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Author Topic: The end of medium format ?  (Read 47954 times)

ErikKaffehr

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #180 on: December 08, 2012, 01:55:11 AM »

Hi,


Yes and no. There is no law in nature saying that smaller lenses are better. Larger formats require larger lenses and cost probably rises with size. Many years ago Photodo published some MTF tests of medium format lenses. In the Photodo tests the few MF lenses tested were weaker than their 135 colleagues, except Mamiya 7 lenses that were competitive with 135 on an absolute scale.

The worst MF lens in the Photodo tests was the Zeiss 120/4 macro planar, that lens got grade 2.7.

Now, the very same lens is sold by Hartblei (in Germany) as a tilt and shift lens. Diglloyd has tested it and finds it excellent, although it needs to be stopped down to f/11 for god sharpness/contrast whatever. A lens that needs stopping down to f/11 is not very good in my book. To put it simply, I don't understand. The only way of finding out is to get one of those lenses and finding out. A quite expensive proposal, unfortunately.

It was a bit interesting that Michael switched from Pentax 67 (on film) to Contax 645 and Phase One (P25?). With time he found out that in many cases the Canons he had offered better sharpness. When he came back to MF it was with a P45 and a few selected lenses from Rodenstock calculated for MF digital. Those lenses were probably better than most 135 lenses according to MTF data.

Joseph Holmes set out to replace 4x5" with MFD and started putting together an equipment but found that MF-stuff had a large variation in quality. He also worked with students, and found that more than half of the equipment that came under his hands had issues. Foremost, it seemed like Schneider and Rodenstock had lousy quality control with real lenses being far off from MTF data. Josep Holmes finally settled on carefully cherry picked Mamiya lenses on a Phase One body.

Here is a good example of what is achievable with IQ 180 on Alpa with "Digital" lens (I don't know which lens was used, images courtesy of Marc McCalmont)
http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/71-mf-digital-myths-or-facts?start=5

In the same article I also looked at sample images from Pentax 645D and Nikon D800E published at Imaging Resource and calculated MTF. Here the difference was quite small, see enclosed screen dump.

Best regards
Erik




I always thought that 35mm-format lenses have a "natural advantage" over medium-format lenses (at least in lp/mm), not the other way around. Thus, it is the degree of enlargement that more than compensates the initial lens "disadvantage."

ErikKaffehr

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Re: Some advantages of medium format: VF's, lens resolution, photographic DR?
« Reply #181 on: December 08, 2012, 02:05:48 AM »

Hi,

I agree with BJL on both issues.

Regarding image quality, there has always been a quest for better image quality. In film days it was 8x10". Needed or not is dependent on viewing distance.

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders was known to produce mural size prints from large format film intended to be viewed from relative short distance.

Best regards
Erik

Electron well capacity limits might also leave larger formats with a sustained advantage in maximum "electrons per image" or "electons per pixel after normalizing to equal pixel count", which again could give a natural advantage in photographically relevant DR and SNR to larger formats, at least when one can expose at low enough exposure index, to make good use of full well capacity.

But what fascinates me is the number of MF users who particularly emphasize the advantage of the big, bright image in the optical viewfinder. What happens if and when EVFs get good enough in dynamic range and such to be a fully satisfactory alternative (or adjunct) to the OVF? Because there is no relationship beween the size/brightness of an EVF image and the size of the sensor: even a Micro Four Thirds camera could have an EVF with an image size as big as any ever seen on an SLR, if there were sufficient demand for that. And big, beautiful hot-shoe mounted EVF's could also be offered as accessories for many current SLR's, using HDMI out.

TMARK

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Re: Some advantages of medium format: VF's, lens resolution, photographic DR?
« Reply #182 on: December 08, 2012, 12:15:39 PM »

But what fascinates me is the number of MF users who particularly emphasize the advantage of the big, bright image in the optical viewfinder. What happens if and when EVFs get good enough in dynamic range and such to be a fully satisfactory alternative (or adjunct) to the OVF?


Bring it on.

The EVF in the Red One is pretty good.  If an EVF can give me what I can get from an RZ or Blad, I'm all over it.  Too often EVFs just look electronic, like unprocessed Jpegs that can't be used to judge exposure from looking at a scene through a lens.  It is distracting from composition and the feling of being in the image, which is where I do my best work.
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FredBGG

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #183 on: December 10, 2012, 01:30:07 AM »


DF becomes the DF+...... slightly better focus and focus calibration.

