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08-23-2007, 02:16 AM   #1
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Full-Frame Image Sensor Holy Grail - Why?

I've seen dozens of messages in this forum passionately describing a desire for a full-frame image sensor in upcoming Pentax DSLR models. This seems almost like the holy grail for some here.

To me, all that matters in this regard is how the images come out. If the images are fine, I couldn't care less about the size of the image sensor. I suspect most camera buyers feel the same. Perhaps someone can explain why I should think differently.

As far as I'm concerned, the APS-C image sensor in my K10D delivers truly excellent images. So, while you're explaining the above, perhaps you can also explain how those images would significantly improve with a full-frame image sensor.

stewart

08-23-2007, 02:31 AM   #2
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2 reasons why FF would desirable for me.
  1. A10-12MP sensor on a FF platform will have larger photosites which would mean much lower high ISO noise.
  2. If you come from a film world, you are used to lenses that behave in a certain way. I would love my WA lenses to be actual WAs again.
for example, I use the FA35 as a normal lens. It has the correct field of view, but image taken with it still has the perspective of a 35mm.

The current models do an excellent job, as you point out. A FF pro body would be a nice addition though. Doubtful that it will happen though, as Pentax has very few current lenses that will work with FF.
08-23-2007, 02:37 AM   #3
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I think its a bit of a mentality thing. Partly. (I'm not hunting for the holy grail, mind you). I can only imagine that many of us would like our DSLR's to behave like our Film SLR's... without the processing hassle. Hence digital. With FF... well?... more is more. for some. More isn't necessarily better. I agree. The best picture is the one that the photographer is happiest with. That could have been taken with a P&S, a 5MP Zoom, or a K10D... if we're happy with our image quality then there is little debate, just opinion. The only real advantage I can see to FF (and there are many advantages) is getting the full range out of lenses, mostly at the wide end. If you really want that 14mm to be 14mm, then you better get a FF.

Not very attractive to me. But, obviously to many very attractive. I guess it's the closest to shooting like film we can get right now... at least it could feel that way.
08-23-2007, 02:37 AM   #4
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Take a look at the Nikon D3 specs

There is no way I'm laying out $5,000 for a camera body but as far as why somebody would want a full frame the answer is in the specs on this thing. Speed, Low light, and IQ. 12 MP's on a full frame sensor will produce much larger prints with more detail than a APS-C sensor.

If I were into shooting sports I'd be standing in line for one of these puppies. Low light landscapes with a wide angle lens could be spectacular with this camera. The advantages go on and on but so do the down sides. Big and expensive are the first two that come to mind.

Regards,

Ken

08-23-2007, 02:44 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
Doubtful that it will happen though, as Pentax has very few current lenses that will work with FF.
Quite right. But the old lenses, as always, would still be there. The new body would have to do a lot for those old lenses that they just couldn't do themselves... AF, etc.

Pentax would have to also launch at least 3 new lenses with a new FF body, if not more. Very doubtful that would happen. They are obviously putting a lot of effort in to the DA*'s for 1.5x... There's no way they would put out a new line of FF lenses on top of that... they just couldn't keep up.

The "pie in the sky" announcement for Pentax would be a new Pro Series, a new FF body, new FF lens line, completed DA* series, HUGE firmware updates for the K10D, K100, etc., and 3 new production factories to keep up with demand. But, saddly, we know that wont happen.
08-23-2007, 03:17 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by stewart_photo Quote
As far as I'm concerned, the APS-C image sensor in my K10D delivers truly excellent images. So, while you're explaining the above, perhaps you can also explain how those images would significantly improve with a full-frame image sensor.

stewart
The current FF sensors are better than the current APS-C sensors. I dont see much of a point in discussing why, is anyone going to argue that the k10D sensor is better than the 5D sensor?? Anyone who would rather have the k10D sensor than the new Nikon D3 sensor???? No, instead they are going to say the 5D is more expensive and the k10D is good eanough. Altho people still say they want better high iso performance, bigger viewfinder.... sounds like FF to me....

Which is fine, for now.

