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Author Topic: What Leica needs to do...  (Read 10679 times)
fredjeang
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« Reply #40 on: January 23, 2010, 12:37:04 PM »
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Quote from: Alan Goldhammer
I'm responding to multiple posts above.  I saw the Ken Rockwell stuff a while back; given the source, I don't put much credence in it.  I also saw the comparison between the M9 and Nikon D3 which was interesting in that the Nikon seemed to be better at certain things.  I'm also familiar with all types of lens testing but those are what I categorize as "laboratory" tests and may or may not have anything to do with the real world.  My original proposal was quite simple, same real life scene taken with a Leica, Canon, and or Nikon with the same focal length prime lens.  To make this a true test, RAW files from all the shots would be blinded and given to a third party to process and print.  The processor/printer would try to match prints regarding color, sharpening, etc. but no cropping of the image would be permitted.  Mark's point about a standard size print to the maximum capability of the printer is what I had in mind.  Prints would then be viewed and compared.  We wouldn't be doing any pixel peeping though perhaps at a later stage files could be released for anyone who wanted to do this (I'm not terribly interested in looking at small sections of images to see details that are irrelevant to viewing prints).

Clearly there would be some time investment from the photographer(s) and the processor/printer.  Maybe it never happens but it sure would be interesting to have the prints for comparison.  Maybe there is a Leica/Canon/Nikon (pick 'em) mystique; maybe not.

Alan, I agree about the Ken Rockwell testing in the way that it is neither rigorous enough nor practical as the real prints in your proposal. But I do think it is still interesting and gives in part a track ( that is why I wrote "in part" ) simply because it shows clearly that the M9 is at the very top of 35mm full frame.
That has been confirmed to me by owners in Spain, by Michael here in the forum that qualify as the best he has ever seen in this format in a post; as in my job I have the chance to see files from a wide range of cameras, it won't take too long until I can examinate closely M9 files in real world and how these handles upsampling etc... I do not own an M9 but may want and purchase one. In the Rockwell stuff, though many cautious about its credence, the M9 samples just impressed me.
It is possible that the optical resolution of this camera would be superior ( in terms of perception ) to anything available at the moment in 35mm, or that is simply a mystique. I have the feeling, for all the sources, that it might be the best 35mm in the current market.

Regards

Fred.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #41 on: January 23, 2010, 02:38:41 PM »
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Hi,

Yes you are right of course, but for doing your own test you need to have access to the equipment. Also, folks at DP Review or Imaging Resource have a decent setup for testing and experience using it. Experience mean that pitfalls can be avoided.

On the other hand, I don't really feel that buying a M9 is about image quality, but much more about other factors like having a small high performance camera, enjoying the Leica touch and so on. My guess that image quality is included at this price level.

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: Mark D Segal
Erik, I'm not crazy about this approach. I think the surest way or doing good comparisons is to do all the work oneself from the bottom-up with the full res raw images at hand from all the systems being compared. This means aggregating some folks with the right stuff, laying out the parameters and doing the work. It's all doable, but it all takes time, so its a question of priorities.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #42 on: January 23, 2010, 02:54:49 PM »
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Hi,

This reminds me of a friend who used to have a Konica Autoreflex T. After mucho MTF-peeking he upgraded to a Canon F1 and a Canon FD 200/2.8 lens. The first roll of film he shot with new combo was clearly less sharp than the old Hexar 200/4 he had on his Konica.

I have made a similar experience when I upgraded my Scheider Componon 50/4 to a Rodenstock Rodagon 50/2.8 which was actually at least as sharp as the APO Rodagon 50/2.8 my friend had on loan from a lab.

Most recently, I bought a Zeiss 24-70/2.8 ZA lens for my Sony Alpha 900. In initial tests my Konica Minolta 28-75/2.8 was much sharper. I still use the 24-70/2.8 ZA, however. In real world shooting it works very well (with some issues in the corners at 24 mm and some reservations about 70 mm) but it's still a very nice lens. Is it better than the KM 28-75/2.8 at one fourth of the price? I don't know, but nor do I care.

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: Mark D Segal
Alan, we're on the same page both about Rockwell's testing and the kind of thing that would be interesting to do. But I don't think we need a third party to process and print. That should be done by the testers using totally transparent and replicable procedures that are identical as feasible for all shots. Where the third-party blind testing comes in is viewing the prints.

