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Thread: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

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    From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Hi There
    This really bugs me!
    We all have our 'perfect' camera, (be it a Nikon D3s or a P65+). However, most of us would like a small, decent quality point and shoot with decent image quality.
    Some of us have gravitated to M4/3 - or the Sony Nex etc. this is a splendid new format, but it isn't really very small when you put on anything but a pancake lens.

    Alternatively one can use something like a Canon G11 or a Panasonic LX3 or a Ricoh GRD. This inevitably has an impact on image quality because the sensor is so small.

    There is a huge gulf in sensor sizes - they are either quite big (which includes APS-C and micro 4/3, or else they're tiny . . . why can't we have something in between.

    dPreview have an interesting 'pixel density' figure which gives one a really good idea of the sort of results you could expect from a 'state of the art' sensor - here are a few figures which illustrate my point:


    n.b. I've rounded figures so as not to muddle things with decimals.

    Lots of people like the G11 and the Ricohs - quite right too, but the area of their sensor is about 1/6th of micro 4/3.

    There is such a huge mulitplicity of cameras out there - seems to me that an interchangeable lens setup based on a sensor which was something like 12 x 8 would allow really acceptable 'second camera' quality in a very small package.

    Whichever way you look at it, that gulf in size between the m4/3 sensor and the G11 sensor must leave scope for something pretty good somewhere in between.

    all the best

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    This is why my D70 never went away. I know it isnt "small" But with the 18 - 70 lens and a backpack ment for cameras on the bottom 1/2, it works well as a carry everywhere camera for me.

    I just have a problem going back to a P&S...just cant do it.

    Roman

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Well whatever, nothing's ever perfect. But for now, I LOVE my combo of GF1's and P65+

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    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by RomanJohnston View Post
    This is why my D70 never went away. I know it isnt "small" But with the 18 - 70 lens and a backpack ment for cameras on the bottom 1/2, it works well as a carry everywhere camera for me.

    I just have a problem going back to a P&S...just cant do it.

    Roman
    HI Roman
    I wasn't suggesting a point and shoot, but something very small, which would, with the recent sensor developments, have better IQ than your D70 in a much smaller package.

    Jack
    Well - I like my EP2 as well - but the minute you want to put anything longer than 100mm equivalent it does start to get quite big.

    To be honest, it wasn't particularly for my benefit, what I was trying to point out is that whilst there are hundreds of cameras in the larger and smaller camps, there must surely be scope for some innovation somewhere in between.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Jono,
    I agree with you on this, and it is still the main reason I have not settled on something other than my DSLRs. The present digicams (P&S), just seem to give up too much image quality, while the 4/3rd cameras are not all that much smaller than some DSLRs in many cases, and definitely not once you start putting different glass on some. Why no digicam size camera, but with a bigger/better sensor, plus RAW file capabilities and a decent, fast lens, all to really fit neatly in a pocket and truly be able to take everywhere all the time? Still waiting....

    LJ

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Personally, I can't see the point of proliferating more and more sensor sizes. Each format brings with it another coupling of Field of View vs Depth of Field ... constantly changing that basic relationship with more intermediary steps leads to confusion IMO.

    When my primary tool was 35mm film, my three rock-solid cameras were a Rollei 35S, a Leica M and a Nikon F3/T. Same format sensor and FOV-DOF relationships ... a small fixed lens camera for when I wanted to carry very little, a larger RF camera with interchangeable lenses for when I wanted the versatility, an even larger SLR camera for when I needed even more versatility. This setup worked beautifully for 35 years. When I wanted to change the FOV-DOF relationship, I moved to larger negatives (645, 6x6 cm, etc) or smaller negatives (Minox 8x11mm) which were larger or smaller than 35mm by about the same differences we see between the point and shoot digitals, the FourThirds/APS-C DSLRs, and the so-called "full frame" DSLRs.

