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Author Topic: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???  (Read 103843 times)

ErikKaffehr

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #100 on: March 04, 2013, 02:26:20 pm »

Hi,

Many of us can afford what we want to have, it may just be the matter of priorities. I have been considering MF a few times, but mostly in the context of technical cameras.

It is not just about money, it is also about utility. When I shoot with camera on tripod, which I mostly do, I use live view to focus. So that is clearly important to me. Also I'm not sure about the advantage in image quality, my standard print size is A2, although I have a few prints at 70x100cm.

One thing I would like to point out is that the original posting was: "DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???"

I don't know, for me there are some good reasons for MF. On the other hand MFD has taken a high cost route, to keep healthy MF vendors need to find enough customer to finance infrastructure and development.

I guess that one of the reasons that Pentax 645D can be sold at a lower price is that they sell trough the normal channels, and don't need to support a chain of dealers. Phase One, which is a small operation needs to keep Mamiya alive. I don't know how large Phase One in Denmark is but I guess less than 30 people. Mamiya is said to have around 160.

Personally I don't think that MFD is moribund, but it may very well be if customers find that the utility of MF does not justify the cost.

Best regards
Erik




So, if I understand correctly, you don't have the money to buy a MF camera or back. How does that make you a prospective customer?

MF has always been about selling 20000$ cameras for people who have that kind of cash. When Nikon brought a 2500$ camera on the market, that business plan did not change. I am a bit under the impression that, now that the D800 is around, some photographers who never thought about buying a camera for 20000$ are suddenly frustrated that Hasselblad or Phase One do not lower their price to that level. But their business is still to sell cameras for 20000$, isn't it?
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Ed Foster, Jr.

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #101 on: March 04, 2013, 02:27:30 pm »

I have seen that young lady already. Since you like to peep pixels, click here and there (full resolution pictures taken with a H3D-31 and a D800).

That is my experience owning both a Nikon D800 and H4D. Tight and close in, with exception of tonality and depth, there is hardly a dime's worth of difference. But, IMHO, MFD excels at the type of work shown in this comparison.  Fred's link to those tight close-ups is not how I would evaluate the two cameras side-by-side.

Ed

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ErikKaffehr

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #102 on: March 04, 2013, 02:35:47 pm »

Hi BC,

I see your point.

As far as I know the images were shot by a gentleman named Alex Koloskov and I'm pretty sure he used studio flash. I am also pretty sure it was a reasonably well made test, and Mr. Koloskov stayed with the Hasselblad, mainly because he wanted to use the back with technical cameras. In my view, Mr. Koloskov made a great contribution to the community making this test and sharing raw images.

On the other hand I would say that images care little about about who has taken them, as long as the tests are well made they have something to tell.

Best regards
Erik Kaffehr


Wow.

He's shown it so much, I'm sure he did.

Right Fred?


IMO

BC
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jerome_m

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #103 on: March 04, 2013, 03:07:25 pm »

Hmmm zoom lens (ultra wide 14 to 28mm 2.8 fast lens) on the D800 and a prime (28mm f 4 ) on the Hasselblad.......

Which is what the respective users of these cameras use in practice. Besides, the 14-24 is better than most equivalent primes.


I'm sorry but I am pretty sure that your Nikon image is below par, and my guess is that you have a focusing error. The image also shows a lot of sharpening halos.

The reason I guess that you have a focusing error is that it is not possible to find a sharpest plane, so I guess that plane of best sharpness is behind the wall.

Samples I have seen from the Nikon D800 and 14-24/2.8 combo have been pretty sharp and the sample you show is simply not sharp. Could of course be that you have a bad sample? Did you try to focus using live view?

Naturally, focusing errors and lack of quality controls is not exactly to Nikon's advantage, I know.

Focus was done using live view and is spot at the centre of the picture. Interestingly, the H3D AF is as accurate as live view, the camera is really well calibrated. The halos you noted are from Nikon's internal jpeg processing and the slight unsharpness at some places come from the slightly wavy shape of the 14-24 locus of focus. This is normal for small format wide-angle lenses, BTW, and I don't have a prime lens which is better than the 14-24.

There are more sample pictures on my flickr account, taken at different isos or in raw mode here. I intend to add a few others taken outside in sunlight in the next days as well.

Please also consider that the H3D-31 is a 7 years old camera. Today, Hasselblad sells cameras with 60 mpix, about double the pixel count (and up to 200 mpix with multishot).
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #104 on: March 04, 2013, 03:18:06 pm »

Hi,

I agree on the 14-24/2.8 being a good lens.