As an aside - my earliest experience with this sort of thing happened back in the late 1960s when I was teaching at the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine Trinidad. A plant biologist and I were on the Exec of the Faculty Club and we kept getting complaints about how we were stocking the bar. So we set-up a blind-tasting at the Faculty Club of rums produced in the various islands to see whether members knew what they were drinking and what brand they really liked best. It was VERY rigorously set-up as that guy knew how to do from his various technical experiments with pigeon peas - multiple replications, good statistical procedure - the whole nine-yards. It turned out that the cheapest stuff on the market - a brand called "VAT 19" produced in Trinidad, and which most club members turned-up their noses at - was by far the preferred drink. So beware, this can be a dangerous and disconcerting enterprise!
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larsrc
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« Reply #43 on: January 23, 2010, 10:36:30 PM »
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MR touches on a sore spot for me wrt the current crop of DSLRs with live view: Why is there no peaking option? Having to zoom into 10x or however high to check focus is impractical. Precise, but impractical.

I also miss the Best Shot Selector of my Coolpix 995 - it was like having IS if you had the time to take the extra shots but weren't able to put up a tripod. It has the advantage over doing many shots that you don't fill up your card and aren't limited by buffer size. But that's just one of my pet features that I'll probably never see in SLRs.

-Lars
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #44 on: January 23, 2010, 10:54:55 PM »
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There's one further point in Mark's article I forgot to comment on - expose to the right (ETTR). Yes, it's time the manufacturers understood how to use their own equipment for optimal image quality. BUT - here's the catch. The way most of them are doing it now (and Nikon less so than Canon), they are trying to avoid having us clip highlights, because if those are gone and they held wanted detail, the photographer is s.o.l. I would call this the manufacturers's conservative approach to auto-exposure management. It becomes really problemmatic when this system conserves specular highlights in which there is no wanted detail and the rest of the image is vastly under-exposed. SO, what's the compromise: in my mind I agree with you that they should have ETTR as the default option. THEN, in those situations where the manufacturer's implementation of ETTR clips highlights with wanted detail, there would be a button to push programmed to revert the exposure calculation to the conservative approach. I think this would be really elegant.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Rob C
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« Reply #45 on: January 24, 2010, 04:20:58 AM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Hi,

Most recently, I bought a Zeiss 24-70/2.8 ZA lens for my Sony Alpha 900. In initial tests my Konica Minolta 28-75/2.8 was much sharper. I still use the 24-70/2.8 ZA, however. In real world shooting it works very well (with some issues in the corners at 24 mm and some reservations about 70 mm) but it's still a very nice lens. Is it better than the KM 28-75/2.8 at one fourth of the price? I don't know, but nor do I care.

Best regards
Erik






1.  Eric, have you got the prices in the right order? I think you are saying that the Konica is more expensive?

2.  If you accept that the Konica is much sharper, what logical reason can you find to use the other instead? Why not rid yourself of inferior equipment?

3.  24-70mm/2.8. Do you think it acceptable that a lens with that description is actually only really good for a part of the range of focal lengths? I have voiced my own problems with a 24-70mm Nkkor before, and this seems yet another example of manufacturers' lies, where products are NOT up to the standard as advertised. If the lenses are performance limited to a much shorter actual range of focal lengths, I think they should be marketed as per the real range, not the imaginary one. I should imagine that in any other world there would be class actions going through the courts; perhaps that's what we need in order to bring a sense of rreality to the dream peddlers. And buyers. Maybe it's the imagined 'status' idea that permits this practice to continue unabated and even defended within the ranks of photographers.

Rob C
« Last Edit: January 24, 2010, 04:21:50 AM by Rob C » Logged

ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #46 on: January 24, 2010, 05:00:21 AM »
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1.  Eric, have you got the prices in the right order? I think you are saying that the Konica is more expensive?

Hi, no the KM is a fourth of the price of the Zeiss.

2.  If you accept that the Konica is much sharper, what logical reason can you find to use the other instead? Why not rid yourself of inferior equipment?

Well I'm not sure that the KM is actually better in real life than the Zeiss. It was better in my initial tests at full aperture especially in the corners. After the initial test I made more shooting under real conditions and I didn't feel that the KM performs better than the Zeiss. Very few wide angle lenses are actually really sharp in the corners. There are also some other aspects than sharpness.