New Hasselbad.... better eyecup and jpeg..... True focus II (slight improvement).


Regarding the body: DF+ is a nice incremental improvement. Nothing revolutionary. Then again can you tell me the huge improvements to the body element of the 5D3 over the 5D2?

Can I tell you the improvements in the body of the Canon 5D III over the 5D II? Sure can.....

Very significant improvements.

Autofocus.

5DII          9   focus points.   Working range      EV -0.5-18
5dIII       61   focus points     Working range      EV -2.0 - 18

The 5DIII has a larger combination of focus point settings. Auto, manual single point (spot focus), various expanded point focusing settings and area focus.

If we look at the 1DX it's predictive and tracking of focusing also uses luminance and color information from the exposure metering sensor to assist the AF system.

Frames per second.

5DII        3.9 fps
5dIII       6.0 fps


Flash support.

The Canon 5DIII has even more flash support with power and ratio control of multiple flashes wirelessly directly from the camera menu.

Video

5DIII now has uncompressed HDMI output.

Camera Noise
The 5DIII has a silent shooting mode for remarkably quiet shooting.

memory cards
5dII just one CF slot.
5dIII one CF slot and one SD slot. This gives the camera redundancy if one card fails.
The addition of the SD card also includes direct Eye-Fi support for Wi-Fi tethering to both Laptops , iPads, iPhones and Android devices.


I think there is no comparison between the Canon 5dIII improvements compared to the DF to DF+ improvements.

One could also make a Nikon d700 to D800 vs DF P65 to DF+ IQ180.

It's also interesting to note that the Canon despite all the improvements and the addition of uncompressed HDMI
it has already dropped in price from it's initial price thanks to the healthy competition in the 35mm DSLR sector.

 
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 03:49:20 AM by FredBGG »
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FredBGG

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #184 on: December 10, 2012, 02:18:31 AM »

Earlier in this thread I mentioned the importance of the Carl Zeiss announcment of a new line of lenses specifically developed for high MP count 35mm DSLRs
and how it will effect the quality that can be reached by 35mm DSLRs.



The 55mm 1.4 being the first to be shown.

Here is an interesting article about the new lens.

http://nikonrumors.com/2012/12/06/how-sharp-is-the-new-zeiss-distagon-55mm-f1-4-zf-2-lens-comparison.aspx/#more-49844

The quality increase wide open at 1.4 is quite significant as is the better bokeh.

It will be interesting to see how this compared with MF.
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HarperPhotos

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #185 on: December 10, 2012, 02:51:36 AM »

Hello,

The sharpness increase in my opinion is defiantly NOT worth paying 4 grand.

I wished they had used a Nikon 50mm f1.4G lens instead of the older Nikon 50mm F1.4D lens in this review.

Cheers

Simon
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FredBGG

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #186 on: December 10, 2012, 03:21:54 AM »

Hello,

The sharpness increase in my opinion is defiantly NOT worth paying 4 grand.

I wished they had used a Nikon 50mm f1.4G lens instead of the older Nikon 50mm F1.4D lens in this review.

Cheers

Simon

Yup the price is steep if that will be the final selling price.

Good you pointed out that eh Nikon lens is an older model.

There is quite a difference between the two.


D



G

Looking at this difference the G might be very close to the new Zeiss or even a match for it.

Also the G lens had a 9 blade iris for better bokeh when stopped down. The D lens only has 6 blades.

Simon is right. We need to see the 50mm 1.4G vs the Carl Zeiss 55mm 1.4.
Price difference also needs to be considered....

$ 400 to $ 4,000.... 10x  :o
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 03:48:14 AM by FredBGG »
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yaya

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #187 on: December 10, 2012, 07:24:58 AM »

I played with the 55mm/1.4 on a D800E. It's a beast as expected and is very well made with a very smooth MF action. It is bigger and heavier than the Contax 645AF 55mm.

IMO if a high end 35mm camera now requires expensive MF lenses with no VR to get the most out of it then it makes the camera less flexible and maybe less attractive since manual focus is not so easy with the small viewfinder. I guess it'll work better on a D4 or a 1DX with their larger finders

As a general comment if a lens is designed to be a portrait lens (as most 50mm are) then there is no real point in testing and comparing edge sharpness

Yair

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #188 on: December 10, 2012, 08:24:19 AM »

IMO if a high end 35mm camera now requires expensive MF lenses with no VR to get the most out of it then it makes the camera less flexible and maybe less attractive since manual focus is not so easy with the small viewfinder. I guess it'll work better on a D4 or a 1DX with their larger finders

but you get focus confirmation* with all the focus points not just 1 in the middle of the frame plus a live view option that is usable and doesn't need a ND filter taking off and on.