The problem is, FF sensor prices will go down, FF will be more available. I am not saying the D3 is the end of Pentax, it wont make much of a difference to Pentax since the D300 is still APS-C, lucky. Pentax is safe with APS-C for a while longer, the scary thing tho is that if Nikon wanted to put an FF sensor in the D400, they could, the lenses are already there. If Pentax put an FF sensor in the K1D then there are pretty much no lenses for it apart from the two macro lenses, so they cant do that.

I am much more worried about the fact that all Pentax lenses now are APS-C than the fact that Pentax doesnt have any FF camera planned.

Then suddenly the current D3 Sensor will be in the future D400 and then even in the future D90 and the D3 will have an even better sensor. Then who is going to buy Pentax... I hope people still wants to, so they can buy my used Pentax bodies and lenses at that time So I am glad there are people who dont think FF is any good, so I have a market to sell to, thanks
08-23-2007, 04:08 AM   #7
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Forgot to add. Another benefit is that you would get a much bigger brighter view finder. ( As good as the K10's is).

My tired old eyes would appreciate that.
08-23-2007, 04:39 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
for example, I use the FA35 as a normal lens. It has the correct field of view, but image taken with it still has the perspective of a 35mm.
At risk of going off-topic, it should be noted that neither the focal length, nor the sensor size, affects the perspective in the image.

There is a common myth that says something like "wide angle lenses exaggerate perspective whereas telephoto lenses compress it".

The only thing that affects the perspective (ie the apparent relative sizes of objects at different distances from the camera) is the camera-to-subject distance.

Distant scenes appear with compressed perspective because they are distant, not because you used a long-focal-length lens.

Don't take my word for it. Take two lenses of different focal length, take the same picture with both from the same place, and enlarge the corresponding crop from the one taken with the shorter lens, so that it's the same size as the picture from the longer one.

You'll find that the perspective is the same.

08-23-2007, 04:48 AM   #9
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APS-C is dead with the Nikon announcement. In ten years time all new DSLRs will be FF.
08-23-2007, 04:49 AM   #10
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Well the largest issue here is noise. Perhaps Sony's APS CMOS may solve that in the future in the K20D or what ever model it may be. (haha you see a 12MP FA style Pentax pro body like Nikon D3 :P)

Anyhow, the APS design can be much better. We have yet to see the highest and most optimal physical # of megapixels (given max R&D effort). Like how Fuji's SuperCCD is the bar right now for digicams. Like just looking at the super zoom arena, it seems like all of them suffered from a spike in noise problems from 400ISO and up after they punched through the 5MP mark.

There has also been some talk about how 10MP seems to be approaching the physical limit of the 4/3rd's sensor and more pixels = more noise and dynamic range loss than resolution benefit.

Well at least we know in the future, there can be a 12MP like the APS cmos sensor in the D2X. Btw, full frame cameras like 1D, 5D and most likely the Nikon D3, employ a certain degree of vignetting correction before RAW. Full frame lenses can't light up the sensor corners at perpendicular angles enough. Film grain doesn't care what angle light hits but photo sites do (which is one of the main pros in the FourThirds mount. Their lenses are designed get the rear as close to the sensor and then smack it head on with the image.

Last edited by FotoPete; 08-23-2007 at 05:00 AM.
08-23-2007, 05:00 AM   #11
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my issue is wide angle. if Pentax can make it easier for me to get better wide angle shots with a full frame dSLR, i hope they do it. If not then I don't really care. Either way I won't be able to afford another body for some time yet.
08-23-2007, 05:01 AM   #12
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The one great thing about the dSLR market......next year there will always be something that makes you wish you had more money, even though this year, you are on top!
08-23-2007, 05:04 AM   #13
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The full-frame debate has happened many times before. But it seems to me that on this occasion it's in the context of the news of the Nikon D3.

First of all the D3 is impressive. Of course it's very very expensive but it's also very impressive.

It also changes things. Canon is now not the only company with a dSLR that has a full-frame 35mm sensor. It's now a list of two, and that list is Canon and Nikon. Yes Canon and Nikon, of "Should I buy a Canon or a Nikon?" or "You'll be alright as long as you buy Canon or Nikon" fame. Internet posters and marketing have successfully made many many people think that there are only two companies making good dSLRs. Now they both have the full-frame sensor advantage... even if you don't accept that 35mm sensors have any practical advantage, they do have an advertising advantage. Advertising and perception is all-important, as Canon knows in putting Image Stabilisation in their cheapest, crappiest kit lens. IMO it's going to become even easier for Canon and Nikon's volunteer salesmen all round the world to push their myths and put people off buying anything else.

