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Focal plane vs. leaf shutters in MF SLRs



 
 
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  #82  
Old May 23rd 04, 08:29 PM
Q.G. de Bakker
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Default MF future? ideal cameras?

David J. Littleboy wrote:

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?

[...]

So who's going to buy the MF back?


Many who already have the MF cameras plus lenses and only need the back to
go digital.
I would in a shot. See, i don't have any of the required bits of equipment
you would need besides the Canon body to make it work.

On the other hand, people who do have the necessary paraphenalia would be
foolish to get the back instead of the 10D.

That's the point i am trying to make all along: as soon as we have decided
not to wait for MF-digital prices to come down, and spend the money on
digital 35 mm instead, there is no turning back. MF will have lost. No
redemption, ever.

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?


Well, i would like the 32 MP you promised me at the price you mentioned,
yes. And i wouldn't mind that i then would still need to use my current MF
gear, no.

I have (not very often, mind you) produced some prints that took every pixel
i could muster using a 4000 dpi scanner on my MF negs, with not a single one
(well, maybe two or three ;-)) to spare.
It's nice to be able to do that when needed. And if it can be done for no
more money than a less MP digital 35 mm camera, why ever not?

One thing is very important though. you mentioned lenses: any MF back would
have to be full frame. Adding the expense of having to buy (mostly
non-existing) extra-wide MF lenses would not be to the advantage of digital
MF's chances.

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.


Yes, but that's all about what the camera is (or rather, would be). And a
nice camera it may be.
But, again, where are the people queuing to buy that thing...?

To be a success, to even be the thing that will save MF, you would also need
to find people willing to invest in such a thing rather than invest in 35 mm
based digital. Being attractive in itself is not enough. It must still be
attractive when put side to side next to the competition.

And there's the rub...

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.


I doubt that. A lot. The 35 mm based thingies will outsell the MF thing
easy. But 35 mm based thingies always have. It's the "installed base" that
counts: the market for a cheap digital MF thing will be about as large as
that.

Anyway, only time will tell. I can't wait to see what answer MF manufactuers
have produced. And/or how many will announce they will resign from the
competition.
Perhaps upcoming Photokina will be "the moment" of truth. We'll see.


  #83  
Old May 23rd 04, 08:34 PM
Q.G. de Bakker
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Default MF future? ideal cameras?

jjs wrote:

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. [...]


We're talking about (see subject line) not about "all picture makers" but
about that small niche occupied by MF users.
What Bob has put forward s very ineresting, but is not (!) about the MF
market. It can not be taken to be indicative of what will happen in the MF
market either. Transferring the trends in 2 MP cell phone camera market to
MF is rather pointless.

We're not talking about the entire bell-curve (i don't think that metaphor
applies, by the way), only about a rather independent, very small part
somewhere at the toe of one of its slopes.

So assuming that particular part of the market is indicative for what will
happen in all nooks and crannies of the entire photography field is indeed
displaying symptoms of the "pars pro toto"-syndrome. ;-)



  #84  
Old May 23rd 04, 08:49 PM
Michael Benveniste
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Default MF future? ideal cameras?

On 22 May 2004 22:23:58 -0500, (Bob Monaghan)
wrote:

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 didn't think you could put a digital back on a 645E. But one of
the things the 645E did was to drive the price of _used_ 645 manual
focus cameras down to today's historically low levels.

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. ;-)


I think that's a losing tactic.

Medium format is inherently more expensive than 35mm. Nor has it been
a hotbed of technological innovation. I don't see any film format
taking back the innovation role from digital. Nor do most amateurs
need (or even perceive) the advantages of medium format.

That leaves a couple of niches where MF could succeed. The first is
as a professional tool. The second is as a luxury good. Neither
niche lends itself well to a low price strategy.

As a professional tool, MF is under attack from digital SLR's. In
order to hold on to this market, the MF manufacturers must give
professional photographers a competitive edge. Otherwise, the systems
built around smaller, less expensive formats will crowd them out.

Turning to the luxury good strategy, you won't find "entry-level"
Ferraris, Rolexes or even Leicas. Occasionally, someone like Cadillac
will try something like the Cimarron, typically with disasterous
consequences.

Instead, to survive as a proider of luxury goods, you have to create
an aura of quality, exclusivity, and fashion. Leica and to a lesser
extent Rollei have all three. Hasselblad has the first two, but not
the third. Until the H1, 'blads were square, literally and
figuratively. Bronica, Mamiya, and Pentax have neither fashion nor
exclusivity. They all have quality, but have failed to project an
aura of quality beyond professional photographers.

Mamiya in particular has tried to woo new customers based on price and
theoretical advantages. IMHO they would have been better off if they
focused on image instead.

--
Michael Benveniste --

Spam and UCE professionally evaluated for $419. Use this email
address only to submit mail for evaluation.

  #85  
Old May 23rd 04, 09:24 PM
jjs
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Default MF future? ideal cameras?

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

[... snip good clarification ...]


We're not talking about the entire bell-curve (i don't think that metaphor
applies, by the way), only about a rather independent, very small part
somewhere at the toe of one of its slopes.


Every segment of the big bell curve is a bell curve. It's fractal.

So assuming that particular part of the market is indicative for what will
happen in all nooks and crannies of the entire photography field is indeed
displaying symptoms of the "pars pro toto"-syndrome. ;-)


I leave this subject to you and Bob. I know only two real-life MF
photographers (outside of the wedding guys).
  #86  
Old May 23rd 04, 09:25 PM
Q.G. de Bakker
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Default MF future? ideal cameras?

