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03-16-2016, 01:39 PM   #1
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What do you think will happen to APS-C over the next 10 years?

I had a brief but interesting exchange with another esteemed forum member earlier, regarding the future of the APS-C format (not just in Pentax land, but generally).

My view (expanded considerably from the exchange we had) is as follows:

- FF will continue to gain popularity as prices make equipment more accessible, but some will find the increased size and weight of FF DSLR bodies and fast lenses too much. Even if (when?) DSLRs are fully replaced by mirrorless + EVF technology (which we see already with Sony's cameras, for example), the faster / longer lenses will remain larger and fairly heavy, so form factor may always be an issue for some.

- APS-C will drop in popularity for the above reasons, but will continue to attract those who require (a) manageable high-performance consumer / pro-sumer equipment due to IQ from the reasonably large sensor, and (b) professional bodies offering high-resolution cropped sensors and faster image capture / processing suited to distance work and moving subjects (wildlife, sports etc.), yet still with excellent high ISO performance, and (c) those wedded to Nikon / Canon / Pentax / Sony

- Micro 4/3 will remain popular due to form factor and the availability of some increasingly impressive, fast and compact lenses - but would be unlikely to replace APS-C due to the difference in IQ from the smaller sensor, particularly at higher ISOs

Note - these are just opinions off the top of my head. It may well be that I don't understand advances and limitations in each of the formats in depth, and have misunderstood - but these are my thoughts.

Our other forum member - who's opinion I respect - feels that APS-C is now in decline, and will be replaced by Micro 4/3 for those who require a smaller footprint in their equipment. But depth of field and higher ISO performance issues would, to me, seem a barrier to this... not because Micro 4/3 cameras aren't capable in this respect, but because APS-C will always be a step ahead.

I'm interested to know what everyone else thinks - for no other reason than curiosity


Last edited by BigMackCam; 03-16-2016 at 01:50 PM.
03-16-2016, 01:49 PM   #2
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hard to predict but since the trend is towards mirrorless (i.e. size reduction) then m43 makes more sense than aps-c. Size reduction is the only reason for going mirrorless but huge aps-c and ff lenses prevent that for truly happening in formats that are bigger than m43. Maybe DSLRs will get rid of the mirror but maintain the flange distance and size so as not to alienate those who have invested in lenses.
03-16-2016, 01:53 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by dtmateojr Quote
hard to predict but since the trend is towards mirrorless (i.e. size reduction) then m43 makes more sense than aps-c. Size reduction is the only reason for going mirrorless but huge aps-c and ff lenses prevent that for truly happening in formats that are bigger than m43. Maybe DSLRs will get rid of the mirror but maintain the flange distance and size so as not to alienate those who have invested in lenses.
Interesting. You don't think that the big step in depth of field capabilities between m43 and FF requires something in between? Perhaps it doesn't, I'm just playing "Devil's Advocate"
03-16-2016, 02:01 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Interesting. You don't think that the big step in depth of field capabilities between m43 and FF requires something in between? Perhaps it doesn't, I'm just playing "Devil's Advocate"

DoF is a problem not a feature. m43 can always do shallow DoF cliche if needed.

03-16-2016, 02:03 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by dtmateojr Quote
DoF is a problem not a feature. m43 can always do shallow DoF cliche if needed.
I've treated DoF as something to be used creatively. I never saw it as a cliche (although there is certainly over-use of shallow DoF by some)... just something to be leveraged in creating different effects. My point being that, as we get smaller in sensor size, we need wider and wider apertures to achieve the same breadth of control. So, if I have an f/2.8 lens on FF, I need approximately f/1.8 on APS-C, and f/1.4 on m43 to achieve the same DoF...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 03-16-2016 at 02:10 PM.
03-16-2016, 02:07 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Sorry, you'll need to explain that Isn't DoF something used creatively in certain types of shot? I never saw it as a cliche... just something to be leveraged in creating different effects. No?

It can be used creatively but it is more frequently abused by those who can't shoot thus the constant desire for ultrafast lenses and bigger formats for the wrong reasons. When one gets over the shallow DoF honeymoon and starts making photos that make sense they will understand that DoF is an issue that needs to be considered.
03-16-2016, 02:11 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dtmateojr Quote
It can be used creatively but it is more frequently abused by those who can't shoot thus the constant desire for ultrafast lenses and bigger formats for the wrong reasons. When one gets over the shallow DoF honeymoon and starts making photos that make sense they will understand that DoF is an issue that needs to be considered.
OK... but what about the situations where you actually *want* shallow(er) DoF?
03-16-2016, 02:14 PM   #8
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Assuming no disruptive technology, I do not see all that much of a change over the next few years. FF will have 10-15% of the market share, perhaps with the most gain in mirrorless. APS-C will continue to have the majority of DSLR marketshare. m4/3 I'm not so sure this might actually decline. I suspect the larger gain might actually be in 1" sensor cameras. Quality is quite good and the sensor size allows very compact bodies.

In short, I do not see APS-C going away or even declining all that much. FF is great for those that want it but size, weight and cost will always be higher than APS-C.

03-16-2016, 02:14 PM   #9
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Ten years is an eternity.. The Nikon D1 is only 16 or 17. Fuji and Canon introduced their first consumer digital SLR's only 15 years ago. The iPhone isn't even nine years old yet

There will be different solutions for different markets.
  1. True professionals
  2. Prosumer Enthusiasts
  3. Consumers
Millennials might not adopt SLR's or even fixed lens mirrorless at all.

Last edited by monochrome; 03-16-2016 at 03:18 PM.
03-16-2016, 02:17 PM   #10
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What do you think will happen to APS-C over the next 10 years?

