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Author Topic: I would buy one!! DMD - I want one!  (Read 8619 times)
srq2625
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« on: January 30, 2006, 03:42:01 PM »
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This is my first post (been a lurker for some time) and have completely enjoyed reading the opinions/comments of others. Time for me to make a (small) mark here.

I just read Mike Johnston's article, "DMD: The Digital Camera Id Like to Own"

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/DMD.shtml

and I have to say "I'm there!" I would love to have the camera exactly as described. This would be the perfect, carry it around with you all the time camera.

I have the point-and-shooter for that (carrying around) and I I really don't like like it much. Noisy sensor, slow zoom, slow shutter response, you get the picture.

I have the DSLR (Canon 20D) and a few lenses (don't need to go into detail here) and they are great and I've done some small amount of work that I think is worthy of (small) praise. But, carry that around all the time? Don't think so.

The DMD - that's one that I could carry around all the time (except to work - they will physically destroy, as in with a hammer, any camera discovered on the property!   ). But, to dinner? On the evening drive to the grocery store? Anywhere else? Oh, yeah!!
« Last Edit: January 30, 2006, 03:42:41 PM by srq2625 » Logged


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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2006, 03:53:34 PM »
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Perfect but for one thing, it would need an easy to use aperture priority control and very easy to use iso wheel/button.
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Giedo
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2006, 04:23:12 PM »
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That would be a fantastic camera. Exactly the thing you want to carry around with you...
I agree with pom that such a nice piece of camera screams to be used creatively; which means: easy control over the 3 variables: aperture, iso and shutter.
I bet Sony will be the first to create sth that is closest to this ' DMD'.
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Giedo
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2006, 04:54:14 PM »
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Sounds a little like the rumored Leica M digital.

JC
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Prognathous
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2006, 05:48:53 PM »
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Well, there's obviously no such camera, but there is one that comes somewhat close: Ricoh GR Digital. It has a prime 28/f2.4 lens, 8MP, black rugged body, pocketable size, practically no lag, a TTL hot-shoe + external viewfinder (optional), a high quality 21mm add-on lens, two-wheel control for EV and/or f-stop and shutter speed, DNG+JPEG, rechargeable Lithium battery + support for AAA, etc...

So far so good. Now for the catch. Actually, there are a couple of major catches: The sensor is small (though image quality in low-ISO is, in my opinion, still cleaner than 35mm film*) and the RAW mode is almost as slow as a view camera (9 to 15 seconds shot-to-shot delay), it is strictly for still-life / landscape use.

Judging by the size of the GR-D, I don't think an APS sensor and a 24/2.0 lens can fit a camera the size Mike Jonhston wants. It will likely be around the size of Epson R-D1 and a matching Leica lens. In other words, too big.

* Check out the original 3264x2448 image available on this page. It was shot using the GR-D at ISO 64. I must say I've never seen film produces such a smooth and grain-free image. I wonder how the same picture would look like shot with a similar camera (say, the legendary Ricoh GR1) and a quality film like Kodachrome 64. For those who don't have prejudice against small-sensor camera (and who are fine with the output of film), I highly recommend reading the following article: Film vs. Digital: GR1 vs. GRD

Prog.
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DiaAzul
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2006, 07:14:38 PM »
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I think if someone comes up with a DMD then the British Government may be prepared to by a job lot - they left there last camera under a rock and now they can't find it any longer.

Something small, compact and discrete would be right up their street  
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David Plummer    http://photo.tanzo.org/
dealy663
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2006, 08:25:05 PM »
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I've frequently thought about how much I would also like a similar camera to the DMD you describe. I carry my DSLR with me practically everywhere I go. The thought of buying a current digi-cam just doesn't appeal to me. The concept of an APS-C sized sensor in a minimal body with something close to a normal lens is just great!

The only thing I would really disagree with is the notion of not having a built in flash. In my opinion that is a feature that is just too useful in very many situations. Given how frequently I'm shooting indoors I would also really like this camera to have great hi-iso performance up to at least iso 1600. I would also prefer a lens that goes down to f/1.4, but not at the cost of doubling the size or price of the camera.

