Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    1,538
    Post Thanks / Like

    Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    I think it's about time tech cameras to go electronic, with electronic leaf shutters and electronic integration with the digital back.

    What you would get is lens/tilt/shift movements registered in the EXIF data, you would have shutter control directly on the camera body (no flash sync cable).

    A future CMOS digital back with wide angular response could show live view and use the tilt/shift movement information to auto-apply LCC from an internal database. It would even be possible to apply it live so the live view would not have color cast or vignetting. The live view could also show dashed lines of the image circle so you see when you're getting far out.

    That would mean no more LCC shots, no more flash sync cable attach/detach, and no more fiddling with mechanical shutters. Although such a camera can be backwards compatible with Copal shutters of course. You could still have a smart lens board / mount that can report that the attached lens has focal length X (which gets registered in the EXIF data) and is using a mechanical shutter, and you could have flash sync attachment in the board itself so you don't need to care about the cable. So even with a Copal shutter there would be no flash sync cable fiddling (except cable release) and LCC would still be automatic.

    You could have one small battery for the camera in the camera body itself, and one in the back, or you would have a larger battery in the camera body so it can power the back too (ie Hasselblad H backs).

    While I'm myself quite okay with working with a 100% mechanical camera myself (I find it a bit charming actually, even ground glass focusing), I think tech cams would gain from becoming a bit more user friendly and quicker to work with. One of the best Swedish architectural photographers uses a D800 for most of his assignments, not because it's much cheaper, he does have a MF tech cam too sitting mostly unused at the office, but because the D800 is faster to work with. With electronics the tech cam would be just as easy to use and fast to work with, but with more flexible movements, more focal lengths to choose from and higher image quality.

    A focal plane shutter has the advantage that you only need to pay for one shutter, but I think the disadvantages are too severe 1) increases flange distance, 2) introduces vibration problems forcing the camera body to be very heavy. Therefore I'd like to see an electronic leaf shutter with sane integration ie not a bunch of cables and a home-made looking gigantic controller box on the side which cannot handle outdoor conditions. And as said, if you're on a budget you could have legacy Copal shutters on one or more of your lenses.

    To me the dream camera would be an electrified Linhof Techno with a 48x36 to full-frame CMOS back with wide angular response, with "smart" lens boards, ie electrical interface to support electronic shutter (the DHW/rollei seems like the best shutter today) and programmable to report lens model when a copal shutter is mounted. CMOS live view makes view camera design (focus rail, tilt/swing built into the body) more feasible than it is today when you need to master ground glass focusing. IQ250 is a good start on that, but we still need larger sensors and wider angular response to make it a tech cam winner.
    Last edited by torger; 4th February 2014 at 00:10.
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    France
    Posts
    193
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    We might see some new 'electronic' things for us tech cam users at photokina this year... I'm rather confident this is a need manufacturers can't afford to ignore, especially with the success of Alpa's FPS.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    1,538
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    Yes FPS is a good example of tech cams actually becoming electronic for real. I hope we'll see something similar based on the DHW/rollei electronic leaf shutter too, as I'm not a fan of the focal plane shutter.

    The biggest obstacle I think is digital back integration, to actually get the movements into EXIF data. Because then ALPA, Cambo, Arca, Linhof etc needs to actually be talking to digital back makers, which they don't seem to do much. The back protocol likely would have to be extended too, I double H and M mounts allows for arbitrary meta data to be passed.

    If we just have movements in Exif data, it would not take long until we have automatic LCC application in the raw converters. Having it directly in the back would take longer time, Leaf have had such features though.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    1,198
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    Yes FPS is a good example of tech cams actually becoming electronic for real. I hope we'll see something similar based on the DHW/rollei electronic leaf shutter too, as I'm not a fan of the focal plane shutter.
    I believe the FPS is ready for this now. There's an existing port on the camera to control (future) electronic leaf shutters.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Munich, Germany
    Posts
    219
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    What I am missing, is a way for the back and Tech Cam to talk "intelligently". And by back, I actually mean something capable of processing image (or sub-images) acquired by the detector. So something like:
    - Tech Cam focus and movements have encoders, so they can report their positions digitally to the CPU
    - The CPU has access to images taken by the detector (for example the live view stream)
    - Point (for example) 3 areas on the back that you want sharp
    - The CPU, using the Live view stream, calculates the focus, tilt and swing that need to be applied, or at least provides feedback to the user who is using the movements, if he's going in the right direction with those
    And Boom, no more need for tables or iterative processes, the image is analyzed for sharpness in almost real time. I think image analysis + a bit of intelligence in the back would be the tech cam of the future... But I'm probably dreaming :-)

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    I'm a bit scared how copal shutters are no longer made. Makes me a bit nervous about upkeep of my camera system in the medium to long term.

