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Thursday, 03 January 2008

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A rumor is only as good as, "The check is in the mail".
It's being shipped, "I have the check"
I have the camera in my hands and it works better then advertised, "the check cleared and the money was spent on the camera".

There will be many great cameras coming down the pike, I think we are at the 95% point in image quality for 35MM or the smaller 1.6 size. It's time to start making reasonably priced lenses that match the quality of the cameras.

Just to many to keep track of at this point--It's almost time for an exorcist to stop my head from spinning.
I'v stuck with the same camera system for the last 30 years, it doesn't always have ever thing I'd like in a camera but it does have everything I need to take great photos.
I hope everyone's dreams are granted, just remember it's not just the camera but the system and company behind it.
Have a great photo New Year.

The Pentax rumours seem to be very strong and there are some quite reliable reports of those who have had a K20D in their hands. It seems that it will not have a Sony Sensor, but a Pentax designed, probably Samsung manufactured, 14mp CMOS. Supposedly, Samsung will also be announcing a rebadged K20D, just as they have for the K10D. The body is supposed to be more or less the same as the K10D, but with LiveView, better SR and some other niceties. Same frame rate I believe. I believe these go well past being rumours.

Also, a K200D is supposed to replace the K100D. Similar body and features, but the 10mp Sony sensor.

The M9 will have the new Kodak panchromatic sensor. But not introduced until fall and shipping in 2009.
They won't use us as beta testers this time. The panchromatic pixels are less IR sensitive so the famous need for filters on the M8 will not be needed.

TOP will change it's name to GOP. No, not The Grand Old Party.

Mike is in secret talks with a certain Co. to merge and create a partnership that will change the face of 'Photography" on the web as we now know it.

Stay tuned!

I'm saving your point and shoot post. I am well known in my little community for always being seen with ~10 pounds of cameras and lenses hanging off of me so naturally people ask me what kind of p&s camera they should get. Drives me nuts because I've owned two (a Canon elph which I passed on to my mother-in-law and some little Sony which I bought in Las Vegas because I thought I could go on a trip without a camera and it turns out I couldn't) and they both sucked. I usually explain that they all have their limitations but now I'm just going to direct them to your post.

Rumors...right?

Fuji GA 645 D:
Based, loosely, on the Fuji GA 645 series medium format rangefinder cameras, this camera features a FULL-FRAME 6x4.5 (55mm x 43mm) 48 megapixel SuperCCD SR sensor (24 million S pixels, 24 million R pixels). With 16 bit A/D converter and advanced processing, 10 full stops of dynamic range are captured.

ISO range from 200 to 6400. With no discernable noise through 3200 speed and barely perceptible noise at 6400. Has 8 pre-programmed film simulation modes and 4 programable settings.

The fixed four position zoom 45mm, 55mm, 80mm and 120mm (35mm equivalent: 28mm f4, 35mm f4.2, 50mm f4.8 and 75mm f5.6) is crisp and sharp "wide open" at all settings with no discernable chromatic aberation and limited easily correctable distortions at the extremes.

The autofocus is much improved over the GA645 series - very fast and very sharp (beyond the resolution of the sensor).

Shooting speed of 3 frames per second until buffer fills with 1.5 frames per second thereafter. Buffer depth is 10 frames.

RAW image size is 100MB. Uses compact flash.

Features lithium-ion battery with 500-700 shot capacity.

Target audience: Landscape photographers, street shooters with desire for ultimate image quality, studio shooters.

Price: $9,000

From what I've heard, FPS will be higher in the K20D as well. It has been mentioned by people with inside contacts that they came up with an "ingenious" solution for the high frame rate.

It will also have a PC-sync flash connector.

And the big buzz is the mysterious 14MP CMOS Pentax sensor, which is reported by the same "insiders" as having less noise than the actual 10Mp Sony sensor in the K10D.

I sincerely hope that Leica doesn't cut it's own throat by deciding to go 4/3rds for it's entry level DSLR lineup.

I don't see any future in this format. It has the smallest surface area of any DSLR. As the megapixel count goes up, the individual receptor size will continue to shrink. Small receptors mean more noise and less dynamic range. At the very least Leica should go for a x1.3 chip or x1.5. The whole industry is moving to bigger chips. Why on earth would Leica want to lock itself into the smallest sensor format on the market, short of a point and shoot?

4/3rds was conceived back when some people thought that it would be impossible to mass produce sensors even at APS size, at a reasonable cost. Of course that hasn't come true and neither has the promise that 4/3rds cameras would enjoy a smaller form factor. You can't really make a SLR much smaller than something like the APS chipped Nikon D40 and corresponding Pentax/Canon bodies and still hold it comfortably as an adult.