The other thing not mentioned is price. It would have to be affordable. Someone mentioned the Leica Digial M. In my opinion this is exactly what such a camera should not be. Leicas are not built/priced for normal people with families and a budget that they must live within. Such a camera should in no way cost more than $1000, and would hopefully be less than $500. Heck look at the kind of performance Nikon and Canon have built into the D50 and 850xt for less than $1000.

Derek
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61Dynamic
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2006, 09:56:03 PM »
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Hell yeah, I'm there!

The only part I'd change in MJ's article would be to have it an option to capture DNG+Jpeg or just DNG. I don't need no stinkin' Jpegs.
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macgyver
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2006, 10:28:12 PM »
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The other thing not mentioned is price. It would have to be affordable. Someone mentioned the Leica Digial M. In my opinion this is exactly what such a camera should not be. Leicas are not built/priced for normal people with families and a budget that they must live within. Such a camera should in no way cost more than $1000, and would hopefully be less than $500. Heck look at the kind of performance Nikon and Canon have built into the D50 and 850xt for less than $1000.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57142\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Wishful thinking I'll bet, but dead on.  I'm sure all this lecia and zeiss stuff is great, but not priced for mortals.
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scott kirkpatrick
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2006, 01:51:12 AM »
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So far so good. Now for the catch. Actually, there are a couple of major catches: The sensor is small (though image quality in low-ISO is, in my opinion, still cleaner than 35mm film*) and the RAW mode is almost as slow as a view camera (9 to 15 seconds shot-to-shot delay), it is strictly for still-life / landscape use.

[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I agree.  There is a third catch.  it is absurdly expensive, because of its single source and limited potential market.  But still under $1000.  I would think that the slow buffer clearing time that makes RAW shooting so awkward could have been solved within this camera's cost targets.  There was room in the design for 28MB of EPROM storage, so that it will work in JPEG mode without even inserting an SD card.

Haven't tried the GR-D yet, but plan to.  You might also want to look at the very impressive group of pictures posted at
[a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/groups/79391232@N00/pool/]http://www.flickr.com/groups/79391232@N00/pool/[/url]

Or read Sean Reid's review of the GR-D, as LL suggests.  (I know, it requires a subscription, but there is quite a bit of material there to justify that.)  Comparing his review with Mike Johnston's wishlist and the review mentioned in your post, you see that one man's drawback is another's feature.  Reid likes small sensors because they give you certain characteristics, like enormous DOF.  And the optical finder for both 28 and 21 mm FOV strikes me as an asset, not a drawback.

scott
« Last Edit: January 31, 2006, 06:11:35 AM by scott kirkpatrick » Logged
David Mantripp
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« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2006, 06:47:05 AM »
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I thought long and hard about the GR-D vs the Lumix LX1 (so have more than a few others). I actually would have bought the GR-D were it not for a "couldn't give a damn" salesman. The next day, on a last second decision, I bought the Lumix. It can record a RAW in approx 1 second (a bigger file than the GR-D), it is far more versatile, and it is really fun to use (albeit very awkward with ski gloves on).

The GR-D is gorgeous, and the image quality is better (the Lumix can suffer from horrific C/A in some cases), but ... only f2.8 ?  small sensor ?   F2.8 is an ok compromise for a reasonable zoom, say 28-70 equiv.  But a fixed focal lens should be at least f2.0, especially with that sensor.  Olympus managed an f1.8 zoom, so I would have expected Ricoh to do a bit better than that.
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benInMA
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« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2006, 09:44:13 AM »
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I'd love to buy one of these but it HAS to have an APS-C or larger sensor.

Yes I said larger... no doubt it would be too expensive but I think even a full frame 35mm sensor could be fit inside a camera like this.

The sensor just isn't large (thick)... and there are plenty of lens formulas that can work in a small size.

Look at the Stylus Epic with it's 35mm f/2.8 lens, that lens is tiny.   And I think f/2.8 would be fast enough in a camera like this given at least an APS-C sensor.

My major issue with 99% of the digicams is my Stylus Epic still stomps their image quality as soon as the light starts to fade.   A stylus epic + 400/800 ISO film still beats basically everything with a sensor smaller then APS-C, and that's a shame.

