View Full Version : M8 sensor price

John Shriver
10-07-2006, 11:48
I found a web site with Kodak's public relations blurb on the KAF-10500 sensor used in the M8. What's interesting is that it includes a price. $650 in single-unit quanities. Now, such prices are pretty meaningless, since these are always sold in much larger quantities. From my experience in the electronics industry, I'd estimate that Leica is paying $350 to $450 each for them.

Here's the link:


This certainly makes the sensor a sizeable proportion of the total parts cost of the product. In the networking field, parts cost is usually only 10 to 20% of the total retail sales price. Cameras have historically lower retail margins, so I don't know the rules for that industry. (I've seen former camera salespeople say that their store made more profit on the UV filter than the whole camera/lens.)

Another interesting price point. I found a vendor selling cameras for astrophotography (telescopes). They offer all the big Kodak sensors as an option in their units. The one with the KAF-10010 (the one in the DMR) was a bit over $10,000! Now, they have lower sales volume than Leica, but it shows that Leica's not exactly trying to gouge folks with their high-end digital products.

Kodak is not a low-cost CCD sensor vendor. They're selling to high-quality brands, because they make darned good sensors. Their KAF-22000 and KAF-39000 are the 22mp and 39mp sensors used in the latest Hasselblad backs. Others are used in digital X-ray machines.

Kodak does have a line of cheap CMOS sensors for cellphones, etc.

If I remember right, the CCD sensors are from a company Kodak bought, where the CMOS ones were from their own team. But I may have that tangled.

10-07-2006, 12:13
Interesting article: so Kodak holds the rights to the offset micro-lenses and are actively marketing it.

A PMA launch ( with shipping about summer 2007 ) of a Zeiss or Epson 1.33x digital CRF seems within the bounds of possibility - if they put their minds to it.

Wonder if the contract from the full frame sensor development has been placed yet - Leica will need to keep ahead if they want to hold on to a large price premium.

Mark Norton
10-07-2006, 12:17
That's interesting and ties in with my own experience of the 1000-off price being half the one-off price though pricing I had from Kodak required a minimum purchase commitment with the one-off price of the DMR sensor being more than a complete M8.

Interestingly, buying the sensor from Kodak does not confer any rights to their patents to use the thing, so there will be IP licencing fees on top of that.

In the consumer electronics industry, the cost of the parts is 1/4 of the selling price - the rest is overhead, labour, profit, tax, IP royalties, dealer margin and the rest. That puts the material cost at $1000 - $1200.

Interesting too to look at the marginal cost of production of a Mercedes SL - just 20% of what you pay at a dealer but there is a small matter of the up-front investment required to develop and make the thing.

10-07-2006, 12:21
According to sounds emanating from Leica's management they are already working on a 35 mm sensored DMR or even larger (:confused: - Maybe that part of the remark had to do with the aquisition of Sinar - R lenses certainly don't cover more than 35 mm). I am sure the M series won't be many years behind the DMR Hazard a guess? 3 years to a 35 mm DMR and 5 years for a 35 mm M9. But I would not buy it as 27 or 35 mm does not make any essential difference in practical use to me, regardless of what the marketing-boys of an unnamed Japanese company are trumpeting. I'm fairly marketing-propaganda resistant ;)

10-07-2006, 12:23
Hey! :) that was my 2500 th post!! :) :)

10-07-2006, 13:03
so who's up for a bulk buy of large sensors and fiddling the paperwork so we can get started on some digi-fsu's? :D

10-07-2006, 14:01
Ash: I'll buy a DFSU as long as it isn't made on a Monday or Friday!

10-07-2006, 14:07
but vodka helps me concentrate! :D