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Author Topic: 6 cm × 7 cm: The Future of Ideal Format  (Read 1911 times)
Atina
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« on: March 03, 2014, 07:20:53 AM »
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What does the future look like for the 6 cm × 7 cm format?

Is it true that the last models of 6 cm × 7 cm cameras have already been produced, and that neither Mamiya, Pentax, nor Voigtländer intend to get back to developing more advanced versions of their cameras for the format?

How did what is known as the "ideal format" become a thing of the past?

What are the reasons for there not going to be a digital 6 cm × 7 cm back in the near future?

With Kodak stopping the production of its color reversal film Etachrome in 2012, are the other reversal films in danger of being extinguished too in the not-so-far future?

Are there any of you who use it today as their main format? Which cameras and films do you use? How likely are you to switch to digital medium format in the very near future?
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Theodoros
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2014, 09:02:40 AM »
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What does the future look like for the 6 cm × 7 cm format?

Is it true that the last models of 6 cm × 7 cm cameras have already been produced, and that neither Mamiya, Pentax, nor Voigtländer intend to get back to developing more advanced versions of their cameras for the format?

How did what is known as the "ideal format" become a thing of the past?

What are the reasons for there not going to be a digital 6 cm × 7 cm back in the near future?

With Kodak stopping the production of its color reversal film Etachrome in 2012, are the other reversal films in danger of being extinguished too in the not-so-far future?

Are there any of you who use it today as their main format? Which cameras and films do you use? How likely are you to switch to digital medium format in the very near future?

1. There is no such think as "ideal format"… I deal format is for the individual, the one that fulfils his/hers needs…
2.You can't expect from makers to replace models that have (nearly) no customers… do you?
3.A 6x7 MFDB? ….are you serious?  Huh Do you know any MF maker (sensor or camera) that wants to commit suicide?
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DanielStone
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2014, 09:54:26 AM »
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"Ideal" is the term Linhof put on the 6x7 format, IIRC Wink

Anywho, I like the 3:4 ratio of my GX680 system(thanks FredBGG for the recommendation early last year!), and that happens to also be the same ratio as most digital backs.

IMO, if manufacturers of digital backs were going to design a new back for a bigger chip, they should go with 6x8, cuz you can always chop a wee bit off each side if you want to get that "ideal" 6x7 format Smiley

It'd be nice to breathe some digital life with a 40-60mp 6x8 sensor into the GX lineup, and I'm sure the Alpa users wouldn't mind either, since they're designed for up to 6x9 film

Dan
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ondebanks
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2014, 10:10:36 AM »
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What does the future look like for the 6 cm × 7 cm format?

Pretty good for those who continue to use film, or who can tolerate large crop factors with their digital backs. But it's in steady state...the future will resemble the present...they'll be using the same bodies and lenses for a long time.

Is it true that the last models of 6 cm × 7 cm cameras have already been produced, and that neither Mamiya, Pentax, nor Voigtländer intend to get back to developing more advanced versions of their cameras for the format?

Nobody can answer conclusively re. any manufacturers' unstated intentions. But new developments are so highly unlikely that one can safely assume no further development in this area.

How did what is known as the "ideal format" become a thing of the past?

Digital cameras and backs displaced it in the professional sphere. Amateurs in medium format mostly used 645 and 6x6 cameras.

Anyway, if what you like about 6x7 film as the "ideal format" is its aspect ratio, then any 4:3 camera or back comes close, and a wee bit of long-side cropping takes care of the rest.

What are the reasons for there not going to be a digital 6 cm × 7 cm back in the near future?
Cost.
Lack of updated 6x7 cameras to mount a 6x7 back on. For nearly 15 years now, the only MF systems being developed have been 645 or smaller format. One exception - the 6x6 Hy6 - still not 6x7.
 
With Kodak stopping the production of its color reversal film Etachrome in 2012, are the other reversal films in danger of being extinguished too in the not-so-far future?
Yes. No. Maybe. How can anyone who isn't a senior Fujifilm insider answer this question?