Michael Benveniste wrote:

I didn't think you could put a digital back on a 645E. But one of
the things the 645E did was to drive the price of _used_ 645 manual
focus cameras down to today's historically low levels.


I don't doubt that one minute.
In fact, i think it was responsible for driving the price of used
any-brand-or-type MF camera down to today's historically low levels as
well... ;-)

[big snip]


Can't disagree with any of it! ;-)
Good stuff!


  #87  
Old May 23rd 04, 09:28 PM
jjs
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Default MF future? ideal cameras?

In article , Michael
Benveniste wrote:

[...]
Medium format is inherently more expensive than 35mm. Nor has it been
a hotbed of technological innovation. I don't see any film format
taking back the innovation role from digital. Nor do most amateurs
need (or even perceive) the advantages of medium format.


Let me rephrase that to reflect what was said in the forties of 35mm:
"Medium format is more expensive than miniature (35mm). Medium format has
not been a hotbed of technological innovation. Idon't see any format
taking back the innovative role from miniature (35mm) photography.

That leaves a couple of niches where MF could succeed.


That part hasn't changed.
  #89  
Old May 23rd 04, 10:00 PM
Neil Gould
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Default MF future? ideal cameras?

Hi,

Recently, Q.G. de Bakker posted:

What Bob has put forward s very ineresting, but is not (!) about the
MF market. It can not be taken to be indicative of what will happen
in the MF market either. Transferring the trends in 2 MP cell phone
camera market to MF is rather pointless.

I agree with you that MF users are not an appropriate subset of all
photo-takers (or even all photographers), and that thne 2 MP cell phone
market will not be much of a factor one way or another to the MF market.
However, I have difficulty with your pessimistic view of the furture for
MF photography.

We accept that higher resolution cameras will be the trend until the
returns diminish to the point where higher resolution sensors just aren't
worth manufacturing. I don't know what that point is, but if pressed, I'd
put it somewhere in the 20 MP range. As it is, many feel that 6 MP
satisfies the majority of 35 mm user's requirements, and the same feel
that the 11 - 14 MP cameras exceed the capabilities of 35 mm. I don't
agree, and was faced today with a scenario where I chose 35 mm over
digital.

There is an aspect of digital that is correlative to photography that I
haven't seen discussed yet (not that it would be difficult for me to miss
if it has been discussed). What if the *only* images you could take using
film were 20" x 30" (or the equivalent of a 24" field camera)? This may
sound strange, but if you think about it, MF film gives you the
opportunity to not have to decide ahead of time which images will be used
at the maximum practical enlargement size, e.g. maximum resolution of the
medium.

OTOH, with digital, the best thing to do is always shoot at maximum
resolution in the event that at some point one wants to produce a maximum
sized enlargement. One of the consequences of this are that quite a bit of
time will be spent downsampling those 20 MP images for use at 4" x 6" or
smaller. This isn't going to be a one-jump move if you want any control
over the quality of the results. Then, there's storage, and archiving.

So, resolution isn't the only concern when it comes to making a choice of
what medium to use. Today, I attended my 5-year-old granddaughter's first
dance recital. My first thoughts were, grab the digicam. Then, after
considering all of the ramifications, I grabbed the Leica. Why? Because
the odds that she'll be able to view images of this recital 20 years from
now are far greater than if I put them on any available digital media.

So, there's two aspects that should keep film around for a while yet. At
one point, I thought that it would be great to have a digital back for the
MF camera. I no longer think so. Like others, I've concluded that the
smaller format digicam is the better tool.

For one thing, while there was a lot of snickering and denial going on
when Olympus announced a couple of years ago that they were making
digital-specific lenses for their prosumer digicams, a look at the field
now suggests that they were, once again, just *way* ahead of the pack.
Well, EVERYBODY has digital-specific lenses now. And every review I've
seen that compares the digital-specific lenses to film lenses on a digicam
claims that the new digital-specific lenses produce observably better
quality images.

Hmm. Forget that digital back for the Leica. And, for the same reasons,
forget that digital back for the Rollei. Instead, put that money into a
decent MF film scanner, buy a decent mid-range digicam. Those digicams are
coming down in price and at the same time outperforming their high-end
predecessors in every way. The MF film scanner will still outperform the
best of the current, and more than likely any future digicams. And, you
can pocket the remaining $2-3kUS.

Best of all worlds, I say.

Regards,

Neil


  #90  
Old May 23rd 04, 11:08 PM
Raphael Bustin
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Default MF future? ideal cameras?

On Sun, 23 May 2004 22:25:06 +0200, "Q.G. de Bakker"
wrote:

Michael Benveniste wrote:

I didn't think you could put a digital back on a 645E. But one of
the things the 645E did was to drive the price of _used_ 645 manual
focus cameras down to today's historically low levels.


I don't doubt that one minute.
In fact, i think it was responsible for driving the price of used
any-brand-or-type MF camera down to today's historically low levels as
well... ;-)



The 645E is what got me back into MF photography.
I had used a number of TLRs in my younger days.

Since I've owned it I've seen its price drop from $1250
(BH price, near its introduction, the price I paid) down
to $650 and, last I checked, back up to around $850.

What are folks supposed to make of that, or the
inherent worth or value of the equipment, in the
face of such wild swings?

The other telling tale is when I once heard this
camera, on this forum, refered to as a "bottom
feeder." Which it is, I suppose, compared to
Blads and Rolleis and Contax. My point is that
matters of financial reality don't impinge on the
MF world in any "normal" way. MF is a is a
niche market, and has been for the last forty
years or more, when the last "Brownies" were
chucked into the bin.



rafe b.
http://www.terrapinphoto.com
 




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