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Author Topic: Canon MF coming?  (Read 85837 times)
rethmeier
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« Reply #40 on: May 17, 2006, 05:32:37 PM »
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Zeiss has developed new AF lenses for the Sinar M camera.
They boast very high resolution and a very hefty price-tag.
Around the $9-10K.
I wonder how many of those babies they will sell?
Cheers,
Willem.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #41 on: May 17, 2006, 06:25:58 PM »
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Success does not require success in every niche, including extremely small high end ones. Instead, some niches are way too small for an 800lb gorilla to bother with, even if such a niche keeps a few far smaller operations like Hasselblad-Imacon, Mamiya/Cosmo and Rollei going --- just barely. Adding MF would at best add about an extra 0.1% share of the DSLR market to the 50-60% share that Canon has already. This is like saying that survival for Toyota, GM, or Ford requires them to start competing in the sector now dominated by the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti or Rolls-Royce.

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Well, I agree with your assessement, but, turning myself in the devil's advocate:

What has enabled Canon to move up from a second position in the film days to the first position in the digital era? Well, my view is that they did because:

- they released good products (whether they were the best or not is IMHO still opened to debate),
- by tapping into the thirst of consumers for easily understandable metric... namely pixel count and by releasing products with slighly more of that than the competition,
- by taking the higher ground with the 1ds - 1ds2.

They have sold very few 1ds + 1ds2 combined, and who can tell whether they have made money on these products. But these 2 bodies have contributed hugely to the image that Canon is the best game in town, and that has, IMHO, translated into hunderds of thousands of sales.

Just like Dell releases XPS game station that few people buy, just like AMD releases FX60 CPUs that nobody buys, just like GM produces Corvettes,...

From this standpoint, Canon must have been thinking about what it will take to maintain this image of being the best game in town.

Whether the answer is a 16MP 1ds3, a 20MP 2ds or a 33MP MF line up, I don't know, but I wouldn't find it completely absurd if Canon had also considered the MF route.

Another factor worth considering is that the 1ds2 when released cost about half the price of the MFBD with the same resolution at that time. A 33MP Canon MF body priced like a Mamiya ZD or lower would have potential for significantly expanding this market segment IMHO. This would mean more profit as well...

As far as people buying into a new set of optics etc... they did it once with the EOS line up and see the results 20 years later. A smaller company like Hassy managed to develop a completely new line up in a few years for that same market...

Finally, people feel nowadays that 16 MP is enough. This is mostly based on limitations of our current printing and display technologies. Who can swear that:

- nobody will release within 5 years new printers/papers that really show a difference between 240 and 480 DPI?
- the prints in galleries will not slowly disappear in favour of very high density TFT screens for which 480 DPI is a must? IBM released a 22 screen inch 3 years ago with a 3800*2400 resolution at 200 DPI. I saw those, they are already virtually impossible to distinguish from prints, but with a much higher contrast.

Anyway, the bottom line is that us thinking that 16MP will be enough for the foreseable future is IMHO short sighted.

Regards,
Bernard
« Last Edit: May 17, 2006, 06:32:02 PM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

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BJL
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« Reply #42 on: May 19, 2006, 04:37:04 PM »
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What has enabled Canon to move up from a second position in the film days to the first position in the digital era?

...

just like GM produces Corvettes,...

As far as people buying into a new set of optics etc... they did it once with the EOS line up and see the results 20 years later. A smaller company like Hassy managed to develop a completely new line up in a few years for that same market...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=65843\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

On point 1, I believe that Canon was already number 1 by the end of the era of FSLRs (Film based SLR's), and that its lead over Nikon is not noticably greater now than it was then, especially with the D50, D200 and D2X all selling.

On point 2, yes, GM makes Corvettes, but does not far more exotic and expensive stuff like Lamborghinis: to me, the 1Ds series is already the Canon Corvette, and that is as far as GM or Canon are likely to go.

