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Author Topic: Square Sensor  (Read 7969 times)
MarkBarbieri
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« on: February 08, 2010, 08:06:31 PM »
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I'd really like a camera with a square sensor.  Ideally, it would have three shooting modes - square, portrait, or landscape.  The mirror would be etched with guides.  This would save me the trouble of using an L bracket to switch modes.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2010, 09:26:14 PM »
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That is a big mirror to flip out of the way.
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uaiomex
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2010, 12:55:10 AM »
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It's been done before by 4 different MF manufacturers. The interesting thing now is it can be done with no mirror using an EVF. I know, they are not to the ask now, but they will sooner or later. I can't hardly wait.
Eduardo

Quote from: DarkPenguin
That is a big mirror to flip out of the way.
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erick.boileau
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2010, 01:21:14 AM »
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I'd like a MF square sensor FF  EVF :-)
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2010, 02:24:51 AM »
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Hi,

In my view wasting a lot of pixels for little convenience...

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: MarkBarbieri
I'd really like a camera with a square sensor.  Ideally, it would have three shooting modes - square, portrait, or landscape.  The mirror would be etched with guides.  This would save me the trouble of using an L bracket to switch modes.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2010, 02:52:26 AM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
In my view wasting a lot of pixels for little convenience...

I agree with Erik,

Unless one predominantly shoots square compositions, it's going to waste the surface that could be used to acommodate more sensels (=resolution) for a rectangular sensor array. A rotating sensor/back is a much better solution. The debate could be about the aspect ratio of the rectangle to fit within the image circle.

Etching on the mirror is not very effective, it has to be done on the groundglass to be in focus (or on the back's LCD and/or with crop lines on the tethered monitor).

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: February 09, 2010, 02:56:22 AM by BartvanderWolf » Logged
vandevanterSH
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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2010, 09:44:05 AM »
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Etching on the mirror is not very effective, it has to be done on the groundglass to be in focus (or on the back's LCD and/or with crop lines on the tethered monitor).
*******
IIRC, that is the approach used with the Hasselblad CFV39; square and rectangular outline on the view screen and cropping mask with Phocus software.

Steve
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uaiomex
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2010, 02:28:51 PM »
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Why should this be a waste? Square is a beautiful and challenging format. Besides square, this sensor could be used for a 4:5, 3:4 and 2:3 picture ratios in either vertical or format.  You would capture on the whole square and later crop during editing for maximum efficiency. Imagine a second chance to best compose your catch on a big monitor!
Eduardo



 
Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Hi,

In my view wasting a lot of pixels for little convenience...

Best regards
Erik
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jjlphoto
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2010, 02:39:03 PM »
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And I'd like a camera with a round sensor to take full advantage of the lens's circle of illumination. But it ain't gonna happen. Leica is taking a huge risk with the new format of the S2. Otherwise, no reason we can't live with FF35 or 645.
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Thanks, John Luke

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BJL
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2010, 09:21:41 AM »
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Quote from: uaiomex
Why should this be a waste? Square is a beautiful and challenging format. Besides square, this sensor could be used for a 4:5, 3:4 and 2:3 picture ratios in either vertical or format.  You would capture on the whole square and later crop during editing for maximum efficiency. Imagine a second chance to best compose your catch on a big monitor!
Eduardo
The vast majority of images are not square: the dominant shape range is from 5:4 to 3:2 or maybe a bit beyond beyond.

So for most photography, a square sensor would be wasteful in sensor area (still rather expensive at MF sizes). In SLR's the deeper mirror has all kinds of disadvantages, not just size, weight and noise but also requiring the lens mount to be further from the focal plane, making wide-angle lens designs harder (remember Hy6 and its hampered wide angle options?)

The small corp of square image enthusiasts is clearly not enough to sustain square format digital, and in fact was doing a miserable job of supporting square format MF film, with a strong trend to 645 and 6x7 systems and away from the traditional square systems. The 6x6 greats Rollei and Hasselblad were losing market share and facing repeated financial crises for a decade or more before digital, and the only one that has survived in MF is Hassleblad, by going to 645.
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BJL
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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2010, 09:26:57 AM »
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Quote from: jjlphoto
And I'd like a camera with a round sensor to take full advantage of the lens's circle of illumination.
Panasonic comes close with the wider "oversized" 4/3 sensor in the GH1, which allows cropping to most popular shapes (from 4:3 to 16:9) using the full image circle diameter for which the lens system is designed. But that sensor is small enough that the extra size does not add greatly to the cost: it is less than 2mm wider than other 4/3 sensors. And it goes the other way from square: wider than 4:3 shape.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2010, 01:10:00 PM »
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Quote from: uaiomex
Why should this be a waste? Square is a beautiful and challenging format. Besides square, this sensor could be used for a 4:5, 3:4 and 2:3 picture ratios in either vertical or format.  You would capture on the whole square and later crop during editing for maximum efficiency. Imagine a second chance to best compose your catch on a big monitor!
Eduardo

Well, you can certainly shoot square with any format.  True shooting square cost some resolution, but shooting 3:2 or 4:3 with a square sensor costs even more.  Since the majority of images are not square, and the majority of shooters do not shoot square very often, it makes more sense to provide a sensor the majority use, and let those that shoot square do the cropping.

I've had  square format camera (original Kodak 16mp DCS back), and while a few of my images utilized the entire sensor, the majority only utilized 11 to 12 mp or less.  Granted looking through a square viewfinder gives you a different perspective, but you can certainly mask your standard viewfinder with a square if you want to do that.

Add to this the issues mentioned .. larger mirror, more challenging optics ... while it sounds intriguing it just doesn't make any sense.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2010, 02:51:20 PM »
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Wayne, you are explaining this very well.

