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Author Topic: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?  (Read 5931 times)

torger

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Ok, time for some rant n' rave!

How hard can it be to make a web site these days? It is very surprising that so many manufacturers of tech camera gear don't even have web sites (what?!!), and those that have have room for improvement to say the least. Researching digital tech cameras is like going 15 years back in time.

Arca-Swiss? French only?! What? Even if you understand French which I do to some extent (google translate fills the gap), it is a detective work to find out which parts that is actually included when you buy a camera and what you need to make a complete working system. So what is the lens board format? Oh, make a guess from the photo, if there is a photo, and if it is showing the right product. Is the ground glass included? Make your best guess... what is the focal flange range? Hope you find a blog that writes about it. Respond to email? Why? Just learn French and give us a call.

Linhof Techno, Toyo VX23D, etc the list of digital tech cameras can be made long, and every manufacturer makes it really hard to find out about what the product can do how you build a complete system and how you can buy your parts.

If they would just invest 100 bucks in web site development, make manuals downloadable (maybe need to write the manuals first), systems buyable without a expert dealer around the corner etc they would expand their business to a whole bunch of advanced amateurs. But NOOOO. Let's stay in the 90s, oh wait, 80s was even better when there was no Internet.
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nazdravanul

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2012, 06:22:05 AM »

I feel your pain ... :))))
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Mr. Rib

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2012, 06:23:12 AM »

Welcome to digital large format world.
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dchew

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2012, 06:26:28 AM »

Yup.  I know you are not interested in Alpa because of the price, but I think they have one of the better websites.  Tools, spreadsheets, links to lens info, links to dealer videos, etc...  And if you register, you get pricing too (although list without local import effects).

A decent amount of the info, like the tools, spreadsheets and lens info works cross platform.  Hats off to them.  You just have to click the little button that turns off the sound after a while :)

Dave
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torger

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2012, 06:33:00 AM »

Yup.  I know you are not interested in Alpa because of the price, but I think they have one of the better websites.

Yes, Alpa web site is quite nice, I've learnt a lot about large format digital through it. If I just was a little richer I'd buy from them just because of that. An other thing I like about Alpa is the user-shimmable back adapters. Let the user be in control, that's a huge plus in my book.
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TH_Alpa

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2012, 06:46:07 AM »

@ torger

may be get a full quote, for a complete system and all included, and then compare the prices. The difference often isn't that which is believed to be.
And the Alpa site gives almost all needed information and even more, included prices as mentionned and if you register.
It is continusoulsy and immediately updated for any new product or other news. An example IMO how it should be, but am obviously biased.

Best regards
Thierry

Yes, Alpa web site is quite nice, I've learnt a lot about large format digital through it. If I just was a little richer I'd buy from them just because of that. An other thing I like about Alpa is the user-shimmable back adapters. Let the user be in control, that's a huge plus in my book.

Mr. Rib

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2012, 06:54:32 AM »

Yes, Alpa is an exception and their website should be used as an example by others (when they actually CREATE a website because direct competitors to ALPA tend to not have a website at all / totally lack in information).
Torger, you are probably aware of that, but just in case you are not- Arca has a webshop as well, not too fancy but at least you get the pricing and there's an english language version of it- www.arca-shop.de
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torger

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2012, 07:21:21 AM »

One example of lacking information, the Toyo VX23D seems like a quite good deal, nice movements, seems rigid etc good price. But hmm... after some reading between the lines it turns out that you unlike many other view cameras actually *must* have the sliding adapter because the normal back adapters cannot be easily swapped with a ground glass. And the sliding adapter (for which there are no photos or description, no information about weight or size for us backpackers) of course costs $4500 which is almost the same as the rest of the camera...
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 07:23:13 AM by torger »
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TH_Alpa

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2012, 08:02:25 AM »

One example of lacking information, the Toyo VX23D seems like a quite good deal, nice movements, seems rigid etc good price. But hmm... after some reading between the lines it turns out that you unlike many other view cameras actually *must* have the sliding adapter because the normal back adapters cannot be easily swapped with a ground glass. And the sliding adapter (for which there are no photos or description, no information about weight or size for us backpackers) of course costs $4500 which is almost the same as the rest of the camera...

... that's why I suggest to always get a quote from different systems for all you need, not just for the basic camera.

Best regards
Thierry

fredjeang

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2012, 08:03:36 AM »

thread title.....

....only tech cameras?
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MarkoRepse

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2012, 08:05:27 AM »

thread title.....

....only tech cameras?

touché!
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darr

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2012, 08:14:23 AM »

thread title.....

....only tech cameras?

Absolutely!!

torger

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2012, 10:10:17 AM »

... that's why I suggest to always get a quote from different systems for all you need, not just for the basic camera.

Yep, that's the best. But for amateurs/semi-pros with an economy to care about it's not a great situation to be in. You're not supposed ask for a quote just to get some idea of what these things cost and then dream about it for a year or so, when you ask for a quote you're supposed to be prepared to buy. Requiring a quote to get an understanding of how the system is built and operated is not exactly inviting.