On point 3 about new lens systems: with Canon EOS and the Hasselblad-Imacon-Fuji 645 AF lens system (and Olympus with 4/3), we are looking at a new lens system to _replace_ an old one (and to add autofocus!), not introducing a new, more expensive, lower sales volume system along side an existing one that will continue to sell in far large numbers than the new one. I see no chance that a new larger format Canon lens system could replace EF-S and EF lenses, or even achieve sales levels vaguely close to what EF-S and EF have now.

Also, smaller company Hasselblad did not develop those new lens, big company Fuji did, with help from Konica-Minolta with the AF system. Hasselblad is little more than the "naming rights sponsor" of the H system.
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Ray
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« Reply #43 on: May 19, 2006, 11:24:42 PM »
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One of the things we don't hear about in much depth, with regard to MF backs, is the dynamic range and S/N. It's supposed to be much better, but is it really?

It's interesting to note that in respect of the current hot topic on this site, the comparison of high end cameras, the DR and S/N factor was not addressed.

Speaking personally, for my style of shooting, lack of DR is a more serious concern than lack of resolution, although both are defintely concerns.

One can't help imagining that two 5D sensors joined together would make a superb MF back. Canon could probably do it, but what would be the point? It doesn't have any MF lenses, except perhaps the TS-E lenses which might just fit the bill with a bit of vignetting. But those are not autofocus lenses. Nor do they have IS.

The reality is, a camera is not just a sensor and back, or body.
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Bob Laughton
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« Reply #44 on: May 20, 2006, 06:46:49 AM »
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Perception is everything - and there is a widely-held (but mostly incorrect) perception that any major and tangible improvement to a DSLR these days is centred around megapixels. That's why I think the 1DS3 (?) will have increased MP, whether it needs it or not.

Things like increased dynamic range, higher usable ISO (already at miracle levels in my view) or larger LCD screens, better menus and the like, are not given the importance they deserve by the wider general public. The 1DS2 is not just used by pros and I'm not sure that perceived "minor" tweaks will be enough for Canon to stay in the lead.

I would expect something like 20-22 MP, among other enhancements, to be announced in the new model, if only because the rest of the world expects it.

I just wish that Canon - and other manufacturers - could forego short-term financial gain for longer-term customer satisfaction and upgrade these things through firmware updates. I know that you can't cover everything by this method, but I'm damn sure that you don't need to buy a new 5k camera every 18 months just to keep up with the technology.

We didn't do it in the old days. I still have a 15 year old RZ system - at least I think I still have it: it's been a while - that is as good now as it was the day it was made. During that 15 years, the best image quality improvements were all made via firmware upgrades, only they used to call it "film" back then . . .

It would take a major set of great new features to get me to upgrade my 1DS2 within the next couple of years, but I guess that's what Canon wants to me to do.

It's all great fun speculating though.

Cheers

Bob
« Last Edit: May 20, 2006, 06:49:04 AM by Bob Laughton » Logged

narikin
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« Reply #45 on: May 20, 2006, 09:22:12 AM »
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This is like saying that survival for Toyota, GM, or Ford requires them to start competing in the sector now dominated by the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti or Rolls-Royce.
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funny thing is thats what they all did:
Volkswagen bought Bentley and Lamborghini
BMW bought Rolls Royce.
Merc were at the top but still needed to go higher - Maybach
GM bought Saab
Fiat (yes, crummy Fiat) have Ferrari.

sorry, but successful mass market companies still want to go higher. its a fact of life.

Canon not that big? its a Giant - and its shares have risen 30% in the past year alone.
It can do what it want, and if MF digital is what it wants ($, prestige, technological requirements)- then it will go there.
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Will Thompson
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« Reply #46 on: May 21, 2006, 07:41:46 AM »
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anyone think Canon will bring out MF digital at Photokina?
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A friend of mine has a book that shows a Canon prototype of a MF SLR that took FD lenses that was never made in a production unit.

So it seems that Canon has thought of this and decided not to produce a MF SLR.


