Apparently Sony owns almost 50% of the worldwide image sensor market

Apparently Sony owns almost 50% of the worldwide image sensor market
(Image credit: TSR)

It's no great secret that many cameras available on the market use Sony sensors – and not just Sony cameras. While they aren't likely to shout it from the rooftops, for years Sony's image sensor technology has beguiled other camera manufacturers into including these sensors in their own imaging tech. 

Sony first began producing CMOS image sensors in 1996, and launched its first CMOS sensor (the IMX001) in 2000. At the time, CCD image sensors were considered superior to CMOS, as they had more pixels and less noise. However, they had a lower readout speed and Sony was convinced that they wouldn't be able to support the high-resolution data of HD video. 

• Read more: Best Sony camera

As explained on Sony's website, Sony then decided to shift its focus from CCD (Charge Coupled Device) sensors to CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) sensors instead. By 2009, Sony had created back-illuminated CMOS sensor with twice the sensitivity of conventional image sensors and beyond the capacity of the human eye.

Sony has continued to innovate, producing stacked CMOS image sensors in 2012 (which uses the layering of pixel and signal-processing sections to produce higher image quality). In 2015, it even produced the world's first image sensors with a Cu-Cu connection, which enabled smaller packages, higher performance and greater productivity in manufacturing. 

These technological innovations are likely what have helped Sony earn its top spot perched at the top of the image sensor market. Its closest competitor is Samsung Electronics with 17.1% of the market, following by OmniVision with 9.5%. 

Pulsenews reports: "The world's image sensor market is estimated to grow to $27 billion by 2023 from $17.2 billion in 2019, according to market research firm Techno Systems Research (TSR). In the market, Sony took up the lion's share of 49.1 percent, much bigger than [the] 17.9 percent [of] Samsung Electronics."

With a wealth of technological know-how behind it, we can't wait to see what innovations Sony's image sensor division comes up with next.

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Louise Carey

With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something at which she is so adept that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Louise also brings years of experience as both a web and print journalist, having served as features editor for Practical Photography magazine and contributing photography tutorials and camera analysis to titles including Digital Camera Magazine and  Digital Photographer. Louise currently shoots with the Fujifilm X-T200 and the Nikon D800, capturing self-portraits and still life images, and is DCW's ecommerce editor, meaning that she knows good camera, lens and laptop deals when she sees them.