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Author Topic: The end of medium format ?  (Read 47966 times)

Doug Peterson

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #220 on: December 11, 2012, 01:02:46 PM »

If you think Credo/IQ is perfectly in line with a rich tech camera strategy, that's fine. You sell the stuff, I don't. I think more could be made though, and I think MFDB makers could benefit from it.

What feature changes/improvements do you suggest on an IQ### that would be better suited for tech camera use?

I can promise you I'm serious in listening, as is Phase.

I can think of a few I'd like to see:
- long term CMOS (for faster/more-flexible live view) if/when it can be done without compromising quality
- ability to enter lens metadata (as in Aptus II)
- internally rotating sensor would be nice but with Arca Rotamount this is less critical now to me
- longer exposures than 2 min

The only suggestion I can't help with is the price. There will not be a $5-7k IQ back.

FredBGG

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #221 on: December 11, 2012, 01:28:19 PM »

Concerning image quality in terms of landscape photography I don't think MF have to be massively better. Slightly better in good conditions is enough. The reason I shoot with a tech cam is much for the joy of the gear and the photographic workflow, and on the technical side suitable focal lengths with shift/tilt. It's not that I couldn't do it with a DSLR, but I prefer to use the tech cam and I've found a solution that I can afford (i e second hand).

Different camera types are a pleasure to use. Heck... I beetle around on weekends at times taking portraits on location with an 8x10 camera :o
However with such a small quality difference many are leaning towards 35mm DSLRs for many reasons.
Weather sealing,
geotagging,
disguising one's self as a tourist,
less financial liability,
redundancy with dual memory cards,
wireless live view, (camera on the end of a poll over obstacles)
shoot video (stock motion landscape clips sell for higher prices than stills stock)
Direct wireless tablet support with Eye-Fi and cell phone support.
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torger

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #222 on: December 11, 2012, 01:52:14 PM »

What feature changes/improvements do you suggest on an IQ### that would be better suited for tech camera use?

I can promise you I'm serious in listening, as is Phase.

I can think of a few I'd like to see:
- long term CMOS (for faster/more-flexible live view) if/when it can be done without compromising quality
- ability to enter lens metadata (as in Aptus II)
- internally rotating sensor would be nice but with Arca Rotamount this is less critical now to me
- longer exposures than 2 min

The only suggestion I can't help with is the price. There will not be a $5-7k IQ back.

On the technical side there may be conflicting goals, I'm not sure. With CMOS the active area is smaller(?) so one needs some funneling, i e micro lenses, which might not combine so well with the desire to make a sensor that don't have that bad color casts. Maybe lightpipe technology or similar can solve that issue. I think the symmetric/near-symmetric with very short flange distance wide angle lens designs is something unique to tech cams and is something that would be nice to keep or maybe strengthen, but for that we need sensors with low color cast.

Maybe it is possible to make use of the larger sensor area and thus larger pixels to make a sensor that can handle low angles of incoming light better than a small pixel sensor can, and in that way you could gain a clear advantage bound to the sensor format size. This assumes though that you can use a ultra-short flange distance to design better lenses, which I think you can do, but I'm no lens design expert.

Having some sort of electrical contact between camera and back so you actually get tilts and shifts stored would be cool, and then you could auto-apply LCC corrections. That would require deep collaboration with a tech cam maker though, and some of the charm of tech cams is that they are 100% mechanical, but as a professional tool it would be a nice feature to have I think.

I'd also like to see the return of the 48x36mm size. Why? I think it is a very good balance movement vs image circle size of the typical 90mm lens image circle size. I think 44x33 is a bit undersized and 54x41 oversized, while they are excellent sizes for the 645.

And I'd like to see development towards better 6 um pixels (more dynamic range, less color cast) before going smaller. As it happens, I think 6 um also strikes a nice balance for f/11 diffraction-wise which gives some lens design advantages compared to having to support f/8 or f/5.6.

For medium format I think the balance you should try to strike is to have more pixels than the high end 135 DSLRs, but at the same time larger pixels. In terms of image quality reputation I think that better pixel-peep quality should not be underestimated :).

