lens hood that costs £165,and £30 for the cap. I now buy my UV/IR filters on eBay at a fraction of the price, they are just as good and they are available.

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Well, talking about the desire for an entry level CL-D is no more pointless than debating if the M8.x should have been kept in production as the 'low-cost' model...

It is pointless in the sense that it is leading nowhere, and in fact just as pointless as arguing about what Leica could or should have done with the M8, but has not. One could go on and on about what would have been if Leica had done this or refrained from doing that, but that’s best left to historians or to people with too much time on their hands.

 

And as to desires … There is no intrinsic causal connection between a person’s desires and these desires being fulfilled; i.e. magic doesn’t work. If a product is technically possible and economically viable it might stand a chance but desires are neither here nor there. I am convinced that while keeping the M8 in Leica’s portfolio may have been desirable, Leica did the right thing in directing its production capacity towards the M9. And while an entry-level CL-D would also be desirable, I don’t quite see it happening. Suppose you desperately wanted some company to build some product, so you did take up a job at that company and eventually you would be in a position to decide that the desired product be manufactured – only in that position you would have to base your decisions on what is best for the company, implying that you might have to decide against that product (that you still desire).

Edited by mjh

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