    With the compact mFT bodies (GF1/E-PL1), 'standard' mFT bodies (G1/GH1/G2) and FourThirds SLRs (E-1, E-3, E-30), I have my "three-sizes of camera, one format" concept back except that even the small ones are interchangeable lens cameras. Eventually I'll acquire a Nikon D700 or equivalent "full-frame" ... the 'new medium format digital standard' as it were ... or larger. Until the technology allows the truly small format sensors to have enough sensitivity to satisfy me, I'll stick with Minox 8x11 for my teensy little camera minimum (I've got enough film in the freezer to last me for some years, so there's time for the small sensor digitals to catch up...).

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Leica X1, anyone?

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie O View Post
    Leica X1, anyone?
    That's what I was thinking.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    I'm not sure how much smaller than 4/3 you can go, if you want interchangeable lenses, with AF and all the trimmings. Tolerances get finer, etc. Plus dust gets proportionally bigger, too . I think there is a limit to how small you can make stuff, at least in the real consumer world - it gets too fragile, special materials required, price goes up, no-one buys. To set up a production line for the electronics alone is not cheap. It was much easier to make different sized analogue cameras, but did masses of folk buy the smaller stuff back then?

    To make it small, probably would require a touch screen lcd, to get all the controls you want into a small area, then wait for the complaints to occur

    Best wishes,

    Ray

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Sublime: G1

    Ridiculous: NX10 (plus a host of m4/3rds cams)

    ~Same pixel density.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Hi There
    Well, a couple of points:
    1. Leica X1 - has a sensor principally the same size as the Canon 7d or the Sony Nex, which is fine if you just want a 35mm lens (equivalent), but as soon as you want anything approaching telephoto the lenses are big (look at the zoom lens on the Sony Nex).

    Ray - I'm not suggesting miniaturisation - but something with maybe 3 or 4 times the area of the G11 sensor! This is not about camera body size (surely the body of the Nex or the Leica are quite small enough) it's about the lens size.

    Godfrey - I wasn't suggesting that it was everyone's panacea - what I was suggesting was that there seem to be some very crowded market places (i.e. small sensor compacts, and now large sensor compacts), but there was a big gap in the middle which could produce something small and versatile, but with much better image quality.

    LJ - thank you - there are so many possibilities - something the size of an LX3 or GRD3 with really good image quality - interchangeable lenses in a camera the size of the pentax 110 kit. Of course it's not the final answer to life the universe and everything, but I'm just confused as to why NOBODY is taking advantage of what seems to be an obvious opportunity.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Jono,
    I mostly use the GH1 with OM Zuiko lenses which are made for a larger format and a longer flange to sensor distance. Still, they are mostly smaller than the equivalent focal lengths for either 4/3 or m4/3. The 100mm f/2.8 is around the same size as the 50mm macro for 4/3. Pentax, on the other hand, has no problems making pancake lenses for their DSLRs. The 15, 21, 35, 40, 43 and 70 are all tiny, and they are all AF lenses.

    So, it's possible to make small lenses, but only Pentax does it, with the exception of the odd pancake from some other manufacturers. And if we add manual focus lenses, Leica lenses are rather compact as well.

    Decisions about sensors and sensor sizes are made in big corporations by bean counters that probably haven't used a camera ever. If it can't be made in huge quantities; forget it. Lenses on the other hand, are sometimes made by stubborn enthusiasts at smaller companies like Leica, Pentax and Cosina. That may be one of the reasons why they make some of the best lenses available today, in small to moderate sizes. If one of those three could start making lenses tailor made for m4/3, I think we would see some amazing stuff.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Does the worldwide business model of today not support niche products more than in the past where product recognition would only be as a result of a multinational dealer network and extensive international advertising?
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Jono,
    I mostly use the GH1 with OM Zuiko lenses which are made for a larger format and a longer flange to sensor distance. Still, they are mostly smaller than the equivalent focal lengths for either 4/3 or m4/3. The 100mm f/2.8 is around the same size as the 50mm macro for 4/3. Pentax, on the other hand, has no problems making pancake lenses for their DSLRs. The 15, 21, 35, 40, 43 and 70 are all tiny, and they are all AF lenses.

