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Author Topic: Is there an amateur market, and if so is it important?  (Read 6386 times)
torger
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« on: September 29, 2012, 11:32:52 AM »
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I've tried to understand how the medium format digital market looks, but it is a bit hard to get a grip on it. The impression I get from how the sales channels are structured is that it is 90% professional studio photographers doing fashion, portrait and product, 9% architectural photographers, and 1% crazy amateurs which hate having unused money laying around.

However, looking at internet forums etc I get the sense that there are quite some amateurs, semi-pros, struggling artists etc, often using tech cameras or older medium format gear like Mamiya rz och Hasselblad V system.

Sometimes I think what MFDB makers need is not really that CMOS-based live-view high ISO-capable digital back with more DR, but simply a back based on existing technology but more affordable to buy and own and with that try to expand into the amateur market and that way get a much larger amount of sales.

The "perfect" product would be 6um 48x36mm 50 megapixels CCD, user-changable mount, good LCD with quick review mode (fast review mode makes the lack of live view less obvious), tech cam friendly (no wakeup or extreme color cast or that kind of stuff), sturdy and weather-proof.

I think the tech camera genre has the greatest amateur potential. Landscape is big among amateurs, and shooting landscape with a tech camera is really something. It's all the ansel adams view camera romance with tilts and shifts without the hassle of film. The whole shooting experience is so different so you don't really feel that you are using a "crippled 135 DSLR", which I think is the problem with the MF DSLRs these days.

Today a 33 megapixel Leaf Aptus-II 7 costs 11000+VAT, Hasselblad's 50 megapixel CFV-50 costs about the same. Is this really as low as prices can get? I don't think so. The large sensors indeed makes economy poor of digital backs, but a 48x36mm 6um sensor is yesterday's technology, I would guess sensor price is around 2500 to the manufacturer. The Leaf Aptus-II 5 with same chip size but 22 megapixel costs 6300+VAT, and I bet that 4700 in price difference up to 33 megapixels is not about the sensor cost.

I'd like to see that 50 meg product at 5000-6000+VAT. Then I think we could actual see an increase of amateurs, and once we get an increase it can grow even more -- today many don't even know what a tech camera is and what it is good for, but if more amateurs start using them that will change. I also think the recent high resolution DSLRs is making landscape photography amateurs more aware of challanges of high resolution photo, and the popularity of tilt/shift increases. In a way I see that the interest in tech cam could actually increase while the interest in MF DSLRs could decrease since the introduction of high resolution 135 DSLRs. Concerning SLRs I think that the older low tech systems like Hasselblad V may actually have a stronger attraction when it comes to amateurs.

If you could get a basic tech cam system which has an easily comprehensible edge (i e more megapixels) for say 15000, which you could if the back was 5000, I think MFDB would be seen as a competitive alternative for serious hobbyists. The total cost must be low enough, say like a motorcycle, so the regular middle class person can buy it. I think there's a big difference between 15000 and 25000 in that regard.

Another aspect which I'm currently about to experience myself is service costs. Having 2000 as standard template cost for any type of service, even just changing an internal clock battery, is not really a great way to attract amateurs I can tell you :-). Actual cost may not be that, but many dealers (at least around here) communicate this and is in the official price lists. Much of what I have experienced so far from the local dealers is that they don't really know or want to deal with amateurs at all (I've been in contact with good dealers too though, so not all are the same).

Anyone that thinks we'll see an attempt of MFDB manufacturers to expand into amateur market? Is it a good or bad idea to try? Is it even possible with lower priced backs, or is the large sensor technology just too expensive?
« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 11:44:47 AM by torger » Logged
torger
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2012, 12:18:54 PM »
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To expand a bit, I think the digital back product would not emphasize on being a "modern professional tool", but more "going back to the roots" and being scaled down and simple. A little bit of Leica M thinking. This would be a back typically combined with mechanical tech cams and classic MF SLRs. However putting a crap LCD there and make it slow to review pictures is not the right way to do it, so the "going back to the roots" message may be more about marketing than actual product design.