3.  24-70mm/2.8. Do you think it acceptable that a lens with that description is actually only really good for a part of the range of focal lengths? I have voiced my own problems with a 24-70mm Nkkor before, and this seems yet another example of manufacturers' lies, where products are NOT up to the standard as advertised. If the lenses are performance limited to a much shorter actual range of focal lengths, I think they should be marketed as per the real range, not the imaginary one. I should imagine that in any other world there would be class actions going through the courts; perhaps that's what we need in order to bring a sense of rreality to the dream peddlers. And buyers. Maybe it's the imagined 'status' idea that permits this practice to continue unabated and even defended within the ranks of photographers.

I have not seen any wide angle that is sharp to the corners except maybe some Leica lenses, the quite incredible Nikon 14-24/2.8 and some of the TS lenses for Canon and Nikon. Zooms tend to have more issues than fixed focals. I prefer to use zooms as I normally use almost all focal lengths, carrying  and switching between a lot of lenses would be cumbersome.

Best regards
Erik
« Last Edit: January 24, 2010, 05:02:00 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

Targett
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« Reply #47 on: January 24, 2010, 05:14:01 AM »
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Quote from: ChristophC
I wonder if an optical viewfinder in combination with with a transparent electronic overlay would work such, that information like focus confirmation (like the focus tool in Capture One) could be used inside the optical viewfinder.


But I would never want to omit an optical viewfinder.
The EVFs I had a chance to see through so far are horrible to my eyes.
This is the way forward for me. If they were to use a more indirect path for the viewfinder to allow a zoom mechanism to fill the eyepiece with the lens field of view box plus a little around it, and then project the area of focus on the image in real time using the peaking method Michael describes in his article, you would have the best of both worlds.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #48 on: January 25, 2010, 12:47:45 AM »
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from Mike Johnston's site: http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/t...r-to-leica.html

Also: http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/t...d-be-worse.html

Mike.
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« Reply #49 on: January 25, 2010, 02:25:31 AM »
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Thanks for the link. I'm half way through http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/t...d-be-worse.html
Great joy should be spread over two days.
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hsmeets
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« Reply #50 on: January 25, 2010, 05:25:24 AM »
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Hi,

Michael Reichmann pointed out some stuff where a Leica M can be improved, e.q. the shape and dimension of the body as beeing a relic from the film days and that this is no longer an restriction in body design.

Then why was not mentioned that a 2:3 aspect 35mm sensor is also a relic from that same period and sould not be a limiting factor too in camera design.

Why should a sensor be 35mm and have a 2:3 appect (i don't see any reason, I grew up with medium and largeformat and have no connection to 2:3).

For the same reason we think it should be a 35mm sensor we also will reject body designs that not are recognizable as beeing a camera we have become used to for so many decades. I wonder how many years it took in the early 20century to get used to the switch from bellow camera's to boxed camera's....

Wasn't some years ago not a Sony 727 or 878 or something like that on the market, before Digital SLR came available, that was more shaped like a video camera? Didn't we all quietly think: how ackward, what a strange camera...... Mostlikely that design would now be great for the combined stills/video camera.........



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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #51 on: January 25, 2010, 09:28:33 AM »
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What else other than 3:2 given that square is now practically dead and 4:3 is pretty much almost dead? In europe with the exception of the UK, 4:3 and 4:5 are ratios that just aren't useable in the real world. You won't find an 8X10 frame in Europe...
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hsmeets
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« Reply #52 on: January 25, 2010, 09:52:02 AM »
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Quote from: Ben Rubinstein
What else other than 3:2 given that square is now practically dead and 4:3 is pretty much almost dead? In europe with the exception of the UK, 4:3 and 4:5 are ratios that just aren't useable in the real world. You won't find an 8X10 frame in Europe...

it's not 2:3 specifically, the point is that we should not be to religious about sensor sizes and aspect ratio's that these 'should/need' to be as they always have been.

For me personally 2:3, 3:4, 1:1, 4:5 ratio's of camera, paper or frame : it doesn't matter to me.

I rarely compose my photographs into the apect ratio given by the camera, the paper to be printed on or the frame to put it in.

From a technical point of view I surely try to use as much of the sensor real-estate as I have and in retrospect looking at my photography 2:3 is less optimal for me then 3:4, 4:5 and 1:1.

