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Focal plane vs. leaf shutters in MF SLRs



 
 
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  #71  
Old May 21st 04, 11:22 PM
Gordon Moat
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Posts: n/a
Default ideal cameras? Omega 120 surprise convertible lens RF?

Bob Monaghan wrote:

quoting Gordon's thoughtful posting:

Or just two cameras. A small rangefinder for wide to normal (or short
tele), and an SLR for normal to tele. I don't think that is too much to
carry, perhaps with four lenses. Having used rangefinder cameras of
various film formats and sizes, I find that I usually want normal to short
tele lenses for these, so I guess my needs could be met by current
offerings.
endquote:

Multiple cameras, what I call "mix and match" to get the best out of each
format, is the only thing that works for me too. But my lens use is
strange ;-) I have gotten into the habit of carrying my panoramic veriwide
100 for 18mm equiv. on 35mm panoramic 6x10cm shots 'cuz it is book sized
and compact and only 2 lbs. For shooting birds around the lake, I'm using
35mm with 500mm T-mount (unscrews in half for carrying compactly). This is
for a lakeside walkabout I do alot, so missed shots will come around
again. I usually have a normal lens with me too, for light weight and low
cost speed lens.


Not really too strange, though the 500 mm is a bit unusual. Long telephoto
requirements would almost seem to be an SLR only solution. It could be that
just the mere numbers of lenses you own got you into the unusual usage.


When I am shooting cityscapes, I find very wide angles handy, adding a
superwide hassy or 14mm for nikon etc. I experimented with a hassy ELM and
250mm lens with radio control for remote telephotography of birds, but too
much hassle and time consuming. But these 250mm lenses on 'blad and kowa
6/66 do very well at the local wild parks and zoo with the tamer and
bigger critters there ;-)


I like the wide to super wide look, especially in more panorama formats. The
longer lens, nature, birds, or animal imagery is interesting, but I just
don't have any desire to do that. Maybe if I lived in Africa near some game
preserve I might be more interested in doing that type of imagery.



So I guess the good news is that I have an excuse for having all this
stuff, because what I like to photograph varys a lot, and I make up the
kit I need to match. But that does make it very hard to conceive a single
camera kit that would match my needs, esp. when traveling light. As you
noted, it is easy to crop out needed shots with the veriwide 100 panoramic
from 6x10cm- film area, and there aren't many wider angle non-swing lenses
on MF cameras ;-) The hassy SWC/M is a nice travel camera too, but a lot
of $$, and not near as wide (24mm equiv. horiz. on 35mm vs. 18mm on
veriwide 100). But the biogon hassy can be used at any speed even wide
open, while the veriwide wants to be shot at f/16 for best results ;-)


Yeah, the SMC is an odd beast. An ALPA is even more pricey, though the wide
view abilities are very good. I think one trouble with expensive cameras is
that the cost becomes a barrier to carrying them around more places, since
You don't want the camera damaged nor stolen.

Superwide in 35 mm is less expensive thanks to Voigtlšnder, even though the
systems are a little limited. Medium format has been too specialized a market
to really get the costs down much. While there are exceptions, or build it
yourself options, good lenses are still not cheaply found.



=====

yes on other good points short focusing limitations on the MF RFs
too. I did manage to get an excellent buy on the 135mm for koni omega
RO200 6x7cm RF, which has the best close focusing distance of the bunch.
Paradoxically, it was only made for a few years, and so is rarer and
pricey as the wedding types favoring KO kits use it a lot for portraits


The entire Koni Omega system, and similar outfits of that era, are all
becoming very old pieces. Self repair might be the only option for some of
these. Finding much in the way of repair parts could be an adventure in some
situations. Many really old systems are also reaching the self-repair only
level.



. . . . . . .

bronica rf645?
Hard to predict what will happen with Tamron/Bronica's future offerings;
the problem with dropping the RF645 is that they have lots of $$ invested
in brand new tooling and lens/camera R&D. They aren't recouping it with
the kinds of discounts they are giving out; as I noted in another thread,
B&H had a $450 mfgers rebate on the basic camera kit, dropping it to just
over $1,100 US$.


Yeah, quite a discount off the original selling price. Tamron has lots of
money, but even they will be unwilling to continue investing and development
without some return (profit) from sales. Unfortunately, something as simple
as better promotion of the RF645 could help their sales. While I have seen
many adds showing the well lit silhouette of that camera, I have not seen
much usage. The placement of ads doesn't seem to help that much either, and
these seem to be hard to find in stores.

Will Bronica end up a casualty of the medium format
market fall in the digital era?


Really a shame how Tamron has handled Bronica. I have found Tamron dealers in
major cities that have no Bronica products. In fact, in many cases when I
have found Bronica products, they have been used consignment items, and often
just ETRSi cameras.

Compare that to Mamiya, who have a strong rental presence, and placement of
ads in many publications. I find that often Mamiya can be the only medium
format camera company to run ads in some publications. Also, the Mamiya 7 is
advertised often by showing the comparison to 35 mm. They try to educate with
their ads, rather than just show a pretty camera (Bronica).

