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The future of the E-system

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Damien_Demolder, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. AJUK

    AJUK Well-Known Member

    I think the small sensor is to restrictive, and the sensor also means cropping when printing. 4:3 ratio is for computer screens not prints.
  2. Benchmark

    Benchmark Well-Known Member

    There again, many people said that 35 mm was way too small back in the 1930's, and until digital came along, few professional wedding or portrait photographers would use anything smaller than medium format.

    Maybe with time and advancing technology the Four-Thirds sensor will become the norm, and full frame 35 mm sensors will seem like Dinosaurs. After all, the sensors used in many compacts are much smaller, but nobody seems to complain or even notice.

    As things stand, my 5 mega pixel E1 is perfectly adequate for 16 x 24 inch prints even with some cropping, so unless people regularly need to print bigger than that ……...
  3. AJUK

    AJUK Well-Known Member

    If there was a new technology that could make smaller sensors great, larger sensors would just benefit from it.
  4. Benchmark

    Benchmark Well-Known Member

    ....... and eventually be made obsolete. :(

    After all, how many people use plate cameras these days?

    And for that matter, how many 'full frame' medium format digital cameras are there? Would these not also benefit from this new technology? ;)
  5. DaveS

    DaveS Well-Known Member

    The sensor is too small for the pixel count. The E1 was brilliant, but the later models? questionable. Looking at the dynamic range tests of the 400/410/500/510 in this weeks mag, they all look about 5-6 stops, no better than my ancient E20. The restricetd range partialy ascribed to small photosites, (The same effect as found in D video, 2/3" camcorders giving much better range than 1/3").
    I was shooting my schools sports day, and comparing results from my E20 with the school's E500, dynamicly no differance, though the latter has better noise at ISO above 160
    Oh, and BTW, I voted NO
  6. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    If you mean large format cameras, large format is positively thriving, and has been on the increase in recent years.
  7. Benchmark

    Benchmark Well-Known Member

    I was really thinking more of glass plate cameras, although if we are talking 'Large Format' generally then of course you are absolutely right.

    However, my point was that photography started off with [what we would now regard as] large format cameras, but these have not been 'mass market' for many years, and would probably be regarded as 'almost obsolete' by the big manufacturers.

    I am aware that Nikon still build lenses for large format, but AFAIK, none of the major manufacturers has built large format bodies for some time. And I cannot see Jessies stocking them any time soon. ;)
  8. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Minaturisation is all very well but there is a practical limit to how small it is practical to go. I find that the Nikon D2 series cameras are about the right size for comfort so for me there is no point in having a smaller sensor if it means a camera that is too small for me to use. Pentax used to make a 110 SLR, a great camera but not a raging success and now discontinued, you might have thought a digital version would be perfect but it hasn't happened. You wouldn't get a 2.5" monitor on the back though.

    Where film is concerned formats smaller than 35mm haven't done very well, part of the reason will be quality but another part will almost certainly be that the size of cameras to accept 35mm film is pretty much ideal for the majority of users. Logically, for optimum quality you would use the biggest sensor that will fit in the ideal size body. So far the ideal size of sensor seems to be APS C. That may mean that 4/3 sensors is smaller than the optimum for the minimum physical size of body. It could also be that the 4/3 sensor is the best that can be fitted in a smaller body that is optimal but I think that, as a bigger sensor can be fitted in a camera about the same size as the OM1, the bigger sensor will have the edge long term.
  9. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    35mm, as a format, has proven remarkably resilient over the years. It has been challenged over the years by smaller formats - 110, Kodak Disc and APS to name but 3 - and remained dominant despite the advantages, real or otherwise, of it's smaller rivals.

    To me the reason for this would seem to be a near optimal balance of size (format and kit), price and image quality. I feel the same sort of balance will apply to also digital formats. As thing currently stand I think the optimum lies slightly closer to APS than 35mm or 4/3rds but still a very long way from compact camera sizes. On this basis I can see no logical reason to claim that larger sensors, the implication being 35mm and perhaps APS-C sizes, will be made obsolete.
  10. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Okay, but if by the 'major manufacturers' you mean Canon, Nikon, Pentax, etc. - i.e. the major manufacturers from the 35mm world - then none of them ever did make LF cameras. The major manufacturers of large format are names like Horseman, Linhof, Cambo, Ebony, Wista, Tachihara, etc. and all those, plus many more small outfits, continue to this day. Of course some names have disappeared - you won't be able to buy a Sanderson or a Thornton Pickard new off the shelf, or even an MPP, but you could still buy a Gandolfi, or for that matter go for one of the newer 'big names' of the LF world, like Wisner or Canham, or Philips, for example. Actually, I dare say there are probably more and better choices now than there have ever been.

    All of which might be beside the point, but to get back to it, I think what your argument is missing is that ultimately the limiting factor to image resolution is the physical area of the light sensitive device - that's true regardless of whether we're talking about film or digital, ancient or modern. And, if larger reproductions are what is required, or higher magnificatios to achieve the same print size from a crop, then ultimately the answer in the digital age is the same as it was in the film age - you must go for a bigger format to get the same definition.