Will T.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #47 on: May 21, 2006, 08:28:21 AM »
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A friend of mine has a book that shows a Canon prototype of a MF SLR that took FD lenses that was never made in a production unit.

So it seems that Canon has thought of this and decided not to produce a MF SLR.
Will T.
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Interesting. Does the book of your friend mention when that happened?

Regards,
Bernard
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BJL
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« Reply #48 on: May 22, 2006, 11:28:55 AM »
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funny thing is thats what they all did:
Volkswagen bought Bentley and Lamborghini
BMW bought Rolls Royce.
Merc were at the top but still needed to go higher - Maybach
GM bought Saab
Fiat (yes, crummy Fiat) have Ferrari.


Canon not that big?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=66109\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Those examples are all aquisitions if existing high end technology (and Saab is not even very high end!) The topic here is the far greater effort and expense of developing a new high end system of lenses and bodies, for a market sector that is rapidly shrinking.

By the way, who said anywhere that Canon is not that big?


Two questions, with my answers:

1) Did Canon move into medium format once they rose to the top of the 35mm film SLR market (Answer: no, instead Canon used to be in MF but dropped it decades ago.)
2) Is medium format a more or less attractive product sector with digital than it was with film? (My answer: way less.)
3) Given the answers to the above questions, why would Canon move into a larger format now (My answer: no good reason, it is a delusion of people who believe that the way forward in photographic technology is using longer focal lengths to cover any given FOV, which is what the benefits of larger formats rely upon.)

Never mind whether Canon _could_  introduce a new larger format system if they chose to: where are the reasons that they would choose to do so?


P. S. To Ray: there is a lot more to doubling sensor size than splicing two smaller sensors together: forget that myth that sensors like the original 1D CCD were simply cobbled together like that. One DSLR from Minolta did use a pair of sensors, using a prism system to split the image between the two sensors, and it was a failure.

Instead, difficult multiple exposures of the stepper are needed when the size goes beyond about the 34mm diagonal of the 1D sensor, according to Canon's website. The great price advantage of the 1DMkII over the original 1D and both 1Ds models probably has a lot to do with the fact that the 1DMkII CMOS sensor can be made with a single exposure in the stepper, instead of the more difficult double exposures used for the 1D CCD and both 1Ds CMOS sensors. For Canon to go to much beyond 35mm format into "medium format digital" territory, even a double exposure would not be enough: instead four exposures would need to be lined up.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2006, 12:53:33 PM by BJL » Logged
narikin
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« Reply #49 on: May 25, 2006, 11:06:29 AM »
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surprised at the amount of chatter this post has generated, but stick to my guns, I still believe Canon will make an "MF" digital system soon. its the only way forward for them, and not so hard with all their know how and chip making expertise.

The market is much bigger than people make out - if it kept Hasselblad, Mamiya, Fuji, Bronica, Rollei, Pentax, etc all busy for years, there has to be a lot of $ in it. Yes, 1 series cameras have eaten into that market, but it is not the same thing. (we have to redefine what quality level we expect from "35mm", "MF", "LF" etc) There is still a large global pro base for MF style equipment and quality way above 1 series levels.

SeriousPros spend $30,000 on their main camera system minimum, often double/treble that. Big studios invest $200,000+ in digital MF gear, so why on earth would Canon ignore that opportunity?

The grafting of digital backs onto film era bodies cant last much longer, its not a tenable long term solution, so its coming, and personally I will welcome it - a true MF system for the digital age is badly needed.
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ericevans
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« Reply #50 on: May 25, 2006, 12:58:46 PM »
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I really hope Canon stays out of this market as their chips are not up to the task as far as I am concerned . The only thing I like about the Canon system now is the low noise at high ISO  and that is it  . If they did move into this market they need a better chip like the one from Dalsa otherwise it will be just a MF canon with the same look and feel . All my commercial clients are extremely happy that I made a change to the Aptus . Every client has made comments about how the images they now buy have so much more dynamic range and they look like when I shot 4x5 . Digital no longer looks digital . If Canon enters this market I feel it will be more of the same . Unless they put as much into it as Leaf and Phase they will fail .
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BJL
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« Reply #51 on: May 25, 2006, 03:44:48 PM »
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... I still believe Canon will make an "MF" digital system soon. its the only way forward for them ...

