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Author Topic: The end of medium format ?  (Read 26894 times)
torger
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« Reply #220 on: December 11, 2012, 02:42:02 AM »
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I've noted that these discussions is always about the 645 DSLRs vs the 135 DSLRs.

Anyone who knows how large part of the MFDB sales that goes into tech cameras? 5%? 10%? Even 20%?
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Guy Mancuso
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« Reply #221 on: December 11, 2012, 05:56:23 AM »
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Don't know the numbers but I have seen a pretty big increase in tech cam users and I get a lot of PMs and emails on it. Most of our workshops are all tech cam users on hand . So it's a pretty nice to see change in the format. Only the OEMs can answer this. But I bet Steve and Doug could give a pretty good idea. From a instructor POV its really a lot of fun working with people on them since its all new to them mostly.
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Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #222 on: December 11, 2012, 09:04:17 AM »
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I've noted that these discussions is always about the 645 DSLRs vs the 135 DSLRs.

Anyone who knows how large part of the MFDB sales that goes into tech cameras? 5%? 10%? Even 20%?


Interesting question Guy. I just did a quick check for the past 3 years - right about 25% of my sales (give or take) go on an Arca Swiss or Cambo Technical Camera for landscape or architectural use. In a lot of these cases, a medium format camera is also deployed at times. So conversely, that means about 75% of my sales are going on a medium format camera and/or a large format camera (view camera for studio use).

In particular, 2011 was a good year for Technical Cameras as there was pent up demand for a high resolution digital back with a good LCD for image review in the field. Most of the Technical Camera purchases in 2011 were accompanied by a Phase One IQ180 or IQ160. This year, with the release of the Leaf Credo product, Leaf has been more active in that segment.

Now - my take away would be that medium format present nice options for Technical Camera use. But I wonder if this information instead is turned into some dire conclusion or a debate of the merits of using medium format digital backs with Technical Cameras vs 35mm DSLR's.

I understand preferences (that's a good thing) - I don't understand the dogma of one has to be better or worse than the other.


Steve Hendrix
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torger
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« Reply #223 on: December 11, 2012, 10:08:56 AM »
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Why I ask is that I think maybe the MFDB makers should focus a bit more on the tech camera segment than they do. To me it seems like they put most effort into their 645 cameras, and then casually say "oh, you can use it on a tech cam too". I also get the sense that tech camera manufacturers and lens makers need to adapt to whatever backs MFDB makers do for their 645 cameras, rather than a two-way discussion and collaboration.

Dropping the 48x36mm format to the IQ/Credo series and promoting P65+ to IQ180 upgrades (worsening color cast to the point that some lenses got near unusable) were not great tech cam moves if you ask me.

While it is a very efficient professional tool for architecture etc, the tech cam is also a very different experience from a DSLR so I think there is growth potential in the enthusiast market as many enthusiasts like to do landscape photography (like myself).

I would guess that 645 cameras don't have that large enthusiast following, or maybe I'm wrong? To me a 645 camera is something for flash photography in the professional studio, or occasionally on location but still with flash and makeup artists. When I don't use a tech camera it is for documentary style shooting or wildlife/birds, and then a 135 DSLR suits me better, and I guess it's the same for most enthusiasts. A tech cam + 135 DSLR combo would be interesting for many enthusiasts though. I think though that digital backs are a bit too expensive to make any serious growth in this segment possible. A 48 megapixel 48x36mm back for $5K-$7K would change it though Smiley, don't know if we ever will see that sort of prices though other than second hand.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #224 on: December 11, 2012, 10:25:34 AM »
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Hi,

I got the info that IQ180 uses microlenses.

I am much impressed by the new generation of technical cameras like Hartblei HCam and the Alpa FPS, but at the same time I see that with those cameras live view would make a lot of sense.

Best regards
Erik


Why I ask is that I think maybe the MFDB makers should focus a bit more on the tech camera segment than they do. To me it seems like they put most effort into their 645 cameras, and then casually say "oh, you can use it on a tech cam too". I also get the sense that tech camera manufacturers and lens makers need to adapt to whatever backs MFDB makers do for their 645 cameras, rather than a two-way discussion and collaboration.

Dropping the 48x36mm format to the IQ/Credo series and promoting P65+ to IQ180 upgrades (worsening color cast to the point that some lenses got near unusable) were not great tech cam moves if you ask me.

While it is a very efficient professional tool for architecture etc, the tech cam is also a very different experience from a DSLR so I think there is growth potential in the enthusiast market as many enthusiasts like to do landscape photography (like myself).