Ray
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Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2014, 02:49:24 PM »
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Correct about the Linhof source for the term; I remember it well.

There may be enough existing/sustained incentive for Fuji to continue producing 120 rolls as well as their version of E6. I don't expect there will be anything much new coming from camera builders, and since there's no competition with colour transparencies, why change a thing there - just keep churnin' out what's already selling.

Perhaps as worrying for those who want to walk the hybrid route - probably many will prefer the ease of that to messing about in the glow of a darkroom light - is the future availability of dedicated film scanners. And price thereof. Already too high for such as I.

I don't really see any comparison between MF film and MF digital; the digital pricing structure seems to me to be of an entirely different kind to the old film camera one. I had several top brands of film MF cameras, enjoyed the experience with some of them, but certainly can't afford the digi options.

Rob C
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2014, 05:59:57 AM »
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In the times of sensor real estate being the expensive resource the question is completely valid.

How shall a rectangular sensor be fitted into the image circle of the lenses?

A square sensor allows to get the most area out of a given circle, but is it really so useful when needing to crop for rectangular landscape or portrait shots?
Which aspect ratio allows most utilization?
If I like 2:3 I'd have to crop a lot to use a square sensor.
If I like square I'd have to crop a lot with a 2:3 rectangular sensor.

I personally find myself using more and more squarish, less dynamic aspect ratios, 6x7 being one I use often,but for someone else that might be totally different.
Maybe its my Mamiya 7 II which started to educate me in that way.

A square sensor covering the whole image circle would allow most flexibility at the disadvantage of higher sensor costs.
After all there's no free lunch and no magic bullet ...

Cheers
~Chris
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Rob C
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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2014, 09:09:29 AM »
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Cropping the negative area in some way is pretty much always the norm unless you can tie your work into a format, which I used to do with my own calendar designs: I always drew them around a square image or a 135 format one. In the latter case, it was a very good reason for living Nikon: the F, F2 and F4 (also the F3 I bought later) all showed 100% viewfinder coverage, which I don't believe the Leica R series ever did  - by a long way. (I'm not sure about the viewfinder frame accuracy of the old 'blads, but at that size it really didn't matter very much). Framing accuracy on the hop was one very good reason why I never went Leica M, either.

Eventually, as I aged and the calendar images got bigger, I went onto tripods for much of the stuff, but only from about 85mm focal lengths or longer. Tripods were always passion-killers, but long lenses created a different visual dynamic anyway - more 'considered', you might say, and focussing was clearly more iffy hand-held with those longer things, never mind shake! And with ASA 64 transparency film...

Rob C
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Ken R
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2014, 09:23:07 AM »
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What does the future look like for the 6 cm × 7 cm format?

Is it true that the last models of 6 cm × 7 cm cameras have already been produced, and that neither Mamiya, Pentax, nor Voigtländer intend to get back to developing more advanced versions of their cameras for the format?

The future is nonexistent for 6x7. What is out there is what it is going to be. Film might still be produced for many more years but I wouldn't be surprised for the number of available film products to be steadily reduced every year until there are almost none left.

None of the current Medium Format Digital companies will make a sensor large than the ones you see now. Infact, now that the 50mp Sony CMOS sensor has been introduced, at 33x44mm, it might become the new standard MF Digital sensor size.  That means that the sensor size in the Credo60/IQ160/IQ160 at 40.4x54mm might be the larges sensor available ever (the Leaf Aptus II 10 at 36mm x 56mm the widest) for current SLR and tech cameras.

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BJL
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« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2014, 11:55:09 AM »
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A lot of good posts in this thread. Ray (ondebanks, not the other Ray) gives a great overall answer, and Chris explains the economics of sensor shape well ...
In the times of sensor real estate being the expensive resource the question is completely valid.