    I'd like to see a Techno type electronic system as you describe, but first I'm hoping the next round of CMOS live view releases makes the first stage of my dream a reality. I'd like to forget about using a sliding back (or swapping out a GG back) and just keep the back mounted directly to the body. We're nearly there...

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    1,538
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    Specialized software of this kind is unlikely to be provided by digital back manufacturers.

    However, if the digital backs become open so you can write "apps" for them, this could become a reality. There would be hackers that would write apps for it, like we see highly specialized DoF apps with tilt support today.

    Personally I would be pleased with a quick-to-navigate live view though.

    Quote Originally Posted by miska View Post
    What I am missing, is a way for the back and Tech Cam to talk "intelligently". And by back, I actually mean something capable of processing image (or sub-images) acquired by the detector. So something like:
    - Tech Cam focus and movements have encoders, so they can report their positions digitally to the CPU
    - The CPU has access to images taken by the detector (for example the live view stream)
    - Point (for example) 3 areas on the back that you want sharp
    - The CPU, using the Live view stream, calculates the focus, tilt and swing that need to be applied, or at least provides feedback to the user who is using the movements, if he's going in the right direction with those
    And Boom, no more need for tables or iterative processes, the image is analyzed for sharpness in almost real time. I think image analysis + a bit of intelligence in the back would be the tech cam of the future... But I'm probably dreaming :-)

  8. #8
    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    I'm a bit scared how copal shutters are no longer made. Makes me a bit nervous about upkeep of my camera system in the medium to long term.
    I think there is a great opportunity for someone to redesign a leaf shutter for OEM's. One that incorporates everything Anders writes about, plus weather sealed. No idea how big the market is though. If it could be retrofitted there might be a big enough demand.

    Dave
    How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! - John Muir

    davechewphotography.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    1,538
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    My most desired tech cam features of the future in order:

    1) digital back with 48x36-to-fullframe wide angular response CMOS with effective live-view
    2) lens/movement information put into exif data (allows auto-LCC in raw converter)
    3) integrated electronic leaf shutters
    4) auto-LCC in digital back
    5) auto-distort correct in digital back (if we have to end up with retrofocus lenses afterall...)

    I'm assuming all electronics are weather-sealed and can work in a wide temperature range.

    An interesting note is that even DSLRs don't have movement settings in the EXIF data when using a tilt-shift lens, so this would be a unique thing. Tech cams needs it more though as they have the color cast issue.

    I think the most important part is to get a live view-capable back which is tech cam friendly, and I also think wide angular response is very important or else the unique wide-angle lens designs seen in tech cams will die, and I think those lens designs is part in keeping these type of systems attractive. With transferred movement settings one could however correct retrofocus lens distortion automatically in the back just as LCC.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    1,538
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    Quote Originally Posted by dchew View Post
    I think there is a great opportunity for someone to redesign a leaf shutter for OEM's.
    I think the DHW HS-1000 copal 0-compatible electronic leaf shutter that was shown on photokina 2012 could be just that thing. Haven't seen much reported about it since then though. Not sure how it's controlled and how it's in cold/wet weather etc, and if anyone is actually using it today.
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    122
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    I am hoping that the FPS will get slimmer and equipped with an integrated 2 axis shift mechanism similar to the Max that would allow even the 32 HR to be shifted.
    But that would require a different shutter I guess but the gain is huge.
    Just imagine that your lenses don't need Copal shutter anylonger, huge savings there already, not to mention accurate exposure times longer than a second.
    That's my dream camera

    Quote Originally Posted by gerald.d View Post
    I believe the FPS is ready for this now. There's an existing port on the camera to control (future) electronic leaf shutters.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    1,198
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post

    An interesting note is that even DSLRs don't have movement settings in the EXIF data when using a tilt-shift lens, so this would be a unique thing. Tech cams needs it more though as they have the color cast issue.
    Not unique. My understanding is that when using the Hassy TS adapter, the movements are written into the EXIF.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    1,538
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    Quote Originally Posted by gerald.d View Post
    Not unique. My understanding is that when using the Hassy TS adapter, the movements are written into the EXIF.
    Wow, that's cool. If that's true this means that the H mount protocol already supports passing movement meta information, ie there's no need for tech cam manufacturers to convince Hasselblad to extend their protocol as it's already there.

    And Hasseblad has in the past let other manufacturers have access to their protocol (Leaf and Phase H-mount backs)... not sure how open they are now though.

  14. #14
    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    I think the DHW HS-1000 copal 0-compatible electronic leaf shutter that was shown on photokina 2012 could be just that thing. Haven't seen much reported about it since then though. Not sure how it's controlled and how it's in cold/wet weather etc, and if anyone is actually using it today.
    I forgot all about that shutter! We just need some sort of hand-held shutter release to go with it; even if it just had speed, some sort of universal f-stop setting, and a release. Or the iPhone app as discussed elsewhere, then you could plug in the focal length and it would display a normal f-stop.