Jeff,
C'mon. Is that a "rumor," or is it more in the category of "fantasy"?

Mike J.

Wait...I forgot wedding photographer as another key user group.

Would it be less of a "fantasy" if it were reduced frame (1.1 factor like Phase One backs), had only 3 focal length positions (50mm, 70mm and 80mm the reduced frame equivalents of the GA645Zi), top ISO of 3200 and a price tag of $12000.

(The sensor megapixel count is not unrealistic. Basically a 24 megapixel medium format camera - with extended dynamic range.)

The idea I am proposing here is that there needs to be a new type of product in the professional arena. Currently, there are full-frame SLRs and "studio only" medium format cameras.

Fuji is not a 35mm format player. However, they did have very decent medium format products. If they could link up their medium format with sensor production, as suggested above, it would shake up the market.

Anything different is good.

I heard that we will have a new president before the end of Jan 09.

Feli,

I 100% agree with your comments on the 4/3rds system.

Jeff Kott
San Francisco

To Ken
The reason for Hasselblad's private little room could be because Canon told them so...

There was this rumour of Leica working on 24 new lenses. Supposedly hinted by Dr. Andreas Kaufman in an unspecified place. Some are R, some M, while the rest was for an unknown mount. Leica supposedly announced the PMA to be the coming out party for M9, R-10 and "maybe Model X". It was said to be the exact phrase Leica used.

So it seems they are resurrecting their R line of cameras. Whether that will be the E-3 based body or the Model X will be lEica-3, I have no idea. Some even think that Model X might be a 4/3 rangefinder.

As to 4/3, yeah, it will die out soon, everybody will switch to 35mm sensors. Film at eleven. Yawn...

Those of us who actually shoot with a 4/3rds camera understand the difference between all the theoretical yip-yap that emerges from camera test labs, and the reality that emerges from our printers.

My opinion is no more valuable than anyone else's, but I'm with John Roberts on this one. The difference in size between the APS-C and 4/3rds sensors is relatively trivial, and the comments about 4/3rds being inadequate seem to willfully ignore the steady and significant gains in sensor technology that we've witnessed over the past ten years.

When people argue, as they sometimes do, that tiny digicam sensors are gaining on APS-C and getting better and better and are almost good enough, the missing real estate on a 4/3rds sensor doesn't loom very large. Maybe bigger will always be better in a direct, technical comparison, but consider the time dimension too...all sizes are getting impressively better relative to their predecessors as time goes by. The point of sufficiency for most users has probably already arrived for both APS-C and 4/3rds, and yet things are going to continue to improve.

Mike J.

feli, your points about the 4/3rds format have a lot going for them - except the camera size. To a not insignificant degree, this trend with big bodies is a fad as much as anything else. People didn't have problems with the size of the Pentax ME Super, for example, even though it is significantly smaller than anything out there now. And several million P&S users - and a cadre of Leica users - seem quite comfortable using their cameras despite them also being smaller than most DSLRs our there.

There are quite a lot of people that would wish for a DSLR body more like the ME Super in size and format, rather than continuing the trend toward bodies in need of their own wheeled supports in order to carry around comfortably.

I see the upgrade of the K100D as a mixed bag; one of the strongest points of the K100D is the excellent low-light capability and that is thrown away with the sensor switch (the 10mp Sony sensor rather than the 6mp one was one of the cons when I compared the K10D and K100D before buying). On the other hand, the resolution increase will undoubtedly help sell cameras.

This is not a rumour, but more of a rant that after so many years, no camera company has produced what I really want (told you tis's a rant! :)) in a camera. Well, actually 2 cameras:

1) A small (no compulsory hand grip) pro body SLR, weather sealed, rugged, 3fps (enough for me), responsive (short mirror blackout, short shutter lag), fast auto focusing with clean ISO capability up to 6400 at least. And oh, 35mm sized sensor, of course! And a system of fast quality prime lenses.

Oly comes close with the E3, but it's 4/3s (alas!), with none of the unreal ISO performance I'm so used to with my 5D. And where are those fast primes?

Speaking of 5D, it could have been IT if it is more rugged and more responsive - truth be told, it felt like I was using a D30 sometimes (remember that first affordable DLSR?) with a full framed sensor compared to my EOS 1v which I sold in a moment of foolishness.

Speaking of the EOS 1v, that's exactly what's needed - a digital version. Or a Nikon F6 in digital form.

The new Nikon D3 intrigues me greatly though I'm a Canon user - except for the built in handgrip, it actually meets all other requirements. I might actually switch and wait patiently for Nikon to release some new AFS short primes.

