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What do we want to see in the next generation of digital backs and MF cameras?

Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
Firmware:

+ Auto perspective control preview like in the Leica M and SL series – allows you to do architectural photography by just walking around and framing free-hand; very useful
+ LCC button on the display besides shutter button very small to quickly do an exposure two stops below the standard exposure to correct for the LCC plate
+ In-camera LCC presets at standard shift and aperture distances, user selectable
+ Focus and zoom when operating manual lenses – ie when you turn the focusing ring on the Rodie HR it zooms to 100% so you can quickly check focus – like the Leica M lenses on the SL
+ Better HDMI implementation
+ In a new IQ5 bluetooth for alternate remote triggering or using thumb triggers on third party tech cams
+ EVF functionality
+ Video in raw and log
 

cunim

Well-known member
I wonder if some of it is practice. I was able to nail focus with a GFX 50R, which doesn't have a great LCD. The trick was to realize what "in focus" looked like on the screen (because it didn't look particularly in focus some times). The 100S is a bit better. Apparently the 100 and 100 II had better screens (but I've never seen that for myself).
Much as I like the Fuji EVF, it is not as good at nailing focus as the IQ back. I keep wanting a higher zoom factor with the Fuji, but not available. As @vjbelle says, the IQ screen is great - until it isn't because ambient light washes it out. The two benefits of the Fuji EVF are: a) isolation from ambient light which improves both focus and composition; b) using the EVF on the flex holder minimises having to squat down if the camera is below chest level. Bending is not a big deal for you youngsters but creaky knees are coming for you too.

I have tried shields and loupes but they are such a PITA that I end up just taking the Fuji, even though I prefer the IQ. The answer for an IQ lover like me is an EVF accessory. It would make shooting the IQ5 in the field more like shooting tethered. I would buy an upgrade, just for that.

I also second @Paul Spinnler's request for an external trigger port that isn't occupied by the X shutter, Little thing, but it can really mess up your work flow to lose a remote trigger because your X shutter is hogging the back.
 
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f6cvalkyrie

Well-known member
As an Olympus user, I have come to appreciate the fully tiltable LCD on the back of the camera ...
An implementation of a high res, fully tiltable OLED screen on the next gen digital backs would greatly improve the usability of the camera, especially in the field where low viewpoints are frequent ...

Lord, have merci with our aging backs and knees ...
 
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Paul Spinnler

Well-known member
1705667830907.jpeg

it could be so easy – just a little EVF accessory to be mounted on the back ... so you don't need cabling. Pls. P1.

The TC has become my favorite camera as of late – compactness furthers opportunity to take pictures – so anything which improves that in the sense of an EVF would be killer.

Then you add the HPF rings and you can, via the little shift sticks, super easily focus with the middle fingers. Its really amazing for walkaround.
 
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jduncan

Active member
People here seem to know what they want in a next-gen camera, so I am hoping we can put some thoughts down in one place where they are easy to find. I will make a few comments to get things rolling but I am not particularly well qualified to do that. I spent much of my professional life developing systems for quantitative imaging, but my knowledge of photography is that of a simple hobbyist.

1. Sensor improvements.
This is entirely dependent upon what the sensor manufacturers do. If Sony or someone else comes up with an improved sensor, it will be in our next cameras. If not, what we already have is pretty good. We are always looking for more dynamic range but that is difficult to engineer. DxO provides extensive measurements of DR for various cameras (thanks @dchew for the citation) and things don't seem to change much year-to year. Readout can be multiplexed to extend range - sort of a built in bracketing and HDR re composition - and maybe we can do more with that. The traditional approaches to high DR (slower readout, active cooling) are not very relevant to portable devices. Once you get beyond a certain level of task difficulty (e.g a true 14 stops of DR), it is not the sensor that is the primary practical limitation. It is various forms of flare.

