Leica could have some competition at some point in the not-too-distant future. An article just out on Amateur Photographer's website, posted under the rubric "Live from Photokina," begins:
Hiroshi Kawahara, operations manager at Fuji's product planning unit, said engineers are looking into the viability of a camera with a 35mm-size imaging sensor.
He makes some interesting comments about the camera size preferences of different countries, too.
(Thanks to Jeffrey Goggin / hat tip to Fuji Rumors)
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Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Matt: "I'm not sure I see the advantage to full-frame in a mirrorless camera. There's no need to tie the viewfinder size to the mirror size, as in an SLR. All the major camera companies have excellent APS-C sensors (whether homemade or outsourced). The minor depth-of-field loss can be compensated by making faster lenses, which is easier on a smaller sensor. Full-frame sensors do tend to be better than APS-C sensors made with same generation CMOS technology in low light, but not significantly better. Am I missing a key technical point, aside from the above, that makes full-frame worth the additional cost, lens size, and lens weight in a mirrorless camera?"
Mike replies: You're not missing anything as far as I can tell; I agree with you. To me, the three biggest advantages of full frame are as follows, in order:
- Restores larger, higher-magnification viewfinders in DSLRs similar to 35mm SLR viewfinders;
- Restores legacy 35mm focal lengths to their accustomed angles of view (important for wide-angle lenses);
- A little better quality in some shooting circumstances (not necessarily all) if you're making large, high-quality prints.
You can flip the last one to the top in importance if making large prints is extremely important to you and/or your business.
And obviously #1 and #2 aren't pertinent to a mirrorles CSC that don't take legacy lenses.
I'm sure when the RX1 is launched, some site somewhere will do a detailed comparison of the IQ of the RX1 (full frame and 35mm ƒ/2 lens) and the NEX-7 with the 24mm (36mm-e) ƒ/1.8 lens. They'll have the same number of pixels and lenses of essentially the same focal length and speed (the difference between ƒ/1.8 and ƒ/2 is barely detectable or not detectable in practice). And the sensors will be from the same maker (Sony) even though the time-frame of design and fabrication will be a little different. Could be interesting.
Featured Comment by Rodolpho Canet: "Even inside Panasonic they're talking now about a FF mirrorless."
Featured Comment by Hugh Crawford: "Fuji 'full frame'? That would be 6x7cm, right?"