How shall a rectangular sensor be fitted into the image circle of the lenses?
...
A square sensor covering the whole image circle would allow most flexibility at the disadvantage of higher sensor costs.
After all there's no free lunch and no magic bullet ...
... and all I will add is that since the strategy of "sensor covering more than the image circle" only makes sense when sensor cost is relative low compared to lens cost, it is no surprise that the only times anything like this has has been tried is with smaller sensors, like Panasonic's "multiple aspect ratio" sensors in some 4/3" and smaller cameras. Even then, there is a cost effectiveness advantage to a shape in middle of the desired image shape range, not at one extreme (which square is, once you are willing to rotate the camera, or to rotate the back as with Mamiya's RB approach). 4:3 seems a good sensor shape balance within the dominant image shape range of about 5:4 to 3:2.

Also: "ideal" is personal choice of balance between image quality and factors like size, weight, cost (and for film cameras also constraints of available film stock like the 56mm width of roll film), and digital has shifted that balance substantially on both sensor image quality and cost at a given format. So it should be no surprise that there has been a substantial downsizing of the formats used at any given level of photography, and this makes it very unlikely that there will ever be a commercial case for sensor formats larger than the "645" upper limit of the systems now made by Phase One, Hasselblad, Pentax, Leica, etc.

About the only thing I disagree with is the idea the 44x33mm will take over; I see the Sony/Phase One/Hasselblad/Pentax use of that format for the first CMOS sensor bigger than 35mm format as just a continuation of the use of that format as the least expensive "entry level MF" option, with upsizing towards "645 full frame" coming next as CMOS continues its takeover of the photographic sensor market.
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EricWHiss
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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2014, 05:31:29 PM »
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I keep thinking that the last frontier is format / sensor size because increasing pixel density has drawbacks that will eventually outweigh the increased costs of going bigger.
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Ken R
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« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2014, 06:36:40 PM »
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I keep thinking that the last frontier is format / sensor size because increasing pixel density has drawbacks that will eventually outweigh the increased costs of going bigger.


True, but how much more resolution do people need/want? 80MP is already available and is plenty. Id say improve performance on those 80Mp and its all good. 50MP is really good on the 44x33mm size. Yes I know, sensor size will limit resolution boost on the 44x33mm sensors from those 50mp.

I doubt we will see much higher resolution from the 35mm size sensors than what is already out there so that format is at its limit.

The next evolution in Medium Format Digital is the Camera (and lenses) itself. Leica is ahead there. Look for more speed, better AF and features. Current lenses are very good but still, better wide angles are needed in the PhaseOne line. The Hasselblad 24 and 28mm are decent, (the 35mm not so much) and of course the Leica S 24mm and 30mm are superb (all of the Leica S lenses are).
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synn
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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2014, 06:52:42 PM »
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I agree with Ken, the next revolution in MF will be in the camera user experience. The phase CEO quite candidly admitted that they pretty much had to work with a legacy system and made the most of it,but are working on something new and the IQR platform is a clue to what lies ahead.

I have a feeling that with CMOS backs now in the fold, an IXR based evf mirrorless body will be here sooner rather than later.

given the typical usage case scenario of MF cams, contrast detect AF is fine, so no issues on that front either.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2014, 12:40:06 AM »
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Hi,

Something like the Alpa FPS, I would say. Just a shutter assembly in a solid metal frame. Precision mounting back and front side. Hartblei HCam is similar but has a sliding back.

Sony has on sensor phase detection, that can be combined with contrast sensing AF. I would suggest a standard bus for EVF, could be HDMI, or Thunderbolt. No, I don't IQ-250 sensor has on sensor PDAF, but the technology is here now.

Best regards
Erik




I agree with Ken, the next revolution in MF will be in the camera user experience. The phase CEO quite candidly admitted that they pretty much had to work with a legacy system and made the most of it,but are working on something new and the IQR platform is a clue to what lies ahead.

I have a feeling that with CMOS backs now in the fold, an IXR based evf mirrorless body will be here sooner rather than later.

given the typical usage case scenario of MF cams, contrast detect AF is fine, so no issues on that front either.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2014, 03:44:12 PM »
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The future is nonexistent for 6x7. What is out there is what it is going to be. Film might still be produced for many more years but I wouldn't be surprised for the number of available film products to be steadily reduced every year until there are almost none left.