That is were I'm coming from :-)

Of course YMMV.

I acknowledge that a given ratio, let's say 2:3 helps many how to compose a photograph, that they want to print to the same ratio as the paper they print on: if they are happy with that: by all means, carry on!

But for me it would be so limiting. Repeating myself, I noticed from a technical point of view would be better served with more square ratio's.

I wonder if others would also be served better if a sensor has not percee an 2:3 aspect ratio but more 3:4 or 4:5.....



oops, we are going off-topic....
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 09:54:11 AM by hsmeets » Logged

Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #53 on: January 25, 2010, 10:10:37 AM »
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Quote from: hsmeets
it's not 2:3 specifically, the point is that we should not be to religious about sensor sizes and aspect ratio's that these 'should/need' to be as they always have been.

For me personally 2:3, 3:4, 1:1, 4:5 ratio's of camera, paper or frame : it doesn't matter to me.

I rarely compose my photographs into the apect ratio given by the camera, the paper to be printed on or the frame to put it in.

From a technical point of view I surely try to use as much of the sensor real-estate as I have and in retrospect looking at my photography 2:3 is less optimal for me then 3:4, 4:5 and 1:1.

That is were I'm coming from :-)

Of course YMMV.

I acknowledge that a given ratio, let's say 2:3 helps many how to compose a photograph, that they want to print to the same ratio as the paper they print on: if they are happy with that: by all means, carry on!

But for me it would be so limiting. Repeating myself, I noticed from a technical point of view would be better served with more square ratio's.

I wonder if others would also be served better if a sensor has not percee an 2:3 aspect ratio but more 3:4 or 4:5.....



oops, we are going off-topic....
The 2:3 aspect ration is pretty much a historical accident as Leica designed a small camera to use movie film stock rather than sheet film.  Over the years there were cameras that used a variety of different size film (remember the Minox which I think used 8mm and was popular with the intelligence community).  35mm became the most popular and I guess because of this familiarity, digital adopted the same format.  I'm not saying this is right or wrong, it's just the way it happened.  Because of this decision, sensor prices for this format are quite low relatively speaking.  Movement to a different format will lead to higher initial costs as cameras are redesigned.  Would the photography market be receptive to such a move?  From my perspective, unlikely.
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« Reply #54 on: January 25, 2010, 10:49:03 AM »
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Quote from: Ben Rubinstein
What else other than 3:2 given that square is now practically dead and 4:3 is pretty much almost dead? In europe with the exception of the UK, 4:3 and 4:5 are ratios that just aren't useable in the real world. ...................

Yea, except for the newest Phase One digital backs which are 4:3 and actually sell world-wide for quite a hunk of change.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #55 on: January 25, 2010, 10:57:56 AM »
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Quote from: hsmeets
I rarely compose my photographs into the apect ratio given by the camera, the paper to be printed on or the frame to put it in.

................................

I wonder if others would also be served better if a sensor has not percee an 2:3 aspect ratio but more 3:4 or 4:5.....

I agree with your first statement. Within the range of 3:2 to 1:1 it doesn't matter to me  - I compose and print for the subject. Square may on average make less optimal use of the sensor than a rectangle, unless you're a photographer who happens to make mostly square photographs.

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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #56 on: January 25, 2010, 12:48:09 PM »
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Quote from: Mark D Segal
I agree with your first statement. Within the range of 3:2 to 1:1 it doesn't matter to me  - I compose and print for the subject. Square may on average make less optimal use of the sensor than a rectangle, unless you're a photographer who happens to make mostly square photographs.

As resolution of cameras increases, format seems to be less of a concern.

A few years ago ephotographers that came from a 4:3 or 4:5 ratio, especially for verticals, strongly disliked a 2:3 ration of 35mm.  Today I see less and less of that, I guess because cropping is easier due to higher resolution.

For commercial work, it seems that there is less talk about format then ever, or if there is client instruction it usually is shoot both, especially since the web is mostly a wide screen page.

I believe in a few years nobody will talk about camera format, because even today the only format my clients see is the size of a 24" or 30" monitor.  Digital has changed how we perceive high quality imagery, how we proof and how we purpose the final image.

In a room full of people all staring at the monitor nobody has ever asked me is that 2:3 or 4:3?

