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Author Topic: Welcome to the CSC Forum  (Read 7854 times)
michael
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« on: May 17, 2013, 08:22:15 AM »
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Compact System Cameras (mirrorless) are no longer the junior partners of DSLRs. They are now a significant segment of the contemporary camera market and growing in penetration at a very fast rate.

Small, lighter, and with lenses that are similarly easier on the shoulder and back. Image quality equals and even surpasses bulkier DSLRs with similar sized sensors.

All the major (and some minor) brand discussions are welcome here.

Michael
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JimAscher
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2013, 08:42:11 AM »
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Good idea, Michael, to establish a separate forum for this now very important category of camera.  Do you contemplate any retitling in other forum(s) to "focus" on DSLR's separately?
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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2013, 10:18:35 AM »
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Great idea, and good naming choice. 

My evolving opinion is that compact "digicams" are dead and will be replaced (mostly) with cell phone cameras. 

This new category of compact systems cameras will proliferate as the high-quality but diminutive sibling to full frame.  It is quite clear that high-end full-sized cameras with smaller sensors (APS-C in particular) are going away.  These smaller bodies have a truly differentiating attribute (size) that is critical to many photographers who continue to value quality--both image quality and build quality.

Nice to see a place in the forums dedicated to this camera modality.
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thierrylegros396
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2013, 12:28:13 PM »
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Happy of my G15 and I know why, see G15 amazing Lens Post  Wink Cheesy

Thank Michael for this new Forum.

Thierry
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Hening Bettermann
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2013, 02:53:58 PM »
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Michael, thanks for this new forum.
Fike,
> This new category of compact systems cameras will proliferate as the high-quality but diminutive sibling to full frame.

I suggest 'sibling to mirror-cameras', as I do hope that mirrorless cameras will soon become full frame! Well there is the Leica M240 already, but the digital loupe can not be moved around, so it's useless for tripod work. Not to mention the price… I hope that Sony will read this thread with their eyes and minds W*I*D*E open! and soon come up with a full frame NEX…
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fike
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2013, 03:15:26 PM »
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Michael, thanks for this new forum.
Fike,
> This new category of compact systems cameras will proliferate as the high-quality but diminutive sibling to full frame.

I suggest 'sibling to mirror-cameras', as I do hope that mirrorless cameras will soon become full frame! Well there is the Leica M240 already, but the digital loupe can not be moved around, so it's useless for tripod work. Not to mention the price… I hope that Sony will read this thread with their eyes and minds W*I*D*E open! and soon come up with a full frame NEX…


I have been under the impression that full frame compact (mirrorless compact) cameras are hard to do because of the required distance required between the sensor and the optics.  This engineering limitation makes engineering a full-frame compact lens very difficult (read here, expensive).  I think all the full-frame, compact, cameras to date have had fixed-focal-length lenses that were not removable and were in the wide end of the normal range (I am guessing from memory here, but I think around 35mm). My guess is that this is because around the 35mm focal length a lens can still project a wide enough image circle while remaining small and high quality. 

Can full-frame get smaller? Of course.  Can it get down to the size of a Pen camera or an OM-D and retain excellent optics?  I am not so sure about that.  I presume they would need to invent a new lens mount to remove some of the current limitations of nikon and canon's large lenses.
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BJL
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2013, 04:52:56 PM »
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I have been under the impression that full frame compact (mirrorless compact) cameras are hard to do because of the required distance required between the sensor and the optics. ... I think all the full-frame, compact, cameras to date have had fixed-focal-length lenses that were not removable and were in the wide end of the normal range (I am guessing from memory here, but I think around 35mm). My guess is that this is because around the 35mm focal length a lens can still project a wide enough image circle while remaining small and high quality.  
I partly agree. So long as the attraction of "compact system cameras" is based in good part on compactness, then the lenses need to be compact too, and scaling up to 35mm format ruins that, unless one sacrifices the advantages in low light performance and shallow DOF that are so often given as reasons for using a bigger format. For example, to fully keep the low light performance and DOF advantages require keeping the minimum f-stops of lenses about the same while scaling up focal lengths by a factor of two from Micro Four Thirds to 35mm format, for a factor of eight in the volume of lens elements and such.