    So, it's possible to make small lenses, but only Pentax does it, with the exception of the odd pancake from some other manufacturers. And if we add manual focus lenses, Leica lenses are rather compact as well.
    HI Jorgen
    But I'm not really talking about another camera which uses nice small prime lenses and certainly not a niche camera - we already have that in m4/3 (and excellent it is too).

    But if you want a wide ranging zoom on m4/3, then you're going to get a big lens (aps-c more so), and if you have a wide ranging zoom on a tiny sensor - then you're going to get poorer image quality. At the moment the only options are tiny sensors or large lenses. Clearly it's relevant, people still speak longingly of:


    Olympus E10
    Leica digilux 2

    These were both reasonably compact cameras with 2/3 sensors - not much larger than those found in the G11, but larger nonetheless, and reaching into the territory of my gap (first post). Clearly it would be possible to make the body itself much smaller these days (see the Sony Nex) - but with small zoom lenses as well (of course, it it had interchangeable lenses they could be smaller again).

    I just don't see why nobody is taking over that middle ground to produce something which will easily do a good 17" print, and which you really can put in your coat pocket - clearly it's possible.

    Interestingly, if you go to dpreview and do a search on cameras with a pixel density between 10 and 20 mp/cm2, then you do get a few cameras, either fuji cameras (s100fs for example) with 2/3" sensors, or else older 6mp cameras with smaller sensors none is more recent than January 2008. They don't even have an option for cameras with a pixel density between 5 and 10!

    cameras with pixel density < 5mp cm2 = more than 80
    cameras with pixel density 5-10 = none (actually there are now a couple, like the Canon 7D and EOS 55D at around 5.4)
    cameras with pixel density 10 - 20 = 10 (but all low MP small sensor and are more than 2.1/2 years old)
    cameras with a pixel density of 20 - 30 = more than 80 again
    cameras with a pixel density of 30+ = more than 80 again.

    effectively, there is a big gap between a pixel density of 5 and of around 25 why?
    Last edited by jonoslack; 25th June 2010 at 06:37.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    1. Leica X1 - has a sensor principally the same size as the Canon 7d or the Sony Nex, which is fine if you just want a 35mm lens (equivalent), but as soon as you want anything approaching telephoto the lenses are big (look at the zoom lens on the Sony Nex).
    This is the baffling part. Leica X1 would be a nice solution if all you wanted was a 42mm (35mm FF equiv.) lens, and since that lens is NOT interchangeable, you are sort of "stuck" with a rather pricey, but otherwise capable snapshot camera. If Leica could offer that same camera, but maybe with something like a 14-60mm f2.8 AF zoom, instead of only the 28mm f2.8 lens, it may have a lot more attractiveness, I think. It is a good small size, has features that make it both pocketable for quick snaps, but is locked into a single focal length, and at a Leica price point. I looked long and hard at it when introduced, and thought it could be that carry-everywhere camera, but I decided that the fixed length lens issue made it no better than just toting my M8 or something, only lacking some of the useful things like AF and maybe a bit more latitude in the CMOS sensor. In my thinking, take the X1, put a decent fast, small zoom on it, maybe drop the price $500-700 or so and you have something that would hit a lot of marks for image quality, carry-ability, useful features (including its AF), etc. I think this is doable....maybe not by Leica, but they have shown a possible solution that could be trim and produce very nice images to complement gear many photogs now use or would like to carry. Just my thoughts.