2. Coded functions and UI. If you can't be better, improve user access to what you already have These are what will really sell the new cameras to me.
a. Frame averaging is the single easiest way to improve SNR. Some cameras already offer it (eg IQ4) but it is clumsy. Make it easier to use. Now, P1 make you go into a special mode that must be set up each time. Instead, we should be able to siimply turn on averaging and the system will use that mode until it is turned off. It would be like switching ISO or exposure compensation. Set it and the rest of the user interface remains the same.
b. Improve computer integration. Tethering should present the user with the same set of functions and user interface as they camera uses. Is there some reason we have to set up some functions withing the back and others on the computer? Silly. When you are tethered, the back should vanish and we deal entirely with the computer.
c. User manipulation of the input response function. Scientific cameras can be set to respond optimally (with greater precision) within a part of the input flux range. Film also does this in that it compresses response as the silver saturates. Our CCD and CMOS sensors, in contrast, are linear. You may want to optimise camera response for deep shadows or highlights. and now that involves various strategies that combine actions in camera and in post. Give us better ability to tune in-camera response in the field. For example, select film-type response, linear, shadow+, run 'n gun etc. from a menu. In each case, the system would would optimise itself by adjusting bit depth, selecting readout speed and so forth. Stuff like this is already going on (looking at you Fuji) but users have no real control over it. Provide a UI for it and make it into a feature.
c. The big one. We need better focusing. Improve our ability to compose and to maximise our keeper proportion. The 100 and 150 MP Sony sensors are already at the limit of my ability to achieve critical focus with any viewing method I have. We may stuff more pixels into the same space (not really recommended) but we will be unable to take advantage of that density without better ways of achieving critical focus. Above all, we need focusing displays that are not useless in sunlight and that make the task easier for older eyes. After all, it is the established professionals and hobbyists that have the funds for new MF cameras. Many of these people are not eagle-eyed 20-somethings. We are talkin' next gen EVFs here. They exist. Interfacing needed.

Now I have to mention the one that we are all wistful about - a larger version of MF. Like other sensor improvements, this is not up to the camera companies. Someone in the senosr industry must see a major market for a larger sensor. When (if) that happens we will be here for it. The market is ready for smaller MF sensors and camera manufacturers are serving that end of things well. A different market segment is ready for a bigger sensor. I don't need to go into the benefits of larger format digital. Point is, the tech is doable for the chip folks (but challenging) and there are industrial, institutional and advanced professional clients willing to pay for cameras that use it. How big a sensor? I would say 250 MP over a full 6 x 9 format would do nicely and, with those fat pixels, we'd see a resurrection of lens manufacturing as the old designs get refreshed and reissued. This is the grail.

OK, that's enough from me.

Hi,

Crazy idea but one never knows:
Multichip capturing device, merge using computing power. The sensors that are being used in MF cameras have many issues:
1. The big ones, like the H6D or the Phase One require extra exposures just for the area in most common lithography processes.
2. They are big increasing costs (number of chips per wafer, more chips with defects).
3. They are very low volume. Unless some other large volume appears it's difficult to justify massive investment for improvements.
4. The camera market continues to diminish, which could be good for Fuji, Phase One and Hasselblad if they gain market share based on differentiation, but it wont be good in the mid to long run.
5. They have fantastic image quality but they are "old technology" Some people are expecting a 100mp sensor from Canon anytime soon.

And the list goes on. The crazy idea is to use multiple chips (crop) to produce a 48 x 36 mm "sensor" or a 72 x 48mm one. That will require new lenses and a new software platform.
The sensor's effective area will be a little less and the bonding will be a major, complex problem.

*Who could pull it:*
1. Canon, but I don't see them doing it.
2. Phase One, if they have the capital: Phase One lovers will pay whatever and they are going to defend the company, saying that it's a true sensor or something.
3. Hasselblad: DJI does have the technology, the software expertise, and the cloud to pull it out, Hasselblad will be criticized, the P1 machine will claim that the chip is inferior and cheating etc. On the other hand, it seems Hasselblad is starting to do well, so maybe introducing a full-frame camera is a better idea for them.
4. Sony, but I don't see them doing it unless they are forced by Canon.

As I say it's crazy but it will solve MF sensor issues forever. If Sony continues to invest in MF sensors we will not need any shenanigans.

The other option is for all the MF vendors to try to persuade Samsung if Sony drops the ball.

Best regards.
 

jduncan

Active member
Global shutter (before anyone shoots me down on this, I mean when the quality is not compromised) is the big on for me. I reckon that would also allow for some tricky frame averaging/exposure + type approaches to be implemented that help improve DR too.

And as to 2. Coded functions and UI. I've already filed a few requests with P1 about just that. Even with the current IQ4 there are plenty of things they could do with the UI that would improve usability. For instance the different way of getting into the frame averaging and exposure +, having to go to a menu to switch between e-shutter and Copal shutter, and not having access to the metering you get with e-shutter while in Copal mode. We don't all have XShutters and until we have global shutter sometimes the only option is a real shutter.

My other requests:
• split focus screen — as in the screen is divided into two parts, specifically for focusing when using tilt/swing. There's a mode on the GFX range that would be nice too with a smaller magnified area displayed over the main viewfinder view (some of these features are available to some extent when tethering in C1)
• custom grids/overlays and crops. The IQ4 has C1 built in apparently, but very limited ability to access features.
• usable wireless. Sure it's usable now, but not practical compared to tethering with a cable.