Not that I actually use my Stylus anymore since it's film but it certainly kills my Canon S50 for available light type photography.

And above all we need to demand a prime lens in a digicam.  Unfortunately it is probably a hopelessly lost cause since so many people are hooked on slow zooms.
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Abdee
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« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2006, 11:46:07 AM »
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Nice article. That DMD is every street photographers dream. I have Rebel XT and its great but it's very obtrusive. With grip it's pretty big and people just pay more attention to it and to me shooting with it. My street config is XT without grip and 50mm f1.8, than it becomes acceptable in size. But it still isn't like Leica or digicam.

Main problem is the fact that all manufacturers try to imitate 1D in appearance so every camera that should look amateurish looks like something from CIA inventory. Just take a look at R1 for example.

Today I was also thinking of my dream cam. It would resemble DMD in many ways but it would be SLR. But not one of big black SLRs but more like Canon AE-1 or Nikon FM but it would be smaller because of APS-C sensor and smaller pentaprism. It would have ~40mm (in 35mm)  f1.X fixed focal lenght lens which would be smaller than ordinary because it would have different construction (no ned for mount and interchangeability). It would have only A and Auto shooting modes with bulb exposure option. Altough I like flip and twist screen, my dreamcam would have nice, large fixed screen but it would be very well protected. One switch would make it stand out more. I'd like to see LV button in the bac. Yes LiveView it would have. In LV mode mirror would flip, sensor would feed the screen and AF would be contrast one. It's possible. Guys from Oly said so...

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dbell
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« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2006, 12:29:43 PM »
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This is a great discussion, and I hope camera vendors are listening.

My current favorite (existing) camera in this category is the Panasonic LC1/Leica Digilux 2. Granted, it has some serious limitations (lousy at ISOs other than 100, somewhat ugly EVF, no RAW buffer) but it has a lot of what I want in a digital street camera. Even now, used ones are overpriced (the Leica commands too much money because of the red dot, and the Panasonic, while cheaper, is hard to find).

I agree with Mike more than I disagree, so I'll just touch on points where our opinions differ:

- Controls - I really want basic manual controls. I need to be able to set aperture and shutter speed manually. I want traditional rings/dials, NOT push-buttons or menus. Exposure compensation in a prority mode isn't the same: it doesn't engender the same mental process. I do NOT want to have to turn on the LCD and scroll through menus to change anything pertaining to basic shooting controls (at least focus, shutter and aperture must be manual; menus are acceptable for ISO & white balance). The LC1/Digilux 2 is a winner here and I'd keep that type of design for my DMD.

- Sensor size - I'm on the fence about this. If you're shooting handheld, at a low ISO with a fast lens wide open, the DoF of a small sensor can be an advantage. While I'd prefer the noise characteristics of an APS-C sensor, using a smaller one also keeps the camera and lens smaller. I find Sony's "spiffy new R1" heavy and awkwardly-shaped for a street camera. For me, personally, I wouldn't use the DMD for anything I meant to print bigger than 11x14, so a smaller sensor (with its noise) isn't a disaster.  

- Recording mode - RAW-only is fine if the camera has a reasonable buffer. However, that's expensive. Neither the Ricoh mentioned previously in this thread nor the Leica/Panasonic have a RAW buffer, which makes them impossible to use in RAW mode for some subjects. If the DMD is NOT going to have a RAW buffer, it would have to have a usable JPEG mode.

AF Lock - why bother implementing this the way Mike describes? Just put a focusing ring on the camera and allow manual override of the AF.  There are plenty of existing examples.

One thing Mike doesn't touch on is cost. I can't justify spending more than $1000 on a secondary camera. The DMD isn't a replacement or backup to a DSLR system, it's a complementary tool and it needs to be priced accordingly. If a smaller sensor and RAW buffer are what it takes to keep the costs reasonable, I can live with that as long as the other requirements are met. The fact that our hypothetical DMD is NOT a mass-market product and probably wouldn't sell in huge numbers does not help in the price department.  