I do think they could and should have
followed the Tamron/UK approach of trying to make your camera body work
with your lens, but probably the profitability vs. cost of that approach
was problematic, esp. with owners underserved by local support services?


I did not get the impression that it was tough, nor expensive. It seems that
even if they charged a small adjustment fee, they could still have continued
to offer the lens. The RF 100 mm does look to be a better lens, though it is
shorter. It is tempting to figure out how to graft a Leica viewfinder
magnifier onto an RF645, since something that simple would avoid the longer
lens issue entirely.



For a company that primarily makes their money on lenses, Tamron/Bronica
has not put the $$ into Bronica lens development that I had hoped.


Very confusing, especially considering how often I find places selling Tamron
lenses. Their North American website is not very good either. About the only
thing they really offer is a nice education discount.

As I
noted in reviewing the GS1 6x7 SLR, it is a great camera for many users,
but the lack of many lens offerings and high cost of existing lenses vs.
competitors like Mamiya RZ67 have made it less of a success in the market
than it deserves (see GS1 case study http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/system.html )


Some surprises there. Overall, I think one big point of failure in sales has
been a lack of rental gear. The reality of many lenses just being too
expensive leaves rental as the best option for many. We discussed this before
with regard to Leica. I don't recall ever seeing rental Bronica gear, and
certainly not for the GS. However, I have seen Mamiya in many cities, and
often Hasselblad 500 series stuff. The only newcomer in medium format that I
see for rent is the Contax 645. A few places carry some Pentax 67 gear, but
not as common as the others. I have heard of more Rollei 6000 gear rental
availability in Europe, but they seem scarce items in North America.



This is a dicey time for MF mfgers; a market demand shortfall of major
proportions, rapid change in the digital end, lack of large low cost
digital chips (16MP and esp. 32MP and 64 MP) for digital MF cameras to
respond to the 35mm challenges etc. and huge costs in R&D for modern AF
MF cameras of uncertain sales potentials, as well as strong entrenched
competitors with deep pockets vs. innovative mfgers with thinner $$
backing. Should be a great case study for business schools in a few years
;-)


I read an interesting item about autofocus medium format. When Rollei
introduced the 6008 AF, they got quite a few inquiries and orders, most from
older professional photographers, many of them wedding photographers. There
seems to be a little joke about Hasselblad being the wedding photographer
camera, though it is strange that when trying to explain medium format to
ordinary non-enthusiast camera users, the best example is the wedding
photographer with the waist level finder.

Once again, I think an issue is that fewer younger, or newer to photography,
enthusiasts and professionals know about medium format, often due to a lack
of exposure to the gear. The Hasselblad name is known, and some know Mamiya,
but even fewer know of other gear. There is a serious lack of exposure of
medium format gear for up-and-coming photographers. The same thing seems to
be happening in large format, leaving an ageing population as the only users.

While the automation, like autofocus, might help those ageing users, I see
little being done to entice younger photography enthusiasts, professionals,
and students to use medium format (or large format). My feeling is that if
that aspect of the market was addressed, a new generation of medium format
photographers could be created. The current market for nearly anything retro
seems like the perfect concept to latch onto, and it has not gone away from
the beginnings in the mid 1990s.

The implied scenario of business students studying the failure of medium
format is one possible outcome. It would be nicer to see that business
student effort go into helping some medium format companies come up with
better ideas to keep this from becoming an extreme niche market, or a luxury
product only market (remember the multicolour Hasselblads). Using business
students to develop marketing concepts is nothing new, often has great ideas,
and is extremely low cost. If the North American distributors would just put
forth a little more effort in the right directions, medium format could
thrive into the future, though that is just my opinion. Using some student
populations, and senior level business or design projects, could put those
younger age groups closer to finding the ideas to better market those
products; all of which seems much better than having the same students study
the business failures.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio
http://www.allgstudio.com

  #72  
Old May 22nd 04, 01:36 AM
Q.G. de Bakker
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Posts: n/a
Default ideal cameras? Omega 120 surprise convertible lens RF?

Gordon Moat wrote:

Once again, I think an issue is that fewer younger, or newer to

photography,
enthusiasts and professionals know about medium format, often due to a

lack
of exposure to the gear. The Hasselblad name is known, and some know

Mamiya,
but even fewer know of other gear. There is a serious lack of exposure of
medium format gear for up-and-coming photographers. The same thing seems

to
be happening in large format, leaving an ageing population as the only

users.

It's not a lack of familiarity, i fear.

It's that digital definitely is the future. And the moment that it will take
over in all aspects (including quality - in the "more than good enough"
bracket) is getting closer and closer.

So faced with the decision what to do: sink huge amounts of money into
something that (let's face it) is part of a more time consuming and awkward
workflow (who likes retouching?), i.e. MF film, or put (still too large)
amounts of money towards the technology that's "almost here", fewer and
fewer will opt for the first choice.
"Hybrid" already is the preferred way to go: scanned negatives are full of
quality, can be post-processed with so much greater ease, and in so many
more ways, and customers expect to be given CDs full of image files anyway.

The balance will not tip back towards film based MF.
Not because young photographers don't know about film, but because they
don't care. Just as we oldies (a few exceptions excepted ;-)) don't care
about tintypes.

