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Sony camera sensor production on track to resume by end of May

The effects of the recent earthquakes in Japan are still being felt throughout the electronics and imaging industries, particularly by camera manufacturers who rely on Sony for their image sensors. Sony’s primary sensor production facility has been shut down for some time now, as the company shuttered operations while inspectors checked the facility and equipment for damage.

Sony released a new update on their progress towards resuming sensor production, and things are looking good to have the factory back at full power by the end of this month. According to the release, on May 9 testing operations resumed and other back-end processes, like as assembly, are also expected to restart operations beginning on May 17.

Related: Sony’s smart contact lens can take pictures of what you see

The final piece to the sensor manufacturing puzzle, according to Sony, will be the wafer processing operations. That step is scheduled to begin on or around May 21. This should be a breath of fresh air for camera and smartphone manufacturers alike, many of whom have had to delay or slow production of products to compensate for a lack of sensor shipments from Sony. Nikon, for example, recently ended several high-dollar rebates early due to effects of the earthquakes, with the sensor shortage likely being one of the causes as Nikon buys many of its chips from Sony.

Mobile phone and camera markets have been down too, so delays and shortages like this only help perpetuate problems in the market. Hopefully, we can start to see things equalize again once June rolls around and sensor production hits full stride. This being a Photokina year means a lot of manufacturers have big announcements coming, and any delay in those announcements as a result of this would be a real shame.

In related note, Sony is expected to announce their updated financial forecast for this fiscal year on May 24. Then, we should get a better picture of how hard the company was hit by the stalled production.

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