Otherwise I think a system that boots faster and is more power efficient would be great. We've seen the huge improvements Apple has made with their ARM based system. Hopefully we'll see similar power efficiency advancements. It would be great if they could make the backs smaller, depth-wise if greater power efficiency allowed for that.
I agree with the Global Shutter, but it's not necessary. The Nikon Z8 and Z9 have a readout of around 1/270 and work just fine without a shutter, most of the time. A sensor capable of reading 1/270 to 1/2000 will be good enough for MF and could be enough to lure either RED or Arri to build something special for Hollywood.

In terms of boot times, AF etc, from what I see from Hasselblad and Fuji the next generation MF cameras should perform like a modern camera in terms of photos (so maybe a generation behind 35mm).

Best regards.
 
I agree with the Global Shutter, but it's not necessary. The Nikon Z8 and Z9 have a readout of around 1/270 and work just fine without a shutter, most of the time. A sensor capable of reading 1/270 to 1/2000 will be good enough for MF and could be enough to lure either RED or Arri to build something special for Hollywood.
Not sure I follow your logic, agreeing but stating it isn't necessary? "most of the time" won't work for me if I have people or cars in the frame — people that look like they are leaning backwards when they are only walking or horribly distorted cars. If it could do 1/2000 with no rolling shutter effect I'd be happy to call that a global shutter, even 1/500th would match a Copal shutter and do the trick.

It's also tedious using a 1 second shutter when syncing flash, either that or having to press the wakeup button when using a Copal shutter since IQ4 has no zero latency mode.
 

baudolino

Active member
Here's an experiment. Put any back/lens on a tripod and point it at something detailed on a sunny day. Take ten shots, squinting at the screen zooming up and down, bending over to put your eye into a good viewing position, wondering where you left your loupe, and feeling about 100 years old. Recompose for each shot, to get the full experience. Now, take a camera with a good viewfinder, like the GFX II, and do the same thing. Then rate the two setups for ease of use, in camera composition, and number of keepers. When I do that (well, I've never actually done it but you get the drift), the viewfinder camera kills the back. Sure, we can do it all with just the little screen on the back. We can even do it without live view. But we don't need to do that any more.
A focusing workaround for the IQ4 back. I assume this is well known to the experienced IQ4 hands here, but I am just figuring it out with my new XT.
(1) connect the back to an iPhone using a short length of an Ethernet patch cable and an adapter (Ethernet to USB-C or Lightning, depending on your phone),
(2) launch Cascable on the phone (go in the Advanced settings under Storage in the IQ menu if you don't want the Raw files to be stored on the iPhone - just switch off the External Storage option). Connect Cascable using the IP address shown on the screen of the IQ back. Voila - Live view switches to the iPhone.
It is now much easier to enlarge the Live View image on the iPhone than on the back itself. One can also turn away from the Sun, with the phone in the hand, without moving the camera (to avoid the squinting bit). This can of course be done with an iPad, too, for a bigger view, but that is a "two-hand affair" or asks for some unwieldy holder for the iPad (tried that, not worth it...my iPhone 15 Pro is good enough, at least for focusing, and always with me in the pocket). Shooting parameters can also be set and the shutter triggered from within Cascable (the phone then functions like a cable release...so no need to trigger with the 5s timer, as one would do from the back). JPEG previews are transferred to the phone, RAW files stay on the card in the back. This has worked pretty well for me, with 100% keepers. Setup and break-down are fast, fast, fast...which is what matters to me.
 
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cunim

Well-known member
A focusing workaround for the IQ4 back. I assume this is well known to the experienced IQ4 hands here, but I am just figuring it out with my new XT.
Thank you for pointing this out, and it is exactly what I do. Above all (pun intended), it lets me view the screen from positions around the back. However, as you point out, it is a "workaround". I was sort of OK with it until I used a really good EVF.

Lots of us seem to have gotten used to the way things are. After 20 years of digital backs I suppose I did as well. So, why do I keep raising these user interface points in various threads? The reason is that I believe some fairly easy interface enhancements are the best solution to assuring a continuing market for the full frame MF exotic backs. I want to encourage HB and P1 - and anyone else - to think about that.

