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Tuesday, 26 June 2018


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Single-shot?? Hey, that’s commitment!

I’m amazed that something so lightly built can hold the lens aligned with sufficient accuracy.

Ehhhh, I'll take a used Porsche Cayman and an M10.

I've been aware of this project for years. A 12 megapixel sensor has always impressed me as making the entire concept absurd. If one finds the look of certain large format lenses attractive and desires a digital file, readily available 8x10 cameras, a Jobo CPP-3 and Epson V850 can combine to translate those images into TIFFs of substantially greater quality. Even at today's cost for 8x10 film, it would take quite some time to come within shouting distance of $106k. Oh well, to each her/his own.

$106k? So if I sell the house...hmm. I'll need bring this possibility to my wife's attention. Pretty sure she'll go for it.

The trouble is, I don't think such a camera would actually scratch anyone's itch for large format, because aside from the ability to use movements, it really doesn't have many of the advantages of film.

It has no colour filter array, so unless you fancy reproducing the 'three colour separation' process of the 1800s photographic science pioneers, it limits its utility.

Furthermore, resolution potential is still regarded as one of the greatest strengths of large format film, with its proponents claiming >100 MP resolution. This only has 12MP.

Perhaps a $500 Nikon D700 and a tilt-shift lens would be more sensible?

If I was very rich I would buy this simply so I could say that I spent over $100,000 on a 12 megapixel camera, in 2018. Yes, really.

(I know MP don't really count for much, of course.)

This camera was announced about two months ago; it got a fair bit of press at that time.

A niche product to be sure; not sure where the value proposition is for a camera at this price.

Some comments from DPR Science Editor Rishi Sanyal may be of interest:

What it does offer is the tilting, shifting and swinging ability large format cameras are known for, and if you can give the sensor enough light, the entire image has the potential for greater 'tonality' because the lower relative shot noise will yield very high signal-to-noise ratio for most tones. That makes the image more amenable to extreme sharpening without accentuating noise. That said, beyond a certain signal-to-noise ratio, tones are already clean enough - particularly with modern full-frame or medium format cameras - that it likely doesn't matter.

Can't wait for the price on the used market to come down to a modest $60 or $70K . . .heehee.

Keep buying those Lotto tickets . . . something's sure to come unstuck.

Actually, you buried the lede. The computer you need to process the images resulting from this camera costs $550k, requires half the water in the Connecticut River to cool its jets, and needs a solar field the size of a small town to power its processor. Anyone see Babe the Blue Ox around here?

So, 12mp on 9x11. Why I could take pictures with an Apo-Ronar 600 that would have only ONE pixel in sharp focus, and then look inside my camera and see the very pixel that did that. That must be worth $100,000.

Would you really see the benefit of the sensor size with so few pixels?

I wrote up this article many years ago for fun:

Build a View Camera with your Canon 5D

This is my way of getting a view camera without having to sell the house (but still using money though). :-)

Is that a Fuji Soft Focus lens with strainer I see mounted on the front of that beast?

Only 30K more and you can own a 2018 real wheel drive, normally aspirated Audi A8. Top speed of 199mph and room for a carry-on bag in the trunk.

Strikes me as much more practical...

Okay, as an old LF guy I was curious enough to download the DNG sample and play with it in Photoshop. It makes a nice file but at $106K and only 12 MPs I'll wager my EOS M3 could do better. The selling point seems to be the idea that larger pixels on the sensor can more accurately represent the light falling on each pixel and thus give better tones. I buy the bigger pixels are better argument to a point but I personally believe that above MF we are in 'diminishing returns' territory. At 300pixels per inch that image can be printed 10.26 x 12.96 inches. Big deal. Is it noticeably superior to an image from an APSC sensor? Not in my opinion and certainly not 100 times better than I paid for my M3. If you are more into the meticulous examination of each pixel rather than the content of the image, then go for it. A digital Mamiya 6 is as far as my digital fantasies go.

The answer to a question no one (or practically no one) asked.

I do believe it would be fun to take a 4x5 field camera with its lens, take a film holder, adapt it to hold a dslr body and make it work. That would be more fun in my mind.

I'm curious how they fab that sensor. A 9x11 inch sensor would have a diagonal of 360mm plus or minus. To my knowledge, the largest silicon wafers in use today are 300mm in diameter.

Their portraits of the Civil War reenactors are amazing:

This is what the evolution of photography would look like had roll film never been invented.

It is interesting and puzzling at the same time.
I would be surprised if it comes to fruition.

12MP 14 bit files, has to be used as a 3 shot camera with color separation filters to get color, no back movements, choice of monorail rather than a sturdy flat bed, and emphasis on B&W Video, 50 pounds without lens or tripod,AC power required.

At 360 PPI its prints would be smaller than the 9x11 "contact" size.
I suspect it is a Monochrome Astronomy sensor.

