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07-05-2011, 06:37 AM   #1
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Goofy DSLR idea inspired by GXR

So, after seeing Ricoh's GXR with it's interchangable lens/sensor units, the thought occurs: Why wouldn't it be possible to make a DSLR along the same lines, but instead of marrying the sensor unit to the lens, make an interchangeable sensor/lens mount unit? Unlike using adapters as an afterthought, such a setup would allow the registration distance to be correct for the whatever mount it was for, and everything could be made to work right to begin with. I would think the ability to use a variety of lens mounts on one camera would make it a big seller.

Of course, licensing the mount design from Nikon, Canon, etc. might be a sticking point.

Might be a dumb idea, dunno...

Cheers,
Bobbo :-)

07-05-2011, 07:22 AM   #2
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interchangeable sensor can be interesting but the availability of adapters for different mounts is dependent on the registration distance, that's why M43 cameras can use almost every lens you can think of - that is a big seller on a current line of cameras.
a DSLR using a mirror box will have a distance from the sensor larger than some current mounts - here goes your big seller. a similar camera without a mirror won't be any different than the current solution of using adapters on mirrorless cameras.
07-05-2011, 07:27 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
So, after seeing Ricoh's GXR with it's interchangable lens/sensor units, the thought occurs: Why wouldn't it be possible to make a DSLR along the same lines, but instead of marrying the sensor unit to the lens, make an interchangeable sensor/lens mount unit? Unlike using adapters as an afterthought, such a setup would allow the registration distance to be correct for the whatever mount it was for, and everything could be made to work right to begin with. I would think the ability to use a variety of lens mounts on one camera would make it a big seller.

Of course, licensing the mount design from Nikon, Canon, etc. might be a sticking point.

Might be a dumb idea, dunno...

Cheers,
Bobbo :-)

It might be seen as an admission that the GXR concept was flawed to begin with. It is my understanding that Ricoh claims that having a specific lens mated to a specific sensor allows them to fine tune them to work together more effectively than having interchangeable lenses.

If you have interchangeable lenses, do you really need an interchangeable sensor? Would anyone buy the integrated modules?

Someone has suggested, in another thread, that Ricoh has announced a sensor module that will accept Leica lenses, so maybe I'm wrong.

Making the physical mount interchangeable would be easy. It would be sort of like a reverse t-mount, a simple matter of machining. I think that the real problem would be in the electrical connections. Not only do the physical locations of the connections differ between the various lens mount systems, but having the firmware in the camera to handle all the different protocols would be a programming challenge.

Then too, if you have a camera that accepts, say, Canon, Nikon and Pentax (of course, since its our forum) lenses, users of those lenses would want it to accept p-ttl, i-ttl and e-ttl flashes. Again, this is a serious firmware issue. Interchangeable hotshoes?

Not really a dumb idea, and probably do-able, but I suspect it would be prohibitively expensive.
07-05-2011, 08:15 AM   #4
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The only scenario in which I can imagine wanting inter-changeable sensors would be so that you can have both 24x36 and APS-C. There are times when APS-C is just better for the task at hand. Other than that, I can't really imagine wanting to swap among sensors of the same size. I just want the best available in the body at all times (sort of like I have now with my K5).

Of course, upgrading the sensor as new technology becomes available might be desirable, but I'm pretty sure the cost would be quite close to replacing the whole body, with which you'd probably get better AF, etc..

07-05-2011, 08:18 AM   #5
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Ah well... Just spitballing... :-)
07-05-2011, 04:19 PM   #6
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Maybe have the camera split into main bits:

1. the lens
2. the body/housing
3. the sensor.

You buy the housing, you choose a sensor and then you choose the lens. The sensor wont be changed all the time, but rather change it after every few years or change the size to keep up with technology whilst keeping the same body. Much like upgrading your computer's motherboard and cpu.
07-05-2011, 07:57 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Verglace Quote
Maybe have the camera split into main bits:

1. the lens
2. the body/housing
3. the sensor.