I would guess that 645 cameras don't have that large enthusiast following, or maybe I'm wrong? To me a 645 camera is something for flash photography in the professional studio, or occasionally on location but still with flash and makeup artists. When I don't use a tech camera it is for documentary style shooting or wildlife/birds, and then a 135 DSLR suits me better, and I guess it's the same for most enthusiasts. A tech cam + 135 DSLR combo would be interesting for many enthusiasts though. I think though that digital backs are a bit too expensive to make any serious growth in this segment possible. A 48 megapixel 48x36mm back for $5K-$7K would change it though Smiley, don't know if we ever will see that sort of prices though other than second hand.
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #225 on: December 11, 2012, 10:42:04 AM »
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Why I ask is that I think maybe the MFDB makers should focus a bit more on the tech camera segment than they do. To me it seems like they put most effort into their 645 cameras, and then casually say "oh, you can use it on a tech cam too". I also get the sense that tech camera manufacturers and lens makers need to adapt to whatever backs MFDB makers do for their 645 cameras, rather than a two-way discussion and collaboration.

Dropping the 48x36mm format to the IQ/Credo series and promoting P65+ to IQ180 upgrades (worsening color cast to the point that some lenses got near unusable) were not great tech cam moves if you ask me.

While it is a very efficient professional tool for architecture etc, the tech cam is also a very different experience from a DSLR so I think there is growth potential in the enthusiast market as many enthusiasts like to do landscape photography (like myself).

I would guess that 645 cameras don't have that large enthusiast following, or maybe I'm wrong? To me a 645 camera is something for flash photography in the professional studio, or occasionally on location but still with flash and makeup artists. When I don't use a tech camera it is for documentary style shooting or wildlife/birds, and then a 135 DSLR suits me better, and I guess it's the same for most enthusiasts. A tech cam + 135 DSLR combo would be interesting for many enthusiasts though. I think though that digital backs are a bit too expensive to make any serious growth in this segment possible. A 48 megapixel 48x36mm back for $5K-$7K would change it though Smiley, don't know if we ever will see that sort of prices though other than second hand.

We've never agreed on these points.

Of the four backs Phase offers three of them work great with all (full frame) tech camera lenses. Only the IQ180 has any limitations on lens selection and even there the limitation is only on three Schneider lenses (28/35/43). The IQ180 works really well on a tech camera as many IQ180+techcam users would attest to.

Half the design of the IQ and Credo series seems to be designed specifically with tech cameras in mind: untethered live view, 2-axis electronic level, focus mask, hold-position-when-changing images when zoomed in, zero latency, internal battery, overly-rugged chassis and operational temperature range.

Moreover yes, many enthusiasts use 645/6x6 bodies whether Phase, Hassy, Contax, or V.

The back you own does especially poorly at higher ISOs. Perhaps if you had a back like the IQ160 which can shoot great ISO1600 files your feeling that MF has no place in documentary and other non-flash environments would change no? I use an IQ160 at weddings frequently, usually without strobe/flash (or with the same fill flash as when I shoot similar images with a dSLR).

Shooting birds? No*
Shooting sports? No  
Shooting war journalism? No

But many MF systems can be used quite successfully and enjoyably in a much broader range of applications than the picture you paint. Which is understandable if most of your experience is with an ISO25 several-generation-old 22mp sensor.

*maybe penguins :-)
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Vladimirovich
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« Reply #226 on: December 11, 2012, 10:55:10 AM »
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Regarding viewfinders, an MF camera has a potential to collect more photons, as the senor is larger. So an MF camera with a f/2.8 lens will collect more photons than a DSLR with f/2.8 lens, it takes the DSLR an f/1.4 lens to collect as many photons.

I am sorry - but what are digital MF cameras/backs with 48 x 72 = 3456  mm^2 sensors ? because if non are there then it is not 4 times larger surface... so...
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 10:56:44 AM by Vladimirovich » Logged
FredBGG
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« Reply #227 on: December 11, 2012, 11:06:28 AM »
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I've noted that these discussions is always about the 645 DSLRs vs the 135 DSLRs.

Anyone who knows how large part of the MFDB sales that goes into tech cameras? 5%? 10%? Even 20%?

I'm not sure of the numbers, but quite a few have moved or had moved from the DF body to Tech cameras.

Anyway here is an interesting comparison between the D800E and a tech cam with the state of the art MFDB the IQ180.
The comparison was made by an IQ180 and tech cam owner and landscape photographer.

http://www.circleofconfusion.ie/d800e-vs-phase-one-iq180/

From the article:
Quote
At 30×20 inches, you can see subtle but clear differences between the IQ180 and the D800E. Not all of them weighted in favour of the medium format camera, though. For instance, the D800E produced much more pleasing shadow areas on the prints of the photographs produced to test dynamic range.