Concerning lower costs backs, I think it can be done. Sure sensors are expensive, but not *that* expensive. What you would do as a MFDB manufacturer today rather than develop something new from scratch is to use the base from an existing back, use an off-the-shelf sensor (FTF6080C, as in Sinar eXact) and cripple away some "professional" features, say tethering, and sell at an entry level price. The risk would be quite small, and the gain can be large if there really is an enthusiast market. If the pro market is shrinking it may be a thing to try.

(Concerning long exposures I wonder if it would be possible to make some external cooling device that you could attach to the back, say some fluid cooling and a huge fan, that would make your back a lot bulkier and require extra batteries but you could do very long exposures without the need of a dark frame.)
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 02:00:42 PM by torger »
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gerald.d

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #223 on: December 11, 2012, 02:08:40 PM »

What feature changes/improvements do you suggest on an IQ### that would be better suited for tech camera use?

I can promise you I'm serious in listening, as is Phase.

I can think of a few I'd like to see:
- long term CMOS (for faster/more-flexible live view) if/when it can be done without compromising quality
- ability to enter lens metadata (as in Aptus II)
- internally rotating sensor would be nice but with Arca Rotamount this is less critical now to me
- longer exposures than 2 min

The only suggestion I can't help with is the price. There will not be a $5-7k IQ back.

Doug - do you think any of your suggestions would do anything to grow the MFDB user base, or just provide some mild satisfaction to the existing customers?
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torger

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #224 on: December 11, 2012, 02:30:45 PM »

To be clear, my suggestion of trying with a "low" price digital back product that to most users is attractive directly on paper in comparison to current high-end DSLRs is not only because it is mouth-watering for myself, but because I think it can be a winning strategy. If enthusiasts are as important that some say, a lower price will surely bring in a lot more customers. If the MFDB makers need it or want it is a different story...

And a different thing concerning tech cameras, when you go to www.phaseone.com and look at camera systems, there's only the Phase One 645DF. I think there could be a much stronger show of tech cams. I have found the Joe Cornish videos there though where he mentions a Linhof Techno (but the shots taken in the videos is with 645DF), but if they were serious about tech cam integration there could be more done on the marketing side, like some nice photos of the back on the usual suspects (Alpa, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Linhof...), maybe even links to web sites, do some press releases and stuff, the usual things. When you look at the web site today you don't really get a feeling that tech cams is an important market.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 02:48:05 PM by torger »
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Doug Peterson

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #225 on: December 11, 2012, 02:42:42 PM »

Doug - do you think any of your suggestions would do anything to grow the MFDB user base, or just provide some mild satisfaction to the existing customers?

I would expect CMOS would grow the user base considerably - assuming it could be done without sacrificing quality. The greatest challenge of any rangefinder system is composition and focus and CMOS would add new tools to addressing those in addition to the existing set of tools of today.

The rest of my suggestions would only be minor refinements, unlikely to sway anyone one way or the other - though every bit of refinement helps.

I also don't think the market necessarily has to grow any considerable amount. Innovate? Sure - today anyone who does not innovate will be beat out. But grow? I think a niche market can remain a niche market and do quite well for all involved. I'd welcome market growth, but that is not a goal in and of itself that I find worthy of pursuing, but rather a welcome side effect that comes when you do other worthy goals (making good products, providing good service, etc).

Steve Hendrix

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #226 on: December 11, 2012, 02:59:09 PM »

Doug - do you think any of your suggestions would do anything to grow the MFDB user base, or just provide some mild satisfaction to the existing customers?



To grow the user base, the additions must outnumber the subtractions. I don't know if we will see this. I don't believe prices will ever get to the point of easy affordability compared to 35mm, and frankly I don't know that it would have the anticipated beneficial impact.

This year, despite some migrating away from medium format to 35mm, I have seen more first time buyers of medium format digital.

What is most important would be to keep the numbers close between adopters and departers. There will always be departures from medium format - but I feel that most of the migration from medium format has already occurred. What is different this year is the number of new adopters. And what is responsible for the new adopters - in my opinion -  is ironically also responsible for the departees, namely 35mm DSLR cameras and their differences compared to medium format cameras.