One could intentionally make it weak on tethering and "professional workflow" type of features though if one would want to separate it from more expensive "professional products".

"Going back to the roots" message can be seen as a sort of a trick, since one does not really have the technology (ie CMOS) to make a camera that feels truly modern to the DSLR-accustomized amateur, one can instead focus at the basic elements of photography where the back is more or less just a passive capturing device, a drop in replacement for a film back. But I think it works too, some wants this, one of the main joys of shooting with a tech camera I think is that it is so basic and pure.

To put it in other words -- what I'm talking about here is to introduce the same type of technology that already exists but at lower price point and selling through amateur-friendlier channels, and that way steal some market share that otherwise would belong to DSLRs. That would feel a lot more fresher and active move to me than introducing more of the same at the same price point and combine it with FUD marketing a la Hasselblad (oh well they did introduce a "luxury" product too...).
« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 12:27:35 PM by torger » Logged
Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2012, 12:41:38 PM »
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I can only imaging the joy of those who sold their only child, their kidney, got a second mortgage, donated their kneecaps to a loan shark, etc., etc., in order to afford an entry-level MFDB kit of $30-50 grands, waking up one day to find out that every amateur and his brother can now have it for 1/10 of the price! Priceless!
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2012, 12:54:42 PM »
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most professionals I know that use MFD products don't frequent internet forums.

-Dan
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torger
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2012, 01:00:39 PM »
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I can only imaging the joy of those who sold their only child, their kidney, got a second mortgage, donated their kneecaps to a loan shark, etc., etc., in order to afford an entry-level MFDB kit of $30-50 grands, waking up one day to find out that every amateur and his brother can now have it for 1/10 of the price! Priceless!

hehe Smiley

It's not thaaat bad though. Simply put I'm suggesting halving the price of CFV-50 (which indeed is already substantially cheaper compared to Leaf/Phase offers), and using a Dalsa chip (like FTF 6080C) and a more modern LCD. IQ180 will still be larger sensor, still be higher resolution.

Probably Hasselblad is in best position to do this type of product from a not-upsetting-current-customers-perspective (the back don't really need to work on the H system), but I don't think they are capable, they seem to be a company in crisis in more than one way. A refreshed CFV-50 with Dalsa chip and up to date LCD and a lower price, and showing off some partnership with Alpa (which they have not collaberated well with before) and other tech cam makers and also putting forward their own V system as the classic it is, would have been a ton more interesting than the Lunacy.

Technology-wise Phase/Leaf is probably in the best position, but due to their current pricing and customer base it may be difficult political move as you say.
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torger
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2012, 01:09:10 PM »
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most professionals I know that use MFD products don't frequent internet forums.

Yes, I think this is true, that's why one cannot get a great overview of how the actual MF market looks by looking at internet activity. My first statement that 90% is studio photographers I think is pretty much true. I still think there is growth potential in the amateur market though.

What I have no-idea-whatsoever about though is how tough the D800 competition (Canon seems to be up to something too) is. If the MFD market share is shrinking and/or if it is harder to get new customers. Maybe MF sells better than ever and noone feels any need to change, or maybe people are dropping out and fewer opts in.

When you look at how Hasselblad acts it looks like a market in crisis, but maybe its just a company in crisis. Phase/Leaf seems to be doing pretty well.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2012, 01:17:34 PM »
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... I'm suggesting halving the price of CFV-50...A refreshed CFV-50 with Dalsa chip...