Resolution and detail of the IQ180 prints was better than that of the D800E prints – but not massively. Again, the difference was there, but it wasn’t huge. Certainly not €30,000 huge.


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torger
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« Reply #228 on: December 11, 2012, 11:09:55 AM »
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Well, I do use an ISO50 back, and the same sensor is used in current models Wink. I also have an analytical mind that manages to digest input from others and to think outside my own experience.

If you think Credo/IQ is perfectly in line with a rich tech camera strategy, that's fine. You sell the stuff, I don't. I think more could be made though, and I think MFDB makers could benefit from it.

If you intend to hand-hold stuff and not use flashes i e often use high ISO and have camera shake issues, I don't think a $30K MFDB is the way to go. If you primarily do 645-friendly work, then of course you could expand the space you use your 645 camera. However, if you have a tech camera but not a 645 and your choice to complement your tech cam is to buy a 645 to use with the tech cam back or buy a DSLR system, well, I think the DSLR will be the better choice for nearly all people that are not mainly into flash photography. Getting a second hand Mamiya RZ or Hasselblad V is practically for free, so that one can do just for fun of course, that would be a typical enthusiast thing to do, but you would still get a DSLR. When I use the vintage MF SLR cameras I wonder how anyone could shoot any hand-held sharp picture at all without auto-focus and image stabilization, I'm very impressed with those that can Smiley.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 11:30:20 AM by torger » Logged
torger
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« Reply #229 on: December 11, 2012, 11:24:42 AM »
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Concerning image quality in terms of landscape photography I don't think MF have to be massively better. Slightly better in good conditions is enough. The reason I shoot with a tech cam is much for the joy of the gear and the photographic workflow, and on the technical side suitable focal lengths with shift/tilt. It's not that I couldn't do it with a DSLR, but I prefer to use the tech cam and I've found a solution that I can afford (i e second hand).

From the enthusiast perspective I think the real obstacle is really the pricing. At some point it just gets too expensive to have this cool stuff, and perhaps more importantly with increasing price difference the acceptance of a minor image quality improvement declines. I don't think the tech cams or lenses are too expensive, but the digital backs are. I don't think it is impossible to make the example I've mentioned so often, a 48 megapixel 36x48 back at the same price as the current Aptus-II 5. But as it seems rather than upping the level of the entry level backs that price range disappears completely after Aptus-II is discontinued. And I'm not sure if that is the right way to get medium format into the future.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 11:33:15 AM by torger » Logged
Doug Peterson
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« Reply #230 on: December 11, 2012, 12:02:46 PM »
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If you think Credo/IQ is perfectly in line with a rich tech camera strategy, that's fine. You sell the stuff, I don't. I think more could be made though, and I think MFDB makers could benefit from it.

What feature changes/improvements do you suggest on an IQ### that would be better suited for tech camera use?

I can promise you I'm serious in listening, as is Phase.

I can think of a few I'd like to see:
- long term CMOS (for faster/more-flexible live view) if/when it can be done without compromising quality
- ability to enter lens metadata (as in Aptus II)
- internally rotating sensor would be nice but with Arca Rotamount this is less critical now to me
- longer exposures than 2 min

The only suggestion I can't help with is the price. There will not be a $5-7k IQ back.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #231 on: December 11, 2012, 12:28:19 PM »
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Concerning image quality in terms of landscape photography I don't think MF have to be massively better. Slightly better in good conditions is enough. The reason I shoot with a tech cam is much for the joy of the gear and the photographic workflow, and on the technical side suitable focal lengths with shift/tilt. It's not that I couldn't do it with a DSLR, but I prefer to use the tech cam and I've found a solution that I can afford (i e second hand).

Different camera types are a pleasure to use. Heck... I beetle around on weekends at times taking portraits on location with an 8x10 camera Shocked
However with such a small quality difference many are leaning towards 35mm DSLRs for many reasons.
Weather sealing,
geotagging,
disguising one's self as a tourist,
less financial liability,
redundancy with dual memory cards,
wireless live view, (camera on the end of a poll over obstacles)
shoot video (stock motion landscape clips sell for higher prices than stills stock)
Direct wireless tablet support with Eye-Fi and cell phone support.
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torger
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« Reply #232 on: December 11, 2012, 12:52:14 PM »
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What feature changes/improvements do you suggest on an IQ### that would be better suited for tech camera use?

I can promise you I'm serious in listening, as is Phase.