The ony thing that can safe MF now is a rather drastic reduction in MF
digital costs. Noone in his or her right mind should even contemplate
spending really huge amounts to get a MF 20 MP digital back when he/she can
get the same amount of equal quality pixels for 1/10th or 1/20th of the
money in the shape of a 35 mm format based digital SLR.

And those 35 mm format based digital machines already have all the goodies
you say MF manufacturers could lure a new generation into investing in their
goods. Makes it hard to see how that could be a selling point for MF...
And the AF Rolei shows it isn't. They don't sell like hot cakes, Do they? Do
they sell at all?

And i don't see much of a retro market either. What "retro" product can you
see selling anywhere?

Quality digital backs for, say, US$ 1,500 to 2,500, tops. That's the one and
only "better idea" that can safe MF. And even than the competition with 35
mm format based SLRs will be tough.

So the Mamiyas, Hasselblads, Rolleis, etc. should strongly urge the
manufacturers of digital MF backs to redress the balance. Their fate is in
their hands, and time really is running out fast.



  #73  
Old May 22nd 04, 06:27 AM
Bob Monaghan
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Default digital bubble to burst? ideal cameras?


The repairability issue Gordon raises is a double-edged sword IMHO. You
can take a broken mechanical part to a machinist and get another one made,
if at a high price. A donor camera or two can supply parts for many camera
repairs. Most mechanical cameras only need CLA and a few minor parts
(springs, foam..) to be good for another 20 years or so of amateur use ;-)
If you are like me, you have a spare nikkormat or two in storage, and an
extra kowa and bronica and hassy ELM bodies squirreled away for the far
future. I can only hope to live as long as the last of my stash of cameras
is likely to keep on working many years hence, with some TLC ;-)

By contrast, proprietary chips used in many electronic cameras means they
are unrepairable and unsupported as soon as the supplies of chips runs
out. And for digital cameras, I have found that it quickly costs more to
repair a 2 or 3 year old (Kodak) digital camera than it would cost to buy
a working replacement on EBAY, or an even better current model with higher
resolution ;-)

I think film will continue to be available in 120 format for my lifetime
anyway, but in fewer emulsions. We may have to have it scanned to print or
display.

If larger size chips - both in resolution to 64MP or larger, and with
larger sites for lower noise, so MF format in size - become mass produced,
the costs could easily be significantly less than today's $20k digital
backs. Just as we now have organic LED displays at much lower costs for
cellphones, we could have some kind of organic photosensor array which
could also produce a cost breakthru. But at the density where 16 MP is on
a 22mm square die, as with Foveon's CMOS process devices, Carver Mead the
designer has noted that they are already being limited by the basic
physics (size of sensor area, light wavelength size, noise levels etc.).
So a low noise 64MP sensor is rather more likely to be MF in size than
35mm in size. At that point, you need MF sized lenses to cover the image
(unless we get a "lenslet" breakthru there too) ;-)
----

Personally, I think we are about to see the "digital bubble" burst. The
low cost of the volume consumer 5MP and above cameras doesn't leave a lot
of margin for stores and distributors, nor a lot for mfgers to use to prop
up R&D for high end low sales volume products. And for most consumers, I
am not sure that more than 4 or 5 MP is going to be needed for mostly
emailed photos and webphotos anyway, yes? ;-) So will the majority of
consumers stick with their paid-for digicams, or will they keep
"upgrading" and replacing them every 12 or 18 months as the digital sales
model now requires? ;-) If they hold on to the good enough 4 and 5 MP
cameras, then the digital camera bubble seems ripe for bursting, yes? ;-)

grins bobm
--
************************************************** *********************
* Robert Monaghan POB 752182 Southern Methodist Univ. Dallas Tx 75275 *
********************Standard Disclaimers Apply*************************
  #74  
Old May 22nd 04, 09:11 PM
Gordon Moat
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Posts: n/a
Default ideal cameras? Omega 120 surprise convertible lens RF?

"Q.G. de Bakker" wrote:

Gordon Moat wrote:

Once again, I think an issue is that fewer younger, or newer to

photography,
enthusiasts and professionals know about medium format, often due to a

lack
of exposure to the gear. The Hasselblad name is known, and some know

Mamiya,
but even fewer know of other gear. There is a serious lack of exposure of
medium format gear for up-and-coming photographers. The same thing seems

to
be happening in large format, leaving an ageing population as the only

users.

It's not a lack of familiarity, i fear.

It's that digital definitely is the future. And the moment that it will take
over in all aspects (including quality - in the "more than good enough"
bracket) is getting closer and closer.


Definitely, and it is the "more than good enough" attitude that I think sucks.
Too many people are becoming satisfied with mediocre. Of course, I see that in
more than just photography, so perhaps it is a reflection of current society.



So faced with the decision what to do: sink huge amounts of money into
something that (let's face it) is part of a more time consuming and awkward
workflow (who likes retouching?), i.e. MF film, or put (still too large)
amounts of money towards the technology that's "almost here", fewer and
fewer will opt for the first choice.


Many of the camera makers are part of public corporations, and must answer to
their stock holders. It is unfortunate, but when the stockholders perceptions
are that digital imaging is the best choice, that would dictate where the money
and efforts go.