But getting back to the Leica.  I think they should just continue on with the M.  It's a quirky specialty camera, has some great benefits, some some not so great, but it's unique in it's own way, down to the baseplate and the beauty of the camera is in it's simplicity.

I would hate to see it redesigned to coolpix style or worse a form factor of a video camera.  Not for nostalgia but just for usability.  If you've ever used a Canon xha1 video camera with it's dozen of combinations of manual knobs, push button controls combined with a complicated menu system you would think that picking up a Leica is a breath of fresh air.  

But if this thread, resulting from Michael's article on Leica, is about the future of Leica, I think the one stumbling block of Leica (and all specialty) camera makers is the price relative to their Japanese competition.

It's been like this since the first 1ds and seems to continue.  Even Panasonic and others have taken the 4/3's format into the Leica M territory with more features, less price.

From a professional, earn a living at photography standpoint, the only defining need for a camera is client expectations and right now the world of professional photography is in a transitional state, mostly because all traditional media is in a transitional state.

If Leica, or any specialty camera company is to thrive in today's world,  the camera has to fill a needed niche.  In a lot of ways I think the M series does this, the new S series  I'm less sure of.  In fact I find the S camera a confusing move by Leica, because it's an expensive medium format alternative in a world where medium format is about 4 current different frame sizes already and seems to be covered by the price point by two established companies.

But if the whole excersize of this thread is to offer Leica advice, the first thing I would say is make the cameras very robust, make the software stable and always offer a tethering solution regardless of camera format.

Last week we were shooting a celeb editorial and went from the Canons to the Leica for one set up.  As I shot the room just fell silent because nobody but me could see.  Now it wasn't a deal breaker and I only shot a small amount with the m-8, but the standard in most professional photography is to have every camera hooked up to a large monitor for review as once again the monitor is the camera format.

Then again even in the world of photos for money, not everything has to be hard edged, serious business, (though we do work in a hard, serious business), there is also a little wiggle room for fun.  

If shooting a Leica is fun then it's probably worth the price.  

In fact there is nothing wrong with having some fun.  I was speaking to a publisher Friday night and we kind of came to the conclusion that the world is way too serious about everything and maybe we should every now and then open up and just do something that makes us smile.

Personally "I think" I see a historical look from my M-8 but that could easily be wishful thinking or just a romantic view of the past.  Still there is something refreshing about a mechanical camera in today's touch screen world.

The Leica makes me smile.

JR
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 02:16:06 PM by James R Russell » Logged

Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #57 on: January 25, 2010, 01:08:05 PM »
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Quote from: Mark D Segal
Yea, except for the newest Phase One digital backs which are 4:3 and actually sell world-wide for quite a hunk of change.

Yup, that massive sector of the photography market. What's the sales figures, are they up to 4 figures yet?  

Oh and by the way I'm not a huge fan of 3:2, I personally don't like it much preferring 7X5 and 6X12...
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« Reply #58 on: January 25, 2010, 01:38:52 PM »
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Quote from: Ben Rubinstein
Yup, that massive sector of the photography market. What's the sales figures, are they up to 4 figures yet?  

Oh and by the way I'm not a huge fan of 3:2, I personally don't like it much preferring 7X5 and 6X12...

Oh yes, they are WELL into the 4 figures!    Serious. But that's not the point. The point is that if these very high-end manufacturers are producing equipment which sells within its expected niche at these fancy prices, the format is anything but dead. It doesn't need to be mass-market to be alive and well. But perhaps more importantly, within a reasonable range of aspect ratios it's probably not an issue for most people who format photos according to the subject. Perhaps the main thing is which set of dimensions will utilize the most pixels most of the time, and that could vary a lot between users and subject matter, so this clearly seems like a situation where one size does not fit all - at least optimally.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #59 on: January 26, 2010, 09:08:53 AM »
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I have little doubt Mark that the ratio of those sensors is due to one reason only, the legacy cameras they are being put onto. That a niche product selling in 4 figures uses a certain ratio is irrelevant when the vast majority of the industry is shooting with the 3:2 ratio on cameras produced in 6 figures per manufacturer...

Again, I don't like 3:2 (though I loathe 4:5  ) but looking from this vantage point, anything other than 3:2 is hanging on by its fingertips within the photographic industry as a whole.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 09:11:49 AM by Ben Rubinstein » Logged

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