Various people who have influence with C1 visit here. Potential customers, doing research on which back to get are reading forum posts. I am hoping that enough people will read my ravings to start a buzz around user interface, and that buzz gets back to the manufacturers. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Here I am, squeaking.
 

baudolino

Active member
I was sort of OK with it until I used a really good EVF.
Which EVF do you use? Someone mentioned a Zacuto Kameleon here which I considered for a moment but was put off by the size and the need to carry a V-mount battery. I assume it works well, despite the HDMI port on the IQ4 supplying only UHD resolution. Something small like the Leica Visoflex 2 shown in Paul's picture above would be really sweet (and I already have it :). )
 

Mexecutioner

Well-known member
A focusing workaround for the IQ4 back. I assume this is well known to the experienced IQ4 hands here, but I am just figuring it out with my new XT.
(1) connect the back to an iPhone using a short length of an Ethernet patch cable and an adapter (Ethernet to USB-C or Lightning, depending on your phone),
(2) launch Cascable on the phone (go in the Advanced settings under Storage in the IQ menu if you don't want the Raw files to be stored on the iPhone - just switch off the External Storage option). Connect Cascable using the IP address shown on the screen of the IQ back. Voila - Live view switches to the iPhone.
It is now much easier to enlarge the Live View image on the iPhone than on the back itself. One can also turn away from the Sun, with the phone in the hand, without moving the camera (to avoid the squinting bit). This can of course be done with an iPad, too, for a bigger view, but that is a "two-hand affair" or asks for some unwieldy holder for the iPad (tried that, not worth it...my iPhone 15 Pro is good enough, at least for focusing, and always with me in the pocket). Shooting parameters can also be set and the shutter triggered from within Cascable (the phone then functions like a cable release...so no need to trigger with the 5s timer, as one would do from the back). JPEG previews are transferred to the phone, RAW files stay on the card in the back. This has worked pretty well for me, with 100% keepers. Setup and break-down are fast, fast, fast...which is what matters to me.
Yeah that works really well. I recently bought and iPad mini 6 to use instead of my 12.9” iPad Pro. A bit bigger than my iPhone and still small enough to fit in my pocket and use with one hand. I left the external storage option on as the transfer speed is fast enough to have an additional backup on the fly.
 

AreBee

Member
What I want to see? Schneider-Kreuznach getting back into the tech cam lens business. (And I'd like a pony, too.)
Agreed on a return by SK. Not so much on the pony.

I do, however, wonder to what extent history is about to repeat. Successive sensor generations prior to BSI CMOS returned an increase in colour cast because pixel pitch reduced as resolution increased. Then came BSI CMOS sensors, relatively all but eliminating colour cast. All else equal, if an IQ5 et al becomes reality will colour cast again increase?

Presumably stacked CMOS will do for BSI CMOS what BSI CMOS did for non-stacked/BSI CMOS and CCD. But if SK exited the MF market because symmetric lens design too adversely affected colour cast, and history repeats for successive BSI CMOS sensors, will SK elect to remain out of the MF market?
 
Agreed on a return by SK. Not so much on the pony.

I do, however, wonder to what extent history is about to repeat. Successive sensor generations prior to BSI CMOS returned an increase in colour cast because pixel pitch reduced as resolution increased. Then came BSI CMOS sensors, relatively all but eliminating colour cast. All else equal, if an IQ5 et al becomes reality will colour cast again increase?

Presumably stacked CMOS will do for BSI CMOS what BSI CMOS did for non-stacked/BSI CMOS and CCD. But if SK exited the MF market because symmetric lens design too adversely affected colour cast, and history repeats for successive BSI CMOS sensors, will SK elect to remain out of the MF market?
I reckon the addition of the new Hasselblad back and the existing IQ4-150 make a good case for it (SK return). I'd be in line for a 28, 43 and 60. Either way I don't need a higher res back and P1 already has an edge in that regard so why make it higher — even if extra resolution doesn't have any effect on colour cast. The IQ4-150 came out in 2018 I believe and Hasselblad have just released the 100MP crop back so it seems a competitor on resolution terms will be a long way off.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
56mmx56mm 50MP :)
That's the one. A full-frame 6x6 digital camera is the only upgrade I'd find worth spending money on at this point. 50 mpixel is enough, I'd like it in a CVF series back for my Hasselblad V system cameras. Then the switch between film and digital backs becomes easy and seamless. :)

G
 

ThdeDude

Active member
... A full-frame 6x6 digital camera is the only upgrade I'd find worth spending money on at this point. 50 mpixel is enough ...
Even if a lens wouldn't completely cover the sensor (say, Digaron-S) could select aspect ratio and orientation (vertical or horizontal) within the cone of lens coverage.
 

Pieter 12

Well-known member
That's the one. A full-frame 6x6 digital camera is the only upgrade I'd find worth spending money on at this point. 50 mpixel is enough, I'd like it in a CVF series back for my Hasselblad V system cameras. Then the switch between film and digital backs becomes easy and seamless. :)

G
I have 2 Hy6 bodies, a film back and a digital back. In the field if I have the room and the opportunity to be close to a base (like a car or building) I prefer to have both on hand and switch lenses rather than switch backs. Of course, the digital sensor doesn't cover the same area as film so the lenses don't quite correspond. A 6x6 back would be fabulous, but it won't be made for the Hy6 unfortunately.
 
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