Steve Hendrix
Capture Integration
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Steve Hendrix
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #227 on: December 11, 2012, 03:33:56 PM »

Hi,

I have serious issues with the price tag, unfortunately.

Except the price tag I find cameras like the HCam or the FPS very attractive, but I also see that live view would make them much more attractive.

Best regards
Erik


What feature changes/improvements do you suggest on an IQ### that would be better suited for tech camera use?

I can promise you I'm serious in listening, as is Phase.

I can think of a few I'd like to see:
- long term CMOS (for faster/more-flexible live view) if/when it can be done without compromising quality
- ability to enter lens metadata (as in Aptus II)
- internally rotating sensor would be nice but with Arca Rotamount this is less critical now to me
- longer exposures than 2 min

The only suggestion I can't help with is the price. There will not be a $5-7k IQ back.

Guy Mancuso

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #228 on: December 11, 2012, 03:42:18 PM »

Okay from my seat which is a lot of workshop folks and of course the forum but a lot of hobbyists have bought into medium format maybe a lot more than Pros. It's not like a lack of money so throw that case scenario out the window it's simple not the case. Many of these hobbyist bought a IQxxx along with a DF since Phase and the dealers make a nice package. Buy a back get a DF and 80 LS to go with it. That is usually there first jump in than add a few lenses and graduate into the tech cams . Some go directly to tech cams. Now folks I can tell you this without blinking a eye they out spend me by miles. So lets not get into this D800 crap because this is a hobby for them and they want to play big and frankly photography believe it or not is a cheap hobby. Yes you heard it here, go buy a boat , sports cars , planes and such. This is chump change to a lot of these folks when it comes to a hobby, I play golf and that's dirt cheap compared to others. LOL

Now yes your talking about professional people , scientist, engineers, doctors and lawyers. I get them all on our workshops. Actually 18 workshops and I always had a doctor on board for instance. Thank god I may need one. LOL

The money argument does not always wash these discussions. To guys like me sure we worry about our ROI and use case but Pros are such a small minority here . We are seriously out numbered when it comes to photography. Frankly I would guess in today's world in total cams made we are maybe 1-5 percent of the total market is my guess. Love to know that number actually. Btw I'm not knocking the hobbyist at all I am if anything embracing them as without them we would still be shooting film. The market and technology may never have grown without them, they drive the sales. I agree with Steve sure there are departures both in 35mm and MF. That's just a natural order that has always been around. Some departures are also short term as well. The negativity towards MF is now resting on D800 shooters as the new holy grail. I'm not one of them I shoot it but I still love MF and hopefully will get back to it. The economy sucks and sure it's hurt a lot of things but if I was putting it on anything than that would be it. Maybe we will climb out I hope so, frankly its too freaking slow and let's be honest many of us are hanging on and some have already gone away. I work for big corporate clients and its slim pickings. It's rampant all through photography even for the top guns things are in adjustment periods both what you do and gear you have. Anyone tells you different is feeding you a line of BS.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 03:44:43 PM by Guy Mancuso »
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Guy Mancuso

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #229 on: December 11, 2012, 03:51:40 PM »

Damn 5 minutes after I write that just got a all day corporate gig. LOL

Cool
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BJL

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The future of medium format: I keep coming back to CMOS
« Reply #230 on: December 11, 2012, 04:20:02 PM »

I can think of a few I'd like to see:
- long term CMOS (for faster/more-flexible live view) if/when it can be done without compromising quality
- ...
- internally rotating sensor would be nice but with Arca Rotamount this is less critical now to me
- longer exposures than 2 min
...
Doug,
    Thanks for your rational input, and patience with some posters. I like your list, but cannot resist mentioning that one way to make rotating for verticals more convenient is ... CMOS sensors, allowing video viewfinders, aka real live view (not the half-baked "tape-delayed" almost live view offered by some MF cameras). Because a rear-screen can stay just as usable when the body is rotated, a jumbo-sized off-board external screen could be conveniently positioned regardless of camera orientation, and a peep-hole EVF could be removable with mounts both on the top and on one side. Like the two flash hot-shoes on Pentax 645 bodies (By the way, has Phase One copied that elegant idea?)

