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Author Topic: When looking back is looking forward–  (Read 1601 times)


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When looking back is looking forward–
« on: October 20, 2007, 05:39:29 AM »

It's late, the disks are spinning as backup files go one way and the batch file is busy spitting out FPO's to the web; I got thinking.

There's been a few posts lately about features that should be included in a modern MF digital camera.
Looking at 'professional' camera design in the last 100 years or so there was a common thread of thought.  Let's recap a sketchy little history.
In the early days of commercial photography print size was the same as the negative size so negs were large.  8"x10" or 11"x14" became common because the prints were a saleable size and the camera gear was as portable as a camera can be when you need to take a darkroom with you on the job.
Around the turn of the century Kodak wanted a portable camera that amateurs could use, prints could be smaller, no wet plate darkroom was required; 120 film was born.  Pros used 'quarter-plate' (4"x5") cameras and rapid film holders where speed of operation was required.
In early 1900's (1913?) some smart folk worked out that a really portable, speedy camera could be made using modern, high speed, movie film as the format foundation.  Improved lenses and film could support enlarged prints.  The 35mm Leica that resulted got a mixed reception from Pro's: it might be fast but what about the quality?
Medium format cameras using 120 film, or 70mm movie stock, were an effective compromise, big enough to give adequate quality, small enough to be portable, cheap enough to operate for a fee.  Modular design answered the needs of pro photographers: mechanical reliablity and redundancy, fast film changes, colour & B/W on the same job, flexibility for different tasks with different lenses and finders.  Hasselblad's square format meant a compact camera that suited the people using them.  Mamiyas RB's, Fuji 680's and the like traded compact size for a larger format, but retained the operational convenience by including revolving backs, bellows focusing- lenses smaller and cheaper, etc.  Pros that needed camera movements used 4"x5" which also suited the need for higher image quality and easier retouching.

One thing common to all of these cameras was the the camera design started with the requirements of the final image, then the operational needs of the photographer, hence the film format, then the lens and camera body design.

Mostly, that's not what has happened with the transition to digital.  For pro-cameras the manufacturers have tried to utilise their legacy systems as the basis for cameras: lenses (Canon, Nikon, Rollie) and bodies (Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc).

But the transition to digital has precipitated a change in the business of photography.  The type of camera professionals need has, in many cases, changed. For example, tasks previously the domain of the 4x5 now come into the MF realm; moire was something that used to happen on offset presses.  But in MF many things have stayed the same: Pro's need wide-angle lenses and wide aperture lenses, Pro's don't need lots of auto everything, Pro's need a camera they can operate for hours easily, without juggling:big bright viewfinders, as light as possible, hand sized, easy and stable to mount and dismount on tripods, reliable (with redundancy) and so on.

There's more to say;  but here the backup's done, the FPO's uploaded and burned.  Time for something else.




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When looking back is looking forward–
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2007, 06:37:05 AM »

My comment - once I was happy with an FM2

so why dont I have a V blad

becauase I cant focus manually at the resolution of the current chipset

The current bunch neither seem to give

the simple approcach..

aperture , speed , mirror

or the 'new' approach

-AF that works

-infinite customisability of functions

-live view  with with all sorts of data analysis and the back commanding the camera

Interestingly it seems that the D3 which seems to have the 'new approach' fairly sorted will relax my attitude towards my blad - I may even go V or proTL or RZ67 at that point

Well actually I wont because I'll still stry to use the blad wherever I can to get that extra file

This will be my own error - a sharp D3 image will be better than a muzzy blad one

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