Leica M Sensor a "Game Changer"
Image Sensors World called it "the most advanced process node among the full frame sensors vendors."
Recent Nikon and Canon FF cameras were discussed in Parts I and II. The FF CIS competitive landscape looks to be heating up a bit outside of Japan with the announcement of CMOSIS providing the MAX 24 Mp CIS for Leica’s “M” CMOS rangefinder [1, 2]. Chipworks has previously analyzed CMOSIS pixels fabricated by TowerJazz in a 0.18 µm process generation, but the Leica FF CIS will be fabricated by CMOSIS’ foundry partner STMicroelectronics .
STMicroelectronics’ IMG175 300 mm Cu process, developed for 1.75 µm mobile CIS, will be adapted to 6 µm pixels and use 0.11 µm design rules for the front end of line (FEOL) processing and 90 nm design rules for the BEOL. While Leica has nowhere near the market share of Japanese FF camera companies, the transition to sub 0.18 µm device production is an event that could possibly alter the product roadmaps and strategies of several companies.