2) A digital version of my Leica M6. No, the M8 in its current incarnation doesn't cut it (yes I've tried it many times). I have a slew of Leica lenses just waiting for that perfect full frame digital M with updated electronics where I can actually preview the image I just shot, not the previous one, no hang ups, overnight battery draining procedures, emotional support on Leica forums, mandatory IR cut filters for every lens for color photography, lens coding and what nots.

Heck, using a Leica was supposed to be simple.

4/3 needs to be bleeding edge when it comes to live view ... when a decent viewfinder requires that the camera be a big hulking beast (E-3) the benefits of a smaller sensor are hard to see (they aren't readily apparent in the size/bulk/price of wide to short tele lenses, and the faster lenses are offset by noise & DOF characteristics of the smaller sensor anyway). Shooting 10-12MP with a 400mm lens that gives you the FOV of an 800mm lens is pretty cool. (Though it can be duplicated on APS-C with a 500mm lens). Having a small camera with a truly usable and beneficial (mirrorless, shutterless) live view might finally argue in favor of the smaller sensor.

A rumor I would like ...

Leica introducing not only a full-frame digital M9, but also a digital version of the old Leica CL. It used M lenses and was very compact. See photos here:
http://www.cameraquest.com/leicacl.htm
Such a beautiful looking camera, like a mini M!

I understand that camera companies make more money on lenses than camera bodies. What better way to get photographers to buy more M-mount lenses than to introduce a less expensive M-mount digital RF camera? Leica should offer several digital RFs in the M mount, at different price points and with different features. A basic mini model like a digital CL, a standard model like the M8, and an full-frame high-megapixel ultra M9.

So, imagine a digital CL. About the same size and shape as the original, but with an LCD on the back. No removable back, please; just a door for the CF card and battery. Perhaps 10 or so megapixels. Great at ISO 1600. A 1.3X crop factor if necessary. No 4/3 lenses please, only M mount.

Posted by Mike: "Maybe bigger will always be better in a direct, technical comparison, but consider the time dimension too...all sizes are getting impressively better relative to their predecessors as time goes by."

Completely agree with you on this point regarding DSLRs. But, since purchasing a Canon G9 in October, I've come to the conclusion with the manufacturers getting caught up in a meaningless race of jamming ever and ever more pixels on small digicam-sized sensors, digital point and shoot image quality has now turned the corner, and is now *worse* than it was when they were 4-6 megapixel sensors. So, ironically enough, while I disagreed with you in your article last May about how bad P&S's are (when I was using my 4 megapixel Canon S45 as a frame of reference), I now agree with you that the image quality from P&S digicams is crap.

And what better to point out this exact situation than your recent article on how the little 6.3 megapixel SuperCCD Fuji F30 and F31's are now commanding notably higher prices on the used market than they did new! And why? Because photographers have figured there is more to image quality than pixel count.

Talk about irony.

I first heard the Canon MF rumour over a year ago, & I think it to be credible, but I'm not sure if Canon will ever decide to produce the camera. The link below suggests the project is dead, well for the time being.

http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/canon_medium_format_2ff.html

Well, I heard the rumor about Canon building a medium-format camera in the 1980s and 1990s, too. Although at that time it was to be a film camera. Even saw pictures of it.

Some things don't change....

Mike J.

"The difference in size between the APS-C and 4/3rds sensors is relatively trivial, and the comments about 4/3rds being inadequate seem to willfully ignore the steady and significant gains in sensor technology that we've witnessed over the past ten years."

Now you've reminded me...

While we are at sensors, there's something that's not quite a rumour or that's more than a rumour, depending on how you look at it.

Panasonic patented a new sensor technology similar to what Nikon has on the D3 sensor. The difference is, Panasonic's sensor uses two additional colours beside the usual RGB stuff. They registered the patent in April 2007 in Japan, and in the late September or very early October 2007 in the States. Don't remember the exact time, but it was just before the official announcement of E-3's specs. The new sensor is supposed to provide both higher resolution and lower noise.

BTW, Mike, Olympus does work on primes. I had it from an official source that now they released E-3 they will concentrate more on the primes their users are clamouring for.

Regarding 4/3, I bought into this system when I went digital but I worry about its future. Not because of any of the technical arguments above, which, while apt, are probably irrelevant.

We live in a marketing age where bigger aways seems to be better, whether we need it or not. Witness the cars we drive. We don't need those behemoths but we buy them.

It's the same for DSLR's. If Canon, for example, were to go to the same pixel size as the E-3 for their APS-C sized sensors, they would achieve 15 Mpixels versus 10 for the E-3. No matter what any of us may say, 15 will always be better than 10. End of story. And probably the end of 4/3. It will no doubt be a slow and painful death.

