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Author Topic: How much better will digital get?  (Read 39229 times)
Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #240 on: January 04, 2005, 10:39:42 AM »
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Kevin, can I ask whether your marketing studies show that digital cameras/backs, will reach a plateu as to what is necessary, each format for it's own. For example will manufacturers try to take on 4X5 with DSLR's and will med format backs try to better 8X10 large format, or will the needs of the clients dictate how good the chips need to be so that at some point the manufacturers will say, 'Good enough, better for this format isn't needed by all but a tiny amount of our clients' and at that point when the digital race is over, the prices will stabilise and drop, and we will see new bodies/backs every 5-10 years.

Will the race not be won at some point in the next 10 years, and then having reached a plateu, stop, or at least slow down drastically? Will you continue to invest time and money in developing a med format back which will better than 8X10, market it as a solution for all med format shooters and then in 5 years time sell it at the price the p25 is now, only to find out that a huge amount of your clients will say, 'I don't need anything better than the p25 or whatever, I won't need to upgrade again'. At that point the market falls away drastically and the price of 30,000 dollars is no longer justifiable for extra performance that is no longer necessary?
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didger
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« Reply #241 on: January 05, 2005, 11:14:08 AM »
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Diffraction is a significant factor in sharpness from about f/22 in 35mm format
Well, what my extensive web search efforts came up with was also that for a 50mm lens diffraction typically becomes barely noticeable at f16 and significant at f22.  HOWEVER, these considerations are for 35mm film.  At f16 with the world class 50mm Canon compact macro lens diffraction is such a big issue that a 1dsMKII essentially loses all advantage over a 1ds according to crops I saw with my own eyes.

In any case, I'll keep believing that medium format and bumble bees will continue to fly just fine, even if math and theory considerations may not support the notion clearly.  In any case about 90% of my shooting is wide angle and for that DOF is the most generous.  Medium format support for really good wide angle lenses (primes) is far better than 35mm.  It is a sad fact that at the moment there's NO very good 35mm ultrawide angle lenses being manufactured, except perhaps Leica.  You can maybe be lucky and find a Zeiss distagon or maybe cherry pick a decent 16-35 L, but even that rare good Canon ultrawide zoom will still not be so good wide open, like a good prime.

I expect that a 22MP MF DSLR will be the exact same sort of quantum leap up form 1ds as 1ds was from 35mm film.  If I live and stay active long enough I expect 4x5 digital that will allow backpackable 4x5 digital format.  David Muench, here I come.     Cheesy
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didger
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« Reply #242 on: January 06, 2005, 03:50:03 PM »
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For the best camera/lens/tripod/printer, there's MasterCard.
For the time being I've got exactly what I want.  I DON'T want a 1dsMKII.  I'll wait and see what the ZD is like.

Even not owning a TV, I've heard of credit cards, but I've also heard you have to eventually pay off what you charge.  I guess I could use my Visa to pay off the Master card and then apply for a Discover to pay off Visa  and then...  
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"... do free schlepping for the privilege of being in the presence of photographic fame."  Priceless.  Gag me with a spoon.  Please.

Hey, come on, it works for Michael Fatali, and he's not even all that famous.  I spent some time in the field with him and one of his adoring schleppers.  Since I've talked to Fatali and David Muench AND Bev Doolittle I'm almost famous already just by association.  I shook hands with Art Linkletter once too and my mother worked for Marlon Brando once, so there.
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howard smith
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« Reply #243 on: January 07, 2005, 04:49:39 AM »
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Sfleming, I hadn't heard that story about Fatali, so my opinion that he is a jerk is not based on that episode.  The duraflame log story may be a case where one's creativity outruns their common sense.