You buy the housing, you choose a sensor and then you choose the lens. The sensor wont be changed all the time, but rather change it after every few years or change the size to keep up with technology whilst keeping the same body. Much like upgrading your computer's motherboard and cpu.
In film photography we may use camera systems consisting of at least 3 main bits: 1) the lens, 2) the body, and 3) film (the sensor). If you want different resolution or spectral response or whatever, you buy a new roll (or sheet) of film. In digitography, if you want different qualities, you buy a new camera. Ouch. Replacing just the sensor heads in the filmic direction.
07-06-2011, 04:45 AM   #8
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Don't see anything wrong with going to that direction

07-06-2011, 10:25 AM   #9
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GXR "lensors" are a reasonable idea in theory, but you're tied in to buying a new sensor and AF motor every time you buy a new lens! Modules with a mount designed for specific ranges of lenses, e.g. K mount, gives you best of both worlds IMO... it would still allow you to buy a new sensor module if you desired, which you could use your existing lenses on. The blurb about certain lenses *needing* specific sensors never rang true with me, and it looks like Ricoh are reaching the same opinion at last. You're only likely to upgrade when sensors improve enough to make it worthwhile.

Ricoh should think about serving all the major lens mounts. They shouldn't bother with flash compatibility - make people buy a new flash if they need to! It ought to be a compact one designed to fit with the GXR concept of a compact system. However I think on board flash is fine for most users of such a camera.
07-06-2011, 10:35 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Verglace Quote
Maybe have the camera split into main bits:

1. the lens
2. the body/housing
3. the sensor.
.
This is my idea too for a long time, this way you even turn a film SLR into a dSLR like a replacement of camera back. Sensor, CPU and the memory modules can be placed into camera backs, sensor would be in place of film pressure plate. There is only one quirk of this setup though, micrometric adjustment for sensor is needed, not every user can do that by themselves.

In the GXR systems there should be a no problem if they make different sensor modules for different lens mounts. Out of topic but my impression about Ricoh is they always produced good cameras but not so good soft lenses. Merging Pentax and decent lens lineup is a good chance for them, for their camera system.

Last edited by cbaytan; 07-06-2011 at 10:46 PM.
07-07-2011, 06:50 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pablom Quote
interchangeable sensor can be interesting but the availability of adapters for different mounts is dependent on the registration distance, that's why M43 cameras can use almost every lens you can think of - that is a big seller on a current line of cameras.
a DSLR using a mirror box will have a distance from the sensor larger than some current mounts - here goes your big seller. a similar camera without a mirror won't be any different than the current solution of using adapters on mirrorless cameras.
The biggest complaint I have about my e-p1 is the sensor size . . . it is smaller than the aps-c. It would be good to see a body like the K-5 be designed to have the sensor itself be replaceable with a newer sensor 3 years down the line.

QuoteOriginally posted by cbaytan Quote
This is my idea too for a long time, this way you even turn a film SLR into a dSLR like a replacement of camera back. Sensor, CPU and the memory modules can be placed into camera backs, sensor would be in place of film pressure plate. There is only one quirk of this setup though, micrometric adjustment for sensor is needed, not every user can do that by themselves.

In the GXR systems there should be a no problem if they make different sensor modules for different lens mounts. Out of topic but my impression about Ricoh is they always produced good cameras but not so good soft lenses. Merging Pentax and decent lens lineup is a good chance for them, for their camera system.
Pentax used this concept a few times, first with the 6x7 and later with the LX.
07-07-2011, 07:01 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
Pentax used this concept a few times, first with the 6x7 and later with the LX.
Really? Do you have a link to a digital LX?
07-07-2011, 07:04 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by cbaytan Quote
Really? Do you have a link to a digital LX?
The "modular concept" wise man. Note I didn't say jack about digital. Those systems had replaceable finders, prisms, backs etc. so I was actually supporting your idea.
07-07-2011, 08:22 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
The "modular concept" wise man. Note I didn't say jack about digital. Those systems had replaceable finders, prisms, backs etc.
And modular systems are hardly new. View and press cameras had such many many decades ago. My 1940's-vintage Exakta VX 135/FF SLR can swap finders (prism and groundglass), far preceding Nikon F-system modularity. Many folders have backs for plate and sheet and pack and roll film, and varied groundglasses.

Modern digital MF systems go the same route -- an expensive route. The trick will be to make a solid platform (like the GXR body) and appropriate sensor/mount mount modules, without stratospheric pricing. The promise of digital modularity is that you can upgrade a sensor WITHOUT replacing the entire camera. But the basic package must still be cost-effective BEFORE you upgrade. Follow the money.
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