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09-16-2012, 10:55 AM   #1
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The "consumerization" of full frame cameras

TL;DR: APS-C will still be around for decades to come.

LONG VERSION: When I read these forums, I can't help noticing what the people who stand by APS-C tend to say to "justify" (for lack of better term) their decision to the Pro-FF folks:
-Smaller and lighter cameras

-Smaller and lighter lenses

-APS-C is "enough"/FF is "too much" for my needs

-APS-C will always be less expensive as a system.

I find that all of the above apply to me too, but that's not the point of this post. What I want to discuss is how manufacturers will address these points.

CAMERA SIZE AND WEIGHT

If you remove features, such as controls, big bright viewfinders, large, powerful processors, additional LCDs, external connectors etc. you quickly shrink camera bodies. And of course, pentamirror VFs instead of pentaprism ones shed a lot of weight.

LENS SIZE AND WEIGHT

Lens designs will improve, but FF-compatible lenses will ALWAYS be larger and heavier than APS-C lenses. How to save space and weight here? I predict f/5.6-8 lenses to appear in the future and be and be justified by "There's a FF sensor in the camera, that's more than enough to counter the small aperture.".

APS-C will still be more affordable than FF, unless the whole industry switches to FF.Which it will not, considering there will have to be compact and mirrorless cameras (eg. micro4/3 and phones).

09-16-2012, 11:05 AM   #2
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What would be the point of a pro level sensor without the pro level usability features to go along with it? If a high end APS-C has all of the nice features and costs the same as a stripped out FF, who in their right mind would go for the FF with a crappy viewfinder, slow processor and less convenient controls?

There is more to a good body than a good sensor.
09-16-2012, 11:07 AM   #3
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Im sick of hearing about FF lol. Im a pro and I do not justify the fact i choose and prefer APSC to full frame because of cost size or weight ? I have used every format over the years. I do not see four thirds, APSC, FF or Medium format being any better or worse than each other. They are different formats with different qualitys. All have there Pros and cons.
09-16-2012, 11:12 AM   #4
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Different formats for different needs and goals. If I see the potential for a location to yield an image worthy of being printed 30 x 40 or larger, then I shoot with a 645D. If I'm out on a strenuous trek and trying to travel as light as possible, I take a K-5. And likely I'll add a pocketable model in the near future for situations where lightness and compactness outweigh ultimate quality considerations. One size doesn't fit all.

09-16-2012, 12:02 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
What would be the point of a pro level sensor without the pro level usability features to go along with it?
Interesting thread. Regarding above, that would be for those that would seek very high IQ, who would tolerate the inconveniences of a stripped body, while prefering the compactness that such a model would offer. From my reads of many posts, there are many who subscribe to the "sensor is everything" thought while others suggest that "ergonomics is everything" is the way to go. I believe some of the OP's notions will be implemented as mentioned. As for myself - I'm a very late adopter of technology and whatever I buy has already been proven for some time.
09-16-2012, 12:21 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
who in their right mind would go for the FF with a crappy viewfinder, slow processor and less convenient controls?
1) Soccer mom who wants to have a 'pro' camera
2) People who have no idea what makes a good camera and just listen to the salesperson (but this one is "full frame", wow!)
3) People who have more money than sense
4) People who want to keep up with the newest fad
5) People who need FF for some reason (or think they do) but cannot afford a top end one

In short lots of people would do that, and indeed do that with APS-C cameras. Go to any event with lots of soccer moms and you will be stunned how many DSLR's you see. With the kit lens, the pop up flash being used to take pictures 100' away and being focused using live view at arms length. $1,000 worth of camera gear and they would probably get as good a picture with their cell phone.

So it is not a big leap from people who should be using cell phone cameras but are using DSLR's to people who should be using a P&S but buy a FF DSLR.
09-16-2012, 12:33 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
1) Soccer mom who wants to have a 'pro' camera
2) People who have no idea what makes a good camera and just listen to the salesperson (but this one is "full frame", wow!)
3) People who have more money than sense
4) People who want to keep up with the newest fad
Which is why I said "in their right mind".

As for the 5th one, I have a feeling someone who has a real need for a full frame body would know better than to get a stripped out body, when they could just get a previous generation body at a similar price. Especially considering a budget full frame body is likely to have a previous generation sensor anyway.