CMOS sensors could probably also help with your last item, about longer exposures and dark current noise control.
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torger

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #231 on: December 11, 2012, 04:45:35 PM »

It's not like a lack of money so throw that case scenario out the window it's simple not the case.

When a hobbyist buys a camera system for $50K it is generally not a lack of money involved. However, I would assume you don't get to the workshops those that didn't buy one because they thought it was too expensive. Heck, I generally think even workshops are too expensive :D

My question is that with continued improvement of image quality in mass market DSLRs and experienced reduced difference in image quality, for how long can the MF products stay the way they are? And if a change is required what is that, is it getting to even higher image quality, or is it trying to sell in larger numbers (i e lower prices, targeting more amateurs), becoming a luxury brand (Hasselblad, good luck!), or will a CMOS sensor save us all?

If we listen to manufacturers and salesmen there is no problem whatsoever, the D800 did not break any quality barrier and changed nothing. Maybe that's the case. I don't have the sales trends. But time will tell.
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Guy Mancuso

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #232 on: December 11, 2012, 05:04:52 PM »

When a hobbyist buys a camera system for $50K it is generally not a lack of money involved. However, I would assume you don't get to the workshops those that didn't buy one because they thought it was too expensive. Heck, I generally think even workshops are too expensive :D

My question is that with continued improvement of image quality in mass market DSLRs and experienced reduced difference in image quality, for how long can the MF products stay the way they are? And if a change is required what is that, is it getting to even higher image quality, or is it trying to sell in larger numbers (i e lower prices, targeting more amateurs), becoming a luxury brand (Hasselblad, good luck!), or will a CMOS sensor save us all?

If we listen to manufacturers and salesmen there is no problem whatsoever, the D800 did not break any quality barrier and changed nothing. Maybe that's the case. I don't have the sales trends. But time will tell.

 We get both with and without but mostly they have a MF DSLR usually on hand at least. We also get Leica's and Nikon shooters.


On the CMOS issue. Now Im not going to argue one way or the other on it but MF has enjoyed the benefits of CCD for so long we have to start asking real questions if CMOS is truly the answer. Lets look at 35mm CMOS today there are some added benefits like higher ISO , live view and such. Now like I said earlier there are downsides too with CMOS we lose those ISO 35 and 50 settings since they raise the floor on ISO and for a guy shooting water ISO is a stop to fast even with ND filters and that is not always a good thing. I still contend there is a look difference as well be it real or perceived it is there in my mind. Again just bringing up points that maybe it may not be the holy grail. Another big one, sure it maybe cheaper to make in the 35mm size world but has anyone said it will be cheaper in a Full Frame MF back world. Something we don't really know until someone puts one in full production like a Phase or Hassy. Not saying no one is looking at it or even working on it . I bet my bottom dollar they are but we have to ask ourselves as shooters is it going to be worth it in the end , will it bring costs down , will it bring more folks to enter the market and will the quality of file be better or worse and/or the same. Guess what i am saying is there are a lot of very unanswered questions as of today and it is going to be interesting to see how that all plays out. One other thing is if everything is CMOS than do we lose some identity between formats. If CMOS is the same on all systems than one wonders if there are advantages or not to MF at that point. I see both good things and than I see questionable things as well. Are we driving down performance here at the same costs or are we truly improving at the same costs. I dont know the answers but I do know the questions and there are a lot of them. Something to noodle for sure. Personally Im not so sure I would want CMOS in a MF back and I think there are folks that may feel the same way. Sure I would like Live View but again at what costs in performance if any. Interesting to see how the reality will come into play on it. Lets face it I like my Nikon a lot but it is no MF file either, they are different and i ran a ton of tests on it and sure its been said a million times when a new cam hits the streets this will kill MF and it really has not happened and I agree the D800 has closed the gap better than anything else that has hit the streets but it still does not look the same.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 05:10:26 PM by Guy Mancuso »
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fcicconi

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #233 on: December 11, 2012, 05:11:35 PM »

The argument is no longer 'about good enough' or 'IQ'.   Plenty of people got their work done with the Canon 1DS or 5d2.  The Nikon D3x was overkill.  People are using their iphones now for all kinds of stuff!   