"Hybrid" already is the preferred way to go: scanned negatives are full of
quality, can be post-processed with so much greater ease, and in so many
more ways, and customers expect to be given CDs full of image files anyway.


Perhaps a faster batch scan medium format system could be developed. When I do
645 negative shots, I often get an index print done on large paper. The index
print is digitally generated, and not like a contact print, though it functions
nearly as well. While I shoot mostly transparency films, and like editing on a
light table, it would be nice to have the index print even for transparencies.



The balance will not tip back towards film based MF.
Not because young photographers don't know about film, but because they
don't care. Just as we oldies (a few exceptions excepted ;-)) don't care
about tintypes.


The consumer end drives the main photographic market, yet I think few
enthusiasts nor professionals would use the biggest selling consumer film
product: one time use cameras. I don't think medium format has ever been much
in the general consumer view, with the possible exception of folder cameras a
long time ago.



The ony thing that can safe MF now is a rather drastic reduction in MF
digital costs. Noone in his or her right mind should even contemplate
spending really huge amounts to get a MF 20 MP digital back when he/she can
get the same amount of equal quality pixels for 1/10th or 1/20th of the
money in the shape of a 35 mm format based digital SLR.


I agree that this film and digital back hybrid capability is the future of the
gear. What surprises me is that so few people know that the capability even
exists. I see Mamiya now advertising that way, especially with their lower cost
645, but I have not seen other companies try that direction.



And those 35 mm format based digital machines already have all the goodies
you say MF manufacturers could lure a new generation into investing in their
goods. Makes it hard to see how that could be a selling point for MF...
And the AF Rolei shows it isn't. They don't sell like hot cakes, Do they? Do
they sell at all?


Apparently, the initial orders in North America were slightly greater than
expected. However, I still do not see these as rental gear anywhere (maybe New
York). Bottom line is that these are very expensive cameras, and the economy is
still down. When someone compares a new Rollei 6008 to a less than 10 years old
used version, the cost difference is quite large. This makes them seem like a
victim of their own rugged construction, since the gear of the past now becomes
competition against new sales.



And i don't see much of a retro market either. What "retro" product can you
see selling anywhere?


The greatest retro market is automotive (and a few motorcycles) based on
diversity and influence on designs, though clearly the clothing industry is a
huge market. Watches have largely gone away from the digital numbers, and are
now more analogue in appearance, with some being copies, or inspirations, of
much older designs. Furniture of the past is also influencing current designs,
and some companies are re-issuing old designs. Shoes are another more recent
development in the retro market, with some new re-issues of very old designs.

Perhaps the reason you do not see much "retro" market is that you are not a
consumer of those types of things. It could also be that it is more of a US (or
North American) trend, and not very prominent in Europe.



Quality digital backs for, say, US$ 1,500 to 2,500, tops. That's the one and
only "better idea" that can safe MF. And even than the competition with 35
mm format based SLRs will be tough.

So the Mamiyas, Hasselblads, Rolleis, etc. should strongly urge the
manufacturers of digital MF backs to redress the balance. Their fate is in
their hands, and time really is running out fast.


I only have a smaller view of marketing efforts in Europe, though in North
America, it seems that Mamiya are the only company that really advertises in
many locations. Some of that is combined digital and film capability promotion,
and some directed at the Mamiya 7 II. I rarely see Hasselblad products in many
ads, though that could be from the financial issues they had (maybe the buyout
could help that). With Rollei, hardly anyone knows these cameras in the US,
except in reference to really old Rollei TLR cameras. Most of the very sparse
Rollei ads are for P&S film and digital.

I think many of us using medium format do so for the "bigger is better" quality
idea behind the film area. The general knowledge of anything larger than 35 mm
just is not in the public view, and rarely in the photo enthusiasts perception.
There are few large digital backs, though I think more could appear in the next
few years. Whether that will be soon enough, or if some companies call it
quits, is tough to tell. I hope there is more in the future than just used
gear.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio
http://www.allgstudio.com

  #75  
Old May 23rd 04, 01:08 AM
Q.G. de Bakker
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default ideal cameras? Omega 120 surprise convertible lens RF?

Gordon Moat wrote:

It's that digital definitely is the future. And the moment that it will

take
over in all aspects (including quality - in the "more than good enough"
bracket) is getting closer and closer.


Definitely, and it is the "more than good enough" attitude that I think

sucks.
Too many people are becoming satisfied with mediocre. Of course, I see

that in
more than just photography, so perhaps it is a reflection of current

society.

You dont seem to grasp what "more than good enough" means.
It does not (!) mean mediocre.

On the contrary. It means that there is more quality available than can be
visible in the end result. And dealing with a visible medium, that means
that you lose absolutely nothing (!) by not having it.
It would be rather silly to demand that our equipment produce more quality
than we will ever use and/or need, wouldn't it?

And this is not a new concept either. You don't use a 8x10" film camera to
take passport photos, do you? That has nothing to do with a supposed or real
recent decline in standards. It just would be foolish.

Many of the camera makers are part of public corporations, and must answer

to
their stock holders. It is unfortunate, but when the stockholders

perceptions
are that digital imaging is the best choice, that would dictate where the

money
and efforts go.