The market is much bigger than people make out - if it kept Hasselblad, Mamiya, Fuji, Bronica, Rollei, Pentax, etc all busy for years, there has to be a lot of $ in it.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=66557\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Please answer my question then: given that neither Nikon nor Canon moved into medium format film cameras during all their decades of dominance of the film SLR market, why would either of them upsize their format now when the medium format market has been made drastically smaler by the digital transition, and while both of them along with the entire SLR industry is moving mostly in the direction of smaller formats, not larger?

After all, of the MF makers you name, the digital transistion has lead to the end of Bronica, the near disappearance of Rollei MF, Hasselblad and Fuji discontinuing most or all of their MF product lines in favor of a single joint 645AF product, Mamiya's parent company giving up and selling off its MF operations, and Pentax has discontinued all its MF products, though it is talking of introducing a DMF. And the Contax MF system disappeared too.

It is nonsense to say that simply because some small companies have survived (with Hasselblad and Rollei repeatedly going through near-bankrupcy, buy-outs and drastic down-sizing), that this makes the market sector attractive to a far bigger company like Canon.

If MF is the sort of market sector that you think a company should invest resources in, I am not hiring you as my investment advisor!


As to the idea of MF "the only way forward" for Canon, increasing format size has not been the way forward chosen by Canon so far.  I suspect that "forward" for Canon mean increased profits, not sinking money into a small and shrinking market sector, where currently most players seem to be making losses.

I suspect that the medium format sector is far smaller these days than you believe. Consider these numbers: the Japanese Camera Industry Association reports that last year, total medium format shipments in Japan were 10,000, though the mostly Fuji-made Hasselblad H might not be counted, due to final assembly being done in Sweden. For comparion, Canon estimated a 5D sales rate of about 100,000/year, has stated a 1DsMkII product rate of 24,000/year, and has a total DSLR sales rate approaching 2 million/year.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #52 on: May 25, 2006, 06:04:23 PM »
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Please answer my question then: given that neither Nikon nor Canon moved into medium format film cameras during all their decades of dominance of the film SLR market, why would either of them upsize their format now when the medium format market has been made drastically smaler by the digital transition, and while both of them along with the entire SLR industry is moving mostly in the direction of smaller formats, not larger?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=66576\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

BJL,

Playing the devil's advocate again, some reasons why they might want to consider it:

- To keep the high ground and maintain the image that Canon produces DSLR delivering a better image quality. Canon has IMHO understood that the 1ds did a lot more for them than selling a few 10.000 of bodies. It sealed their image as the leader technologically. The image remains, but the gap has mostly been closed by the D2x in terms or image quality, and many others are getting closer. We are moving quick towards a situation similar to the film days. The system itself (lenses,...) is re-gaining importance compared to the sensor, and Nikon for instance is IMHO overall aheadin terms of offering and usability. At least the gap is a lot smaller than when you factored in the 1ds 3 years ago.

What will enable Canon to keep claiming that they are the technological leader in 3-4 years from now? MF would be one of the options (I am not saying it is the only one though),

- To satifsy these millions of shooters that HAD to go from MF to 35 mm for economical reasons while they prefer the look and feel of MF. Just think of all these people very vocal about the need ot full frame digital for DoF - there is just the same wth MF. These people are what Mamiya and Pentax are shooting for with their own MF offering.

The shrinking size of the MF market is mostly a consequence of the incredible price of digital MF solutions. A credible option at a lower price point would expand it significantly IMHO,

- Because there still many pros in Japan that shoot film. Weddings here is very much still MF film from what I can see.

