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02-15-2009, 04:58 PM   #46
jay
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
As good as the K20D is with great glass, there is still a difference in image quality compared to FF.
You're missing the point. There are other ways to improve image quality without a full-frame sensor. And most of these ways are way more logical, at this point, than bumping up the sensor size and producing a dozen new full-frame lenses. They don't have the resources, they don't have the glass, they don't have the chip.

My point: Pentax doesn't *need* a full-frame sensor. They need a better-looking APS-C sensor. Top- (or back- whatever you want to call it) illumination is a big step forward for CMOS technology. So is reducing the trace lines, to increase the size of the photosites. Build better micromirrors with higher transmittance to do a better job at collecting the light.

Heck, no one is talking about the software front. Compare in-camera noise reduction on a Canon 1D Mk I with the same RAW file processed with noise ninja. The difference is night and day! That's not even a hardware design! That's just better software! So, instead of focusing on bringing big, clunky full-frame sensors to the camera, where we all have to go back and purchase big clunky lenses, and we need big clunky batteries to run that big clunky system, just design a better sensor, and design better software algorithms to process that data, and put faster processors in the cameras to run them.

This isn't rocket science (it's VLSI science, actually :-) )

I don't know why everyone out there is so short-sighted. The Pentax K20D sensor looks way better than full frame sensors of yesteryear -- the technology is greatly improving.

Of course, if you integrate everything I've mentioned into a sensor AND THEN go ahead and make it full frame, yes, it will have bettery dynamic range and higher SnR. But, I still think FF vs APS-C is the same battle as 10 FPS 45 AF point vs 5 FPS, 11 AF points.... In other words, maybe it's just the difference between a $4000 NiCanon and a $1000 Pentax.


Last edited by jay; 02-15-2009 at 05:04 PM.
02-15-2009, 05:51 PM   #47
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Am I really missing the point?
The quality gap will still remain because whatever improvements you mention will invariably be incorporated into the larger FF sensors as and when it is technically and economically feasible.

Manufacturers who already have FF sized sensors have them in their flagship cameras which are catered for a relatively small segment who demand or require the highest level of performance. In most cases the innovations first appear in the best models first and over time are trickled down to consumer grade models, a function of economics and keeping ahead of the competition.

The issue is Pentax does not have a FF model on hand but may have to move to have one because of the dictates of the market. The nightmare scenario is if it continues to stick with APS-C, those companies already offering FF models will likely introduce a consumer grade FF in the future at a price point that negates whatever niche APS-C may offer. They can do this when sensor yields improve and there is sufficient volume to drive down FF sensor costs. For the consumer, the lack of an upgrade path to FF may actually deter any consideration to buy into the brand, much like the situation Olympus is probably facing with the 4/3 system.

The dilemma Pentax has introducing any FF model is just as much an allocation of production resources but also whether the average penny pinching Pentax user will be prepared to pay for one. In my mind that's a big unknown.
02-15-2009, 06:16 PM   #48
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FF has resolution advantages due to defraction
02-15-2009, 08:53 PM   #49
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I like Canikon better than "NiCanon"

I know prices are heading up. Yen domination of dollar bills, euros, loonies, pounds...

But in 2008 my 5D cost me $1750 brand new and 30 days ago my D700 brand new ran me $2319. So this $4,000 price point you are using for full frame I assume is meant to cover two full frame dslrs in 2 mounts versus one $1,000 Pentax aps-c? Oh, K20D is $719 free delivery via B&H tonight. Which is very appealing, but I am waiting for a better price than I paid on my first K20D before i seriously consider adding a 2nd one.

$2,000 K Mount full frame would be a Hot Camera, but $4,000 is alot of money for any mount consumer grade full frame dslr irregardless of your currency versus the yen.

D3 made it down to $4,099 last month before the price popped back up. At 8 frames per second and iso 25,600 I consider it a pro caliber body.




[QUOTE=.... In other words, maybe it's just the difference between a $4000 NiCanon and a $1000 Pentax.[/QUOTE]

02-15-2009, 09:17 PM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Am I really missing the point?
The quality gap will still remain because whatever improvements you mention will invariably be incorporated into the larger FF sensors as and when it is technically and economically feasible.

Manufacturers who already have FF sized sensors have them in their flagship cameras which are catered for a relatively small segment who demand or require the highest level of performance. In most cases the innovations first appear in the best models first and over time are trickled down to consumer grade models, a function of economics and keeping ahead of the competition.
.
Yes, I mentioned that. That will always be the case. But, that's not where the market as a whole is moving. That's where top-of-the-line cameras seem to be right now, because right now, that's the only way we know to make a sensor better.

But, look who has full-frame cameras. Nikon and Canon are the two giants. Thyey both have more than 50 lenses on their Web site, and they didn't start making crop lenses until the APS-C cameras came out. All of their L lenses are full-frame.

They can (and do) afford to make full-frame cameras and other pro gear at a loss -- just for the small group of people who convince themselves they need it.

Pentax has literally HALF the number of lenses. They only have three different bodies in production.

Only a dozen of their lenses are full-frame, and there's gaping holes in their focal length range.

Plus, the DA* lenses (the best of the best....) aren't completely full-frame.

Introducing a full-frame camera now would be a marketing disaster. They'd have THREE classes of lenses -- full-frame, top-end crop sensor, and entry-level.

For a company as small as Pentax, I doubt that will happen. Especially in this economic climate. It's just not feasible at all.

What you're saying is right -- full-frame *is* better. That doesn't mean it would be wise for Pentax to spread herself so thin -- and I don't think they'd be stupid enough for that.

If you think you need full-frame, you may stuck with the wrong camera brand.

EDIT: Before you point it out, yes I know, Sony also has the α 900 -- but they took all the old full-frame minolta designs and are keeping them in production. Sony is so big, they can afford to trash their entire SLR operation, and it'd hardly make a dent in revenue. They'll do whatever the hell they want to. They can make lots of big mistakes in their dinky little camera business before it starts affecting their books.

My point was only that Nikon and Cannon are big enough to have a full-frame line-up -- even if it's a lost leader. And Sony's entire SLR line could be a lost leader, if they thought it'd improve their other line of gear.
02-15-2009, 11:27 PM   #51
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jay, when you look at Canon and Nikon, the reason why they have maintained producing lenses with an image circle that covers FF (35mm film) even when they went digital is simply history. Both companies already had a wide user base, many of whom still used 35mm film. They obviously have a larger pro base and a digital version of their pro film cameras was a question of not if but when.

The DX format and EF-S lenses are for the most part affordable consumer grade (read "budget grade") targeted for the mass market for new users entering digital SLR photography that bought the entry level bodies. That's a market segment that is price sensitive, hence the need for such lenses.

To me the pre-Hoya Pentax management didn't have the foresight to continue making lenses with a wider image circle when they rolled out the DA lenses. Perhaps in their design brief to build a compact series of lenses, or in their reading of the market back then they could not envisage FF due to cost and they lost sight of future compatibility.

Simply put, I personally think Pentax miscalculated not catering for future FF compatibility and are now facing the prospect of a large user base with lenses only usable on APS-C. For example if they can make the M 40mm f/2.8 for film cameras, they could have made the DA 40mm f/2.8 have the same image circle. Much the same for the DA 21mm vs FA 20mm.

As to the supposed scarcity of FF lens availability, one scenario is for Pentax to revamp the DA series optical design to produce larger image circle versions. Call it DA Mark II or whatever. Or port the optical designs of the older FA series to bring them to current designs and specifications.
02-16-2009, 04:27 AM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by jay Quote
They can (and do) afford to make full-frame cameras and other pro gear at a loss -- just for the small group of people who convince themselves they need it.
[...]
Introducing a full-frame camera now would be a marketing disaster. They'd have THREE classes of lenses -- full-frame, top-end crop sensor, and entry-level.

For a company as small as Pentax, I doubt that will happen. Especially in this economic climate. It's just not feasible at all.

What you're saying is right -- full-frame *is* better. That doesn't mean it would be wise for Pentax to spread herself so thin -- and I don't think they'd be stupid enough for that.

If you think you need full-frame, you may stuck with the wrong camera brand.
jay, your argument looks sound and logical. Still, I disagree. Why?

Well, the DSLR business lives from amateurs who spent some of their money on a hobby and buy into an entire eco-system (the lenses).

An ecosystem based around a full frame mount size and cropped sensor size doesn't make sense -- in the long term. If this turns out to be Hoya's offer, they are dead.

I always thought Olympus would be immune of the full frame buzz (because they have mount and sensor to be matching designs). A friend of mine shoots Olympus and is happy with the sensor size. But he's also telling me that a large fraction of his friends move from Olympus to another brand offering full frame. Not necessarily to buy full frame now, but to keep the option with their lenses to do it later.

And it is not true that Pentax is too small to offer a full frame body. Even Leica can do it. A full frame body would be a high margin product unlike the K20D (or any cropped sensor body except the machine gun type). I don't see why Pentax withdraws from the P&S segment (because of too thin margins there) while not simultaneously expanding into the full frame segment (because of bold margins there).

Pentax, with their current product policy, pushes amateurs out of the brand. This is crazy.


QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
To me the pre-Hoya Pentax management didn't have the foresight to continue making lenses with a wider image circle when they rolled out the DA lenses.
Yes.
And a first management error cannot be masked by a second.

This Pentax management is always late. They were late in making a DSLR body. And they will be late in making a FF body. And they will be late in making a micro-K body with EVF.
02-16-2009, 05:05 AM   #53
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I'm just wondering if Pentax shot itself in the foot big time by introducing the crop sensor only DA lenses? If all their lenses so far would've been suitable for full frame, they'd have a better chance of challenging the big names. The current market situation and uncertainty of the brand's future make me personally hesitant to invest much more in Pentax lenses. Not that my current collection would be that big or expensive to begin with.

02-16-2009, 06:38 AM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by jay Quote
You're missing the point. There are other ways to improve image quality without a full-frame sensor. And most of these ways are way more logical, at this point, than bumping up the sensor size and producing a dozen new full-frame lenses. They don't have the resources, they don't have the glass, they don't have the chip.

My point: Pentax doesn't *need* a full-frame sensor. They need a better-looking APS-C sensor. Top- (or back- whatever you want to call it) illumination is a big step forward for CMOS technology. So is reducing the trace lines, to increase the size of the photosites. Build better micromirrors with higher transmittance to do a better job at collecting the light.

Heck, no one is talking about the software front. Compare in-camera noise reduction on a Canon 1D Mk I with the same RAW file processed with noise ninja. The difference is night and day! That's not even a hardware design! That's just better software! So, instead of focusing on bringing big, clunky full-frame sensors to the camera, where we all have to go back and purchase big clunky lenses, and we need big clunky batteries to run that big clunky system, just design a better sensor, and design better software algorithms to process that data, and put faster processors in the cameras to run them.

This isn't rocket science (it's VLSI science, actually :-) )

I don't know why everyone out there is so short-sighted. The Pentax K20D sensor looks way better than full frame sensors of yesteryear -- the technology is greatly improving.

Of course, if you integrate everything I've mentioned into a sensor AND THEN go ahead and make it full frame, yes, it will have bettery dynamic range and higher SnR. But, I still think FF vs APS-C is the same battle as 10 FPS 45 AF point vs 5 FPS, 11 AF points.... In other words, maybe it's just the difference between a $4000 NiCanon and a $1000 Pentax.
Excellent points, Jay, but this argument is still moving along the same lines the FF debate has had for over a year on this and other forums - FF to most people who want it represents a leap directly into an advantageous space where IQ is improved, noise is reduced overall and the older FF-capable lenses take on their older FOV and charming qualities.

I think everyone mostly understands that APS-C/CMOS can and will continue to be improved, but they want that effort to be placed in FF first or concurrently.

With Samsung + Hoya, that was supposed to be more than possible.

(FF+ folks, did I get that your wishes right? I don't have a horse in this race, I'm indifferent to FF, but that seems to be a distillation of the wish. Quixote-like, but a noble wish nonetheless!)
02-16-2009, 07:23 AM   #55
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Leica $4,000 M8 is not full frame

Leica | M8 Rangefinder Digital Camera Body (Black) | 10701 | B&H

Alot of people think M8 is full frame. Its 1.33x crop & not full frame.

I'm not sure what to expect from Pentax in 2009. A couple years ago the delays and roadmapped promises drove me nuts. Last year I added Canon to my system , this year I added Nikon due to my desire to own their 14-24mm 2.8.

I still own and shoot my Pentax gear but I am no longer anxiously waiting for new items from Hoya. Its been a pleasure to buy what I want and when I want. Yesterday I bought a like new nikon 85mm 1.4 manual focus lens for $628. What would this have cost me for a SMC-A 85mm 1.4? I'll guess a minimum of $400 to $500 more and likely not Mint condition. And it works on my D700 as a 85mm 1.4 on the full frame platform. I could put the D700 in crop format mode and pretend its become a 127.5mm f1.4. Heck whats a 135mm f1.8 SMC-A cost? Like $1,500 minimum to $2,000+ right?

So $628 for the 85mm 1.4 Nikkor got me $2,500 to $3,000 worth of Pentax glass. That one lens purchase just paid me back my aquistion cost to buy a full frame D700. But I know, its not stabilized via a shake reduced body. And thats what makes pentax dslr w/ shake reduction relevant and worth owning since I already own several old K Mount lenses.



QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote

And it is not true that Pentax is too small to offer a full frame body. Even Leica can do it. A full frame body would be a high margin product unlike the K20D (or any cropped sensor body except the machine gun type). I don't see why Pentax withdraws from the P&S segment (because of too thin margins there) while not simultaneously expanding into the full frame segment (because of bold margins there).

Pentax, with their current product policy, pushes amateurs out of the brand. This is crazy.



Yes.
And a first management error cannot be masked by a second.

This Pentax management is always late. They were late in making a DSLR body. And they will be late in making a FF body. And they will be late in making a micro-K body with EVF.
02-16-2009, 08:13 AM   #56
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Samsungian, the Leica camera that falconeye referred to is most certainly not the Leica M8.
Everybody knows the M8 is NOT full frame.

Perhaps you haven't heard of the Leica S2
(37 megapixel, 30x45mm sensor thats 56% larger than 35mm full frame)
02-16-2009, 08:14 AM   #57
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That S2 is like a medium format! Maybe Pentax should stuff their 645D sensor into a K3D.

Leica S2 with 56% larger sensor than full frame: Digital Photography Review
02-16-2009, 08:28 AM   #58
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Oh the S2 then, Isn't that $30,000 body only?

$30,000 for a camera? This is not an option, or a desire for me. I didn't realize you all are considering this S2 as a viable platform option to Pentax. Leica has offered this roadmapped system like 5 months ago since announced and available nowhere. I Love It when companys sell you on what they are gonna make in the future instead of what they offer for sale today.

I've never owned any 85mm 1.4 or 1.2 type lens, manual focus or autofocus. Good to know you consider it unworthy and the pentax autofocus version is worth 2 times the money to you. I'll keep that insight inmind the next few months while use it. By the way, 85mm 1.4 manual focus nikon was discontinued in 2005 so its no longer currently made. I passed on adding the 85mm 1.4 autofocus nikon a month ago when it still sold for $974 brand new. Now its $1,100 and continuing upward. I wanted manual focus version instead of AF due to my ability to use it on both D700 and with simple adapter on Canon 5D too. Plus I wanted to see what I can pull off with a lowlight prime & iso 25,600 versus not as high iso settings via Canon 5D. If it isn't everything I hoped for I'll let it go. But I have very high hopes it'll serve me quite well at dusk and dawn at f1.4. If not, then it goes bye bye as thats what I bought it for.



QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Samsungian, the Leica camera that falconeye referred to is most certainly not the Leica M8.
Everybody knows the M8 is NOT full frame.

Perhaps you haven't heard of the Leica S2
(37 megapixel, 30x45mm sensor thats 56% larger than 35mm full frame)

At any rate, how can you possibly compare the discontinued FA* 85mm f/1.4 and the Nikon 85mm f/1.4? A rare cult classic versus a old manual version? Everybody know the Pentax FA* is optically superior than the Nikon. Heck, even the cheaper Nikon 85mm f/1.8 betters the f/1.4 version. I should know because I owned the two versions of the Nikon 85mm AF quite awhile back.

Last edited by Samsungian; 02-16-2009 at 08:42 AM.
02-16-2009, 08:58 AM   #59
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I've been hard on Pentax for not having the insight to see that FF sensors will one day be virtually the same cost as APS-C and not planning accordingly, but this square APS-C sensor rumor has given me a whole new perspective. If they do that then to hell with full frame. True, it still won't be as large as a FF sensor (and yes, you can crop FF square if you want), but damn, how many megapixels do you people need? I'd take the versatility of the square sensor and the smaller APS-C lenses over the extra megapixels and bulk FF gives you. With Pentax's current lens line up I'd like to see them do the square sensor in their normal SLR's (and hopefully EVIL system too), and then release the digital 645 for the pros and as a flagship product to show they are still a "serious" photography company.

I told one of my Nikon buddies about the square sensor rumor and he was so interested he's actually thinking about jumping ship if Pentax does it.
02-16-2009, 10:51 AM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by Art Vandelay II Quote
With Pentax's current lens line up I'd like to see them do the square sensor in their normal SLR's (and hopefully EVIL system too), and then release the digital 645 for the pros and as a flagship product to show they are still a "serious" photography company.
I could picture a similar discussion appearing on a Canon full-frame forum:
QuoteOriginally posted by Some Canon Forum:
Jim: Canon needs a medium-format D-SLR, then they could finally show they are a "serious" photography company

Michelle: But Canon doesn't have a lens line that would cover a medium format camera...

Terry: Well, they could create all new lenses. Maybe grab some designs from Pentacon, or some other now-defunct MF company.

Michelle: But those designs, like the old Pentax FA designs, are rather old, and aren't optimized for digital sensors -- they're not even close to being telecentric, which is really what's best for digital sensors

Terry: Well, they could just, you know... update the designs.

Michelle: What about the L-series glass?

Terry: Uhh, well, this would be called L II or something.

Jim: And plus, a lot of existing lenses could partially cover the medium-format frame. I know my 200/2 isn't *that* dark around the borders.

Terry: Or they could come up with an optical converter for existing lenses to throw their image onto a larger frame

Michelle: At the expense of optical quality and speed...
I don't think it would be any less suicidal for Pentax to come out with a full-frame/APS-H/Square sensor + lens line than it would be for Canon to come out with a medium-format D-SLR. It doesn't fit into their current marketing strategy. They don't have the lenses. They don't have the sensor. And, most importantly, they obviously don't think they have the customers.

And please, stop saying a square format wouldn't break compatibility with DA lenses. We know a APS-C-width square frame isn't going to happen:

--lens vignetting at the corners if they would keep it APS-C-width, and even tighter field-of-view (and more megapixels packed together) if they REDUCE the width of the sensor.

-- Lenses with petal hoods would cast large shadows on the top and bottom of the frame

-- Producing on anything other than a 300mm wafer process would be incredibly costly (one pointed out APS-H would be even worse) -- especially to maintain current quality-control standards (where roughly 1.3 times more chips would be defective and unshipable) in the long run. And a 300mm wafer process, some have noted, seems to be reserved for other CMOS applications (memory, logic, esp -- though I could beg to differ, I'll accept that point).
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