Don't forget that stockholders do not care about what it is precisely a firm
is doing. They only care about how much they will be earning. And that is
not dictated by them, but by the market, by us, the photographers.
So in the end, if we hold out to invest later in the things we wouldprefer
over the things available today (and yesterday), corporations, and
stockholders have only one aim: make sure that "later" is sooner rather than
later.
We dictate where the money and effort goes.

[...]

The consumer end drives the main photographic market, yet I think few
enthusiasts nor professionals would use the biggest selling consumer film
product: one time use cameras. I don't think medium format has ever been

much
in the general consumer view, with the possible exception of folder

cameras a
long time ago.


Well, that "long time ago" is indeed where MF has been in general consumer
use (but not just folders. there were many box-cameras too). Some might even
argue that that's where the non-general consumer use of MF belongs too: some
period in the past best forgotten.
Anyway, a few enthusiasts and/or professionals will not keep MF afloat. The
balance will not tip backwards towards film based MF again. So it's now or
never: MF manufacturers (or rather the companies making the things that plug
current MF systems into the Digido) must do all they can to prevent their
current users switching to other things in the first place.
If they don't, if people decide the new and surprisingly affordable
(compared to what integrating current MF systems into a digital workflow
costs) 10 - 14 MP class 35 mm format SLR based cameras are the thing they
want, it's curtains for MF, film and (!) digital.

I agree that this film and digital back hybrid capability is the future of

the
gear. What surprises me is that so few people know that the capability

even
exists. I see Mamiya now advertising that way, especially with their lower

cost
645, but I have not seen other companies try that direction.


Probably because MF too know that it's horrendously expensive, and that
because of that not many people will even consider the possibility.

[...] Bottom line is that these are very expensive cameras, and the

economy is
still down.


Plus, of course, it (Rollei AF) is not the only option beckoning those
people who do still have money to spend...

When someone compares a new Rollei 6008 to a less than 10 years old
used version, the cost difference is quite large. This makes them seem

like a
victim of their own rugged construction, since the gear of the past now

becomes
competition against new sales.


That phenomenon has plagued MF since... well, always.

And i don't see much of a retro market either. What "retro" product can

you
see selling anywhere?


The greatest retro market is automotive (and a few motorcycles) based on
[...]
Perhaps the reason you do not see much "retro" market is that you are not

a
consumer of those types of things. It could also be that it is more of a

US (or
North American) trend, and not very prominent in Europe.


I see.

No, the very reason why i do not see that retro market was because i was
thinking photography. Apart form a brief 35 mm RF revival (which realy has
gone again already), there simply is no retro-trend in photography.
If anything, traditional brands most associated with "the good old days" of
photography are in danger of becoming extinct. The only true, and strong,
trend in photography today is that digi-thingy.

Whether it is something i like or not, whether i would part with my beloved
MF equipment or not gladly is another matter. But that's the reality: we,
the customers, drive the market. And we drive it towards digital. And that
drive results in digital becoming better and affordable too. And at the same
time it is driving MF towards its end.

I only have a smaller view of marketing efforts in Europe, though in North
America, it seems that Mamiya are the only company that really advertises

in
many locations. Some of that is combined digital and film capability

promotion,
and some directed at the Mamiya 7 II. I rarely see Hasselblad products in

many
ads, though that could be from the financial issues they had (maybe the

buyout
could help that). With Rollei, hardly anyone knows these cameras in the

US,
except in reference to really old Rollei TLR cameras. Most of the very

sparse
Rollei ads are for P&S film and digital.


I don't think MF manufacturers should advertise more. It would do absolutely
no good. Unless...

They (MF manufacturers) should instead go banging their fists on MF digital
back manufacturer's tables, demanding they come up with more sensibly priced
products, explaining that if they don't the game's over for both (!)
manufacturers of MF equipment and the manufacturers of digital backs that
have to be hung on MF cameras.

I think many of us using medium format do so for the "bigger is better"

quality
idea behind the film area. The general knowledge of anything larger than

35 mm
just is not in the public view, and rarely in the photo enthusiasts

perception.
There are few large digital backs, though I think more could appear in the

next
few years. Whether that will be soon enough, or if some companies call it
quits, is tough to tell. I hope there is more in the future than just used
gear.


Hmm... I'd say there are more than a few large digital backs. That
(scarcity) is not the problem either.

The problem is that you can buy about 8 to 10 Kodak 14 MP SLRn cameras for
what you're expected to pay for 1 (one!) 16 MP digital back to mount behind
your MF camera.

But i'm repeating myself. ;-)


  #76  
Old May 23rd 04, 04:23 AM
Bob Monaghan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default MF future? ideal cameras?


Two points; for the vast majority of camera users, "good enough" would be
a 2MP camera in a cell-phone, as are now under test in Japan etc. (Thanks
to David L. on that update ;-) Since circa 90% of digital camera owners
don't make or buy prints of their digital photos (PMIA stats), but email
and webpost them, all the things we think of as digital photography is
really a modest sized part of the overall market, yes? I further suggest
that this digital photography market is a bubble which is about to burst!