I certainly wouldn't mind it, because at some point I might even be able to afford it for my 503cw, but what really discourages me is that my Zeiss 50 isn't so on it. So a few extra millimeters larger sensor, pretty please?
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« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2012, 01:20:11 PM »
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Quote
The "perfect" product would be 6um 48x36mm 50 megapixels CCD, user-changable mount, good LCD with quick review mode (fast review mode makes the lack of live view less obvious), tech cam friendly (no wakeup or extreme color cast or that kind of stuff), sturdy and weather-proof.
I agree with everything except the CCD part, I really think LV-enabled CMOS would be ideal. In fact I would rather have a 24x36mm CMOS sensor in an affordable digital back than a 36x48mm CCD. I just wouldn't want to have to deal with focusing without live-view, it's too clumsy.

Quote
I think the tech camera genre has the greatest amateur potential. Landscape is big among amateurs, and shooting landscape with a tech camera is really something. It's all the ansel adams view camera romance with tilts and shifts without the hassle of film. The whole shooting experience is so different so you don't really feel that you are using a "crippled 135 DSLR", which I think is the problem with the MF DSLRs these days.
I definitely agree with this. Tilt/shift lenses help bridge the gap, but aren't as flexible as a technical camera and are only available in a few focal lengths.

MFD makers need to do _something_ to expand their market. The lack of innovation and dwindling market share can't sustain them indefinitely.
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torger
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2012, 01:43:40 PM »
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I think there are very difficult technical problems with sensors which inhibits the MFDB makers to do exactly what the market would like to see. We would have seen CMOS a long time ago if anyone could do it, or find economy in doing it.

Maybe I under-estimate the importance of a CMOS-like live view though. I don't know. I was thinking that pancake cams don't need it for focusing (thanks to high precision focusing rings with precise distance scales), and I've myself become a hardcore ground glass user and focus well with my Linhof Techno. Sure I'd like a live view as good as on my Canon, but I don't really feel the lack of it to be a disturbing limitation. If I could choose between a 36x24mm digital back with a D800 sensor and Canon-quality live view, and a 36x48mm CCD with no live view at all, I'd go for the CCD version. I don't believe in the "larger size=more hyperreality" discussion when it comes to typical tech cam images (=large DoF), but to get out the most of the tech cam lenses a bit larger size is needed. But I don't know, maybe other people would choose otherwise.

Making large chips without faults is also very bad economy, exponentially bad. Back in the days we actually had larger sensor than today in commercial MFDB products, the Dicomed Bigshot was 60x60mm, actually larger than the 6x6 film area. It costed $55,000 back in 1996. Noone has so far attempted that stunt again Smiley.

For using classic MF SLRs a 56x56 ("6x6") or even 56x70 ("6x7") would be the best, but I think it is simply impossible to make those at a reasonably price with today's technology.

For tech cams I think 48x36mm format is very well-balanced concerning the 90mm image circles of Schneiders and Rodenstocks, better balanced than full-frame 645. If you have a tech cam you want to have shift margins. Not going full-frame 645 also keeps cost down and leaves a window for the high end backs aimed at the pro studio shooters that do MF DSLRs. Therefore I think it is a good size to suggest.

Concerning resolution I think 50 is also a good balance, that way you get slightly above DSLRs while still having also larger individual pixels (with hopefully larger full well capacity) so you get more resolution and more pixelpeep pleasure at the same time, just like people want to experience MFD Smiley. The 6um pixel is also reasonably well-balanced for vintage lenses and the budget tech cam lenses.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 01:53:27 PM by torger » Logged
Gigi
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2012, 03:46:13 PM »
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Interesting idea - camera priced like a fancy motorcycle. I like it and with current back speed, changing sensor type isn't necessary. The older 36x48 is just fine. Good thoughts, only hope someone is listening!
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« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2012, 02:09:59 AM »
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This is a regular lament on all the forums.
From a pro's perspective, if one is running a properly resourced and managed business, an investment of 30-60K every 3 or 4 years is nothing but a normal part of this business. By the time one has factored in the tax benefits from depreciation and amortisation against the income I expect that purchase to earn me, it's not a decision one ever loses sleep over. I lose a LOT more sleep whenever Apple launch a new operating system.
When I consider that a 35mm DSLR will basically be worthless unsaleable junk after 4 years and my MFDB will be worth roughly 30-40% of what I paid for it, then buying MFDB over DSLR becomes an even more appealing choice, provided of course that the work I do suits one over the other.
This is not really what the average amateur wants to hear when he has to plonk his hard-earned cash on the table for top shelf MF gear, but it is part of the reason the manufacturers basically ignore the amateurs. Selling a back to a top level pro is a darned sight easier than to an amateur, from a financial perspective. I expect the dealers time/energy/frustration investment in getting a customer over the line is much lower when dealing with pros too.
Welcome to the jungle.
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« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2012, 03:37:37 AM »
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Some observations:

Yes there is a large and a growing amateur market and it is split into 2:
Entry level (22-40MP) and high end (56-80MP). In addition there's the 2nd hand market which also generates new business when it's time for an upgrade.
Photography is one of the fastest growing hobbies and is considered a relatively low cost one...

An expensive camera is quite cheap when compared to a yacht or a classic sports car...

The "pro" market includes some segments that are not represented on the fora and they are all on the incline: reproduction, aerial and industrial imaging. These typically focus on the higher end products and bring multi-unit sales.
The demand for high resolution imagery extends far beyond the obvious commercial use and currently there is no substitute for an 80MP single shot solution in terms of quality, speed and efficiency.

There are some massive projects out there with hundreds of millions of documents, photographs, drawings, books, newspapers and culturage heritage items waiting to be digitised and the amount of money being poured in by governments and public/ private foundations is staggering. It provides business not only for the MFDB makers but also to camera and lens makers, shutter makers, camera support makers, lighting makers etc etc

DALSA has recently started offering the 60MP 6um sensor as an off-the-shelf product and one can imagine that this size will sooner or later become a base standard in MF and LF imaging....
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« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2012, 04:09:44 AM »
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This is a regular lament on all the forums.
From a pro's perspective, if one is running a properly resourced and managed business, an investment of 30-60K every 3 or 4 years is nothing but a normal part of this business. By the time one has factored in the tax benefits from depreciation and amortisation against the income I expect that purchase to earn me, it's not a decision one ever loses sleep over. ............

When I consider that a 35mm DSLR will basically be worthless unsaleable junk after 4 years and my MFDB will be worth roughly 30-40% of what I paid for it, then buying MFDB over DSLR becomes an even more appealing choice, provided of course that the work I do suits one over the other.

This is not really what the average amateur wants to hear when he has to plonk his hard-earned cash on the table for top shelf MF gear, but it is part of the reason the manufacturers basically ignore the amateurs. ....


But this is IMHO basically a mistake. Enthusiasts have much more brand loyalty and invest in a much larger lens range than pros do.

From a manufacturing point of view, it is nice to have a two-leg business. If I would make Hasselblad's strategy, I would keep the previous generation model (like a H4D39) in production for enthusiasts (at not much extra cost). Always just a bit better than a 35mm equivalent and priced around 8-9k (i.e. 20-30% above the 35mm pro models).

Leica is starting to do this with the Leica M-E. Why not in MF?

Paul, are you listening?  Smiley
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 09:19:33 AM by hasselbladfan » Logged
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2012, 05:08:50 AM »
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When I consider that a 35mm DSLR will basically be worthless unsaleable junk after 4 years and my MFDB will be worth roughly 30-40% of what I paid for it, then buying MFDB over DSLR becomes an even more appealing choice, provided of course that the work I do suits one over the other.

Just to put a bit of realism in the DSLR story, I bought a D3x in Jan 2009 for 700,000 Yen, sold it in Dec 2011 for 400,000 Yen, bought a D800 in March 2012 for 270,000 Yen which gave me enough change to buy a full Nikon 1 system for my wife and I still got some change...

I have never heard a MFDB story where upgrading to a model with significantly higher image quality results in some financial gain... I hear more of upgrade costs North of 15,000 US$.