I don't expect that there will ever be a "perfect camera" that fits everyone's ideas of what the DMD should be, but I hope that camera makers are listening. We have good products in the DSLR space, and the development of small, light, unobtrusive cameras that take full advantage of digital's creative potential (without bogging them down with consumer features) would be a big step forward.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2006, 01:02:11 PM by dbell » Logged
dbell
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« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2006, 01:14:39 PM »
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Today I was also thinking of my dream cam. It would resemble DMD in many ways but it would be SLR. But not one of big black SLRs but more like Canon AE-1 or Nikon FM but it would be smaller because of APS-C sensor and smaller pentaprism. It would have ~40mm (in 35mm)  f1.X fixed focal lenght lens which would be smaller than ordinary because it would have different construction (no ned for mount and interchangeability). It would have only A and Auto shooting modes with bulb exposure option. Altough I like flip and twist screen, my dreamcam would have nice, large fixed screen but it would be very well protected. One switch would make it stand out more. I'd like to see LV button in the bac. Yes LiveView it would have. In LV mode mirror would flip, sensor would feed the screen and AF would be contrast one. It's possible. Guys from Oly said so...

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57185\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I agree with you about a fixed, fast normal lens. Aperture-priority and full program would be fine; I'd probably be even happier with full manual and full program (with EC). If you're going to go with a fixed prime lens, why go with an SLR construction? True rangefinders (meaning optical, not EVF) have two big advantages for street shooting: in the rangefinder, you see beyond the edges of the lens's field of view and there's no mirror to impart vibration. Even if you went with an EVF (and I wouldn't, if I ruled the world), not having that reflex mirror makes a significant different in terms of handholding ability.  


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Tim Gray
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« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2006, 01:47:26 PM »
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The Sony R1 is a step in the right direction - APS C sensor but the form factor is no better than a small DSLR.  Maybe if they lost the zoom they could get it down in size.
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Bill in WV
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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2006, 04:36:41 PM »
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Usually, I try to avoid getting involved in discussions like this one because I find it so frustrating that so little comes of it. On the other hand, I do have an opinion as so many others do.

I think there is a nearly perfect camera out there and due for upgrade in the next month or so, if it is not killed in the process. The Canon Powershot G-6 comes real close in form factor to the kind of camera I would like to see in this catagory, with what I think could be upgrades well within existing technology.

The sensor is very nice as it is, good sharpness and good color, outstanding really in both areas, but limited in usable ISO speeds. If one is very careful with initial exposure and a piece of software like Noise Ninja, ISO 400 can be made usable. It has a great lens, f2.0 on the short end and f3.0 on the long end. It has a reasonable, but certainly not perfect Optical Finder.

Here are most of the things I would like to see it get in its upgrade. 2/3" sensor, 7mp is fine, usable ISOs to at least 1600. Get the short end of that lens down to 24mm or equivilent, and give it either the Digic II processor or better if there is one in the works.  

It's already heads and shoulders above my old G2, and if there aren't at least most of these improvements made, I'll get busy to find a G6 as my carry around and street camera. The way it is, it is like a little Leica, and I could live with its image quality for some time to come. (I'd still like higher ISO speeds though.)

Thanks for letting me join in.

Bill in WV
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Bill Evans

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« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2006, 03:54:50 PM »
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I'm with pom on the A control, but everything else is sweet.  Here's two more items that would be nice for this camera:

1. Manual Focus override like AF-S. Hyperfocal numbers on the lens.
2. Waterproof.

Bryan
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Anon E. Mouse
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« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2006, 07:27:54 PM »
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I hope camera vendors are listening.

Actually, it is the manufacturers you need to write to. But I doubt any of them will go to simpler cameras. They don't make cameras people want to use, they make cameras people want to buy. That means loading it up with features and impressive specifications.

But then there is a paradox: there is no perfect camera. Cameras are only compromises. You simply choose which compromises you are willing to put up with. I think the reliance on technology to solve our problems is not good. I like the Japanese idea where the tools are secondary to the artist or craftsman. The individual muct compensate for the limitation of the tool to reach "perfection." You can't buy talent or skill.
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