I did presume that the halos may come from JPEG pipeline in camera, but I did presume that you would compare either unsharpened raw or optimally processed raw for both.

Whatever the problem I wouldn't call that Nikon image sharp.

Best regards
Erik

Which is what the respective users of these cameras use in practice. Besides, the 14-24 is better than most equivalent primes.


Focus was done using live view and is spot at the centre of the picture. Interestingly, the H3D AF is as accurate as live view, the camera is really well calibrated. The halos you noted are from Nikon's internal jpeg processing and the slight unsharpness at some places come from the slightly wavy shape of the 14-24 locus of focus. This is normal for small format wide-angle lenses, BTW, and I don't have a prime lens which is better than the 14-24.

There are more sample pictures on my flickr account, taken at different isos or in raw mode here. I intend to add a few others taken outside in sunlight in the next days as well.

Please also consider that the H3D-31 is a 7 years old camera. Today, Hasselblad sells cameras with 60 mpix, about double the pixel count (and up to 200 mpix with multishot).
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #105 on: March 04, 2013, 03:36:14 pm »

Hi Keith,

I'm just saying that image is not sharp.

Best regards
Erik

Erik, to be sure you need to conduct your own test.
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TMARK

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #106 on: March 04, 2013, 04:09:23 pm »

Some observations:

1.    These debates are pointless.  The D800 is awesome.  So is the H5D.  So is Leaf and Phase. So is Pentax.

2.    Telling someone that their opinion doesn't matter because they "can't afford it" is shitty and alienating, and is in fact not true.  Anyone can get credit, at least in the states.  

3.    Endlessly bashing a format is tiresome.

4.    The arguments about color and tonality are misleading, mostly.  Almost all digital devices need some color grading in post.  The only digi cameras I've used that nail color out of the box are the Arri Alexxa, Aptus 75, and Fuji X100, S3, S5.  Its mainly a matter of how much time you need to spend on a file.

5.    Arguments about sharpness are lame.  Its mastabatory.  There are very few digital cams made that are not good enough for print publication.

6.    The most important thing you can do to improve your photography is to take pictures and think about what you are doing, think about how lenses look and how focal length affects the subject.  Wheather you do that with a Hy6 and an 80mpx back or a 5D is unimportant.

 


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ErikKaffehr

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #107 on: March 04, 2013, 04:19:14 pm »

Hi,

If I make a test and it is not sharp I may not know why it was not sharp. But I can go back and retest. But I certainly feel that I would not feel OK about that image.

A larger sensor would probably give a better image even if sensor resolution in pixels would be similar, so I would expect the "Blad" to have some advantage.

I have tested an old Sonnar 150/4 recently on a 24 MP APS-C sensor and it was actually performing better than the other two lenses I compared with. By the way, I also compared the Sonnar 150/4 to a Pentax 67 165/2.8 I have and the Sonnar was significantly better.

Best regards
Erik
Eric, agreed, but as it's not our own test we'll never be sure why.

There's a moral here somewhere.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 04:21:11 pm by ErikKaffehr »
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #108 on: March 04, 2013, 04:29:59 pm »

Hi,

There is much to that. I agree mostly on all points.

Best regards
Erik  



Some observations:

1.    These debates are pointless.  The D800 is awesome.  So is the H5D.  So is Leaf and Phase. So is Pentax.

2.    Telling someone that their opinion doesn't matter because they "can't afford it" is shitty and alienating, and is in fact not true.  Anyone can get credit, at least in the states.  

3.    Endlessly bashing a format is tiresome.

4.    The arguments about color and tonality are misleading, mostly.  Almost all digital devices need some color grading in post.  The only digi cameras I've used that nail color out of the box are the Arri Alexxa, Aptus 75, and Fuji X100, S3, S5.  Its mainly a matter of how much time you need to spend on a file.

5.    Arguments about sharpness are lame.  Its mastabatory.  There are very few digital cams made that are not good enough for print publication.

6.    The most important thing you can do to improve your photography is to take pictures and think about what you are doing, think about how lenses look and how focal length affects the subject.  Wheather you do that with a Hy6 and an 80mpx back or a 5D is unimportant.