*presuming focus confirmation will work the same as other manual focus lenses
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bcooter

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #189 on: December 10, 2012, 08:33:19 AM »

snip........ since manual focus is not so easy with the small viewfinder. .........snip

Yair,

I'm with you on this.

One of the most difficult things to learn is taking a three dimensional world, looking at it through a semi three dimensional optical viewfinder then lighting, composing to make the 2 dimensional end result look almost three dimensional.

That's how most of us trained ourselves.

When the RED's EVF came out I thought they were pretty spiffy.  High rez enough to focus and heck everything starts out in two dimensions, so less brain drain on my end.  

What I noticed was everything looked kind of flat.  I was missing that intermediate step.

Now, I don't have a single doubt that someday all cameras will be evfs.   It's just too easy and too electronic for them not to be.  Also we have a new generation of photographers learning on iphones instead of cameras.

Still, there is a difference.  When we got our first REDs we would use the RED's to base out the shot and the lighting (if we were using continuous light).  I think everything suffered.  Now even if I'm using a RED as the primary camera I still base out with a still camera or no camera at all.

It makes for more thoughtful imagery . . . at least for me.

My partner and wife who is our producer and on set style director is one of the few non photographers I know that can see a 3 dimensional set with her eyes and transfer it into a two dimensional outcome.

In fact, she never, ever looks at the monitor when we're shooting tethered.  She finds it completely uninteresting and says anything important is happening on set, not on a screen.

Even though she is at a separate angle from the camera she can spot a bad tangent a block away and when she mentions it I'll say, naw it's ok and she says check the files.  She's right everytime.  You can't fool a trained eye.

Actually, to take this one step further, the thing I miss about the lab and film is the surprise of going from an optical viewfinder, two steps further to seeing the final image on film.

It's a gas and somewhere with camera lcds, tethering, hot folders to special processes like lightroom, we lose some of the surprise some of the innovation and I think spend way too much time looking at a screen and less time on set.

Not to debate this silly d800 vs. the world thing because I still think a few protagonists want to googlize he negatives of medium format, but if there is anything I dislike about dslrs is the crappy manual focus on those tiny screens.  If your ever used a F5 Nikon and go back to one of the digital era nikons it's like a cheap prosumer view and since I shoot people shooting with life view really isn't that appealing.

I just find it a dumbing down of the photographic process.

To take this thought to a different level, I think everyone should try a rangfinder like a Leica.  There is something so cool about looking through that weird viewfinder with crop lines and no real view of the lens, taking a series of frames and then looking at them in final.  It's a leap almost like going to the lab.



In fact, I love my REDs, but the only thing that would make me go to an Arri is it has an optical viewfinder.  That's something I can really understand.

In regards to the Zeiss glass, I have a few of those lenses we use one one of our RED One's for hand holding and the previous versions were great lenses and you can focus them on a RED, but I put them on my still Nikon D3 and their a beast to manually focus on that small ground plastic.

As I said someday I guess we'll all focus on Ipad screens mounted to some kind of lens and probably even have cameras that we can say, light it like Newton or Bordin and the camera will do it, maybe it will even talk to the model and give direction, like smile now, or looks off camera.  

Sounds like a lot of fun.  (yawn).

IMO

BC
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 08:39:52 AM by bcooter »
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Stefan.Steib

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #190 on: December 10, 2012, 10:02:52 AM »

BC - if all cameras had a finder like the Leica S2 or the Nikon F5 the world would be a better place to work in.
This was and is the top of the optical mirror finder.
I donīt think it can be done any better.

But I believe we will have other finders in the future, like the Zeiss Cinemizer or the Sony counterpart, off the camera
no more forcing us to go down or step on ladders or hang off helicopters............ :)

The OLEDīs of the Sony HMZ T2 are already that good that they match or surpass a Pro Video finder like the Zacuto and this in 3D,
maybe your wife will then take a look as soon as you can "walk around" with your eyes.Once these finders will run around 4k res I think optical finders are dead.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMwsMaSxZDU

This is the next logical step and already visible - and working. Soon these will become much smaller, higher res and even more comfortable.
This will allow a full concentration to the subject and give you a 100% match of the stuff that is recorded with your actual vision-in 3 D

regards
Stefan
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yaya

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #191 on: December 10, 2012, 11:20:16 AM »

but you get focus confirmation* with all the focus points not just 1 in the middle of the frame plus a live view option that is usable and doesn't need a ND filter taking off and on.