    LJ

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    This is the baffling part. Leica X1 would be a nice solution if all you wanted was a 42mm (35mm FF equiv.) lens, and since that lens is NOT interchangeable, you are sort of "stuck" with a rather pricey, but otherwise capable snapshot camera. If Leica could offer that same camera, but maybe with something like a 14-60mm f2.8 AF zoom, instead of only the 28mm f2.8 lens, it may have a lot more attractiveness, I think. It is a good small size, has features that make it both pocketable for quick snaps, but is locked into a single focal length,
    Ah, but this is the crunch - you can't make a 24-60 f2.8 zoom for APS that is anything like small enough - look at the kit lens on the Sony NEx - look at my favorite 4/3 lens, the 12-60 (24-120) f2.8 - f3.5 - both small by Nikon terms, but much much too big for a body like that.
    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    and at a Leica price point. I looked long and hard at it when introduced, and thought it could be that carry-everywhere camera, but I decided that the fixed length lens issue made it no better than just toting my M8 or something, only lacking some of the useful things like AF and maybe a bit more latitude in the CMOS sensor. In my thinking, take the X1, put a decent fast, small zoom on it, maybe drop the price $500-700 or so and you have something that would hit a lot of marks for image quality, carry-ability, useful features (including its AF), etc. I think this is doable....maybe not by Leica, but they have shown a possible solution that could be trim and produce very nice images to complement gear many photogs now use or would like to carry. Just my thoughts.

    LJ
    You echo my desires exactly - but this is where that 1" sensor comes in - decent quality (much better than a G11) but a reasonable size. I agree about the price point (leica can make one for the price of an X1 - they'd certainly sell it). But it would have to be with a sensor which lives in that gap.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Ah, but this is the crunch - you can't make a 24-60 f2.8 zoom for APS that is anything like small enough - look at the kit lens on the Sony NEx - look at my favorite 4/3 lens, the 12-60 (24-120) f2.8 - f3.5 - both small by Nikon terms, but much much too big for a body like that.

    You echo my desires exactly - but this is where that 1" sensor comes in - decent quality (much better than a G11) but a reasonable size. I agree about the price point (leica can make one for the price of an X1 - they'd certainly sell it). But it would have to be with a sensor which lives in that gap.
    Jono,
    Therein lies that challenge....create some sort of quality optics similar to what we now see on wide zoom range digicams, but not just reaching into the full-size lens bins for the glass and parts ;-) I have a now ancient Nikon Coolpix 5700. It has that tiny sensor, but at 5MP or so, and a zoom lens that collapses fairly nicely into the body, though not quite as trim as I hoped. The images that camera produces are really quite good, and that tech has advanced significantly in the 6+ years or so. If one has to have glass that outwardly looks like DSLR lenses, then yes, we are not going to see something trim. However, if there are designs that can produce quality imaging in something more compatible with more compact size, even if not DSLR looking, why are we not seeing them? Why not have a fairly compact and somewhat flat body, but have a better lens that may have to move out into position for shooting, but could slip back to flat for storage? All about design and build tolerances, and at this point, it all seems doable, but nobody seems to want to do it

    LJ

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Maybe you should just go lenseless.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    .. I wasn't suggesting that it was everyone's panacea - what I was suggesting was that there seem to be some very crowded market places (i.e. small sensor compacts, and now large sensor compacts), but there was a big gap in the middle which could produce something small and versatile, but with much better image quality. ...
    Cameras don't need "much better image quality" to sell ... they need lower prices, as a rule, the quality of current cameras is good enough other than for the camera geeks out there .. and that quality gain likely won't appear with any intermediate step between the current bimodal sensor size distribution anyway.

    To get a significantly better quality, smaller camera will take a new sensor technology that is enough more sensitive and cheaper to allow a smaller sensor/lens combination the performance you're after.

    Perhaps the upcoming nano-dot imager sensor technology will do it.

    BTW, I am a photographer, but I'm proud to be called a camera geek too. So don't anyone go saying I insulted them. ];-)