- Because their present financial situations enables them to invest in order to kill more competitors,

- Because they might be able to find some ways to lure 35 mm Canon DSLR users into using a Canon MF system instead of another one. I am thinking of identical RAW workflow, identical ergonomics (let's hope not though), identical accessories (batteries, flash,...).

Cheers,
Bernard
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RolandBaker
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« Reply #53 on: May 25, 2006, 07:22:02 PM »
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But the question was will they release a MF system at Photokina this year. That means a whole new series of lenses in addition to the body sensor, processor, flash system, etc in just a few months from now...

Long term will Canon do it? That's another question...

Quote
BJL,

Playing the devil's advocate again, some reasons why they might want to consider it:

- To keep the high ground and maintain the image that Canon produces DSLR delivering a better image quality. Canon has IMHO understood that the 1ds did a lot more for them than selling a few 10.000 of bodies. It sealed their image as the leader technologically. The image remains, but the gap has mostly been closed by the D2x in terms or image quality, and many others are getting closer. We are moving quick towards a situation similar to the film days. The system itself (lenses,...) is re-gaining importance compared to the sensor, and Nikon for instance is IMHO overall aheadin terms of offering and usability. At least the gap is a lot smaller than when you factored in the 1ds 3 years ago.

What will enable Canon to keep claiming that they are the technological leader in 3-4 years from now? MF would be one of the options (I am not saying it is the only one though),

- To satifsy these millions of shooters that HAD to go from MF to 35 mm for economical reasons while they prefer the look and feel of MF. Just think of all these people very vocal about the need ot full frame digital for DoF - there is just the same wth MF. These people are what Mamiya and Pentax are shooting for with their own MF offering.

The shrinking size of the MF market is mostly a consequence of the incredible price of digital MF solutions. A credible option at a lower price point would expand it significantly IMHO,

- Because there still many pros in Japan that shoot film. Weddings here is very much still MF film from what I can see.

- Because their present financial situations enables them to invest in order to kill more competitors,

- Because they might be able to find some ways to lure 35 mm Canon DSLR users into using a Canon MF system instead of another one. I am thinking of identical RAW workflow, identical ergonomics (let's hope not though), identical accessories (batteries, flash,...).

Cheers,
Bernard
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #54 on: May 25, 2006, 07:23:22 PM »
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Bernard, while we're having a bit of fun speculating about corporate strategy and what is coming next, one also hears that Canon is likely to release a 22 MP 1D series later this year. Again, who except them knows for sure, but IF SO, and assuming the images would be at least as clean as those from the 5D, how much value-added would they be putting on the market with a very expensive MF sensor? If the MK2 already displaces medium format film, could one not envisage a 22MP full-frame (35mm) sensor meeting much of what the market demands from say a 25 MP MF sensor at what will probably be a much lower price?
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« Reply #55 on: May 25, 2006, 07:44:27 PM »
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Okay, while we're all speculating wildly, let me throw in my own useless prediction:
Canon will introduce a digital MF with (--- drumroll, please ---):
    a Mirror Lockup button    
intended to lure into the MF camp all of us who have been wishing for that on the present DSLRs.

This will, of course, force many of us to start spending the outrageous funds needed to go to MF.

Eric
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #56 on: May 25, 2006, 09:15:26 PM »
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Bernard, while we're having a bit of fun speculating about corporate strategy and what is coming next, one also hears that Canon is likely to release a 22 MP 1D series later this year. Again, who except them knows for sure, but IF SO, and assuming the images would be at least as clean as those from the 5D, how much value-added would they be putting on the market with a very expensive MF sensor? If the MK2 already displaces medium format film, could one not envisage a 22MP full-frame (35mm) sensor meeting much of what the market demands from say a 25 MP MF sensor at what will probably be a much lower price?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=66591\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yep, but what if their MF were to have the same pixel pitch? We'd be around 50MP...

I don't really believe in it myself though...  My best bet is also that they will release a 22 MP 16 bits 2D.

Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #57 on: May 25, 2006, 09:24:26 PM »
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Okay, while we're all speculating wildly, let me throw in my own useless prediction:
Canon will introduce a digital MF with (--- drumroll, please ---):
    a Mirror Lockup button    
intended to lure into the MF camp all of us who have been wishing for that on the present DSLRs.

This will, of course, force many of us to start spending the outrageous funds needed to go to MF.

Eric
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Eric,

Once more you have found the missing link!  That's why Canon hasn't been delivering... those who thought they were unable were fools... it was all part of a grand plan...

Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #58 on: May 26, 2006, 05:40:46 AM »
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For comparion, Canon estimated a 5D sales rate of about 100,000/year, has stated a 1DsMkII product rate of 24,000/year, and has a total DSLR sales rate approaching 2 million/year.
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Yes, by these figures Canon is selling 5% of 5D compared to the whole SLR market, however I wouldn't be surprised if the 5D alone contributed 25% to the profits of the SLR department of Canon these days. And then of course one should remember the marketing effect these cameras have on the compact sector which Canon is also present in. My first digital was a Coolpix because at the time I was a Nikon shooter.

In Japan, the pro market is taken very seriously (witness the many MF offerings coming from that country) and I wouldn't be surprised if Canon decided to float some new products aimed specifically at marriage/advertising.

Fuji launched both the H* series and the S* series and these are adressing their own integrated distribution structures. The S* series in particular has the exposure lattitude for marriages, and the H* series is now the only player in town as an MF body -even though it's labelled Hasselblad in the rest of the world. I don't think that Canon will enjoy Fuji eating their lunch in the domestic market indefinitely.

Edmund
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BJL
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« Reply #59 on: May 26, 2006, 09:54:16 AM »
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Welcome back Bernard, you devil!
But I am still not persuaded.

- The idea of Canon needing an even larger format for the sake of "maintain the image that Canon produces DSLR delivering a better image quality" makes even less sense now than it did in the film era, where Nikon etc. were using the same format as Canon, so Canon had not even the small image quality gap that they have now. So again I conclude that if Canon did not go MF film, they will not go to MF digital.

- I am not sure that millions of shooters HAD to go from MF fim to 35mm digital; my guess is that a great majority of those who moved from MF film to smaller digital format were very happy to be rid of the greater bulk, weight and lens cost of MF, disadvantages that Canon MF would still have. The far greater lens selections of smaler formats is surly an attracto too, and do not imagine that even Canon could quickly build a new MF lens system anywhere close to the size of the EF system. That is one place where format downsizing is so much easier than upsizing: all current lenses work, at least as stop-gaps while new lenses beter suited to the new smaller format are phased in.

- The often exaggerated larger format advantage of less DOF wide open does not apply to MF compared to 35mm at all, since MF lenses fairly consistently have higher minimum aperture ratios than 35mm ones by a stop of two. Matching the DOF of the 85/1.2 in 36x48mm DMF would require f/1.7, mathing f/1.4 would take f/2, and the closest MF lenses (a Mamiya f/1.8, Hasselblad and Contax f/2's) are gone leaving the Fuji 100/2.2 as the fastest current MF lens.

My guess is that the reason for this is that the combination of even less DOF and even more size, weight, and cost is not sufficiently attractive to make such monster lenses commercially viable, even in high budget, low mobility world of MF. In portrait photography, where extremely shallow DOF is supposedly so in demand, a lot of MF portait lenses are f/4, giving as much DOF wide open as about f/2.3 in 35mm or f/1.4 in DX.

The evidence of any market for a lens giving less DOF that the Canon 85/1.2 L wide open is lacking.


- I thought we were talking about a digital MF system? Are you now suggesting that Canon might quixotically follow Kyocera/Contax by introducing a new MF _film_ camera system to satisfy the Japanese wedding photgraphy market?!


- As I have said repeatedly, I see no motivation for Canon to invest money into "killing off competitors" who at most take a tiny share of potential Canon sales because they operate in a different and far smaller market sector. It is the "GM needs to invest many millions into killing off Lamborghini" idea again.
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