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02-24-2007, 04:33 PM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by -=JoN=- Quote
different format. 645 is medium format segment. it's like comparing a hummer to a camry.
While I understand your point, I am at a loss to understand why an APS-C camera has to be like a 35mm film camera and a smaller-than 645 camera a "medium format".

Given that the industry seems hard-pressed to settle on a small number of formats for sensors (4/3, APS-C, 1.3, FF, then all the larger formats), why should any camera fit into a slot?

What I really mean is, while I absolutely appreciate Pentax supporting the use of their lenses right back to the 1950s, why, intrinsically, do our cameras still look like the ones developed in the 1950s? Is it because those designs can't be beaten? Possibly. Is it because there is no original design around? No (look at the Olympus E-300 for example, and lots of even more off-the-wall designs that have appeared in the past). Or is it because photographers are (or are perceived to be) conservative? Maybe.

I sometimes wonder how cameras could be made different. At other times I wonder whether I would buy a "different" camera.

One idea I have pondered is that my Bronica is modular: body, back, lens, finder. If I had a digital back for it (which I could do, if I could afford it), then the back could (theoretically) be replaced each time I need a technology upgrade, while I could maintain all of the other parts. That would give me a new sensor, and maybe some new modular logic to the camera. We already have the latter to some extent with firmware upgrades. Given that the body would be a relatively low value item and the finder, rarely replaced - the camera manufacturers would still make their money when people replaced their expensive "backs" more often than they currently do their non-modular cameras, and when they bought lenses (because of their LBA ). When I say though that the back would be "expensive" I don't mean Phase 1 expensive, but rather slightly cheaper than current highish end cameras, because it wouldn't have to include all of the functionality - only that which needs to be closely coupled to the sensor.

Just some innocent thoughts.


Last edited by Simon; 02-24-2007 at 05:06 PM.
02-24-2007, 09:10 PM   #47
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why are apples different from oranges?

our APS-C sensored cameras are closer to that of 35mm in terms of frame size
and so on and so forth with bigger formats. if anything, it's more like the APS rather than 35mm (it is that size after all)

the old film sizes set the size standard I guess, and passing it on as a different medium would just a whole new ball game. better of to compare it or label it as an equivalent rather than having to set a new format.

not sure how long the 4/3's system will last, it's pretty popular, yes, but, it's not really being adopted by more manufacturers.

as far as the design of the modern day slr, it's tried, it's true, and why fix something that isnt broken.

and as far as having interchangeable backs, it can be done, it's been done, but for the masses? I doubt it will work. it will be a service/support nightmare.

most interchangeable backs are geared for the "pro" (please, lets all not get into another debate on what a pro is and isnt)

having replaceable backs as an option or a feature available is a bad idea to say the least. so many things can go wrong, and no matter how "idiot" proof you can make it, things will break, not work right, etc, etc

i think it's got a lot to do with form factor too, things are smaller now, and they keep getting smaller. having a set design for a body allows manufacturers to be able to cram more and more tech in there, and make it smaller and smaller too.

it's too many variables to be covered to perfect such a system.
02-24-2007, 09:25 PM   #48
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If Pentax came out with something that resembled something actually like the good ol' pentax film days, I'd halt all LBa just to get it. (Think of the Olympus E-400 design) That would be true old school.

Alot of dSLRs today have the lens mount 'shifted' to the left hand side because of the disappearance of the film roll cavity. I tried the Panasonic DMC-L1 and its got a nice touch of the Leicaist Rangefinder Days/ LC-1 / E-300. I found it a pretty nice change but had to 'stretch' to get at the shutter button well.
02-25-2007, 07:46 AM   #49
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D = K10D
DL = K1*0D
DS = ? (A new camera, probably mocked-up at the show for September release).
Just my guess.

02-25-2007, 10:18 AM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by -=JoN=- Quote
and as far as having interchangeable backs, it can be done, it's been done, but for the masses? I doubt it will work. it will be a service/support nightmare.
First, my previous post was just a "thought experiment", and the example of "interchangeable backs" was just, well, an example of another way of thinking of cameras.

I hope camera designers are thinking more "outside" the box than this. Well, actually I know they are...