I mailed the Linhof dealer here in Sweden a week ago asking some trivial questions about the Techno ("do you sell the Techno?"), still no response. And it is not the only dealer/manufacturer that doesn't respond to email (some do though), despite that I kept my mails short and concise unlike my postings here :). I guess email is a little bit too modern technology to deal with.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 10:16:07 AM by torger »
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greygrad

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2012, 10:18:42 AM »

For Linhof contact Paula at Linhof and Studio in the UK - service is superb, and Paula is very knowledgeable about everything to do with Linhof systems past and present ... along with Alpa, Silvestri and large format camera equipment in general.

I don't have a Linhof dealer where I am, but the service from L&S is so good, I don't need one.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 10:20:41 AM by greygrad »
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torger

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2012, 10:32:19 AM »

For Linhof contact Paula at Linhof and Studio in the UK - service is superb, and Paula is very knowledgeable about everything to do with Linhof systems past and present ... along with Alpa, Silvestri and large format camera equipment in general.

I don't have a Linhof dealer where I am, but the service from L&S is so good, I don't need one.

Yep, I've been in contact with Paula. If I go for the Techno it is likely I'll buy from there. I have a few more systems to look into. I just realized I've missed the Arca-Swiss M-two MF which looks interesting.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2012, 10:35:32 AM »

... You're not supposed ask for a quote just to get some idea of what these things cost and then dream about it for a year or so...

Seems like you finally got it! Couple of adages seem to apply too:

-if you need to ask, you do not need to know
-tire-kickers need not apply

Or perhaps they are small businesses with no time to tend to the huge audience of, say, 1.6 wanna-be pros?

« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 12:56:33 PM by Slobodan Blagojevic »
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torger

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2012, 11:20:30 AM »

Or perhaps they are small businesses with no time to tend to the huge audience of, say, 1.6 wanna-be pros?

Or perhaps arrogance will be the downfall? Providing a website with actual information you service everybody from pros to tire-kickers and it does not need to cost much either. It's a mystery. I've seen one-man companies have better web sites than some of the tech cam companies. I would be surprised if professionals don't need the type of information I want, i e data on the products. I'm not sure if these companies in the future can trust that business can be sustained only through local expert dealers, which is the old model they are at.

I also think the amateur market can grow. "Wanna-be pro" is a derogatory term that some pros like to use, but there are some amateur artists too, that are more interested in raising their level and commitment to photography than do it for a living, and just like some move to large format film some can move to tech cam digital.  35mm digital is reaching its optical limits, and entry level digital backs are becoming more affordable. Doing medium format digital landscape photography can today be about as cheap/expensive as bird photography is, a bit tricky to get good deals on the backs but it is possible (next two years it will be easier), and on every professional bird photographer I would guess there are 100 amateurs which has committed enough to get pro equipment.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 11:36:52 AM by torger »
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darr

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2012, 11:36:32 AM »

35mm digital is reaching its optical limits, and entry level digital backs are becoming more affordable.

Remember you get what you pay for. I say this because you seem to have a lot of technical issues that warrant perfection and perfection is not in the entry-level stuff, nor is it in the top-level stuff like you pointed out with the P1 180 + wide lenses. Just saying. Maybe you should shoot a 4x5" with film and f/22.

torger

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2012, 12:12:05 PM »

Remember you get what you pay for. I say this because you seem to have a lot of technical issues that warrant perfection and perfection is not in the entry-level stuff, nor is it in the top-level stuff like you pointed out with the P1 180 + wide lenses. Just saying. Maybe you should shoot a 4x5" with film and f/22.

It's usually like this -- you never get more than you pay for, but you may get less :).

With tech cams, the challenge is to combine parts that work together as a system and perform well for the tasks you like to do in a workflow you like. Just buying the most expensive may not get you there. One example -- some of the Schneider wide angles are lower cost due to there are no retrofocus design and thus cheaper to produce, still very sharp, but not the best for a digital back that is poor at light coming in at low angles, like the P30 or IQ180, but the P25 and P45 are just fine. Those Schneiders are perhaps not as good as Rodenstocks at f/5.6, but if you work typically at f/11 or so that's no problem. Anyway, by gathering information -- which is not super-easy -- you get much better prepared to make an informed purchase.
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John R Smith

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Re: Arrrggh!!! Why are tech camera manufacturers stuck in the 90s?
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2012, 12:49:06 PM »

-- some of the Schneider wide angles are lower cost due to there are no retrofocus design and thus cheaper to produce, still very sharp, but not the best for a digital back that is poor at light coming in at low angles, like the P30 or IQ180, but the P25 and P45 are just fine.

The P45 uses the same Kodak 39MP sensor as my CFV-39 DB. I use mine on an ancient Hasselblad SWC with the 38mm Biogon lens, which has its rear element very close indeed to the sensor plane. Many voices of doom predicted dire results, but I don't seem to get awful vignetting, CA, or weird colour casts, just really nice pictures. So certainly non-retrofocus designs, even very old ones, can work perfectly well with particular sensors.

John
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