 



« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 05:11:47 pm by ErikKaffehr »
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Marlyn

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #109 on: March 04, 2013, 05:00:09 pm »

The funny thing about this entire conversation is there is actually a MFD industry and associated market. From the people who actually sell in this market, they are saying sales are good. There are certainly folks on this forum that are buying and using this equipment. Yet despite this, there are folks convinced that the market is dying. It is kind of like looking out the window and seeing a sunny day and then arguing it is raining. Arguing that someone personally does not want to buy something is not an indication something is wrong. I do not want to buy a Ferrari, but that does not mean that Ferrari's are bad cars and the sports car market is doing badly.

"It is kind of like looking out the window and seeing a sunny day and then arguing it is raining"  - love it.

And clearly Phase one has no budget, as per early 'fact'.  They obviously developed 3 brand new backs, with new sensors using last weeks pocket money from the paper run.


MF Digital is dead,  long live MF Digital.....


Regards

Mark.

« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 05:02:48 pm by Marlyn »
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #110 on: March 04, 2013, 07:41:32 pm »

"It is kind of like looking out the window and seeing a sunny day and then arguing it is raining"  - love it.

And clearly Phase one has no budget, as per early 'fact'.  They obviously developed 3 brand new backs, with new sensors using last weeks pocket money from the paper run.


MF Digital is dead,  long live MF Digital.....

Hum... I am sure that some users will invest and fine value, but to me these look like point updates that do not solve any of the fundamental issues (ok, long exposures, but that was a regression) and try to solve non existing problems.

DR was already excellent, wired thethered shooting was not an issue and it was probably already possible to use an eyefi wifi card to stream images if needed. As DSLR users have understood for long, the only way it makes sense is if you are able to stream smaller size camera generated jpgs, and even that is not all that useful considering how good camera screens are. Doing this requires a good in camera jpg engine and double memory card slots.

Sorry but I don't see how the "new" backs are going to expand the market reach of phaseone.

On the other hand, they will contribute to a faster depreciation of the value of the IQ180/IQ160 owned by existing users. They have probably just lost 5,000+ US$ overnight.

Progress is of course good and the IQ280 is obviously a better product than the IQ180 (and seems to be a bit cheaper perhaps), but why focus R&D resources on things that won't change the game plan?

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 09:23:45 pm by BernardLanguillier »
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bcooter

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #111 on: March 04, 2013, 08:14:32 pm »


snip.........

Sorry but I don't see how the "new" backs are going to expand .........snip.......they will contribute to a faster depreciation of the value of the IQ180/IQ160 owned by ......snip



As T says, these comparisons are pointless.

I doubt seriously if Phase One thinks there going to sell near as many cameras as Nikon. 

I doubt if Phase even considers Nikon the competition.  (I don't mean that in a bad way, just a logical way).

Though they may like to have that "problem", they probably couldn't fill the orders Nikon does anyway.

But Phase doesn't have to convince the non buyers.  They're already convinced to go to another direction. 

I don't think it's the same market.

Phase just needs to convince their own established buyers and a some new photographers that want to step up further.

But T's right all of these cameras are good, though I should add all of them are different.  Not necessarily better but different.

Now me, I find this interesting.  My backs are a few generations old and though really functional and still useful, this is the first complete upgrade that I find interesting.

Going to an Ipad is street useful.  If it's dead ass reliable, I can't begin to explain how that will speed up production. 

We shoot a lot on the beach, parks, homes in a lot of places where tethering is an issue, due to time, space, permits, etc.

The AD can't see the shot without us stopping and either downloading to a powerbook, or thumbing through the images on the camera which are both non productive.

Handing the AD an Ipad is nice because he/she can personally view it, or show it to the clients if they so chose.

Good idea.



IMO

BC

P.S.

Anyone that buys a camera and worries about the depreciation, probably shouldn't have bought the camera.

My RED 1's dropped a trillion dollars in price last year, but they are still the two of the most cost effective pieces of equipment I own, in a lot of ways and still work as well as they ever did.

Then again, I use stuff until I wear the paint off of it.
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JV

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #112 on: March 04, 2013, 09:37:44 pm »

Sorry but I don't see how the "new" backs are going to expand the market reach of phaseone.

Only time will tell whether the business model of Phase One is shortsighted or not.  Right now it quite frankly does not appear to be...

Phase seems to have moved into its own 60-80 MP space, little to no competition, only Hasselblad a bit with their 60 MP backs...

Existing users seem willing to upgrade and enough new users are stepping in.

If you are not willing to spend $30-40K and/or upgrade to 60-80 MP backs then you are probably not part of their target audience.

You can then choose between Hasselblad, Leica, Pentax, Nikon D800... or buy a 4-5 year old used Phase back for around $10K...
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theguywitha645d

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #113 on: March 04, 2013, 10:07:17 pm »

Sorry but I don't see how the "new" backs are going to expand the market reach of phaseone.

