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07-28-2010, 10:57 AM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by Groucho Quote
Aristophanes, your critical error is the assumption that FF is free from negatives. We all know that DSLRs are drastically better in IQ than any PnS, but people still buy PnSs that cost just as much because they want the small size and all-in-one functionality.
Cost is the negative. It can't come down until a brand decides it is worth subsidizing that cost for a term to see a competitive advantage over the APS-C crowd. canon with its integrated, in-house development will lead the pack here.

Every single journal or technical column on APS-C has *always* seen it as a stopgap. I am repeating nothing new here that was not said 10 years ago.

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Even for fairly advanced photographers, FF has negatives. It will always cost more, for one thing, no matter how cheap it gets. The body and lenses will always be larger and heavier. You lose a lot of reach with telephoto lenses.
Once the economy of scale is addressed, it will cost marginally more in the same way that safety equipment in automobiles costs us more. Right now the 3 big manufacturers are supporting dual lens line-ups for FF and APS-C. You think you're not paying for that right now? You are. That's a big factor as to why the current FF lenses from Pentax are so expensive. That's simply cost-shifting, tools that both Nikon and Canon use as well.

The body need not be larger. In fact, the new Sony E-mount can take FF by design. When circuitry gets smaller (and it will) and more efficient (and it will), FF will be in EVIL cameras. The size difference has more to do with the supporting circuitry than the sensor itself.

QuoteQuote:
What do you gain? You gain a better viewfinder, more DoF, and probably somewhat better quality with wide-angle lenses. (We have seen some very nice UWA APS lenses lately that are credible alternatives.) You may not even gain better high ISO performance - I am dreading a Pentax FF that uses the Sony sensor from the A850/A900 - ISO performance that is no better (probably worse) than a K-x! Give me ISO over megapixels any day. APS megapixels are still getting better, too.
The larger viewfinder is a huge advantage for those who will be sticking with OVF's. As is superior DOF flexibility.

APS-C sensors will continue to improve, then hit a wall. Then only a larger sensor will give competitive advantage.

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.. and I would dread carrying around a 70-200 F2.8 that weighs twice as much and is much longer and heavier.
You can crop with exactly the same resolution as an APS-C (cropped) sensor.

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Also, your whole premise falls apart when you remember the 645D - shouldn't all FF shooters switch to that when the price drops? After all, your premise is that tech prices always drop and that bigger sensors are always better, so it is inevitable that bigger sensors will become the norm.
A few FF shooters will go to MF, as they have always done. If FF can be squeezed into an EVIL form factor, then its portability can be addressed then it has a distinct advantage over MF and will decisively narrow the gap with APS-C.

If the 645D falls to $6,00, more than a few Nikon D3 users will take a look.

07-28-2010, 11:06 AM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
...As is superior DOF flexibility...
I don't want to come off like I'm trying to convert you to my way of thought, but it can only be considered superior if you want less of it. If you shoot landscapes, DOF is almost always in short supply.
07-28-2010, 12:02 PM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vertex Ninja Quote
I don't want to come off like I'm trying to convert you to my way of thought, but it can only be considered superior if you want less of it. If you shoot landscapes, DOF is almost always in short supply.
Touche.

Is someone saving pennies for a 645D?

And is it not foreground DOF that is the issue for landscapes, where a larger sensor possesses superior resolution and contrast along the flight path?

One area that has blossomed with APS-C is macro for the telecentricity advantage.
07-28-2010, 12:11 PM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Touche.

Is someone saving pennies for a 645D?

And is it not foreground DOF that is the issue for landscapes, where a larger sensor possesses superior resolution and contrast along the flight path?

One area that has blossomed with APS-C is macro for the telecentricity advantage.
A 645D would be nice indeed! However, I'm too poor for that and I haven't seen anything I can't already do with my 4x5... except hand hold, of course.

I'm not into the technicality of it all, I just know that it is damn near impossible to get a sharp image from foreground to background without movements. Wide angles make it easier, but it's still always a challenge... on top of that, the larger the sensor the harder it gets. Macros as you say, are even harder.

07-28-2010, 01:17 PM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Every single journal or technical column on APS-C has *always* seen it as a stopgap. I am repeating nothing new here that was not said 10 years ago.
This is absolutely not true.
When you elect to use the term "every" and "always", you are asking for trouble.
I have read plenty of articles who don't believe in the need for FF.

Most users (particularly outside these type of forums) do NOT care about sensor size, period.
07-28-2010, 01:23 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Cost is the negative. It can't come down until a brand decides it is worth subsidizing that cost for a term to see a competitive advantage over the APS-C crowd. canon with its integrated, in-house development will lead the pack here.
Therein lies your flawed assumption. Why should a company like Canon who is the current market leader embark on a gamble to subsidize the development and mass production of FF in order to gain a unproven competitive advantage over the broader APS-C market? It is inconceivable for a company who is already making APS-C cameras in volume and profitably I might add, to suddenly give up the lion's share of its revenue just to bank on the relatively small FF segment. Canon are already making good money with APS-C and its strategy of being the market leader lies in offering consumers cameras of varying sophistication and technical qualities at different price points.

Why would Canon see it fit to sacrifice a large component of APS-C sales for FF? It is not an either or situation. That would be bloody stupid of them. Also as others have mentioned, it is not a given that everyone aspires for FF. Why should Canikon drop the prices for their FF cameras? If FF is the pinnacle or flagship of their product line, it is a given that prestige/premium pricing will come into play. So while economies of scale might conceivably bring down sensor prices across the board, it does not automatically equate that prices of the FF cameras will fall to the floor. That's wishful thinking when profit maximization is the name of the game.
07-28-2010, 01:45 PM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Therein lies your flawed assumption. Why should a company like Canon who is the current market leader embark on a gamble to subsidize the development and mass production of FF in order to gain a unproven competitive advantage over the broader APS-C market? It is inconceivable for a company who is already making APS-C cameras in volume and profitably I might add, to suddenly give up the lion's share of its revenue just to bank on the relatively small FF segment. Canon are already making good money with APS-C and its strategy of being the market leader lies in offering consumers cameras of varying sophistication and technical qualities at different price points.

Why would Canon see it fit to sacrifice a large component of APS-C sales for FF? It is not an either or situation. That would be bloody stupid of them. Also as others have mentioned, it is not a given that everyone aspires for FF. Why should Canikon drop the prices for their FF cameras? If FF is the pinnacle or flagship of their product line, it is a given that prestige/premium pricing will come into play. So while economies of scale might conceivably bring down sensor prices across the board, it does not automatically equate that prices of the FF cameras will fall to the floor. That's wishful thinking when profit maximization is the name of the game.
Canon will gladly leverage its FF sensor into lower price bodies if that will make for a competitive advantage over Nikon! In a heartbeat.

When they can get the volume to do so, and there is no headroom on other camera developments, sensor size will be the only outlet.

This is precisely the same argument that was made in 1980's with AF, and as we know, AF came down enormously in price in a few short years.

At one point, ISO 800 film was ridiculously expensive. Now it is in disposable cameras.

A thumbnail sensor used to cost $1,000 ten years ago. Now it's $5. With a cameraphone lens as part of the package.

There is always a tradeoff between maximizing profits per unit from your own production, and maximizing profits by increasing your investment to take the other guy's customers away. If Canon can put an FF in a lower priced body to take away Nikon market share they will. They did it before, and they will do it again.

And, while Canon may be the market leader, they've recently been losing share. They can innovate, or they can use use money in the bank and industrial muscle to force everyone else to play their game. I'm not saying its going to happen, but they can do it. Dropping FF into a lower price point to take APS-C customers away from competitors is a viable card up their sleeve.
07-28-2010, 01:51 PM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
When they can get the volume to do so, and there is no headroom on other camera developments, sensor size will be the only outlet.
I am not sure if this day would ever come in the digital era!

07-28-2010, 02:18 PM   #54
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Sigh. Ultimately, Aristophanes, but this comes down to down that fact that you're falling for the old fallacy, "What I want is what everyone wants." You never addressed why people buy PnSs that cost as much or more than DSLRs. You never addressed why people pay a premium for EVIL cameras that are less capable than DSLRs. You have to understandable - just because something is important to you (even if it's the most important thing in the world to you), it doesn't mean that anyone else shares your sentiment. Some do, many don't. There is no "right" or "wrong"; speaking as your taster for FF is "right" and everyone else is "wrong" is not doing you any favors.

I don't want FF if I can get comparable ISO performance from APS. If I had to pick from my K-7 or a Sony A850, I'd take the K-7. The FF Canons don't interest me (but at least they do much better than the Sonys in terms of ISO.) The D700 is the only FF camera that gets my attention, and only because of the ISO performance.

Now, if someone does make a FF mirrorless, then I might be interested just for the amazing range of adaptable lenses. But that's apples and oranges.

Wilder - I mainly use the 10-17mm but I do enjoy using my Zenitar, mostly on my film cameras. If I went with a future Pentax FF, I'd probably have to get one of their old fisheye zooms, or hope for a new weathersealed version.
07-28-2010, 02:22 PM   #55
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great wooly jeebus!! I last came to read this thread it was like 8-posts long...hahahaha...nice discussion and it certainly went in the direction I was hoping for with the opening post. I just felt the Sony rumor was something with wide ranging and postential market changing ramifications over the next few years...or sooner depending.

Love all the comments, or most of them anyway...thanks!! Great POV's and discussions!!
07-28-2010, 02:57 PM   #56
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Frankly, I'm really unhappy with the light capturing ability of the APS-C of my K-7. What, 6 or 7 stops in a single shot? You guys like that? I'm use to more with my other cameras. I've seen better light range ablility from the results of other FF cameras out there. Assuming Pentax can do that too in a FF, I'd drop my APS-C and buy new lenses in a heart-beat.
07-28-2010, 03:56 PM   #57
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I agree the DR of the K-7 is more of a problem than the noise. The noise from 1600 (RAW) processes pretty well, but the DR at 1600 is often the biggest problem. Hopefully some of the advancements in sensor technology will end up in the next Pentax. Gap-less micro-lenses or maybe a back illuminated sensor.

I have to wonder how the current sensor ended up in the K-7. Other than video it is not an improvement over the K20. I would have expected Pentax to take a step forward with the K-7, but they did not.
07-28-2010, 04:22 PM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by Groucho Quote
Sigh. Ultimately, Aristophanes, but this comes down to down that fact that you're falling for the old fallacy, "What I want is what everyone wants." You never addressed why people buy PnSs that cost as much or more than DSLRs. You never addressed why people pay a premium for EVIL cameras that are less capable than DSLRs. You have to understandable - just because something is important to you (even if it's the most important thing in the world to you), it doesn't mean that anyone else shares your sentiment. Some do, many don't. There is no "right" or "wrong"; speaking as your taster for FF is "right" and everyone else is "wrong" is not doing you any favors.
What I want is an LX5!

First, only in the last 18 months (really, since the LX3 super-premium P&S and the cut-price Nikon D40) have budget DSLR's entered the same price point as premium P&S's. So that's a new market dynamic which demonstrates clearly that a DSLR can become a commodity product with commodity pricing, just like a P&S. If it can happen to APS-C, it can happen to FF.

People pay a premium for EVIL, but only up to mid-range (exception, the Panny GH1), and then mostly for the form factor convenience. People paid $800 for a new iPhone V.1.0. I didn't say people were smart, but most probably did not "need" a new phone.

This is irrelevant of "want". This is simply that the competitive advantage a Canon can produce will eventually be related to sensor size. The same way that 15" rims have largely replaced 14". 50" TV's have replaced 24". Colour replaced black and white. And so on.

Canon and Nikon will someday release models that are functionally no different than each other, with identical DP Review scores. They'll put tens of millions into ad campaigns advocating that one has a switch located in a better place than the other. Then someone in marketing and someone in engineering will put their heads together and figure out that if the costs that went into these marginal ads , and the costs from the current APS-C fab were combined, they could put an FF into the APS-C body for only 10% more money, simplifying their marketing and forcing the other guy to be a follower, not a leader, and still recoup the FF premium. How did Sony arrive at APS-C for their EVIL, yet with an FF image circle, no less? Someone was thinking ahead that day.

For Pentax, they need to be ready for that switch, when increasing sensor size is more worthwhile at gaining/keeping market share than other paths.

Cripes! Since Dyson came out with the $600 vacuum the average price people are willing to pay for a vacuum cleaner now has jumped $80 per unit, inflation adjusted, even in the midst of a recession.

Last edited by Aristophanes; 07-28-2010 at 08:41 PM.
07-28-2010, 06:41 PM - 1 Like   #59
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Amazing discussion - and that's not meant ironically.

There are some significant barriers to FF adoption, but the major DSLR makers simply cannot afford to allow sub-FF cameras to become anywhere close to fully commoditized. At some point, the way to differentiate will become FF and once that decision is made, it's a dead-lock certainty that the FF equivalent of a high-end APS-C camera will not cost 2 - 3 times the price. It will carry only a slight premium, leaving those selling APS-C no choice but to slash prices and margins.

How long this will take to play out is open to conjecture, but recent history tells us that companies who fail to anticipate and plan for the full impact of changing technology well in advance are doomed to unprofitability, if not bankruptcy. You need only compare Blockbuster's stock price to that of Netflix to see how violently and quickly a company desperately clinging to the advantages it held under an old business model can be decimated. The demise of the major record labels is another prime example.

When the time comes to mass-market FF, it's a very safe bet that manufacturers will do whatever they have to do to build easily understandable advantages into their FF offerings. Joe Public may not understand some of the fine points under discussion here, but he will understand the idea of shooting razor-sharp, beautifully illuminated pictures by candlelight. Sub-FF cameras can and do offer spectacular image quality at very attractive prices, but when even more spectacular image quality becomes available at a slightly higher price, most customers will eventually follow.

It could well take many years for this transition to happen, but there's no guarantee that it has to take that long. Any DSLR company not planning feverishly for it right now runs the risk of consigning themselves to the very low margin bottom end of the market.
07-28-2010, 07:05 PM   #60
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One thing being overlooked here (well, by the FF crowd): the "good enough" factor. PnS cameras are "good enough" for the vast majority of people. APS-sensor DSLRs are "good enough" for even more. Once you get into FF, you are talking advantages that few people even know exist (try explaining DoF or DR to a casual Best Buy customer)... and FF is "good enough" for even more; the remainders going with MF or maybe film.

Superior technology does not automatically win, especially when it carries negatives like size, weight, cost, and the size/weight of the lenses (or the loss of much range with identical lenses.) The sensor is superior, but is the entire package superior? Very debatable.

Anyway - the "good enough". Remember Beta vs VHS? Beta had a clearly better picture - but VHS was longer, and "good enough." About about laserdiscs vs VCRs? Laserdiscs were far superior - but that technology never got cheap enough to mount a serious challenge. MiniDV camcorder sales were cut into by hard drive/DVD camcorders which had worse picture quality. Most people are not replacing their DVDs with Blurays despite Blurays having far better picture quality - DVDs are "good enough." People happily disconnect their landline phones in exchange for cell phones which have much worse call quality. Many people are enjoying streaming video from Netflix, Hulu, etc - even with worse image quality. Here's my favorite example of this: remember SACD and DVD-Audio formats? Both offering better sound quality over CDs, plus surround sound. Both flopped. Why? CDs are "good enough". In fact, most people have dropped even getting CDs so that they can get MP3s or AACs with inferior sound quality.

The point of all this, to repeat - the "quality" - whether it be sound quality, image quality (still photos or video), whatever - is only one part of the equation.

Besides, look back at the film days: even with 35mm, there were still lots of 110 cameras sold. And Disc cameras. And Polaroids. And disposable cameras. We are not heading towards some logical conclusion where we will all kowtow to the almighty fullframe sensor - there will always be a range of options and there will always be some next great advancement. (And again - if bigger sensors will keep getting cheap, why stop at FF, why not assume that MF sensors are the logical choice for the future?)
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