In May we reported that CMOS sensor sales were at an all time high and record numbers were expected for 2018.
It appears the strong sales have not slowed down at all over the summer, and we’re now in a situation where CMOS sensors are in short supply. Industry news publication IFNews quotes a number of Chinese sources that refer to an article in the Taiwan Economic Times, reporting that image sensors are now in short supply.
Big suppliers like Sony and Omnivision are increasing their prices for image sensors
This is largely due to dual and triple cameras becoming more commonplace on smartphones, with even mid-range models often featuring dual-setups now, sometimes at front and back.
As a result big suppliers like Sony and Omnivision are increasing their prices for image sensors. Smaller smartphone manufacturers who don’t get the same priority access to the big suppliers as major manufacturers are diverting orders to smaller sensor makers, such as Pixart and Silicon Optronics (SOI) to keep component cost under control.
The trend for multiple cameras and sensors on smartphones is unlikely to stop any time soon, so be prepared for increased sensor prices having a minor knock-on effect on final device retail pricing. On the plus side, as this development mainly affects the smaller sensor implemented in smartphone cameras, the impact on the market for the larger units used in DLSRs and most mirrorless system cameras should be minimal.