Why? The Japanese just released a bunch of DSLRs that have no big jump from the previous models. New models are for new customers. They keep the lines fresh and address old problems or weaknesses. I think you also probably missed they also released a monochrome 60MP back, which should make it a lot easier for their customer base to get those as well as being innovative--no Japanese manufacturer has come out with a monochrome camera. You seem to have a strange idea that every new product must have some technological break through. Not in the camera industry--there is so much a camera can do.

You are also missing the point. Phase does not have to expand its "market reach" as you call it. They simply need to develop the market they target. Apparently, it is big enough to support them.
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Guy Mancuso

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #114 on: March 04, 2013, 10:16:09 pm »

Only time will tell whether the business model of Phase One is shortsighted or not.  Right now it quite frankly does not appear to be...

Phase seems to have moved into its own 60-80 MP space, little to no competition, only Hasselblad a bit with their 60 MP backs...

Existing users seem willing to upgrade and enough new users are stepping in.

If you are not willing to spend $30-40K and/or upgrade to 60-80 MP backs then you are probably not part of their target audience.

You can then choose between Hasselblad, Leica, Pentax, Nikon D800... or buy a 4-5 year old used Phase back for around $10K...

Well said but the problem is most folks do not understand exactly what you just said or maybe better phrased is understand it. Phase like Leica is a niche product supported though by top end end shooters, big studios, big productions, industrial, scientific fields, government and the arts are there biggest customers along with hobbyists that simply want the best they can shoot. Money is very secondary to the purchase of them and most folks on these forums are a very small percentage of the target audience and even fewer that actually make a purchase. Problem is some folks cannot for the life of them understand what we both just said. For them its money as primary and/or how can they cheat around these type of products. As you can see in these posts how that thought pattern runs rapid is how can they get away from spending this kind of money . Understandable but they need to realize they are not the target audience anyway. Prices will not drop to the floor and MF will not die because Nikon has a new freaking toy. The DSLR world is a completely different target audience. MF was and never will be a mass market product and even when we shot film was it a mass market product. Not sure why people simply do not understand that. Seriously MF has not changed since the beginning, it got updated with digital but not market share.
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FredBGG

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #115 on: March 04, 2013, 10:16:46 pm »

Fred,

When you shot this test, did you have the slight shutter delay set on the Hasselblad?  It has a huge mirror and even though it looks sharper in your samples, I think with the slight mirror shutter delay makes for a even sharper image.

Also when you do a test like this did you shoot any full length images?  I always test detail (which I rarely test) by shooting a horizontal framed full length adult.

I've always found that a head a shoulders image doesn't really show me as much as full length, as most cameras look very good at this distance.

One more thing, what was the light source you tested with?  Flash, HMI, daylight, tungsten.

The few times I've tested and compared cameras just for the sake of comparison I've always tried all four of these light sources because every sensor/camera/processor reacts differently.

I've found medium format, at least my phase and previous aptus backs, worked very well with tungsten, much better than my 35mm cameras.

I also test hand held and with a tripod.  Some cameras really require a tripod, some don't.

Did you shoot this test with a tripod?

IMO

BC



Test was done by these guys. Studio with strobes.

http://www.photigy.com/nikon-d800e-test-review-vs-hasselblad-h4d40-35mm-against-medium-format

MichaelEzra from the forum here did the processing and made this file:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=69391.0;attach=64261;image
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 10:51:40 pm by FredBGG »
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FredBGG

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #116 on: March 04, 2013, 10:37:41 pm »

Well said but the problem is most folks do not understand exactly what you just said or maybe better phrased is understand it. Phase like Leica is a niche product supported though by top end end shooters, big studios, big productions, industrial, scientific fields, government and the arts are there biggest customers along with hobbyists that simply want the best they can shoot. Money is very secondary to the purchase of them and most folks on these forums are a very small percentage of the target audience and even fewer that actually make a purchase. Problem is some folks cannot for the life of them understand what we both just said. For them its money as primary and/or how can they cheat around these type of products. As you can see in these posts how that thought pattern runs rapid is how can they get away from spending this kind of money . Understandable but they need to realize they are not the target audience anyway. Prices will not drop to the floor and MF will not die because Nikon has a new freaking toy. The DSLR world is a completely different target audience. MF was and never will be a mass market product and even when we shot film was it a mass market product. Not sure why people simply do not understand that. Seriously MF has not changed since the beginning, it got updated with digital but not market share.