didger, even I don't remember when I met Fatali and formed this opinion, but it was in his studio in Page in 199x.  Maybe that will jog his memory, but I really seriously doubt it.  My wife was there too.  We walked out and she said, "What a jerk."  I agreed.  I have only met the man that one time, so I have no other data.  But he has made some fine images.
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didger
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« Reply #244 on: January 08, 2005, 11:38:54 AM »
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There are obviously potential ways that sensors could be improved dramatically in various ways, including (maybe) substantially greater sensor site density.  However, this would clearly be hugely expensive at least in terms of R&D and perhaps also manufacturing and quality control.  Why would anyone bother to do all that if our present day fancy automatic everything lenses are still largely not up to the optical performance level of pre-computer German lenses?  Are there any technologies that are not dream-world sci-fi (opgr) that might improve lenses so that it makes sense to keep improving sensors so much?  What's happening in real life with lenses is not encouraging.
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BobMcCarthy
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« Reply #245 on: January 20, 2005, 09:10:42 AM »
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I don't want to sound disagreeable but, I don't get what your saying. The small sensor compared to a photon is the grand canyon to a grain of sand. All sensors do is gather light and count or quantify it. The reassembly of the data, its quantity and by inference its color, is what makes a picture. The smearing of resolution which hits multiple sensors when one is enough ( or 2 or 3) is what resolution effects.

I understand each sensor point gathers data, so does the Fuji software recalculate each as a data point of the small sensors having the "gain" turned up, not electronically (ie ISO) but in software calculation. It would mean the small sensor would have additional capacity when the larger sensor is at its maximum. Seems like a doable technology and one that would expand the shoulder.

Film, to me, was an more stable world. I had great cameras that I owned for years and the price of new technology was buying a different box maybe with a different colored packaging.

Two overlapping and intertwined grids of different sensitivity is the closest we'll get to film with its varing grain size within the same emulsion.

I'm trying to figure out if the F3 is an overexpensive mid-range digital camera or the lowest cost uber camera out there.
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jani
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« Reply #246 on: April 20, 2005, 07:25:03 AM »
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If the military had a 25Mpixel digital back 40ish years ago, how much better can/has digital get/gotten?
The biggest I have heard of is a bit more than 50MP, in a very large sensor from Fairchild I think; whether for purely military or also non-classified satellite imagery I do not know.
(Okay, okay, posting three months afterwards is a bit late, but catching up with everything in this forum takes time...)

The highest-resolution imager I'm aware of is in the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope, and this is state-of-the-art as of January, 2003.  It's the

MegaPrime/MegaCam
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The wide-field imager, MegaCam (built by CEA, France), consists of 40 2048 x 4612 pixel CCDs (a total of 340 megapixels), covering a full 1 degree x 1 degree field-of-view with a resolution of 0.187 arcsecond per pixel to properly sample the 0.7 arcsecond median seeing offered by the CFHT at Mauna Kea.

But don't expect to be able to fit it onto a portable camera system like a view camera.  Smiley


BTW, I sincerely doubt the claims of extreme resolution found in legendary military hardware and optics.  And no, there have been no official admissions that "satellites can read license plates" (except in Hollywood movies, which we should know do their best not to portray reality), although they did admit to being able to distinguish three grapefruits placed next to eachother, against a darker background (2001/2002, IIRC).  A pretty thorough debunking from 2000 is still valid.
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Jan
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« Reply #247 on: January 09, 2005, 10:52:48 AM »
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When you buy a 20mm Canon lens, you will very very likey get a 20mm Canon lens.  You get exactly what you paid for.  The lens was offered at a price, and you accept.  No fraud.
Well of course, that's true in a literal sense. But I understood the term, 'you get what you pay for' to mean the quality of an item is always proportional to its price. The expression is often used to explain away disatisfaction with a cheap product.
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howard smith
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« Reply #248 on: January 12, 2005, 12:32:16 PM »
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I don't see why Canon needs to be overly concerned about MF and beyond.  I sure don't see a Canon ZD coming.  If Canon wanted to be a MF format giant, they would be.  That whole market is insignificant compared to consumer cameras.  Not the Canon is concerned only with consumer cameras.  The pro market keeps them at the front, and helps the consumer market with the "I use use a Canon just like Art Wolfe" crowd.   And not that Canon cares all that much directly perhaps, it fuels the "my Canon is bigger than your Nikon" fire.

Nikon has a presence in LF with a line of view camera lenses.  Again, I doubt that efforts adds (or reduces) their bottom line much.  Otherwise, their presence would likely change up or out.
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #249 on: December 31, 2004, 01:48:41 PM »
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So you're not happy (or would not be happy) with a Nikon D2X @ 13x19?
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #250 on: January 01, 2005, 11:09:14 AM »
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That's why I mentioned the idea of a used 1Ds. 13x19 prints are simply superb, and the cost is about half of a 1Ds-MkII. It's not as suitable for fast action, but for most everything else it's still excellent if not the state of the art.
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kevraber
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« Reply #251 on: January 04, 2005, 07:31:43 AM »
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Couldn't agree more.