Besides, considering the speed at which rich amateurs have been selling their 35+ mp class backs to get 80 mp ones in order to "stay ahead" of DSLR junk, it would seem that MFDBacks get junky just as fast.  Wink

Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2012, 05:27:00 AM »
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Some observations:

Yes there is a large and a growing amateur market and it is split into 2:
Entry level (22-40MP) and high end (56-80MP). In addition there's the 2nd hand market which also generates new business when it's time for an upgrade.
Photography is one of the fastest growing hobbies and is considered a relatively low cost one...

An expensive camera is quite cheap when compared to a yacht or a classic sports car...

The "pro" market includes some segments that are not represented on the fora and they are all on the incline: reproduction, aerial and industrial imaging. These typically focus on the higher end products and bring multi-unit sales.
The demand for high resolution imagery extends far beyond the obvious commercial use and currently there is no substitute for an 80MP single shot solution in terms of quality, speed and efficiency.

There are some massive projects out there with hundreds of millions of documents, photographs, drawings, books, newspapers and culturage heritage items waiting to be digitised and the amount of money being poured in by governments and public/ private foundations is staggering. It provides business not only for the MFDB makers but also to camera and lens makers, shutter makers, camera support makers, lighting makers etc etc

DALSA has recently started offering the 60MP 6um sensor as an off-the-shelf product and one can imagine that this size will sooner or later become a base standard in MF and LF imaging....



Interesting observations, thanks for sharing.
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yaya
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« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2012, 06:08:11 AM »
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Interesting observations, thanks for sharing.

Thanks, this of course just scratches the surface but I hope it sheds some light over the big picture and current market and business trends

Yair
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torger
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« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2012, 07:29:10 AM »
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I'm surely aware that for professional business $50K for a camera system is no problem compared to paying salaries to the staff. I work and own my own business together with a few collegues so this is no news to me :-). Still, when we buy gear for our business we are quite price-concious, we don't really like buying gear that we feel don't have the right price, even if we can afford it. I think some photography professionals do the same, even if they can afford MF gear they get a D800 because they think it delivers what they need at a better price point.

I also don't think the "MF gear is a safe long-term investment compared to DSLRs" argument works any longer. First, people count in absolute numbers, not percent. Even if I get a new high-end DSLR body every 3-4th year to enjoy new features there still is some value in the old body, say $2K, and the new is $7K, so you lose $5K. I got an Aptus 75 which I bought second-hand. When it came out late 2005/early 2006 it cost $30K, I bought it this year for $6K, 20% of original price, $24K value loss in 6 years, while DSLR loss would be $7-$8 in the same period. For a business, it is peanut money though, so it does not really matter, but I would not say that economy of MF gear is particularly good compared to DSLRs. I can think that the MF upgrade policy is nice and all, but I don't think it is fair bashing DSLRs saying they would be worse. High-end DSLRs are professional tools too, used by journalists all over the world, so the support and service organisations for professional use exist.

I also see in the tech cam gear that value of gear not considered competitive any longer plunge. My 35mm Apo-Sironar digital is next to unsellable because it's not considered competitive. One can make fine 22 megapixel images with it, but that ain't so cool any longer.

I think my 33 megapixel Aptus 75 is fine, it does not have the DR of a D800, but it is good enough and color is great. But how many professionals that have the means stay with old gear? I get the feeling that most upgrade to the latest anyway to keep the distance to DSLRs or just to get the cool new LCD on the back. This is what makes it relatively affordable to get into MF second hand, the gear that is considered not to deliver as cool performance as the latest DSLR gets quite cheap. Service costs is still a big risk though - I've had some bad luck with my back (cold weather failures) and I may end up buying another second hand back instead of servicing mine, simply because it will be less expensive, but I haven't seen the end of that story yet.

Finally, does the MF manufactures signal that "we are stable business"? I think that many today have the impression that any MF manufacturer can go out of business any time. It is also easy to get the impression that they are stuck in old technology. Why is there no CMOS option? Will there ever be?