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Some of us have gravitated to M4/3 - or the Sony Nex etc. this is a splendid new format, but it isn't really very small when you put on anything but a pancake lens.
    Jono, I think the GF1 with the 20/1.7 pancake is a killer combo. I'd like it a wee bit smaller, but for me it comes darn close to the perfect "in between" camera. I consider it to be my "fixed lens" small camera, and only have the 45-200 for times I really want longer reach that this camera with the 20, nor my M9 will do. For the rare times I need really wide, I have my 21mm for the M9. So, everything is a compromise, but here I have a responsive camera with a small, fast lens, and a moderately sized sensor producing excellent IQ that will fit in a jacket pocket. Better high ISO will be on the next version, then it might well be perfect.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    Jono, I think the GF1 with the 20/1.7 pancake is a killer combo. I'd like it a wee bit smaller, but for me it comes darn close to the perfect "in between" camera. I consider it to be my "fixed lens" small camera, and only have the 45-200 for times I really want longer reach that this camera with the 20, nor my M9 will do. For the rare times I need really wide, I have my 21mm for the M9. So, everything is a compromise, but here I have a responsive camera with a small, fast lens, and a moderately sized sensor producing excellent IQ that will fit in a jacket pocket. Better high ISO will be on the next version, then it might well be perfect.
    I think the GF1+20/1.7 is a great camera too. I don't see any need whatever for anything smaller: it's as small a camera makes sense for serious use. And its lens interchangeability makes it versatile in ways that ultracompact, fixed lens cameras can never be.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    I'm not familiar with the physical size of the cameras mentioned above, but the Sigma dp1/2's have a sensor larger than 4/3 and the camera is quite small. Image quality, in many ways, is as good as a canon 5d. Sigma are working on a dp3, afaik, which will have a zoom lens. If only they had an evf, instead of the poor lcd screen, and a better, (more basic?) user interface, plus speed issues, then I think many more folk would use them, but it is, as always, a trade off wrt /development costs/manufacturing costs/marketing costs/selling price/number of sales.

    The point I was trying to make, earlier on, is that the lens is not just the glass. The electronics, the casing thickness, etc., will be more or less the same for all lenses - the lens 'size' is not necessarily proportional to the sensor size, in particular if it is an interchangeable system. You can not scale nature .

    I think if it is a question of carrying a camera plus additional lenses, then I think the advantage of 'smallness' rapidly disappears- e.g. you need a number of jacket pockets .


    Best wishes,

    Ray

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Hi Everyone

    Well, I agree that the GF1 with the 20 f1.7 is a great combo . (I have the EP2 with that lens and love it). So is the DP1. So is the Leica X1, So is the Sony Nex with a pancake (as far as I'm aware). But what they all have in common (if they are to be small) is a fixed focal length pancake lens.

    Like lots of other people, I'd like something small enough to slip into a coat pocket or carry easily with a decent quality zoom lens, This is much less 'niche' than a GF1 with a 20 f1.7, and that just isn't going to happen with a sensor the size or larger than m4/3. Lots of people are still in love with the leica digilux 2. The dlux4 / lx3 /ricoh G200 nearly make it, but they all have the quality associated with the tiny sensors that they have.

    So we have a market for a camera (fine if it has interchangeable lenses - even better) - and a perfectly sensible way of making it . . . . . but with two packed markets (small sensor and big sensor) everybody seems to be ignoring the possibilities it offers . . . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by raywest View Post
    The point I was trying to make, earlier on, is that the lens is not just the glass. The electronics, the casing thickness, etc., will be more or less the same for all lenses - the lens 'size' is not necessarily proportional to the sensor size, in particular if it is an interchangeable system. You can not scale nature .
    Hi Ray - the lens size is very much proportional to the sensor size (I agree it isn't the only factor). You can't make a small zoom lens for a big sensor - you can make a very small zoom lens for a very small sensor.

    Godfrey - of course, you may be right that there is not a large market for such a camera (I don't personally agree). However, even if the market is 1/4 of that for a m4/3 / aps-C sized sensor. . . . considering the plethora of these cameras appearing right now I would still see it as worth approaching.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Anybody remember this one?





    Imagine that camera with a current technology sensor. Used to be 1/1.8" and 13MP/cm2

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Anybody remember this one?

    Imagine that camera with a current technology sensor. Used to be 1/1.8" and 13MP/cm2
    Of course - splendid - as was the 8080
    Just the sort of thing I'm thinking about
    But why a 1/1.8" sensor? (which is about the size of the G11 sensor)

    Why not a 1" sensor?

    (1.1/8" = 9 x 7mm
    (1" = 16 x 12mm)

    then one could have really stellar image quality - you might need to lose a stop on the lens, but that should be made up for with better high ISO.

    all the best

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Anybody remember this one?