I can think of a few I'd like to see:
- long term CMOS (for faster/more-flexible live view) if/when it can be done without compromising quality
- ability to enter lens metadata (as in Aptus II)
- internally rotating sensor would be nice but with Arca Rotamount this is less critical now to me
- longer exposures than 2 min

The only suggestion I can't help with is the price. There will not be a $5-7k IQ back.

On the technical side there may be conflicting goals, I'm not sure. With CMOS the active area is smaller(?) so one needs some funneling, i e micro lenses, which might not combine so well with the desire to make a sensor that don't have that bad color casts. Maybe lightpipe technology or similar can solve that issue. I think the symmetric/near-symmetric with very short flange distance wide angle lens designs is something unique to tech cams and is something that would be nice to keep or maybe strengthen, but for that we need sensors with low color cast.

Maybe it is possible to make use of the larger sensor area and thus larger pixels to make a sensor that can handle low angles of incoming light better than a small pixel sensor can, and in that way you could gain a clear advantage bound to the sensor format size. This assumes though that you can use a ultra-short flange distance to design better lenses, which I think you can do, but I'm no lens design expert.

Having some sort of electrical contact between camera and back so you actually get tilts and shifts stored would be cool, and then you could auto-apply LCC corrections. That would require deep collaboration with a tech cam maker though, and some of the charm of tech cams is that they are 100% mechanical, but as a professional tool it would be a nice feature to have I think.

I'd also like to see the return of the 48x36mm size. Why? I think it is a very good balance movement vs image circle size of the typical 90mm lens image circle size. I think 44x33 is a bit undersized and 54x41 oversized, while they are excellent sizes for the 645.

And I'd like to see development towards better 6 um pixels (more dynamic range, less color cast) before going smaller. As it happens, I think 6 um also strikes a nice balance for f/11 diffraction-wise which gives some lens design advantages compared to having to support f/8 or f/5.6.

For medium format I think the balance you should try to strike is to have more pixels than the high end 135 DSLRs, but at the same time larger pixels. In terms of image quality reputation I think that better pixel-peep quality should not be underestimated Smiley.

Concerning lower costs backs, I think it can be done. Sure sensors are expensive, but not *that* expensive. What you would do as a MFDB manufacturer today rather than develop something new from scratch is to use the base from an existing back, use an off-the-shelf sensor (FTF6080C, as in Sinar eXact) and cripple away some "professional" features, say tethering, and sell at an entry level price. The risk would be quite small, and the gain can be large if there really is an enthusiast market. If the pro market is shrinking it may be a thing to try.

(Concerning long exposures I wonder if it would be possible to make some external cooling device that you could attach to the back, say some fluid cooling and a huge fan, that would make your back a lot bulkier and require extra batteries but you could do very long exposures without the need of a dark frame.)
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 01:00:42 PM by torger » Logged
gerald.d
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« Reply #233 on: December 11, 2012, 01:08:40 PM »
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What feature changes/improvements do you suggest on an IQ### that would be better suited for tech camera use?

I can promise you I'm serious in listening, as is Phase.

I can think of a few I'd like to see:
- long term CMOS (for faster/more-flexible live view) if/when it can be done without compromising quality
- ability to enter lens metadata (as in Aptus II)
- internally rotating sensor would be nice but with Arca Rotamount this is less critical now to me
- longer exposures than 2 min

The only suggestion I can't help with is the price. There will not be a $5-7k IQ back.

Doug - do you think any of your suggestions would do anything to grow the MFDB user base, or just provide some mild satisfaction to the existing customers?
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torger
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« Reply #234 on: December 11, 2012, 01:30:45 PM »
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To be clear, my suggestion of trying with a "low" price digital back product that to most users is attractive directly on paper in comparison to current high-end DSLRs is not only because it is mouth-watering for myself, but because I think it can be a winning strategy. If enthusiasts are as important that some say, a lower price will surely bring in a lot more customers. If the MFDB makers need it or want it is a different story...

And a different thing concerning tech cameras, when you go to www.phaseone.com and look at camera systems, there's only the Phase One 645DF. I think there could be a much stronger show of tech cams. I have found the Joe Cornish videos there though where he mentions a Linhof Techno (but the shots taken in the videos is with 645DF), but if they were serious about tech cam integration there could be more done on the marketing side, like some nice photos of the back on the usual suspects (Alpa, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Linhof...), maybe even links to web sites, do some press releases and stuff, the usual things. When you look at the web site today you don't really get a feeling that tech cams is an important market.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 01:48:05 PM by torger » Logged
Doug Peterson
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« Reply #235 on: December 11, 2012, 01:42:42 PM »
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Doug - do you think any of your suggestions would do anything to grow the MFDB user base, or just provide some mild satisfaction to the existing customers?