*presuming focus confirmation will work the same as other manual focus lenses

You have the same functionality in the D4/ 1DX and you also have a larger finder...

FredBGG

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #192 on: December 10, 2012, 12:28:14 PM »

I played with the 55mm/1.4 on a D800E. It's a beast as expected and is very well made with a very smooth MF action. It is bigger and heavier than the Contax 645AF 55mm.

IMO if a high end 35mm camera now requires expensive MF lenses with no VR to get the most out of it then it makes the camera less flexible and maybe less attractive since manual focus is not so easy with the small viewfinder. I guess it'll work better on a D4 or a 1DX with their larger finders

As a general comment if a lens is designed to be a portrait lens (as most 50mm are) then there is no real point in testing and comparing edge sharpness

Yair

35mm does not require expensive medium format lenses. MF lenses have a much larger image circle than needed on a 35mm System and as such are not optimized for a
smaller sensor. MF lenses will not produce better results on a 24x36 sensor than a new Nikon or Canon lens designed specifically for the sensor size.

Also in that comparison an older Nikon lens was used, not the newer 50mm 1.4G.

Here is the difference:

Older Nikon 1.4D at 1.4center frame




New 50mm 1.4G at 1.4center frame



Corner difference:

D at 1.4 corner

G at 1.4 corner

As you can see there is a significant quality difference. Very close and probably matching the Zeiss 55mm.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 12:30:58 PM by FredBGG »
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Doug Peterson

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #193 on: December 10, 2012, 12:46:32 PM »

Funny I could swear I can remember you (FredBGG) touting the excellent performance of his Fuji lenses (designed for 6x8 with movement) as used on a 35mm dSLR.

Anytime you read such categorical statements you can be assured they are not entirely correct.

In truth some medium format lenses hold up exceptionally well on a Nikon/canon.
Also some dSLR lenses hold up reasonably well on medium format (e.g. 24TS).

Also you really can't generalize about quality vs. price vs. image circle. What makes a lens perform better or worse or be more or less expensive is a very complicated equation.

FredBGG

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #194 on: December 10, 2012, 12:47:18 PM »

I played with the 55mm/1.4 on a D800E.......

IMO if a high end 35mm camera now requires expensive MF lenses with no VR to get the most out of it then it makes the camera less flexible and maybe less attractive since manual focus is not so easy with the small viewfinder. I guess it'll work better on a D4 or a 1DX with their larger finders

Yair

I don't think there will be a huge difference on a 1DX vs a 5dIII
The difference in magnification is not large at all.


1DX    Approx. 0.76x (-1m-1 with 50mm lens at infinity) / 35.0° angle of view
5DIII   Approx. 0.71x / Angle of view 34.1° (with 50mm lens at infinity, -1 m-1 (dpt))

What you need to do is test manual focusing with a manual focusing optimized focusing screen. Both Nikon and Canon make special screens for manual focusing.

But if we are going to talk about manual focusing abilities there is no comparison between MFD and the D800.
There are so many more options that assist with manual focusing with the D800. Face recognition assisted manual focus live view ... just to mention one.
See my post on page 5 of this thread.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 08:59:16 PM by FredBGG »
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FredBGG

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #196 on: December 10, 2012, 01:02:45 PM »

MF as in Manual Focus...

Oh. OK. ;)

Most of my reason still stands. 35mm DSLR do not require manual focusing lenses, but if you do need or want to use manual focus the D800 offers
far more precise manual focus support then MFD.

As previously stated in this thread
Quote
As far as focus checking the implementation on the IQ backs is nice, but hardly state of the art as far as on camera image review goes.
On the D800 you can zoom in with one click using the center button of the multi controller on the back next to the screen
and in a beat navigate quickly to any point.
But there more to it than that. When the camera zooms in it automatically zooms into the area of the focus point that was used for the shoot.
And that is either a manually chosen point or the automatically chosen points.
What is also nice about it is that you still have the regular zoom in button that zooms into the center of the frame.
This is very nice for fashion work. Set you focus point on the face/eyes. Then review the photo. One button pops right to the face while the other to the waist.
Here is what I'm talking about.