As someone who is very involved in this marketplace not to mention 35 years in this industry I am amazed by the lack of vision of some.  This is a very exciting time to be in photography. Photographers are embracing technology and creating photographs like they never have before.  The marketplace is moving to digital and adopting it from the consumer all the way to the pro.  There are cameras out there for everyone and prices that anyone can afford.  

This year companies like Phase One, Leaf, Imacon and others have seen record sales as medium format has enjoyed resurgence.  Pros and non-pros have embraced the format again.  Mainly because the systems are now truly portable.  There is no question that the quality of the image is exceptional.  And, photographers are doing work and images with the medium format backs that they haven't been able to do before.  On location fashion, architecture, landscape and so much more.  At Phase One we have seen a large number of non-professional photographers adopt this system.  These are people with a passion for the image and want nothing but the best.

Medium format systems and even present DSLR system will keep their price points.  Years ago Phase One introduced the LightPhase 6 mega pixel back that went on to set the industry on fire.  Thousands of these backs were sold to photographers who wanted the best image quality and technology that were available.  These folks were early adapters. These folks were also working pros that saw their business change by this technology.  The price of that back was 23K back then.  Not many of these backs surface on eBay or elsewhere because frankly many of them are still in use today.  They have been updated by firmware and software to keep up with the times and still produce beautiful images.  But the technology parade moves forward and newer higher mega-pixel backs have been introduced and these have come to the market at a price point too.  This will continue on the medium format market.  Larger - more mega-pixel chips will undoubtly be introduced.  Faster ISO abilities, faster shooting speeds and such will most likely follow too.

Pros and others do a return on investment calculation to see what they can afford.  It is really quite simple looking at the cost of film, processing, proofing, post production and such and then compare those costs to a monthly cost of a digital back.  There are very few instances where the advantage isn't on the digital side.  Let's also remember that there are no more Polaroids.  There is instant verification that you have the shot.  Your client sees the image right away, you have a competitive edge in the marketplace and more.  Think about the landscape photographer.  You hike hours, set up and wait for the shot.  With a camera like a P25 you are shooting nearly 4x5 quality images and when you take the exposure you know you have it.  I will be bold enough to say this...I studied with Ansel Adams back in the 70's and I know without a doubt that if he were still alive he would embrace this technology.  The ability to capture a full range of darks to highlights and then to be able to see these images printed on a printer that can print that full range would have been his life long goal come true.  You just can't do that with film.  Film can never capture the range of exposure that digital can.  Look at the image presently up on this sites home page.  I was there I took a similar shot and mine is a 32x49 image on the wall of my home.  It is stunning.  I would never have done that image with film.  

People can say what they want about cost and such and people can stay with film or move to digital.  It's an individual’s choice.  In the end it is all about the image, not what it was taken with.  I ask that photographers keep an open mind.  Use the camera and method of capture as a tool.  Select the tool that works best for you.  If you are a working pro and can afford it a digital back will give you the absolute best image there can be Chances are pretty good too that your return on investment and ability to please your clients will be pretty positive too.  If you are a hobbyist and can afford to purchase a back you will be producing images that will amaze you.

These systems will always be pricey and that is because it is a limited marketplace.  The technology will always be improving and today’s technology will be less expensive as newer technology is introduced.  So the arguments will never go away.  Medium format systems will be here for a long time to come.  Do you really think Mamiya would be introducing a new medium format camera line if the medium format market were dead?  And like the car industry there will be Fords and Chevys and there will be Lexus and Mercedes.  Both will get you there but it is about the quality and the experience in the end.

BR
Kevin Raber
VP -Phase One
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howard smith
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« Reply #252 on: January 07, 2005, 04:30:26 AM »
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The resolution of a lens/sensor combination is never equal to what the lens or sensor can resolve.  If the resolution of one becomes perfect (infinite), the resolution of the combination will be that of the other.