The discussion is about how you work, what you like, and what works for you.   

MF has a different look
MF has a different crop ratio
MF has a big viewfinder
MF has finder options
MF has faster sync
MF has leaf shutter lenses
MF can shoot film or digital


I'm Agree!!
With my client is important show that i've not the same camera that they have... MF is a professional value
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julienlanoo

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #234 on: December 11, 2012, 05:17:39 PM »

Might be a remark already given about MF,

But other than the "quality" and " look " , it's an other way of shooting,

Much much much slower, relax, i am putting lots of effort in building my self a as slow as possible camera, ...
With a Tech cam and a back attached for instance, and a tripod, and a hudge protocol to make the image.

Why? Because you think twice before shooting an image, and just the machine enforces a calm " zen " attitude, ...
Also the " ratio " of the sensor size, is just some thing that feels better to me.. Man some - one make me a 6x9 inch sensor, it does not need 100 mpix, 40 or 45 is fine !!...

Well quality wise, you know, i still prefere P25 images over P65 images, so Mpix who cares,
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FredBGG

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #235 on: December 11, 2012, 06:33:01 PM »


Interesting question Guy. I just did a quick check for the past 3 years - right about 25% of my sales (give or take) go on an Arca Swiss or Cambo Technical Camera for landscape or architectural use. In a lot of these cases, a medium format camera is also deployed at times. So conversely, that means about 75% of my sales are going on a medium format camera and/or a large format camera (view camera for studio use).

Steve Hendrix
Capture Integration

What are your year totals per year for new MF backs?
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Vladimirovich

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #236 on: December 11, 2012, 06:35:08 PM »

Now like I said earlier there are downsides too with CMOS we lose those ISO 35 and 50 settings since they raise the floor on ISO and for a guy shooting water ISO is a stop to fast even with ND filters and that is not always a good thing.
I guess there is nothing in CMOS that can prevent you from having ISO25 or ISO50 if so you want to design your sensor... Pentax K5 (APC-S) has nominal ISO80 (which is ISO70 based on sensor saturation approach as used by DxOMark)... tiny sensor cameras like P&S Canon S100 has nominal ISO80 (which is ISO63 based on sensor saturation approach as used by DxOMark)... and those are not fake, extended ISOs...
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Vladimirovich

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #237 on: December 11, 2012, 06:39:00 PM »

One other thing is if everything is CMOS than do we lose some identity between formats.
foveon is CMOS... a very much different identity... and if Fuji can even make an distinct identity for itself by placing a little different bayer pattern on top of its otherwise regular CMOS sensor.
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jeremypayne

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #238 on: December 11, 2012, 06:54:21 PM »

Much much much slower

This one I just dont't get. 

I can understand the non-technical folks getting confused about the (non) differences between CMOS and CCD sensors.

What I don't understand is this notion that you need a medium format back to take your time.  That's just ridiculous.

You want to slow down and that's really important to you ... But you pick up a Nikon and suddenly you can't help yourself?
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Gigi

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Re: The end of medium format ?
« Reply #239 on: December 11, 2012, 07:03:00 PM »

FWIW, I'd like to pick up on Torger's ideas - that of a simpler, lower cost back that is taylored for a market which could/can does exist, but might be under the radar screen of the MFDB makers. Its a good idea, and one that has a lot of precedents in many industries, and it should be given some room to grow.

As to what such a back should have, I'm not sure. His suggestions of 48x36 and 6 um pixel size are good ones (gee - just the sizes on my Leaf AFI II7 back) along with the rotating sensor (a great feature). In fact, why not take the Leaf back, don't modernize it but rather aim to find ways to meet an attractive cost point? Opening up the middleof the MFD (or even the bottom) to more users is a good business strategy.

Torger has some company in his sense of a small hobbyist niche. Maybe there are more of us out there.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 06:57:14 AM by Geoffreyg »
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