The situation today is much different than from the situation just five years ago. I think that when since the cameras got digital the long-term thinking is gone. It may return again when technology has come so far that there is no significant improvements to be made, but it won't happen for the next 10 years I think.

Ok, now I'm pulling my own thread off topic...
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« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2012, 07:45:49 AM »
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Anders,
A few thoughts about the product and market since I am (sort of) in the target market:

We talk a lot about sensor size and the larger sensors not being as good for shifting, and hence maybe not the best back for a tech camera (lens cast).  But don't forget we are all using the same lenses with the same image circle.  I have a 54x40 sensor.  When using say a 43xl, I cannot shift as many mm as I could with a smaller sensor.  But I am covering the same surface area because the sensor is bigger to begin with. Hence the geometry, perspective and image capabilities are exactly the same.  Certainly pixel size and well depth are also factors, but now we are talking about sensor design, not size.  However, for those who are not shifting (say an Alpa TC owner) I do agree with you because they will make different lens choices, which may minimize the need for LCC / FF correction unshifted.  Regardless, I think the benefit of a smaller sensor in regards to cast issues is overstated.

Live View: I don't think you are underestimating its advantage, at least until tilt is incorporated.  The measure/hpf solution is amazingly accurate and efficient.  But as you know tilt introduces a whole other dimension.  Smiley  Real Canon-like LV would be wonderful for that alone.

I know there are hundreds (thousands?) of threads shouting the death of MF.  But in the mean time, the one camera I hardly ever take with me any more is my DSLR (and yes I've shot a D800).  I did a wedding a few months ago (way out of my comfort zone btw).  That was the first time I used my DSLR since I moved to MF.  I had to find and charge all the batteries!  For me it is the technical camera or a MFT/EVIL/Rangefinder.  The whole reason for the mirror box originally was TTL viewing.  We now have that without the mirror box.  Maybe or maybe not as clear/bright/good whatever, but many users who have both options are saying they almost always use the electronic viewfinder.  And you can bet that option will get better.  Quickly.

In regards to the market, I completely agree about technical cameras being a target niche.  As with any product, search for the attributes that cannot be (easily) duplicated by the alternatives and target those strengths.  Shifting, tilting, merging, focus blending, are some of those.  [BTW, try focus blending on a DSLR with anything but a Zeiss lens.  Those ridiculous focus scales on autofocus lenses are impossible to use.  An HPF ring is perfect for this.]

Price is one of the toughest topics.  In theory pricing is easy for any economist:  Price at the point where marginal revenue equals marginal cost.  But the devil is in the not-so-small details, like simply knowing the demand curve of a product. How many more sales will Phase get if they drop the price 10, 20, or 50%?  That's easy for Apple, Coke or LG.  Just through $1M at a target test market and see what happens to sales.  But that is literally impossible when total sales volumes are 10,000 units.  You just end up with a contentious argument about why volumes went up or down.  Just look at the threads running around here.  Fred says MF volumes are down because DSLRs are almost as good.  Or, is it because Phase/Leaf introduced a significantly improved line of products last year and had their best years ever, so naturally they are down this year.  Gosh, I bet sales for even the Supreme D800 will be at a lower rate in 1.5 years vs now. Smiley

As Yair points out, probably because we are mere artists we underestimate the volume of sales for more "technical" applications.  I think it is also tough to offer a cheaper version of a back that will then compete with the used market.  But, perhaps the Leaf / Phase brands will eventually position themselves just as you've proposed.  I will let them fight out which one gets to call themselves the premium version.   Roll Eyes

Ciao,
Dave


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torger
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« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2012, 08:06:15 AM »
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Yes there is a large and a growing amateur market and it is split into 2:
Entry level (22-40MP) and high end (56-80MP). In addition there's the 2nd hand market which also generates new business when it's time for an upgrade.
Photography is one of the fastest growing hobbies and is considered a relatively low cost one...

