"but you are overlooking the less expensive models "
No. I said "I think the current cameras use basically the D300 sensor " which means the D300, the D90 and the D5000 and maybe others, I lose track
But the D40, D60 and D3000 do not use the D300's CMOS; they use CCDs, and they already account for a large proportion of Nikon DSLR sales.
Otherwise your information is incorrect, and without sources.
An interesting accusation, since you provide no sources for your claims, and one has already been sown to be inaccurate above.
The D3x sensor is manufactured by Sony, but results from a collaboration between Nikon and Sony.
The D300 and many other cameras (which you list) use a sensor manufactured by Sony, and designed by Sony and Nikon. That is well known
I have not read anything about any Nikon input to those sensors. Descriptions of the A900 and A700 say the sensors are Sony 'Exmor', and nothing I have read suggests any Nikon input, though it might be there. I mentioned possible Nikon input to the 12MP Sony Exmor sensor of thr A700, D300, etc. but perhaps should have mentioned the same possibility for the 24MP Sony Exmor sensor of the D3X. But the only Nikon input I have read about is with the earlier CCD sensors.
Earlier professional Nikon digital cameras used Nikon designs.
I mentioned the D2H: what other early models are you referring too? Sony was at least the principal creator of the D1, D1H and D1X sensors as far as I know (can you quote sources to th contrsary) and before that, it was Kodak CCDs. Anyway my original comment was about CURRENT Nikon models, so we are wandering off-topic a bit.
I have no idea what each partner contributes, although Sony does the fabrication. The fact that Sony do not supply anyone else surely tells us a lot.
Which sensors are you talking about? The 6MP sensor of the D40 has been used by Pentax and Konica-Minolta; the 10MP CCD of the D60, D3000 etc. is also used by Pentax; the 12MP CMOS of the D300 etc. is probably now used in the new Leica X1. The only recent sensors used exclusively by Nikon or only Nikon+Sony are the two 24x36mm ones, for the D3, D700, D3X, etc. and who else would use them? Canon is the only other maker of DSLRs in that format!
Regarding the idea that it is best to outsource design, the truth is that if you can design in house, you have more freedom, rather than having to rely on others. It means that you can invest on the long term and innovate based on your own needs. You don't have to wait until a third party produces something.
Agreed that there are advantages to in-house design, and it *sometimes* the best route. But my point is that it is not always the best way to proceed, as illustrated by the fact that Canon and Nikon do not always do it that way. The advantages of in-house design must be weighed (case by case?) against the cost advantages of sharing sensor designs with other camera makers.
And as we have been discussing, there is middle way: design collaboration with an experienced sensor design partner, like Nikon with Sony, Olympus with Panasonic, Pentax with Samsung, and maybe Leica with Kodak.