I would expect CMOS would grow the user base considerably - assuming it could be done without sacrificing quality. The greatest challenge of any rangefinder system is composition and focus and CMOS would add new tools to addressing those in addition to the existing set of tools of today.

The rest of my suggestions would only be minor refinements, unlikely to sway anyone one way or the other - though every bit of refinement helps.

I also don't think the market necessarily has to grow any considerable amount. Innovate? Sure - today anyone who does not innovate will be beat out. But grow? I think a niche market can remain a niche market and do quite well for all involved. I'd welcome market growth, but that is not a goal in and of itself that I find worthy of pursuing, but rather a welcome side effect that comes when you do other worthy goals (making good products, providing good service, etc).
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« Reply #236 on: December 11, 2012, 01:59:09 PM »
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Doug - do you think any of your suggestions would do anything to grow the MFDB user base, or just provide some mild satisfaction to the existing customers?



To grow the user base, the additions must outnumber the subtractions. I don't know if we will see this. I don't believe prices will ever get to the point of easy affordability compared to 35mm, and frankly I don't know that it would have the anticipated beneficial impact.

This year, despite some migrating away from medium format to 35mm, I have seen more first time buyers of medium format digital.

What is most important would be to keep the numbers close between adopters and departers. There will always be departures from medium format - but I feel that most of the migration from medium format has already occurred. What is different this year is the number of new adopters. And what is responsible for the new adopters - in my opinion -  is ironically also responsible for the departees, namely 35mm DSLR cameras and their differences compared to medium format cameras.


Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #237 on: December 11, 2012, 02:33:56 PM »
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Hi,

I have serious issues with the price tag, unfortunately.

Except the price tag I find cameras like the HCam or the FPS very attractive, but I also see that live view would make them much more attractive.

Best regards
Erik


What feature changes/improvements do you suggest on an IQ### that would be better suited for tech camera use?

I can promise you I'm serious in listening, as is Phase.

I can think of a few I'd like to see:
- long term CMOS (for faster/more-flexible live view) if/when it can be done without compromising quality
- ability to enter lens metadata (as in Aptus II)
- internally rotating sensor would be nice but with Arca Rotamount this is less critical now to me
- longer exposures than 2 min

The only suggestion I can't help with is the price. There will not be a $5-7k IQ back.
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« Reply #238 on: December 11, 2012, 02:42:18 PM »
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Okay from my seat which is a lot of workshop folks and of course the forum but a lot of hobbyists have bought into medium format maybe a lot more than Pros. It's not like a lack of money so throw that case scenario out the window it's simple not the case. Many of these hobbyist bought a IQxxx along with a DF since Phase and the dealers make a nice package. Buy a back get a DF and 80 LS to go with it. That is usually there first jump in than add a few lenses and graduate into the tech cams . Some go directly to tech cams. Now folks I can tell you this without blinking a eye they out spend me by miles. So lets not get into this D800 crap because this is a hobby for them and they want to play big and frankly photography believe it or not is a cheap hobby. Yes you heard it here, go buy a boat , sports cars , planes and such. This is chump change to a lot of these folks when it comes to a hobby, I play golf and that's dirt cheap compared to others. LOL

Now yes your talking about professional people , scientist, engineers, doctors and lawyers. I get them all on our workshops. Actually 18 workshops and I always had a doctor on board for instance. Thank god I may need one. LOL

The money argument does not always wash these discussions. To guys like me sure we worry about our ROI and use case but Pros are such a small minority here . We are seriously out numbered when it comes to photography. Frankly I would guess in today's world in total cams made we are maybe 1-5 percent of the total market is my guess. Love to know that number actually. Btw I'm not knocking the hobbyist at all I am if anything embracing them as without them we would still be shooting film. The market and technology may never have grown without them, they drive the sales. I agree with Steve sure there are departures both in 35mm and MF. That's just a natural order that has always been around. Some departures are also short term as well. The negativity towards MF is now resting on D800 shooters as the new holy grail. I'm not one of them I shoot it but I still love MF and hopefully will get back to it. The economy sucks and sure it's hurt a lot of things but if I was putting it on anything than that would be it. Maybe we will climb out I hope so, frankly its too freaking slow and let's be honest many of us are hanging on and some have already gone away. I work for big corporate clients and its slim pickings. It's rampant all through photography even for the top guns things are in adjustment periods both what you do and gear you have. Anyone tells you different is feeding you a line of BS.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 02:44:43 PM by Guy Mancuso » Logged

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« Reply #239 on: December 11, 2012, 02:51:40 PM »
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Damn 5 minutes after I write that just got a all day corporate gig. LOL

Cool
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