RobertP,

Isn't it funny how we tend toward conformity even when it is not required. What programming is there out there that's producing this, I wonder.

I like Mike's phrase above ("point of sufficiency"). For years, 35 mm film was perfectly fine for producing prints on our walls, so you'd think we'd be happy(ier) now that virtually all the digital systems outperform that baseline. Oly went their own way, did a good job, but for some reason that seems to bother people. What possible difference can it make to most people that their sensor is a few millimeters smaller than someone else's? It's like choosing a car because of a 7500 rpm redline vs. a competitor's 6500 rpm. Why would anyone sane worry about such a thing unless you plan to race the car at a track?

I think this stuff is all a sideshow to extract money from our pockets. I am forever amazed that it works so well in a culture that presumes consumer awareness.

I don't see any need to worry about the future of 4/3's. There are several major corporations making investments in it. The product works fine, the price points are good, and they are widely available. If it does fail, it will only be because of psychological factors, but I guess that's happened before. Perversely, that's why I recently bought an E-1. I know it's outclassed by other models, but it does everything I need and I only paid $300 for it, 2nd hand. The most attractive thing about the system for me is the availability of the small E-410 and the tiny 14-42 zoom. Probably as close as I can get to my old MX these days. And to top things off, they feel good in the hand.

Weird world, ain't it?

This one seems a little out there, but there is a rumour that the upcoming Pentax body will feature an LCD panel in the viewfinder that can be flipped into place somehow to chimp or 'live view' without taking one's eye off the viewfinder. This wouldn't of course replace the optical viewfinder.

If (and it's a huge if) this could be implemented effectively and unobtrusively, I for one would welcome my new Hoya overlords.

[email protected] said the K20D will have x1.25 crop...but what about the existing DA-Lenses. Is there "room" for this "extra-information"? Does anybody know?

Talking about fast primes in 4/3, i'm looking forward to a SMC-DA* 2/16mm and SMC-DA* 2/25mm for Pentax APS-C ;-)

...by all the talking & rumouring don't forget your analogues and go and try out the new Kodak T-Max 400 :-)

...happy new year & happy shooting
XebastYan, Freiburg (Black Forrest)

We know Phase One and Mamiya will present a new MF system.
They said an European lens manufacturer will join the platform.
Leica tried to buy Sinar.
This is fantasy: Leica designing MF lenses.

K20D sensor@ 1.25x or 1.33x is BS.

Oh and K200D will habe better noise control than K10D ;)

>The difference in size between the APS-C and 4/3rds sensors is >relatively trivial, and the comments about 4/3rds being >inadequate seem to willfully ignore the steady and significant >gains in sensor technology that we've witnessed over the past >ten years. etc etc.

Yes, Mike, but the same advances in technology that may increase the future performance of 4/3rds, will also increase the performance of APS and FF. A PEN half frame will never perform as good as a OM series camera, if they are using the same emulsion.

If Fuji was part of the original 4/3s group, why not a 4/3s Super CCD SR? Now that would be interesting.

The problem with this "4/3rd is doomed" thinking and "other advances go in other formats" is that at what point we have enough mega pixels? Computationally requirements go to the square, not linearly like in a way what they are doing. When you can print 24''x32''s, who cares. There are many ways to skin a cat.

For dynamic range for example, Olympus submitted a very interesting patent last year that would circumvent the little problem Fuji currently has with the SR sensor, by expanding DR dramatically without having to sacrifice resolution. This is going to show up soon- probably a next E-3 within 3 years. And its' a patent- so you just can't have the other "just do it."

This whole "4/3rds is bad" is quite the broken record by now. If anything the system looks as alive as ever.

As for "not realized the small size" I guess you haven't seen the e-410. The smallest DSLR in the world, an honor shared with *gasp* the other 4/3rds e-400. The D40 is not as small and has some limitations what lenses you can use- the 4/3rds e-410 can use from the very nice dual kit lens it comes in some boxes all the way up to the very expensive/ high end 4/3rds F2.8 600mm equivalent focal length lenses.

Also if you want high quality ultra wide angle, unless you go full frame, you can't get it on APS-C.

Finally the surface area of 4/3rds is very very close to APS-C so really, I wonder if those who doom 4/3rds for the size even bothered to check the real life size difference.

Yawn really, time to move on on that critique.

John, I would sure love a SuperCCD SR 4/3rds camera.. I wonder what Fuji is waiting for since they have to normally use that Canon body. I wonder if the issue is Olympus not considering their sensor for cameras.

I think that would rock.

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