Film is seeing a small resurgence. Just visited with some old friends that survived all the turmoil and are part of the new privately held Kodak alaris and film sales have increased for certain films over the past few years. Not significant, but enough that is seems somewhat stabilized.  Some films are not so popular, so I think you are right, some will disappear, but I think some film products will be around for a quite a while.
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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2014, 04:35:58 PM »
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Film is seeing a small resurgence. Just visited with some old friends that survived all the turmoil and are part of the new privately held Kodak alaris and film sales have increased for certain films over the past few years. Not significant, but enough that is seems somewhat stabilized.  Some films are not so popular, so I think you are right, some will disappear, but I think some film products will be around for a quite a while.


I hope you are right; there's too much good stuff to throw it all away so quickly.

Rob C
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Ken R
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« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2014, 04:48:36 PM »
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Film is seeing a small resurgence. Just visited with some old friends that survived all the turmoil and are part of the new privately held Kodak alaris and film sales have increased for certain films over the past few years. Not significant, but enough that is seems somewhat stabilized.  Some films are not so popular, so I think you are right, some will disappear, but I think some film products will be around for a quite a while.

The one place I truly miss film is in the movie theatre. DCP Projections look nice and clean (too clean IMHO) but I just love the look of film projected on the big screen. Film prints from digital files look really really nice so I do not mind films shot on digital.

Film is all but gone in most mainstream photo markets. At least as a capture medium. It survives as a niche product for some enthusiasts and pros. So film will still be offered for years to come and we might even see a small resurgence in some small markets since it offers something different but I doubt any big company is going to put money into developing new films etc.
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david distefano
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« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2014, 04:53:38 PM »
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I doubt we will see much higher resolution from the 35mm size sensors than what is already out there so that format is at its limit.

i believe that nikon/sony will produce a high 40 low 50 mp sensor. i don't think we have seen the end yet.
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BJL
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« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2014, 05:28:58 PM »
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i believe that nikon/sony will produce a high 40 low 50 mp sensor. i don't think we have seen the end yet.
Agreed. There is a record of pixel sizes that are offered first in the mainstream 24x16mm format later making it to 36x24mm sensors, and the 4 micron pixel pitch of Sony's 24MP 24x16mm sensors is satisfying many photographers with its pixel level performance and the ability of at least some lenses to provide adequate resolution. So I expect Sony to offer roughly 4 micron pixels in 36x24 eventually, for 9000x6000 = 54MP.

And before anyone complains about diffraction: when stopped down for a given DOF, diffraction at the "per-pixel" level would be the same as with the same pixel count in any other format, and less than with 80MP MF sensors. The "penalty" is only that a smaller format achieves any given DOF/diffraction balance at a lower f-stop, and so with a lower ISO speed and/or a higher shutter speed.


Not that I would be even slightly interested, but it would sell well enough ...
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EricWHiss
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« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2014, 09:41:20 PM »
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Film is seeing a small resurgence. Just visited with some old friends that survived all the turmoil and are part of the new privately held Kodak alaris and film sales have increased for certain films over the past few years. Not significant, but enough that is seems somewhat stabilized.  Some films are not so popular, so I think you are right, some will disappear, but I think some film products will be around for a quite a while.

More than half the new Rolleiflex cameras I am selling are for film only use, probably two thirds actually. Also a lot of new film users coming into the Harvey Milk Photo Center. A lot of activity in the alternative process realm - wet plate, tin type, cyanotype, platinum/palladium areas as well.   I myself starting shooting film again after years. Sometimes I'll shoot most of the project with digital and then put on the film back when I am liking what I'm getting.   I do see some advantages at least in look for some types of images.  It's just really nice to be able to have the option to shoot either.   Also shooting more 4x5 and 5x7 as well.   

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