That is probably why all the recent efforts to put a big sensor in a small body (various Sigma models, the Sony RX-1) have not offered much in the way of longer than normal focal lengths, or interchangebale lenses, or zoom lenses, or even the primes of low minimum f-stops.

Instead it is all prime lenses, and none with particularly low minimum f-stops. One fundamental limit on how small a lens can be is its maximum entrance pupil diameter, or effective aperture diameter: focal length divided by minimum aperture ratio. And what we have in "big sensor compacts" is things like:
35mm/2 = 17.5mm for the RX-1
50mm/2.8 = 18mm for the Sigma DP3
24.2mm/2.8 = 8.6mm for the DP2
None close to even the 30mm of a modest 50mm, f/1.7 standard lens.
As a result, in terms of the much-touted low-light handling and shallow DOF options of a larger format, none of these delivers any advantage over what APS-C format compact cameras can do with f/1.4 to f/2 prime lenses.

Beyond this narrow zone of not particularly fast wide to normal prime lenses, removing the mirror and OVF does not contribute much reduction in the size and weight of a 35mm format system, because lens bulk takes over. I am not sure how much market pressure there is for "non-compact mirrorless systems", but my guess is that Sony might soon test the market on that count!
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2013, 07:37:27 PM »
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I ordered my first EVIL camera yesterday.  Well, not really "my" camera - it's for my sister in law.  But I get to play with it before I send it to her.  An NEX-6.  Really looking forward to playing with it for a few days.
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2013, 11:12:23 AM »
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This forum is most welcome by me, a long-time micro 4/3 fan. When I first got my Panasonic G2, followed by a G3, I had been shooting with a Nikon D700 outfit with an impressive and expensive array of highest-end Nikkor and other lenses. When I went out for a shoot I felt like a donkey, hauling all this heavy stuff around, and my enjoyment really suffered. The 4/3 gear really freed me to enjoy photography once again, and the IQ was not inferior to the Nikon's in any way that was visible (an obsessed pixel-peeper might quibble, but so what?). The Nikon gear went on the market and the sales funded my new Epson 7900 printer.

The 4/3 gear provides great freedom for the nature/travel photographer. For example, when I went to Nicaragua last year, my G3 kit gave me focal lengths (35mm equiv) of 14mm to 600mm. I could easily carry it up and down muddy jungle trails without killing myself, and the long lenses with the stabilization let me get some great hand-held bird shots. Can you image what an equivalent full-frame kit would entail?

You can see my Nicaragua photos at www.peteraitken.com, also my Alaska portfolio, which was taken with a G2.

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Peter
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Don Libby
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2013, 12:29:33 PM »
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I just recently bought a gently used Sony Nex-7 to be converted to infrared using a 665nm filter.  So I welcome this new forum.

Don
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Hening Bettermann
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2013, 03:01:52 PM »
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In response to Fike

A full frame mirrorless may not be as light/small as an APSC, of course, but lighter and smaller than a ff DSLR. Of course the flange-to-focal distance of the lenses will have to be a little larger than for an APSC, but minor than for a ff DSLR. That should not be so difficult to build. Leitz has done it, so could Sony.

and @ BJL:

> So long as the attraction of "compact system cameras" is based in good part on compactness, then the lenses need to be compact too, and scaling up to 35mm format ruins that, unless one sacrifices the advantages in low light performance and shallow DOF that are so often given as reasons for using a bigger format.

What if the attraction is not the shallow DOF and the max aperture of the lens? Look at the size and weight of ff rangefinder wide angles as compared to DSLR wide angles, e.g. Zeiss' ZM line. As a landscaper, I'd be happy with f/5.6 as the max aperture.

> I am not sure how much market pressure there is for "non-compact mirrorless systems", but my guess is that Sony might soon test the market on that count!

I hope so!
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BJL
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2013, 08:28:23 PM »
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@ BJL:

> So long as the attraction of "compact system cameras" is based in good part on compactness, then the lenses need to be compact too, and scaling up to 35mm format ruins that, unless one sacrifices the advantages in low light performance and shallow DOF that are so often given as reasons for using a bigger format.