Needless to say, whatever other companies are doing doesn't reduce the quality of Pentax products. If their next bodies and lenses are good then they're good, and we (or at least the majority of us) will buy them. If we didn't need a 35mm sensor when Canon had them then we don't need a full-frame sensor now that Nikon has them. There is still plenty of quality to be got from the smaller sensors. But now the two big companies have 35mm sensors, Sony will probably be next, and Olympus are off doing their own thing with the 4/3rds system... that may leave Pentax standing out a bit as the only company sticking with only APS-C sensors. Now please , don't bite my head off and say "If you love the other companies so much then why not switch"... that's not the point. I don't like the others. I like Pentax glass and bodies and I am sure they can make the best out of whatever format they choose... but as I said, it's about perception, and that affects sales... and ultimately sales will affect us.

All I'm saying is that I think Pentax may need to do something with a different sensor size, or to do something else that is noticeably new or different, if only to show that they can. It will be interesting to see what that is.
08-23-2007, 05:09 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ZaphodB Quote
The full-frame debate has happened many times before. But it seems to me that on this occasion it's in the context of the news of the Nikon D3.

First of all the D3 is impressive. Of course it's very very expensive but it's also very impressive.

It also changes things. Canon is now not the only company with a dSLR that has a full-frame 35mm sensor. It's now a list of two, and that list is Canon and Nikon. Yes Canon and Nikon, of "Should I buy a Canon or a Nikon?" or "You'll be alright as long as you buy Canon or Nikon" fame. Internet posters and marketing have successfully made many many people think that there are only two companies making good dSLRs. Now they both have the full-frame sensor advantage... even if you don't accept that 35mm sensors have any practical advantage, they do have an advertising advantage. Advertising and perception is all-important, as Canon knows in putting Image Stabilisation in their cheapest, crappiest kit lens. IMO it's going to become even easier for Canon and Nikon's volunteer salesmen all round the world to push their myths and put people off buying anything else.

Needless to say, whatever other companies are doing doesn't reduce the quality of Pentax products. If their next bodies and lenses are good then they're good, and we (or at least the majority of us) will buy them. If we didn't need a 35mm sensor when Canon had them then we don't need a full-frame sensor now that Nikon has them. There is still plenty of quality to be got from the smaller sensors. But now the two big companies have 35mm sensors, Sony will probably be next, and Olympus are off doing their own thing with the 4/3rds system... that may leave Pentax standing out a bit as the only company sticking with only APS-C sensors. Now please , don't bite my head off and say "If you love the other companies so much then why not switch"... that's not the point. I don't like the others. I like Pentax glass and bodies and I am sure they can make the best out of whatever format they choose... but as I said, it's about perception, and that affects sales... and ultimately sales will affect us.

All I'm saying is that I think Pentax may need to do something with a different sensor size, or to do something else that is noticeably new or different, if only to show that they can. It will be interesting to see what that is.
More or less what I'm thinking too....

To survive, Pentax has to go FF, even though APS-C is fine for most amateurs. Cost is another factor. FF sensors will get cheaper and cheaper...
08-23-2007, 05:28 AM   #15
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Pick a market position

QuoteOriginally posted by ZaphodB Quote
I like Pentax glass and bodies and I am sure they can make the best out of whatever format they choose... but as I said, it's about perception, and that affects sales... and ultimately sales will affect us.

All I'm saying is that I think Pentax may need to do something with a different sensor size, or to do something else that is noticeably new or different, if only to show that they can. It will be interesting to see what that is.
You are right on the money. My hope is they come up with a 12 MP APS-H sensor that DA lenses work on. That should give them enough head room to get the noise down at high ISO. They could then position themselves as the APS specialist much like Oly has done with their system. They might even be able to develop some long glass that is a little less costly and smaller than FF lenses.

Regards,

Ken
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