As people can soon/now click and upload from their cell phone cameras, the
need for standalone digital cameras, camera to computer software/hardware,
and local printing docking ports etc. will be radically reduced in the
future as direct uploading becomes readily available. Most folks won't
want to learn photoshop XIV either ;-) Anybody who is "serious" about
digital photography will likely have already bought a digital camera (or
two or three, ahem). So the issue is can the majority of the current base
be enticed to keep upgrading to new digital cameras every 18 months -
because if the answer is no, then the digital "bubble" bursts! ;-)

"Good enough" also means that today's $200 4MP and soon 5-6+MP cameras
will be "good enough" for the vast majority of owners. They won't need to
update or buy a new digital camera every 18 months to print some 8x10"
prints - what they have will be just as good.

The 35mm pros haven't embraced the 16MP MF digital backs, so I agree with
the observation that 10-12 MP may be all that most pros need to meet their
customer's demands. If so, then where will the demand come to build the
volume of sales needed to justify the high costs of fabricating 24MP and
32 MP and larger chips? If high volumes can't be achieved, then costs will
continue to be much greater than the volume selling chips, right? I have
suggested that this "sweet spot" looks likely around 16MP, based on
nominal print sizes and printing requirements in most media and markets.

So I think we will see a transition away from digital photography cameras
to cell-phones with digicams that upload automatically for the masses.
This corresponds to the disposable camera market in 35mm film today, yes?
The 4-6 MP low cost ($199 down) digicams will provide higher quality for
prosumers. A relative handful of pros will use their now considerable
investments in high end digital bodies (with 35mm SLR lenses?) at 11-16
MP. The question is whether a driving application (military?) can be found
which will require larger (MF) format digital sensors at 64 MP or above
which will reduce the costs (or cover R&D costs..) and provide the volumes
needed to enable a low cost digital back market for MF gear?

======

Keep in mind, however, that the MF market is rather small, only circa
50,000 units (japanese made, anyway) worldwide in early 2000 time frame
for both MF and LF cameras (see JCIA stats at
http://medfmt.8k.com/third/economics.html#99). So it doesn't take a very
large professional and serious amateur market worldwide to absorb such
camera numbers, esp. given many developing nations.

A worldwide pro market of 250,000 pros buying a camera every 5 years would
do it - but too many pros are abandoning MF for digital, yes? ;-( But a
half million serious amateur photographers worldwide, each buying a camera
every ten years, would also keep the current MF market going, yes? In
practice, a combination of pros and amateurs would likely to be buying MF
cameras in the future as in the past.

If anything, the exit of Fuji from making a number of their models, the
exit of Bronica/Tamron on several of their MF SLR offerings, and the
concerns about both Hasselblad/Hong-Kong and Rollei, plus the possible
end of production of Pentax 67 and Kiev production lines etc. per some
rumors, well we may have too much of a shakeout here already ;-) ;-)

I think one key is Mamiya/USA (in USA ads) approach, first cutting the
entry level costs with a 645E camera (made in china..) at half the
previous entry level costs (i.e., $750-ish on promotion), with the future
ability to adapt a digital back, should such become available cheaply.

Frankly, the Kiev cameras haven't filled the niche of a good entry level
camera for newbies, and the chinese TLRs are wildly overpriced on their
initial (3 el) models with many Q/C issues as well. The used japanese
camera lines are generally long in the tooth (20+ years). The newer AF MF
cameras are ultra-pricey Contax and Hassy/Rollei models, likely to give
sticker shock to 35mm shooters wanting to trade up.

My blind lens tests suggest this is hard to understand, given that
relatively modest cost MF lenses (as on a $75 new Chinese DF-4 SLR) can
produce surprisingly decent results. The labor costs on the Mamiya 645E
must be low enough to make $750 US$ MF SLR feasible.

I think a low cost MF entry level camera is the key to attracting people
to MF photography. But where are the reliable under $1k new MF cameras?
The lack of ads for MF with only 10,000 or so sales worldwide, per major
brand, makes it hard to compete against a million+ nikon SLRs etc. ;-)

Finally, I would like to see a magazine (perhaps shutterbug, but they have
been seduced by the dark side of the digital force) promoting medium
format and large format photography as an upgrade for 35mm users etc.
Perhaps this is where the mfgers can get together to support with ads such
a venture? IF they don't, it will be hard for them to complain about the
lack of sales in MF in the major US/Canada and European markets, yes?

my $.02 again ;-)
bobm
--
************************************************** *********************
* Robert Monaghan POB 752182 Southern Methodist Univ. Dallas Tx 75275 *
********************Standard Disclaimers Apply*************************
  #77  
Old May 23rd 04, 11:45 AM
Q.G. de Bakker
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default MF future? ideal cameras?

Bob Monaghan wrote:

Two points; for the vast majority of camera users, "good enough" would be
a 2MP camera in a cell-phone, as are now under test in Japan etc. (Thanks
to David L. on that update ;-) Since circa 90% of digital camera owners
don't make or buy prints of their digital photos (PMIA stats), but email
and webpost them, all the things we think of as digital photography is
really a modest sized part of the overall market, yes?