The medium format market share among professional photographers was much larger in the film days. The vast majority of MF film cameras were replaced by 35mm DSLRs.

Just looking at the numbers for MF cameras made in the transition years.

2003 18,006 Cameras
2004 10,507 Cameras
2005   7,950 Cameras (over 2,000 of them coming from unsold 2004 stock).



 
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 10:41:32 pm by FredBGG »
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #117 on: March 04, 2013, 11:36:42 pm »

Hi,

There is a difference between professional photographers and professional photographers. Being a "professional photographer" just means that you take pictures for living. Some professional photographers work on small scale and some on large scale.

I'm pretty sure that serious photographers also care about money and return on investment. Our frequently posting friend BC illustrates this a bit. Most of his productions are resource intensive and he prefers using MF. But he seems quite happy with a couple of old Contax 645 and a few Phase backs of yore. BC says that they are the best investment he ever made. So my impression is that BC has an extensive operation but does care about money.

I don't think Phase is getting a lot of money from BC. That said I'm pretty sure that BC would go for an expensive Phase back if he needed it. Or a Hasselblad, but good customer experience and working relations also matter a lot for a businessman.

On the other hand I don't think business is insensitive to cost. I have been in the computing business a long time. When I started in my present job, thirty years ago the business was dominated by "mini computers", they were horribly expensive and slow. Market offered new computers called "Work stations" with ten times the performance at a tenth of the price. The old computers survived quite a few years, it took our company 7 years to make the first switch. The dominant work station vendor was Sun Microsystems at that time. Once the Workstation/UNIX environment was established hardware cost went down, except the need for performance going up. So we essentially replaced very expensive low performing system with quite expensive high performance systems.

Than, PC-s came around. Management lowed PC-s, because it was what was on they desktop. We started converting our simulators to PC-s much sooner than we switched to work stations. The switch has been painful, but no simulator is now days built on work station (UNIX) technology. But, Microsoft licensing is expensive, so we are moving to Linux. We would not make that move was it not for the young and enthusiastic engineers we have who love Linux. The conversion is of course painful, it always is.

To me it seems that Phase now what they do. It seems that they make the money to develop their backs and build their own camera platform. It also seems that they develop a new camera, which is more than an upgrade of the Mamiya based platform. To me Phase seems to be an innovative company making good business.

Best regards
Erik

The medium format market share among professional photographers was much larger in the film days. The vast majority of MF film cameras were replaced by 35mm DSLRs.

Just looking at the numbers for MF cameras made in the transition years.

2003 18,006 Cameras
2004 10,507 Cameras
2005   7,950 Cameras (over 2,000 of them coming from unsold 2004 stock).



 
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 12:24:01 am by ErikKaffehr »
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Wayne Fox

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #118 on: March 05, 2013, 12:10:20 am »

Being a "professional photographer" just means that you take pictures for living.

Not to get off topic, but I work with many "professional" photographers through my store.  Your definition fits many of them, but probably isn't the accepted definition.  Most that represent themselves as a professional photographer in the U.S. make the substantial portion of their living from some other profession, but because they charge money for doing photography they classify it as professional.  This side profession of photography is usually priced accordingly ... if they were to do photography full time, they wouldn't make enough money to support their needs.

There is nothing new about this, but the numbers of these types of professionals has grown exponentially over the past 8 to 9 years.  The number of full time professional photographers has declined dramatically as this process has fragmented the market and eroded prices, forcing many full time professionals into either part time photographers with a another means of income or out of photography altogether.
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #119 on: March 05, 2013, 12:17:52 am »

Hi Wayne,

I am much aware of that, just intended to keep it a bit simple. But my emphasis was really that many professional photographers work with small budget and some with large budgets.

Than I of course started talking about large business...

Best regards
Erik



Not to get off topic, but I work with many "professional" photographers through my store.  Your definition fits many of them, but probably isn't the accepted definition.  Most that represent themselves as a professional photographer in the U.S. make the substantial portion of their living from some other profession, but because they charge money for doing photography they classify it as professional.  This side profession of photography is usually priced accordingly ... if they were to do photography full time, they wouldn't make enough money to support their needs.

There is nothing new about this, but the numbers of these types of professionals has grown exponentially over the past 8 to 9 years.  The number of full time professional photographers has declined dramatically as this process has fragmented the market and eroded prices, forcing many full time professionals into either part time photographers with a another means of income or out of photography altogether.
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