I know there are tons of people who have gear that far exceeds their knowledge and skill level, these are usually people with more money than brains anyway, so why would they go for the budget full frame body when they could have a real pro body to take horrible pictures with?
09-16-2012, 12:48 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Giklab Quote
LENS SIZE AND WEIGHT Lens designs will improve, but FF-compatible lenses will ALWAYS be larger and heavier than APS-C lenses. How to save space and weight here? I predict f/5.6-8 lenses to appear in the future and be and be justified by "There's a FF sensor in the camera, that's more than enough to counter the small aperture.".
There are plenty of full frame lens' out there that are not very large in size and weight. Pentax even has a very good variety of PK on the market that would fill that need. Simply look at any of the Pentax variety FA lens' such as the 50mm f2.8m. There are also some 50+ more PK full frame lens'. All of the other camera companies such as Nikon and Canon also make very small ersions of full frame lens - some of them very well built.

09-16-2012, 12:55 PM   #9
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Yes, there are some designs that don't end up being enormous (FA LTDs) but most of the lenses are ptetty large. Take the Nikon 24-85 and their 18-55. Take any of the 70-200 2.8s and the 50-135. It does not have the same true range, but the same zoom factor and effective f-length.
09-16-2012, 12:59 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
so why would they go for the budget full frame body when they could have a real pro body to take horrible pictures with?
I think a lot of it is related to the psychology of selling. Read "Why we buy: The science of shopping" by Paco Underhill.

We are always looking for a 'deal', as in "that model has almost all the features of this one, but is only 1/2 the cost. How many times have you had a friend brag about the great deal they got, not just camera stuff but anything? Lots of people will look at the cheap the FF models coming out and think "well it is FF it must be good, and the expensive one probably just has a bunch of fluff added on to increase the price."

Are these people "in their right mind"? Arguably not, as common sense and reason would tell us that in a competitive market companies cannot simply charge less for something without reducing the manufacturing cost. That 'deal' almost always ends up being a poor decision and often we later end up buying what we should have bought in the first place, which has now cost us much more since we bought the cheap one first.

Read this article by Thom Hogan Tripods and Ball Heads by Thom Hogan it is exactly what I am talking about. We convince ourselves that something will be 'good enough' when common sense or experience should tell us other wise.
09-16-2012, 03:12 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium FormatPro Quote
There are plenty of full frame lens' out there that are not very large in size and weight. .

That is true but you can get away from the fact that you need a 50% longer focal lenght on FF to get the same angle of view as on APS...
09-16-2012, 03:17 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Giklab Quote
APS-C will still be more affordable than FF, unless the whole industry switches to FF.Which it will not, considering there will have to be compact and mirrorless cameras (eg. micro4/3 and phones).
Sensors are getting better and better. This is an argument for the validity of smaller formats.
09-16-2012, 03:44 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
Sensors are getting better and better. This is an argument for the validity of smaller formats.

Lenses are not getting much better. That is an advantage of full frame, which allows less image magnification.
09-16-2012, 04:34 PM   #14
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If I had $1000 right now you can bet I'd not be spending it on a fancy tripod. I love people who write like this, who assume that you have to have several K worth of fancy gear to do excellent work. He talks about not wasting money but then he goes and pretty much says that unless you're willing to spend a grand on a tripod you're out of luck. I'm not saying go out and buy the cheapest tripod out there. A $20 tripod from Walmart isn't likely your best friend photographically speaking but a tripod doesn't have to be a ball head nor does it have to cost 1K to do a good job of supporting your camera.

My $100 model with a couple of sandbags if it's windy out does a pretty darned good job of it actually. The only thing in my kit that I'm ever going to spend that kind of money on is a good body or just maybe a stellar digital portrait lens someday. Yes, how sturdy your tripod is important, but not nearly as important as what you put on it. Then again I'm not likely going to be using anything over 500mm in my lifetime and 300mm is about as much as I normally do so I don't need a tripod that weighs as much as I do. Maybe if I was doing the kind of work he's doing, taking pics of players across a football field it would matter but I don't plan on that so I don't have to be as particular about my tripod...

Sorry, that's a bit of a rant I know, but if I actually listened to guys like this and took them seriously I'd have likely never picked up a camera, let alone gone pro....
09-16-2012, 05:17 PM   #15
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But a 1k Gitzo or Manfrotto will last about ten years of professional use - and a good portion of those tripods and tripod heads are actually continually rated for the weight of a professional camera and a heavy lens.

I think about how many spend about 1k or 2k on a camera and then try to shortcut in items like tripods or also possibly creative flash use. I never could figure that one out. I ran into a part time prop lately who had no problem at all dropping 1k here and then 1k there for many lens, but never creatively used flash properly.
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