I think amateurs compare with DSLRs much more than professionals do. Entry-level MF is a tough one because I think most nowadays consider it to be inferior to a D800, or only marginally better, and at a 6000 - 11000 + body vs 2500. It shall be interesting for how long entry level products will exist in the 22-40 mp level.

When it comes to the 2nd hand market, it is also layered. There's a market for current high-end backs, current entry-level backs (not many) and also a market for discontinued products, which seems to be about as large as for the high-end backs, or even larger. It is with the discontinued products you make the "bargains", where you can get a fine back for 2500 - 6000. A friend of mine just got a complete system Mamiya RZ with a nice 22 megapixel CF22 back for 2700, camera body, a couple of lenses and the back.

If you get such a back you cannot trade it in though, my own Aptus 75 is too old for trade-in offers, so upgrading I'm better off selling it and buying another second hand back (if I'm prepared to take the risk with second-hand electronics, as discussed before service costs can be really bad news). An upgrade for my Aptus 75 could for example be to get a second hand CFV-50. Upgrading within Leaf (a brand I like) to a new back is more difficult since the next step up is Aptus-II 10 which is 20K+VAT, the diff gets too large.

I love when new MFDBs are announced because that means that soon there will be more discontinued backs to choose from Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2012, 08:40:40 AM »
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A few thoughts about the product and market since I am (sort of) in the target market:

Thanks for the insightful thoughts.

Concerning the sensor size my argument was not sensor cast, but simply that you get more shift relative to image size. Shifting 15mm with a 48x36mm sensor is would require 17mm on 54x41mm, but you can't do that since the image circle is still 90mm. Of course you could crop and get the exact same image, but the thing is that a 54x41mm sensor is a lot more expensive than 48x36mm, so there's a strong argument to keep the sensor size well-balanced, ie no larger than we need. In a well-balanced system you're using all of the high quality image circle when you do the movements you need for your compositions. DSLR tilt-shift lenses typically have ~65-70mm image circle for wides, which translates into 91-98mm for a 48x36mm sensor, and from my own experience I think 90mm is quite nice balance, not overkill, and rarely limiting.

One could make a target tech cam product for the Rodenstock Digaron-S lenses (70mm image circle), as small as 36x24mm feels quite ok on that size, although 34x25.4mm would be better so we get 4:3 format Wink. I believe more in a 48x36mm sensor size with 90mm image circles though so it becomes okay on GG cameras and we get more lenses to choose from.

Concerning live view it was the other way around, I tried to play down its importance Smiley. If it is truly really important for the success of this type of product we are in trouble, because CMOS technology is not in MF yet.

CMOS would be nice, but I don't think it will be essential. It shall be interesting to see what happens on the second hand market if CMOS backs with liveview and high ISO (almost) like DSLRs start to get introduced.

I have a Canon system too. Previously I shot my landscapes with that. Now when I have my Linhof I only use my Canon for the other genres like portraits, sports, documentary. Now when my Aptus back is having the cold I thought I would go out shoot landscapes with my Canon instead, but well, I have just stopped shooting. I've fallen hopelessy in love with the tech cam workflow so it feels kind of meaningsless getting out shooting if I can't tilt Smiley.

However, what will happen if I get the new rumoured 46 megapixel Canon, the performance with the TS-E's are greater than expected, and Canon brings out updates for the TS-E 45 and 90 (rumoured). If I would feel that my tech cam system doesn't really keep up on the image quality, and it is financially impossible for me to upgrade, then it may be time for me to sell off my MF gear and go back to DSLR landscape shooting.

I have a difficult time accepting using a system just because I like the feel of it, if I feel it produces inferior results, even if that "inferior result" is perfectly good. It's probably some sort of diagnosis, but I think I share it with many...

As discussed in the original post I think though that it could be possible to strike a balance and make an MFDB product that is good enough compared to the DSLR competition and has a low enough price to be an attractive alternative to a much wider audience.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 08:43:13 AM by torger » Logged
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