    Dave
    How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! - John Muir

    davechewphotography.com

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    1,538
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    Quote Originally Posted by dchew View Post
    I forgot all about that shutter! We just need some sort of hand-held shutter release to go with it; even if it just had speed, some sort of universal f-stop setting, and a release. Or the iPhone app as discussed elsewhere, then you could plug in the focal length and it would display a normal f-stop.
    I hate external shutter control boxes . I think the shutter control and power source should be in the camera body itself for a more integrated feel, and you would have a few basic buttons and a small panel like on the ALPA FPS to control it (plus a cable release or remote control for the actual shutter press). I've had enough of cables and boxes hanging around in a mess.

    With a shutter like the DHW you could have an external shutter control box attached through a cable to the shutter's USB port (to provide compatibility with today's 100% mechanical cameras), or you have a camera body with DHW control builtin, and a lens mount which have a shutter plug permanently attached and sealed (not showing as a cable when mounted, just a bump on the lens board/mount) and electrical contacts in the mount itself to transfer the signal to the camera body. So you don't need to attach first the lens, and then an additional cable.

  16. #16
    Workshop Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Brooklyn
    Posts
    4,043
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1253

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    right about the HTS and t/s data; and the new hassey is CMOS. unfortunately the HTS adds 1.5x or so to the focal length and the widest lens you can use is a 40mm, x 1/5 for the HTS and another 1.3x for the cropped Cmos back, or about a 70mm widest equivalent, compared to a full frame MFDB on an H5

  17. #17
    New Member rolf.eigenheer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Schaffhausen, switzerland
    Posts
    4
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    They already do - at least one of them!

    @miska
    This camera is available and its name is CAPcam (Computer Assisted Photography).

    It does all the things you requested:
    - Shift/Swing/Tilt using high precision electronic drives.
    - define focal plane with 3 scene points
    - store all settings in sidecar files

    ... and a lot more:
    - Recall any setting by dragging a previous image in the CAPcam app (the associated sidecar file will be applied)
    - control the focal plane by aligning a grid along a rectangular pattern in the scene
    - rotate focal plane along any user definable axis
    - the resulting image area and image circle is indicated in the GUI before the image is taken
    - works in single shot as well as in live video mode
    - supports any mechanical (Copal) and electronic shutters (Schneider, Rollei, Sinar/Rodenstock)
    - supports any digital back (PhaseOne, Leaf, Hasselblad H/V, Sinar)
    - can be battery operated


    http://www.gfae.ch/downloads/CAPcam%20Samples.pdf
    Note: Focussing for the sample images took less than 1 Minute each!

  18. #18
    New Member rolf.eigenheer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Schaffhausen, switzerland
    Posts
    4
    Post Thanks / Like

    Thumbs up Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    They already do - at least one of them!

    @miska
    This camera is available and its name is CAPcam (Computer Assisted Photography).

    It does all the things you requested:
    - Shift/Swing/Tilt using high precision electronic drives.
    - define focal plane with 3 scene points
    - store all settings in sidecar files

    ... and a lot more:
    - Recall any setting by dragging a previous image in the CAPcam app (the associated sidecar file will be applied)
    - control the focal plane by aligning a grid along a rectangular pattern in the scene
    - rotate focal plane along any user definable axis
    - the resulting image area and image circle is indicated in the GUI before the image is taken
    - works in single shot as well as in live video mode
    - supports any mechanical (Copal) and electronic shutters (Schneider, Rollei, Sinar/Rodenstock)
    - supports any digital back (PhaseOne, Leaf, Hasselblad H/V, Sinar)
    - can be battery operated


    http://www.gfae.ch/downloads/CAPcam%20Samples.pdf
    Note: Focussing for the sample images took less than 1 Minute each!

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    552
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will tech cams ever become electronic?

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    My most desired tech cam features of the future in order:

    1) digital back with 48x36-to-fullframe wide angular response CMOS with effective live-view
    2) lens/movement information put into exif data (allows auto-LCC in raw converter)
    3) integrated electronic leaf shutters
    4) auto-LCC in digital back
    5) auto-distort correct in digital back (if we have to end up with retrofocus lenses afterall...)

    I'm assuming all electronics are weather-sealed and can work in a wide temperature range.

    An interesting note is that even DSLRs don't have movement settings in the EXIF data when using a tilt-shift lens, so this would be a unique thing. Tech cams needs it more though as they have the color cast issue.

    I think the most important part is to get a live view-capable back which is tech cam friendly, and I also think wide angular response is very important or else the unique wide-angle lens designs seen in tech cams will die, and I think those lens designs is part in keeping these type of systems attractive. With transferred movement settings one could however correct retrofocus lens distortion automatically in the back just as LCC.
    It would interesting to rank these in terms of simplicity to implement (with the more difficult ones last).

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •