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01-06-2014, 09:53 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Stop with the FF sensors will be the same price nonsense.

With film, you alway knew that the larger the film was the more you paid for it. No one ever said or thought, "because of the economy of scale 4x5 film is going to be cheaper than 35mm film." Never heard it, no one said it, no one thought it. With sensors it's worse. With film you paid for basically the amount of film you used. With sensors, you pay a premium for larger sensors because there is more waste and a higher percentage of throw aways that don't meet spec. Yet we continually see people claiming that as FF camera become more available, prices will merge with APS-c prices.

Well, if you made such an argument, you just wasted your breath.

It may well be that prices are similar. It's true that FF prices have come down, and you can buy an FF refurb for pretty much the same price as a k-3 pre-order. Some people seem to think that somehow that would indicate that FF can continue it's downward curve until it's below APS-c. When in fact, the curve will level off at a point somewhere above the cost of APS-c. Any component used in FF can be used in APS-c except the shutter mechanism, those things will always be equivalent. Economy of scale favours APS-c shutters, and APS-c sensors will always be cheaper. There is simply nothing that can give FF a price advantage.

Or as a former finance minister in Canada once said... "there's no free lunch". If you want bigger and better, prepare yourself to pay for it. If your decision to go FF is predicated on the "fact" that FF will be cheaper than APS-c, at least for the initial cost of the body, then, you're in for a long wait and a lot of disappointment.

01-06-2014, 10:07 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
With film, you alway knew that the larger the film was the more you paid for it. No one ever said or thought, "because of the economy of scale 4x5 film is going to be cheaper than 35mm film." Never heard it, no one said it, no one thought it. With sensors it's worse. With film you paid for basically the amount of film you used. With sensors, you pay a premium for larger sensors because there is more waste and a higher percentage of throw aways that don't meet spec. Yet we continually see people claiming that as FF camera become more available, prices will merge with APS-c prices.
But it's already happened. FF cameras are available now for less than top-end aps-c cameras were selling for just three years ago.

I think you assume people are making the argument that FF is going to immediately take over entry-level DSLR. No-one is saying that. What most of us are saying is that it will encroach high and mid-level aps-c DSLR, while at the same time other alternatives (MILC, mirrorless-fixed, really good camera phones) encroach lower-end apsc DSLR. A company who makes only aps-c DSLR bodies and lenses may be in trouble in that scenario.

At some point in time, the only DSLRs available may be mid-high tier and FF ($1000+), with most everything else covered by those other non-DSLR alternatives. But Pentax needs to worry about the landscape even before that happens, because they will be squeezed in the years leading up to it.

(BTW, I requested that this be moved to the FF section so as to not antagonize aps-c shooters who don't want another FF discussion in their midst )

.

Last edited by jsherman999; 01-06-2014 at 10:18 AM.
01-06-2014, 10:24 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
But it's already happened. FF cameras are available now for less than top-end aps-c cameras were selling for just three years ago.

.
but aren't top end aps-c cameras selling for less now than they were three years ago?

now if FF cameras today are selling for less than top end aps-c cameras today then you might have a point.
01-06-2014, 10:32 AM - 1 Like   #4
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however, you may have a point...

top end ff cameras are selling for less than the cheapest aps-c camera of 10 years ago.
that means ff sensors should be free by 2023!

01-06-2014, 10:38 AM   #5
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Nomadkng is saying all else being equal, FF will always cost more. That doesn't preclude a scenario in which FF becomes cheap enough to drive smaller sensors extinct, in spite of their cost advantage. Nor does it preclude manufacturers from selling FF cameras for less than aps-c cameras (by cutting corners in places consumers are less likely to notice and/or value).

It's like the old joke, if apples get cheaper the more I buy, how many do I have to purchase before they're free?

Aps-c and FF will approach two different asymptotes of minimum price, FF being a higher minimum.
01-06-2014, 10:38 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Well it's about time that one off the brands produce a real low budget FF model.
01-06-2014, 10:41 AM   #7
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Lenses optimized for FF will always be more expensive. Regardless of sensor costs.
01-06-2014, 10:42 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by nomadkng Quote
...that means ff sensors should be free by 2023!
That's funny. Your message hadn't posted when I typed mine, but we both ended up at more or less the same joke.

01-06-2014, 10:50 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by nomadkng Quote
but aren't top end aps-c cameras selling for less now than they were three years ago?

.
Yes, and at lower margins than before, and to people probably less likely to shell out for upper-end lenses to go with them. Those folks are starting to buy FF.

That's bad news if your bread n' butter is aps-c DSLR, especially when your entry level is being pinched by alternative goods at the same time.

The good news for Pentax? Their bread n' butter mount was originally designed for 135mm (FF.) Now all they have to do is commit to their necessary future.

.
01-06-2014, 11:35 AM   #10
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Technology is becoming cheaper, sure, but it also changes. Some years from now we probably won't have bayer type CMOS sensors, but some other type - which will cost a lot, because it will be new! And then they will add some other thing to DSLRs, like 4k video and smellovision, who knows. Technology usually evolved and moved on much before becoming dirt cheap. Think about it, 8MB SD cards used to cost as much as 8GB cards cost now! But that doesn't mean you can buy an 8MB card for one cent. So I agree that FF will cost more than APSC, at least if all the other features are comparable. Only way to make FF cheaper than APSC is by removing other costs, like body materials and such. An FF sensor in a cardboard box could be fairly cheap And considering how oldschool hardcore hardcore some Pentaxians are, it might even sell!
01-06-2014, 11:46 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
It may well be that prices are similar. It's true that FF prices have come down, and you can buy an FF refurb for pretty much the same price as a k-3 pre-order. Some people seem to think that somehow that would indicate that FF can continue it's downward curve until it's below APS-c. When in fact, the curve will level off at a point somewhere above the cost of APS-c. Any component used in FF can be used in APS-c except the shutter mechanism, those things will always be equivalent. Economy of scale favours APS-c shutters, and APS-c sensors will always be cheaper. There is simply nothing that can give FF a price advantage.
Norm, I'm not sure what sparked this thread or what you are trying to get out of it. I'll accept your argument that APS-c should remain cheaper than FF - although if the cost of the sensor dropped to zero it would then come down to how much more it cost to build the body around the sensor, and those difference might be smaller.

What is changing is the cost of FF relative to a person's purchasing power, and FF is getting more affordable for a growing number of people. And then at some point, economies of scale push this down even further. No free lunch - just more calories for the same price. Just look at trends in other areas that depend on technology. My first PC cost something like a 560mm lens. The one I just bought for my kids, which has specs 1000 times more powerful, was more like decent DA lens.
01-06-2014, 11:48 AM   #12
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Nikon Df has the highest return rate of any camera, according to recent internet statisitics, so dumbing the camera down does not work. Right now, the FF/APS-C tirades remind me no end of the 120/35 tirades of 40 years ago. If the camera gets the job done, I don't care if my sensor is 24, 36 or 40 mm, except that 24 is a lot easier to carry with a lens kit from 12 to 680 mm. (5 lenses, one TC, one extension tube).
01-06-2014, 11:50 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSL Quote
My first PC cost something like a 560mm lens. The one I just bought for my kids, which has specs 1000 times more powerful, was more like decent DA lens.
Not a good analogy. Moore's law does not apply to sensors like it does to other integrated circuits. You can squeeze more pixels onto a sensor, but sooner or later you will run into the diffraction limit. There are also still limits to photolithography which prevent FF sensors from coming down in cost simply because of the size of the sensor.

Last edited by boriscleto; 01-06-2014 at 11:58 AM.
01-06-2014, 12:02 PM   #14
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I think it is a good thing that the cost of sensors in general is coming down. It just means that you get more camera for your dollar than you could five or, ten years ago. I don't see any reason that most average Joes will switch from APS-C/micro four thirds to full frame (unless there just aren't any crop frame cameras available), any more than the majority of folks will switch from cell cameras to an SLR. But, if they decide they want to "move up," certainly there will be plenty of options available.

The biggest thing to me that is left out when you talk about sensor costs is that glass prices continue to climb. It wasn't so long ago you could get a Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VR lens for 1200 dollars and now, the new version is 2400? No wonder Nikon wants every one to buy full frame cameras and top end glass.
01-06-2014, 12:21 PM - 1 Like   #15
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There will always be around a $300 difference between the price of of an APS-C and a FF CMOS sensor. These things are built in fabs which cost about $3 billion to set up. You can do the math on how many of each size of sensors you can get out of a 12" wafer.

Another factor is the yield. It is virtually impossible to get 100% yields and the larger the area of a sensor, the higher the probability that the yield will be lower.

All DSLRs would be much more expensive were it not for the fact that these fabs can also churn out dynamic memory for use in computers and cell phones as well as flash memory in much larger volume. And they also produce a boatload of itty bitty sensors for compacts, surveillance, webcams, cellphones and other applications.

It is highly unlikely that Sony would supply competitors like Nikon or Pentax with their sensors if they did not have to utilize their fabs to their max capacity to get a return for their substantial investment.

Pentax can get companies like TSMC to produce their own designs but that would increase the sensor cost.

The cost of an CMOS APS-C sensor is probably not much more than $50; the FF's cost is more like $400. Just some very rudimentary estimates.

Moore's law probably only applies when you are talking of densities, not different dimensions. The manufacturers are packing more pixels into the same dimensions but there are limitations imposed by the laws of optics..

Last edited by jhaji; 01-06-2014 at 12:49 PM.
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