This works for film, and may have some application for digital.  There is no real benefit of either a lens or film to get too much better than the other.  If the lens can resolve 200 lp/mm and the film 1000 lp/mm, the image resolution is about 165 lp/mm.  Increase the film's resolution to 10,000 lp/mm, the combination is about 195 lp/mm, but the film would cost plenty more.  Maybe better to get a better lens first.  Or go to a larger format of the 1000 lp/mm film.

Then you need to consider the printing process (how much of the available information can actually get put on paper).  And then a person looks at that print.  How much of it can they actually see?  The chain will approach the weakest link, but will never be better.  That is why when the details start to get really fine, people break their loupe for help.
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opgr
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« Reply #253 on: January 08, 2005, 09:21:24 AM »
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help development
If you can tell me what it is we're trying to "develop", I can perhaps be more helpful.
Well, I presume the Standfordians from the irate arguments were developing AI.


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I stand by all my predictions and you'll just have to be a little patient about discrediting me.

Rest assured, I have no such intent. I have reason to believe that "credibility" and "discrediting" are not opposites in any way, shape or form, are they?
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Regards,
Oscar Rysdyk
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Ray
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« Reply #254 on: January 09, 2005, 12:03:02 PM »
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Price is determined by other factors than quality.  If I could make a lens as good as a Zeiss, it would likely be too expensive to sell, or I would have to lose money on it.
It certainly is. In this era of globalisation, you get what you do your research on. Prices for effectively the same item can vary enormously. A Canon lithium battery for my D60 cost A$110 in a camera store. A third party battery (presumably just as good) cost $100. A bit of research on the net can locate a supplier of another third party brand costing just A$35. Hope my camera doesn't explode one day. If it does, I'll probably think, 'you get what you pay for'  Cheesy .
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BJL
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« Reply #255 on: January 12, 2005, 02:54:07 PM »
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I understand that no less a name than Leica has cooperated with Sigma ...
I have heard a similar story with respect to Minolta making some lenses for Leica.  Anyway, this seems to confirm what Mike Johnson said a few months ago. In my words, not his: the materials, optical theory, quality control principles, computers and such needed to design and produce a very high quality lens are widely available, and all major lens makers have access to them. I am fairly sure that Nikon, Canon, Olypus, Pentax or yes even Sigma could make lenses a good as the best from Leica and Zeiss, and would do so if there were a market for them at the high prices that would be required to be profitable.

Perhaps as with Japanese car makers, it is a matter of gradually establishing enough respect in the marketplace to be able to make and sell progressively better products at the top end or the range.


P. S. I think we need some new jargon for format sizes: using "medium format" for a format that is far bigger than 99% of all cameras has been anachronistic for a long time, and using the ill-fated name "APS-C" is a bit weird too. I propose that up to 2/3" is "compact", 4/3 to DX are "digital medium formats" or "mainstream DSLR formats", and from 24x36mm up is "digital large format".

P. P. S. The higher speed, lower resolution mode of the forthcoming Nikon D2X is in some sense the new smallest digital SLR format out there: about 17.4x11.6mm, compared to the 17.3x13mm of the Olympus E-300. I wonder how it will fare for sports and such, with lenses like the Nikon 200/2 matching the FOV of about a 300/2.8 on an EOS-1D or 400/2.8 on  with 35mm frame size.
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BobMcCarthy
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« Reply #256 on: January 19, 2005, 10:24:02 AM »
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BJL, any idea why Fuji went to such an elegant and probably expensive solution with different sized sensors when adding neutral density to a highlight sensor of same size would be accomplish the same thing?

bob
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Ray
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« Reply #257 on: April 20, 2005, 09:07:31 AM »
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although they did admit to being able to distinguish three grapefruits placed next to eachother, against a darker background
When photographing distant objects, the limiting factor is haze, dust and shimmering in the atmosphere. These extreme claims of license plate reading from outer space seem ludicrous to me.
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RobertJ
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« Reply #258 on: December 31, 2004, 02:06:34 PM »
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What type of shooting do you typically do?

T-1000
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #259 on: January 01, 2005, 07:31:28 AM »
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Yes, it is strange to live in a world where an $8,000 camera is considered "affordable."

There's an interesting book called Luxury Fever that talks about the trend where items that used to be considered luxuries become considered necessities. His textbook example are how many people are convinced they need $2000+ outdoor grills even though they perform no little better than $200 ones.
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