I own a Sinar F2 and while it is a nice little film camera , it is far more 'flexible' than a digital sensor would require,- especially with a 18"-24" lens on it.
I wish them luck but it is hard to figure out who who would want one. Especially when a 100MP Phase One with a T/S Schneider lens is Cheaper !

MEH. If you want a digital view camera, mount a flatbed scanner behind a Schneider 90. Tape a heavy garbage bag or something to block out light. It will take about a minute to capture a high quality image, just like god intended.

WHY ? You can set yourself up with a 4x5 or an 8x10 film camera with 3 lenses and have enough money left over to go on some massive photo vacations all over the world for the next 20 years. We need to stop drinking the Kool Aid, why do we even entertain digital systems made for billionaires.

A number of DIYers have attached flatbed scanners to various bellows and lenses over the years.

I believe Canon LIDE scanners were preferred for their modest size and light weight.

8x10" @ 1,200 dpi is 115 MP.

I don't really recall the quality of the results. I suspect it was more the potential than progress to date that interested me back when.

The first digital camera was prototyped by Kodak's Steven Sasson. It was the size of a toaster, had a 1000-pixel sensor (100x100), and took 23 seconds to record the image on cassette tape. 43 years later, look where we are. Problem is, I don't have 43 more years to wait for this to turn into something useful, practical, and affordable.

Yeah, Kodak didn't want it, either.

Does it come with cup holders?

Nice camera, but I can't attach a wrist strap to it so no deal.

If you look closely at the lens and its internal aperture disk, you'll see that this 8x10 digital view camera is mounting a Fujinon soft focus lens.

I'm not sure that the lens can fully use all 12 MP .

My respect for those people who don’t own a car.

Hmm, hard to see how this becomes a commercially successful product. Extreme cost. Not sufficient resolution or capabilities to come close to being useful for institutional applications. It's just a hobby-horse curiosity, perhaps the result of an alcohol-soaked challenge one evening.

Me? Pfft. I'd much rather ride around with Maggie with her Porsche and M10!

Try as I may, I can't think of a single photo project that I would use this camera for that I couldn't do with a 4x5 Sinar P and a BetterLight back... and the Sinar P would be easier to operate.

Cannon has come up with a 200mm by 200mm sensor that is being used on a telescope. That is 7.87 x 7.87 inches. Now if, and that is a big if, Cannon were to change the size of the sensor to say 102mm x 127mm (4x5 inches) and get it to slide into a grapflex back, like on my Calumet monorail, then I would be a very happy camper. Depending on whether or not I win tonight's Lotto. ;-)

Maggie, I'm with you and it could even be a Cayman GT4 and an M10.Or maybe there is another more subtle reason it is called a 911?

Er ... Why?

I want it, but I’d never get around to using it.

size matters...kind of

Camera used - Sinar P 4x5 system;
Lens - Wollensak Velostigmat Series II 12";
Custom scanning digital back - based on Nikon D700;
The actual 'sensor' size is approximately 3.5"x2.8" (6320 sq mm); it is smaller than the camera 4"x5" ground glass size, but it still has more than twice the area of a medium format image;
System cost - around $1000.

Just because something can be done doesn't necessarily mean that it should be done.

Mind you, I love cameras with movements and the 8x10 format as much as anybody -- I still have a Toyo 810G in the back of my hall closet! -- but sometimes you have to draw the line and stop before things turn completely silly.

Jack, I suspect the sensor is many chip dies set edge-to-edge. That's probably one of the limits of the resolution, having the space for those splices.

I think even some of the medium format sensors are a matrix of four dies.

I love the industrial look of the body -- just like it was made in one's garage workshop. Priced by P.T. Barnum.

Whenever I have been bit by the urge to make a huge digital image, I have always slouched towards GigaPan's products (not that I have ever used one). B&H has 'em here, for instance:


Think of your FF Pentax/Sony/Nikon/Canon chip as a 36th or so of the solution . . .

OMG! 75 micron pixels are about 140 times the size of the pixels on a good old fashioned CCD so they should hold 140 times as many electrons. This sucker should provide something like 22 stops of dynamic range, not 14 to 16! It might be appropriate for a modern Timothy O'Sullivan to use out on the alkali salt flats. Maybe that is why the photos of Civil Wr re-enactors look just right.

I can see why the sensor uses up a single silicon wafer for just 12 MPx. A defect (wafers today have less than a dozen, I hear) would be swallowed up in the deep pools of those pixels.

Reading these comments is way more fun than the article (though interesting) itself.

I was only kidding . . .

Lemme see, do some solid stitch work with massive variety of prime lenses to use.....save $103k and ........what was the point again!?

This has been known about and available for years now. The guy was/is well-off and had the sensor custom fabbed, and had about 2-4 of them done. He did it because he was a huge user of polaroid 55, for proofing, and when it was discontinued, decided he needed an alternative. Thus, this camera/sensor.

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