    Furthermore, depth of field is strictly determined by geometry, rather than technology. Larger formats mean less DoF, which might be a PITA for landscapists, or macro photographers, but is a positive boon to portraitists and many other kinds of photographer. One of the constant gripes from enthusiasts about modern digital compacts is that shallow DoF effects are impossible with the tiny sensors, and of course even APS-C DSLRs gain more than one stop's worth of DoF as compared with 35mm. 4/3 cameras gain two stops' worth. Most compacts gain at least four or five stops' worth. Shooting at maximum aperture - f/2.8 - on my own digicam (1/1.8" sensor) is like shooting at f/11-f/16 on 35mm. Again, that's great if you want wide DoF, but useless if you want to do selective focus work.
  11. Benchmark

    Benchmark Well-Known Member

    When I said 'obsolete', I meant obsolete from the point of view of mass production and use, rather than extinct.

    It seems I have hit a raw nerve by saying that in time, (and as sensor technology improves), larger formats will probably become obsolete. However, the fact is that over the past few years the 35 mm format has already been marginalised by the APS format, and the few 'full frame' 35 mm sensors on the market are now regarded as something of a speciality. I doubt that this trend will be reversed, and if anything, I would expect mass-market sensors will become smaller rather than bigger.

    At the same time, I fully agree that we are unlikely to see DSLR’s with sensors of the size currently used in compacts. There are good practical reasons for using tiny sensors in compact cameras, but there are many compromises involved in their use, which I suspect very few DSLR users would be prepared to accept.

    In the final analysis, the 'standard' sensor size will probably be governed by whether 'bridge' cameras with hyper zooms become more popular than DSLR's amoungst enthusiasts.

    Just one final thought: If APS-C had been the 'standard format' when digital was introduced (rather than 35 mm), what would the 'standard' format be now? Not APS-C I suspect. /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
  12. Benchmark

    Benchmark Well-Known Member

    You are absolutely right Huw, but large and even medium format cameras are specialist instruments, not mass market products. I think we are confusing the two.

    I am aware (and very pleased) that large format is thriving, and even fancy having a try myself; but there is absolutely no chance that large format will ever challenge the mass market, any more than Aston Martin will challenge Ford or Vauxhall in the family hatch market (I wish). :)
  13. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Hmmm - one of the reasons behind APS film was to prepare people for digital, allegedly...

    I think you've rather misjudged the market mood - all the speculation at the moment is over full-frame Nikon and Sony cameras, and Canon have long said that it represents the way forward except for entry level DSLRs. There is no doubt that full-frame has great benefits for lower noise, and also for better control over DOF - that alone is worth the money to me. I've come to the conclusion that for small-sensor digicams, there's precious little advantage in being able to control the exposure settings, as there's always lots of DOF. Which is rather liberating when using them, actually, but that's another issue.
    4/3 can make a very nice niche for itself, but my suspicion is that in the long term, it's APS-C that's unlikely to last, I suspect it will end up being squeezed from both ends - but that's idle speculation, and I think we should probably wait at least a few months before we try to decide if full-frame is in the ascendancy or consigned to a niche.
  14. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    Thats an interesting theory and one which, if it came to pass would quite possibly help to secure the long term future of the 4/3rds concept by removing the middle ground. Personally I wouldn't bet on the demise of APS-C myself but you never can tell.
  15. Bone_Idle

    Bone_Idle Well-Known Member

    I bet people considered the Olympus OM system too small to start with, but it was certainly popular.
  16. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    I suspect that technological advances in the methods used to produce CCDs etc, are holding up the manufacture of more densely-packed sensors, but does anyone here know how sensors are made? Is a chemical etching system used, as on DIY circuit boards, or is some form of cutting by a laser employed?

    There was a couple of Pdf files posted on a thread about a 52Mp CCD developed by Canon, but they no longer seem to open up, so I am unable to read these.
  17. zuiko

    zuiko Well-Known Member

    The ratio 4:3 is a pleasing format to look at. Printed and framed i think it looks better on a wall than a full frame print from a 35mm. I have had a few exhibitions and i prefer 4:3 over the letterbox look.

  18. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    LOL :D

    How do you arrive at that conclusion?

    Traditionally 16x12 fits the 4/3ratio as does 9x12. With regard to homeprinting at A4 or A3 neither APS-C or 4/3rds fit without cropping.
  19. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Not quite sure how you come to that conclusion. APS failed to make any significant headway into the SLR market, possibly because the OEMs didn't seem to show much enthusiasm and their offerings were not outstanding, but mostly I believe because the format was too limited in size and versatility (home processing anyone?) compared to 35mm. APS made headway into the compact market but until digiboxes effectively wiped out the market there was just as good a choice of 35mm compacts as APS...

    As for digital the APS-C format is popular because at the current stage of technology it remains cheaper to make APS chips than 35mm ones. Nonetheless remember the EOS 5D has a higher pixel count than the original 1Ds, probably better noise performance and more significantly is about 1/3rd the price of the older model. What odds on the 5D's replacement being the first sub £1000 full framer...
  20. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    I may be wrong but isn't the OP referring to APS and 35mm format Digital?


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