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
OK... but what about the situations where you actually *want* shallow(er) DoF?

m43 can do that very easily. shot with a kit lens that fits in my jacket pocket:

03-16-2016, 02:20 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dtmateojr Quote
m43 can do that very easily.
OK, but how? Going for a lens with an even wider aperture - at which point you start pushing costs up significantly, right? - or software, which requires considerable post-processing work...

I'm not trying to be difficult here - I'm genuinely interested to know!
03-16-2016, 02:21 PM   #12
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What do you think will happen to APS-C over the next 10 years?

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
OK, but how? Going for a lens with an even wider aperture - at which point you start pushing costs up significantly, right? - or software, which requires considerable post-processing work...



I'm not trying to be difficult here - I'm genuinely interested to know!

Nope, the lens I used above can be bought for $150 and light as a feather
03-16-2016, 02:23 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dtmateojr Quote
m43 can do that very easily. shot with a kit lens that fits in my jacket pocket:
That's a great photo, for sure. But it's a very close subject with some distance between the subject and the background. We can get blur effects from any sized sensor, given sufficient distance between subject and background... What I mean is, if I have a subject in a situation that I'm photographing with an APS-C camera and f/1.8 lens (for example), to get similar results without having the subject move (which often isn't possible), I will need a wider lens with a faster aperture to get similar blur...

---------- Post added 03-16-2016 at 09:23 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by dtmateojr Quote
Nope, the lens I used above can be bought for $150 and light as a feather
See my post above - that's a close subject and reasonable distance between subject and background, right?

EDIT: What is the lens, out of interest?
03-16-2016, 02:26 PM   #14
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What do you think will happen to APS-C over the next 10 years?

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
That's a great photo, for sure. But it's a very close subject with some distance between the subject and the background. We can get blur effects from any sized sensor, given sufficient distance between subject and background... What I mean is, if I have a subject in a situation that I'm photographing with an APS-C camera and f/1.8 lens (for example), to get similar results without having the subject move (which often isn't possible), I will need a wider lens with a faster aperture to get similar blur...

---------- Post added 03-16-2016 at 09:23 PM ----------





See my post above - that's a very close subject and reasonable distance between subject and background, right?

Going wide open is not the only solution and going shallow DoF is not always the best idea for a particular situation. Post a sample shot here of why you needed to go for f/1.8 so we can discuss better.

edit: 40-150 f/4-5.6 kit

---------- Post added 03-17-16 at 07:30 ----------

have you seen the Oly 45/1.8? It's ridiculously tiny and the DoF you can get from it is paperthin.
03-16-2016, 02:51 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by dtmateojr Quote
Going wide open is not the only solution and going shallow DoF is not always the best idea for a particular situation. Post a sample shot here of why you needed to go for f/1.8 so we can discuss better.
I don't have a photo that perfectly describes what I'm talking about, as I don't shoot wide open all that often (as you've said, though, the practice is heavily used and abused)... but here's an example:

I'm in a function room with other family members and I have my 50mm f/1.8 on my APS-C camera. There is very limited room between my subject and the far wall with all it's visually disturbing elements. I want to blur that as much as possible. I can't move back much further than I have already, because we're in the confines of a room. So I decide to shoot wide open, focusing on the eyes, with the understanding that I'm going to have shallow DoF - which may not be ideal for my subject - but is best for my background, and I can make it work for the subject. Also, f/1.8 works well for my lighting situation.

Given all of that...

Since I can't move back any further, or get my subject to move further away from the back wall (because it's not a prepared shoot - I'm taking photos as I go), how else can I achieve broadly equivalent blur - whilst maintaining the same perspective distortion - other than going for a wider lens and wider aperture?

I'm not trying to get into an argument, my friend... I *agree* with you that in many, many situations, shallow DoF isn't necessary or is poorly utilised - but the desire remains by *many* photographers to be able to achieve it nonetheless. And if we circle back round to what I was initially talking about, in my view the difference between m43 and FF in being able to create shallow DoF is pretty large, given the same subject and circumstances (unless you have a much faster lens on the m43 camera). Hence, APS-C fills a middle ground between the two.

---------- Post added 03-16-2016 at 09:54 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by dtmateojr Quote
[/COLOR]have you seen the Oly 45/1.8? It's ridiculously tiny and the DoF you can get from it is paperthin.
At what subject distance, though? Is it, for instance, as paper-thin as a 55mm f/1.4, lens at f/1.8, on APS-C, or a 90mm f/1.8 on FF, at the same distance?

EDIT: Again, I'm not saying these are always practical concerns. I'm not even saying they are *regularly* practical concerns. What I'm saying is, many people want shallow DoF capability. The difference between m43 and FF in this respect is quite big, but less so between APS-C and FF. That's all I'm saying.

EDIT: The Olympus 45mm f/.1.8 you mention looks like incredibly good value, and appears to perform awfully well from the reviews!

FINAL EDIT (of *this* message): OK, see attached. This was taken on my FF camera, 60mm at f/3.5 (you'll have to forgive the quality - it was ISO 8000, and the image is heavily compressed to < 100k JPEG and then loaded onto the site which softens things!). I was testing my camera and lens at the time, sat on the sofa (so I couldn't get further back), and the table is in a fixed position on the floor. How would I get roughly the same field of view, perspective distortion and blur on m43 without (a) using a lens that could do 30mm at f/1.8, or (b) moving either myself or the subject? Now, let's pretend the mug is a sign I want sharp, in front of buildings I want completely blurred... etc. etc.
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Last edited by BigMackCam; 03-16-2016 at 03:30 PM.
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