What if the attraction is not the shallow DOF and the max aperture of the lens? Look at the size and weight of ff rangefinder wide angles as compared to DSLR wide angles ...
Agreed; wide angle lens designs in particular benefit from having no constraint on back-focus distance imposed by the SLR's mirror box. I phrased myself badly there, so let me try again: the main place that a mirror-less 35mm format system can offer both compactness and clear IQ advantages over smaller formats is with wide-angle lenses (such as the RX1 etc. have). That seems rather limiting for a system, but let us see what is offered by Sony et al in the expanding "post SLR" field.
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« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2013, 03:09:28 AM »
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Just out of interest, would this be the natural home for the Leica M 240?
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BJL
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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2013, 10:01:03 AM »
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Just out of interest, would this be the natural home for the Leica M 240?
I for one would welcome digital rangefinders to the compact system camera discussion. For one thing, styles of usage seem similar; I sometimes find myself using the E-M5 in the way so often described and celebrated by Leica rangefinder camera users. To me, even more important than compactness is agility.
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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2013, 11:21:19 AM »
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I am curious, how would you define a "rangefinder?" My thought is that a rangefinder is a camera with manual focus that works by bringing duplicate images into registration. It is indeed a fast and accurate way to focus, as I recall from my Leica M3 days, but I am having trouble seeing how this would apply to a digital camera.
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Peter
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BJL
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« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2013, 12:08:00 PM »
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... how would you define a "rangefinder?" My thought is that a rangefinder is a camera with manual focus that works by bringing duplicate images into registration.
Yes, that is what I mean: cameras like the Leica M models, not the current misuse to describe any camera without a VF hump on top.
... I am having trouble seeing how this would apply to a digital camera.
I agree! I was referring to other aspects in common between true rangefinder cameras and the new type of mirror-less system cameras. One example is a kind of two-eyed composition: camera a bit away from the face (which, before anyone complains, does not mean "at arms' length", but can be with arms braced to torso, and is often quite steady even at base ISO speed, especially with the added help of good image stabilization systems) so that you have a both a direct overview of the whole scene and a preview on the rear screen of the part of that scene that will be in the picture.
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fike
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« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2013, 01:00:21 PM »
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...
What if the attraction is not the shallow DOF and the max aperture of the lens? Look at the size and weight of ff rangefinder wide angles as compared to DSLR wide angles, e.g. Zeiss' ZM line. As a landscaper, I'd be happy with f/5.6 as the max aperture.
...

I am not sure a high-end mirrorless camera with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 would sell. I think an aperture needs to hit f/2.8 before it is considered high-end (maybe f/4). I know that the aperture is not a very good proxy for quality, but people use it as such.  Also, with the assumption that most lenses perform better stopped down a stop or two (frequently a correct assumption), that would leave people expecting to shoot your f/5.6 at f/8 or f/11.  That all may be fine for tripod-using landscape freaks like us, but kid's soccer games and low-light performance sell cameras.  Perhaps someone in a niche might make a camera like that, but it won't have the adoption necessary to really flesh-out a system of lenses and flashes, so it would need to be ridiculously expensive to compensate those disadvantages.

Full frame will always be a few years ahead of cropped sensors, but if someone told me four years ago that I would have this performance in a compact system with a 2x sensor, I would have been shocked and bought it on the spot. We are always comparing against the current high-end, and I think that is a bit unfair. We need to have more constant standards of comparison.  It's like comparing a Mustang to a Bugati.  They are different systems for different audiences and applications. (If I see one more posting debating the IQ comparison of a D800e and an OM-D, I think I will scream.)
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« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2013, 02:30:36 PM »
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Don Libby:  You are going to love the NEX-7 for infrared, I had one converted as well and the camera seems like it was made purposely for the medium.  The custom white balance is extremely easy to perform and having the exposure compensation as one of the tri-navi dials is superb.  That feature gives you histogram plus changing image right in the viewfinder in real time as you rotate the dial. Add to this no problems with front or back focusing (which plagued me with other converted cameras) due to contrast detect autofocus and the camera is real winner.
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Don Libby
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« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2013, 11:13:52 AM »
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 Thanks firefox.  I spent a week shooting in Carmel and Death Valley and walked away with great files.  I just did a blog on the trip as well with sample files.

Don
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Glenn NK
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« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2013, 02:24:46 PM »
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Great having a thread for these.

Would it be possible to move the relevant posts to here from the "Cameras, Lenses, and Shooting Gear" forum?

There are some good posts there - it would be nice to have them all under this roof.

Glenn
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