No. I think you're suffering severely from the "pars pro toto" syndrome. ;-)
That bit o fthe digital market is huge, yes. But only part of it. And as it
happens, not the part that should concern us.

I further suggest
that this digital photography market is a bubble which is about to burst!


Nice suggestion! ;-)
Will not happen though, will it?

As people can soon/now click and upload from their cell phone cameras, the
need for standalone digital cameras, camera to computer software/hardware,
and local printing docking ports etc. will be radically reduced in the
future as direct uploading becomes readily available. Most folks won't
want to learn photoshop XIV either ;-) Anybody who is "serious" about
digital photography will likely have already bought a digital camera (or
two or three, ahem). So the issue is can the majority of the current base
be enticed to keep upgrading to new digital cameras every 18 months -
because if the answer is no, then the digital "bubble" bursts! ;-)


Most people wielding photographic equipment now and in the past have not
used their skills to supply the image devouring industry. They (this part of
the digido) are not normative. So forget about them.

"Good enough" also means that today's $200 4MP and soon 5-6+MP cameras
will be "good enough" for the vast majority of owners. They won't need to
update or buy a new digital camera every 18 months to print some 8x10"
prints - what they have will be just as good.


Again, you're looking at the bit of the digido that doesn't concern us.

The 35mm pros haven't embraced the 16MP MF digital backs, so I agree

with...

Ah ! Now you're on the right track! ;-)

... the observation that 10-12 MP may be all that most pros need to meet

their
customer's demands. If so, then where will the demand come to build the
volume of sales needed to justify the high costs of fabricating 24MP and
32 MP and larger chips? If high volumes can't be achieved, then costs will
continue to be much greater than the volume selling chips, right? I have
suggested that this "sweet spot" looks likely around 16MP, based on
nominal print sizes and printing requirements in most media and markets.

So I think we will see a transition away from digital photography cameras
to cell-phones with digicams that upload automatically for the masses.

[...]

And now you're on the wrong track again.

It doesn't matter what the majority of consumers do. MF manufacturers in
particular have never catered for the majority of consumers. Their
customer's needs are not met, will never be met, by a 2 MP cell phone
camera.
So what, do you think, needs to be done to keep their customers happy, to
prevent them switching to other high-MP products already available costing
far, far less than the digital solutions they (as mentioned befo it is
not even in the hands of MF manufacturers. They are at the mercy of yet
another group of manufacturers) have to offer.

A relative handful of pros will use their now considerable
investments in high end digital bodies (with 35mm SLR lenses?) at 11-16
MP. The question is whether a driving application (military?) can be found
which will require larger (MF) format digital sensors at 64 MP or above
which will reduce the costs (or cover R&D costs..) and provide the volumes
needed to enable a low cost digital back market for MF gear?


Well, whether there will be such an application or not, if they do not bring
costs down (and, don;t forget, by doing so increase sales volume no end), it
will be over very soon. The Canons, Nikons, Kodaks etc. will take this niche
over completely. And rightly so, i must add.

[...]
A worldwide pro market of 250,000 pros buying a camera every 5 years would
do it - but too many pros are abandoning MF for digital, yes? ;-( But a
half million serious amateur photographers worldwide, each buying a camera
every ten years, would also keep the current MF market going, yes? In
practice, a combination of pros and amateurs would likely to be buying MF
cameras in the future as in the past.


I don't think so. In the past, yes. But there is no indication that this
will continue to happen. On the contrary. That's why we are having this
discussion, right?

If anything, the exit of Fuji from making a number of their models, the
exit of Bronica/Tamron on several of their MF SLR offerings, and the
concerns about both Hasselblad/Hong-Kong and Rollei, plus the possible
end of production of Pentax 67 and Kiev production lines etc. per some
rumors, well we may have too much of a shakeout here already ;-) ;-)


Right.

I think one key is Mamiya/USA (in USA ads) approach, first cutting the
entry level costs with a 645E camera (made in china..) at half the
previous entry level costs (i.e., $750-ish on promotion), with the future
ability to adapt a digital back, should such become available cheaply.


I doubt that will work. Where is the market for a Mamiya 645E?

And yes, how can anyone make sense of that? Why would people who would not
(!) buy MF at "regular", non-entry level price levels spend about 30 times
that amount to be able to use a digital back on their
i-would-not-have-bought-it-if-it-had-cost-2-bucks-more camera? I fear nobody
can.
So yes, (repeating myself) prices have to go down drastically. Not (just) of
MF equipment, but above all of digital backs for MF equipment. And time
really is running out.

[...]

I think a low cost MF entry level camera is the key to attracting people
to MF photography. But where are the reliable under $1k new MF cameras?
The lack of ads for MF with only 10,000 or so sales worldwide, per major
brand, makes it hard to compete against a million+ nikon SLRs etc. ;-)


There are very few people left not leering at the possibilities of digital.
And no matter how cheap a MF system will become, if the total costs
including (!) digital capability is not right, lowering MF prices alone will
achieve absolutely nothing.

Offering cheap entry level MF equipment that is not reliable will not help
matters, no. But will it matter much?