We have semi-decent cameras in mobile phones, we have cameras that are so thin you can put them... wherever. But the challenge is redesigning the serious camera (for current SLR and rangefinder users) to make it better.

My "idea" was just one possibility: that of making the camera more modular. It's not a solution in itself, because you have to decide what functionality each module has, what shape it is, what its interfaces are. It would really be a matter of making the camera more like a computer - where we pick and choose processing, storage, i/o devices, etc.

Currently we have a lens and a body. The lens is mainly an optical device, which optical manufacturers are good at making. The body however is a mix of electronics and optics, so it needs expertise from both sides of the fence. Maybe the solution is to have the (interchangeable) lens in one module, the unchanging optics in another and the electronics in a third. As long as the interfaces are well defined there is no issue - in IT we do it all the time.

It would mean that you could not only change optics on the fly (as you do now), but you could change electronics (or logic) anytime you fancied, to catch up with current trends - higher resolution, different image processing engine, whatever.

And these things needn't necessarily be big - remember the Pentax 110 SLR - it was tiny and had interchangeable lenses. I probably wouldn't want it that small either, but it is a good example of how small interchangeable components can be.

In an ideal world all the interfaces would be standard across manufacturers (pretty much as Olympus envisaged with 4/3), but that's not going to happen unless something serious happens to the industry.

I'm not saying that today's cameras are bad, I'm just saying that development in (serious) camera ergonomics and styling seems to have been slow in the last forty or fifty years. We are starting to see some movement, if only minor - the digital Mamiya for example (and by the look of the latest photos, maybe the "645D") are little larger than-top end Canons, but with subtly new approaches to ergonomics, not really seen in 35mm or medium format before.

As I implied before though - if a new "serious" camera looked very "different", would it prejudice us against it, or would we be prepared to look at its advantages and disadvantages objectively? I'm thinking of a revolution equivalent to Alec Issigonis' design for the original Mini, which took the car from the "three box" model to the "two box" one. It was before my time, but I can imagine the surprise and awe it caused. I remember the equivalent, though somewhat lesser, revolution of the Mini Metro, which was a slightly larger car with a bonnet far shorter than anything before in its class.


Last edited by Simon; 02-25-2007 at 10:22 AM. Reason: minor tweaks
02-25-2007, 04:29 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by Simon Quote
why, intrinsically, do our cameras still look like the ones developed in the 1950s?
The basic body shape is dictated by the mirror box and the pentaprism. And yes, they work the best in this type of camera with optical viewfinders - 35mm or digital. Olympus' porro finders do not work as well.

Don't worry though. The days of optical viewfinders for the mass market are numbered. Eventually, they will be relegated to the top end niche market. The bottom end will be taken over by electronic viewfinders. And with the elimination of pentaprism / mirror box, the sky is the limit for camera shape and design (though most would probably stick with a slim rectangular body with a hand grip and a lens mount).

As for modular approach, while the idea is nice, it does not work very well in real life. It's just like user replaceable CPU for PC, the "upgrade" is rarely worth the effort. All the other support circuitry needs upgrade as well. In this case, the "back" needs to include ALL the electronic components; and then what about the metering sensors and AF module? Lastly, modular design is much more expensive. You need a secure and reliable mechanical "mount" with electrical contacts between each modular component.
02-25-2007, 07:56 PM   #52
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the problem I see is the Hoya merger, where delivery garaties past the mergers can not be given, or new anoucements are very restricted, with additional contracts not being able to nail it down , still thing a peek preview, of some prototypes, will keep the doors open, and interest high.
sound the drums , make some noise, and the audience will come, keep the attention,
if it's not official, that's what leaks are for,
just my 2 bits, Robert

QuoteOriginally posted by Mr. The Guy Quote
D = K10D
DL = K1*0D
DS = ? (A new camera, probably mocked-up at the show for September release).
Just my guess.
02-26-2007, 05:05 AM   #53
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Amazing.. how a year can change things.

the K10D was just released a mere months ago.. and already the users are speculating a replacement. Or even another camera.

I am content with my K10D and K100D.. and get out the popcorn about all the speculating going on lately.


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