With the focus point chosen being the one with the green dot when you zoom in with the multi function center button the display
automatically moves to the face. Using the regular magnify button is zooms into the center of the frame.

But there is more. If you are shooting fashion even with manual focus the camera will also zoom into faces using face recognition regardless of where the face is.
It will magnify the face choosing a crop that shows eyes and mouth regardless of the size of the face in the shot. You can then go even closer with one or two clicks.
And there is even more to it. If there are more than one model in the shot you can jump instantly through all the faces in the shot.
Not only is this useful for checking focus, but also useful for quickly checking for closed eyes etc in a large group. This face recognition in review (playback) mode
works without interfering with other review functions and it's invoked by the front wheel that normally controls aperture. It's a seamless thumb and index finger thing.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 01:13:18 PM by FredBGG »
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BJL

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35mm OVF image vs bigger MF OVF image vs even bigger magnified live view image
« Reply #197 on: December 10, 2012, 01:26:23 PM »

... manual focus is not so easy with the small viewfinder. I guess it'll work better on a D4 or a 1DX with their larger finders
On the other hand, when manual focusing goes with having enough time to do it slowly and carefully, and maybe with a tripod, then the live view manual focus offered by modern CMOS sensors gives a vastly larger and more detailed image than any optical viewfinder. For example, using 10x magnification on a 3" diagonal, 800x600 rear screen is like viewing a portion of the full image as it would appear on a 30" diagonal, 8000x6000 screen, vastly exceeding the apparent image size and resolution of the secondary image from the ground glass in an OVF (which, it should be remembered, has far lower resolution that the lens or sensor provides). With a well-designed live view system (as on the Olympus E-M5, which is the only good example I have experience with) you can have touch screen selection of enlargement points allowing one to jump between full view and magnified views of various parts of the scene with a couple of screen taps and button presses.

In a peep-hole EVF, the apparent image size is ever greater --- almost like pressing your noise up against that imaginary 30" screen.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 01:29:18 PM by BJL »
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FredBGG

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #198 on: December 10, 2012, 01:26:30 PM »

Funny I could swear I can remember you (FredBGG) touting the excellent performance of his Fuji lenses (designed for 6x8 with movement) as used on a 35mm dSLR.

I posted a comparison between a Fuji GX680 250mm f5.6 and a Canon 200mm 2.8
The point of that posting was quite clear and not what you are implying.
I posted that example to show the performance of Fuji GX680 lenses on 6 micron sensors to validate that the Fuji GX680 lenses
would preform very well on a MFDB.

Also Doug before you bend this out of proportion there are a few things to keep in mind.
The Fuji GX680 lenses may have a very large image circle, but they also have very large rear lens elements and the camera has a huge lens mount throat allowing for vast lens design freedom.

Also the comparison made was with an inexpensive Canon lens. ($ 700 today) vs a Fuji gx680 lens that that adjusted for inflation
would be a $ 6000 lens.

Then you need to consider that the aperture used was comparing the lenses at 5.6 thus the Canon has depth of field
abilities that the MF lens on the Canon would never be able to match.

The other point of using Fuji gx680 lenses on a DSLR is to get tilt shift ability on focal lengths such as 150mm and above.

I have never said that a Fuji gx680 lens would be better than a high end 35mm system lens.
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FredBGG

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On the other hand, when manual focusing goes with having enough time to do it slowly and carefully, and maybe with a tripod, then live view manual focus gives a vastly larger and mote detailed image than any optical viewfinder. For example, using 10x magnification on a 3" diagonal, 800x600 rear screen is like viewing a portion of the full image as it would appear on a 30" diagonal, 8000x6000 screen, vastly exceeding the apparent image size and resolution of the secondary image from the ground glass in an OVF (which, it should be remembered, has far lower resolution that the lens or sensor provides). With a well-designed live view system (as on the Olympus E-M5 for example) you can have touch screen selection of enlargement points allowing one to jump between full view and magnified views of various parts of the scene with a couple of screen taps and button presses.

In a peep-hole EVF, the apparent image size is ever greater --- almost like pressing your noise up against that imaginary 30" screen.

And then there are these really nifty on camera HDMI monitors.





Even comes with a built in folding hood:


« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 01:36:47 PM by FredBGG »
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