Another way to see it is that the wast majority of pictures are taken in some rectangular format. So, with a rectangular format most pictures would be cropped. This essentially means that we would have a crop factor, so wide angles would be not so wide.

For those who mostly take square pictures a square format would be optimal, but for all others it just means that a lot of assets are spent on something that will be cropped away.

Best regards
Erik



Quote from: Wayne Fox
Well, you can certainly shoot square with any format.  True shooting square cost some resolution, but shooting 3:2 or 4:3 with a square sensor costs even more.  Since the majority of images are not square, and the majority of shooters do not shoot square very often, it makes more sense to provide a sensor the majority use, and let those that shoot square do the cropping.

I've had  square format camera (original Kodak 16mp DCS back), and while a few of my images utilized the entire sensor, the majority only utilized 11 to 12 mp or less.  Granted looking through a square viewfinder gives you a different perspective, but you can certainly mask your standard viewfinder with a square if you want to do that.

Add to this the issues mentioned .. larger mirror, more challenging optics ... while it sounds intriguing it just doesn't make any sense.
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DanielStone
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« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2010, 02:58:30 PM »
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besides,

didn't most people who shot hasselblads(square ones) with film end up cropping anyhow?

Grandpa Ansel used Hasselblads a great deal in his later years, but he didn't print square that I can remember, or see in any of his photographs.

he cropped it down to 6x4.5 most of the time.

-Dan
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Scott O.
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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2010, 01:22:40 PM »
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Back in the day I used Hasselblads and thoroughly enjoyed working with a square format.  But someone did mention something which hit a cord.  They said it would be a larger mirror to get out of the way.  When are the manufacturere going to stop giving still photographers features we have absolutely no need for (movie modes and pixel wars) and concentrate on meaningful developments, like say for instance greater tonal range or even MIRRORLESS cameras???  It can and should be done...
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phila
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« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2010, 06:29:25 PM »
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Another problem with the square sensor idea is that most lenses don't actually deliver a circular image to the sensor that "large" square can be "cut out of". Lenses are designed with physical rectangular light blockers in the optical path so as to greatly reduce non image forming stray light reaching the sensor. So a whole new series of lenses would need to be factored into the equation.
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2010, 12:28:47 AM »
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I have become quite a big fan of square pictures recently.  But then I also love panoramic pictures.  Having used two MFT cameras for a while now (G1 and GF1) and seen how useful the EVF is, it would be quite possible to make a similar camera with a square sensor.  Assuming the number of pixels gets up to a reasonable number/cost ratio, why not?  It would save having the inconvenience of rotating the camera 90 (where is the degree symbol on the keyboard?), and a simple switch could select whichever aspect ratio you would like from square to panoramic or vertical.  I know you can crop afterwards, and I usually do, but still find it much easier to compose at the time of shooting if possible.

My old Mamiya RB67 had a square mirror and rotating back and really had quite a mirror slap. But EVF is the way forward in my opinion, much as I love shooting through an optical viewfinder.

As far as I am aware the square format only came about originally because of the twin-lens reflex cameras, where of course it is not possible to rotate the camera.  Likewise, it is not possible to rotate a medium format SLR with a waist level finder unless one fits an accessory prism.  Well it is possible, but when I tried it only led to madness!  I am sure the square format was just a practical solution and not chosen for any aesthetic reason.  Nonetheless, with the newer technology I can see square having some advantages.  Not so sure about a circular sensor though!
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EinstStein
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2010, 12:38:40 AM »
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The argument that square format is a waste is just a rubbish. Is the 612 or 617 format a waste?
For those who prefer the square format or 617, any other format is a waste, same rubbish argument.

Someone argued that Ansel Adam used HB square format, and yet none of his print is square. Good observation, but what does it prove?
There are a lot of professional photographers shoot and print square format.

However, as long as the small formaters (35mm or sub-35mm format) are the main driving force, I can understand that 2x3 or 3x4 formats to be the easiest/only sell for quite a while.
Even the key Med formaters (Mamya + Fuji) are only good at 6x4.5, I can't see how they can be interested in square format, even the 49x49 cropped format.

I shoot 35mm full frame DSLR, but 24x24 ends up to be the majority. To me 36mmx24mm is a real waste, but so be it.
Maybe, some sub-35mm formaters may find 24mmx24mm to be a sweet spot between the full frame and 1.5x cropping.
Or, it maybe between the 1.5x cropping and 4/3rd: 16mmx16mm.
       






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Rob C
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« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2010, 04:32:01 AM »
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Whilst I agree that square formats make for pretty distinctive images, are very useful if you want to have crop options later, experience often dictates otherwise, with framing/design being made to suit the format of the viewfinder.

The cropping of square originals does waste a lot of 'real estate' that would be beter used for the image, but what's to be done? The main practical problem I find with the concept of square isn't really a camera problem but a paper one: unless you are in a situation where you can use large rolls of paper, then the available cut sheets (and reasonably priced printers, say up to A3+) will only permit a relatively small square image within them, putting the square shooter at a disadvantage to his rectangular competitor who can have a more impressive amount of ink on display.

Rob C
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BJL
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« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2010, 09:31:30 AM »
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Quote from: EinstStein
The argument that square format is a waste is just a rubbish. Is the 612 or 617 format a waste?
Film has one huge advantage over electronic sensors: the same rolls of film can be used in cameras of a great variety of format shapes, from square to extreme panoramics like 6x17, which helps to make special-purpose cameras in less common formats economically viable. Sensors instead come in a fixed format, and a 6x6 or 6x17 sensor would have a far smaller market than ones in the dominant shape range, about from 5:4 to 3:2, and that would greatly increasing the costs of any such special purpose camera. Fabrication economies of sale probably dictate that sensors stay close to the predominant print shapes, with other shapes achieve by cropping and/or stitching.
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