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I understand that the price of silicon doesn't always scale linearly with its size/number of components, but I'm just genuinely curious as to why we haven't seen any digital camera sensors at true medium format sizes yet. It seems even the high-end camera makers are pushing some sort of current upper limit in sensor size, as the camera with the largest sensor size I can find, the Phase One IQ4, a $50,000 camera, has a sensor size just under 645 film size.

I'd think that the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality, and hence there'd be a market for professional photographers looking to differentiate themselves from the competition. So one would think there's a market incentive to produce sensors corresponding to some of the larger film sizes.

Is it mainly economies of scale that are just making it expensive to produce certain sizes of sensors which are currently not mass produced? Do factories have to be updated to facilitate production of these larger sensors? Or is there some limitation with existing fabrication techniques that keeps companies from making an arbitrarily large CMOS sensor?

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    You're kind of asking two questions here: what's the largest size sensor that can be produces with current tech, and why aren't larger sensors mass-produced. The former has a good answer here: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/53794/… – Nate S. Nov 19 '19 at 22:06
  • See also: Why doesn't digital Large-Format exist? – scottbb Nov 20 '19 at 0:20
  • What makes you think no one has made such a sensor? Not everything that exists is available commercially. There are government agencies that use a wide variety of technologies that are not publicly disclosed. Satellite imaging is one area where there are a lot of secrets. – Michael C Nov 20 '19 at 0:55
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    Re, "the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality." Yeah, but for any given application, there's always some level of quality that is good enough, and there's always some price that is too high. – Solomon Slow Nov 20 '19 at 17:50