Finally, I would like to see a magazine (perhaps shutterbug, but they have
been seduced by the dark side of the digital force) promoting medium
format and large format photography as an upgrade for 35mm users etc.
Perhaps this is where the mfgers can get together to support with ads such
a venture? IF they don't, it will be hard for them to complain about the
lack of sales in MF in the major US/Canada and European markets, yes?


Magazines are taking the lead in this move away from MF. They, in their
daily business, do see and experience the benefits of digital workflow, and
how the current generation of 35 mm format based digital cameras are of the
"more than good enough" type.
Why would they spearhead a "keep MF alive!" campaign?

And again, i doubt that ads will work. There are only two questions in the
mind of people looking to buy today: is it digital, and how much does
it/that cost.
MF scores bad at both points separately, and combined it's even worse.


  #78  
Old May 23rd 04, 12:40 PM
David J. Littleboy
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default MF future? ideal cameras?


"Q.G. de Bakker" wrote:
A relative handful of pros will use their now considerable
investments in high end digital bodies (with 35mm SLR lenses?) at 11-16
MP. The question is whether a driving application (military?) can be

found
which will require larger (MF) format digital sensors at 64 MP or above
which will reduce the costs (or cover R&D costs..) and provide the

volumes
needed to enable a low cost digital back market for MF gear?


Well, whether there will be such an application or not, if they do not

bring
costs down (and, don;t forget, by doing so increase sales volume no end),

it
will be over very soon. The Canons, Nikons, Kodaks etc. will take this

niche
over completely. And rightly so, i must add.


Hmm. I wonder what the market for a, say US$1000, 32MP (more realistic than
64MP) MF back would be given a US$1500 10D Mk3 at 16MP?

With the 10D3, the wide angle lenses are more fun (and cheaper), the
telephoto lenses are more fun (and cheaper), and the fast primes are two or
more stops faster (and cheaper). Oh, yes. There are _three_ good shift
lenses that also tilt. And zoom lenses in MF are a joke.

16MP is 300dpi at 11x14, and 250 dpi at 13x19. At A4, I find the 1Ds (325
dpi) looks a lot better than the 6MP dSLRs at 240 dpi, but for anything with
a subject (i.e. that doesn't depend on all the pine needles being resolved)
240 dpi looks very very good. And big prints that you keep at arms length
are fine at 150 dpi: that's 20x30 from 16MP.

So who's going to buy the MF back? Do you really need grain sniffable
13x19s? Is 212 dpi enough better than 150 dpi in your 20x30s that you'll
give up the convenience of the 35mm system?

I really doubt that you'll have any takers.

A worldwide pro market of 250,000 pros buying a camera every 5 years

would
do it - but too many pros are abandoning MF for digital, yes? ;-( But a
half million serious amateur photographers worldwide, each buying a

camera
every ten years, would also keep the current MF market going, yes? In
practice, a combination of pros and amateurs would likely to be buying

MF
cameras in the future as in the past.


I don't think so. In the past, yes. But there is no indication that this
will continue to happen. On the contrary. That's why we are having this
discussion, right?


Yup.

I think one key is Mamiya/USA (in USA ads) approach, first cutting the
entry level costs with a 645E camera (made in china..) at half the
previous entry level costs (i.e., $750-ish on promotion), with the

future
ability to adapt a digital back, should such become available cheaply.


I doubt that will work. Where is the market for a Mamiya 645E?


It's an attractive camera for MF newbies. Given that you get a real camera
with a guarantee from a reliable mfr, it makes a lot more sense than Kiev.
Lenses are inexpensive, plentiful, and widely available used.

The problem is that it can't do digital in its current form.

So yes, (repeating myself) prices have to go down drastically. Not (just)

of
MF equipment, but above all of digital backs for MF equipment. And time
really is running out.


An I'll repeat myself: It's far worse than you think. Given the choice
between a free 32MP back for a Mamiya 645AFD and a $1500 10D Mk 3, the
number of new 645AFD sales that will result will be zero.

David J. Littleboy
Tokyo, Japan


  #79  
Old May 23rd 04, 05:38 PM
jjs
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default MF future? ideal cameras?

In article , "Q.G. de
Bakker" wrote:

Bob Monaghan wrote:

Two points; for the vast majority of camera users, "good enough" would be
a 2MP camera in a cell-phone, as are now under test in Japan etc. (Thanks
to David L. on that update ;-) Since circa 90% of digital camera owners
don't make or buy prints of their digital photos (PMIA stats), but email
and webpost them, all the things we think of as digital photography is
really a modest sized part of the overall market, yes?


No. I think you're suffering severely from the "pars pro toto" syndrome. ;-)
That bit o fthe digital market is huge, yes. But only part of it. And as it
happens, not the part that should concern us.


Can we clarify a bit? I think Bob was speaking of the broad width of the
top of the bell curve, which is by definition the very largest part of the
whole (the market share), so "pars pro toto" doesn't apply. (Am I correct,
Bob?) Bell curve in this case being all picture makers.

And again by definition there will always be the rarified few who demand
certain features (eg: quality). The more rarified, the less likely there
will be a product for these individuals, and if there are such products,
then the expense will almost certainly correspond.

Like who uses vacuum or high-end backs on MF or LF? $5000 for a few LPMM?
 




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