    You bet! That was the first digital camera in this household. That was a darn good camera. Almost all of our best fishing pictures were taken with that camera.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    I think it would help if we actually had a list of the sensor sizes we are talking about - I thought 1/1.8" was 7.18x5.32mm (based on a chart I found on the web) but then Canon and others refer to APS-C size, but their sensors are smaller. Anyway, guessing that the Olympus you have shown has an 8.8 by 6.6mm sensor, (2/3") that's a diagonal of 11mm. Now, a 16 by 12 gives a diagonal of 20mm, more or less twice the size (you'd better check my sums...).

    Anyway, if the Camedia fitted in your pocket, then if you want the same relative zoom ratio/ aperture, then I'm pretty certain a larger version won't, the lens would probably need to be twice the size - look at the size of the glass cf the extension tube mechanism in the pictures - and for a larger sensor (bigger glass needed and to get the same apparent view you'd have to shove it out further - either more short tubes, or longer tubes.

    Why not draw up a specification of what you want? Then we could interpolate the sizes between what is available, and maybe determine if it is physically possible, at a price that some may be prepared to pay. (i.e. more or less anything is possible, if you can pay for it)

    Best wishes,

    Ray

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by raywest View Post
    I think it would help if we actually had a list of the sensor sizes we are talking about - I thought 1/1.8" was 7.18x5.32mm (based on a chart I found on the web)
    beg pardon - you're quite right - I was muddling up the diagonal.

    Quote Originally Posted by raywest View Post
    Why not draw up a specification of what you want? Then we could interpolate the sizes between what is available, and maybe determine if it is physically possible, at a price that some may be prepared to pay. (i.e. more or less anything is possible, if you can pay for it)

    Best wishes,

    Ray
    Hi Ray
    I don't want ANYTHING in particular - what I'm saying is that there is a big gap in sensor sizes between about 18x13 and about 8x6, and that there is a big gap in results between the largest cameras with a small sensor (G11) and the smallest cameras with a large sensor (m4/3) and that the sizes inbetween give really good opportunities of larger sensors in smaller cameras. Which are being ignored. I don't really see that it's arguable

    If you're having trouble with the sizes:
    Dpreview sensor size page
    Gives you quite a good idea - I'm basing my thoughts on the tiny body size of the NEX (which has a large APS-c sized sensor) and a zoom lens considerably smaller than the kit zooms on the m4/3 cameras, and I would have thought that something very small with a sensor in between these sizes would be eminently possible, desirable and saleable.

    I'm not asking for a competitor for a GF1 with a 20 f1.7 - it's great as it is, and there is, anyway, competition from Samsung, Sony and Leica already.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Well, I agree that the GF1 with the 20 f1.7 is a great combo...I'd like something small enough to slip into a coat pocket or carry easily with a decent quality zoom lens...
    Aha! Yes, now that you've better defined what your "in-between" must have, I will agree with you. Wouldn't it be great?

    I still have one reservation about a sensor smaller than the 4/3. That is the relative increase in the minimum DOF due to the requirement for very short focal length lenses.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    The funny thing is the missing camera is in some ways sort of already here we just all wrote it off. I know Jono is talking about a bigger sensor than 1/1.8" sensor in a compact body but think about the Ricoh GXR. When you are in good light and can deal with a small sensor, you get a longer zoom on a smaller sensor. As the light drops low and higher ISO capability it a must you change out your lens/sensor unit and you get something optimized for low light. I'm not saying right now the GXR is optimized and that each unit gives good performance but that is one way to keep the size in check and allow you to get optimal results in different conditions.

    I loved my Digilux 2 and can certainly deal with the 2/3 sensor. However, much has been written about that camera and how large the lens would need to be to keep it fast and good on a bigger sensor.

    I have the NEX5 here now and last night I held up my little Voigtlander 35mm f2.5 lens. It is an absolutely teeny tiny lens and I look forward to seeing how some of these do on the NEX. I fully expect like m4/3 the corners to be dreadful. This just makes me wish someone (Leica are you listening) could take the micro lens technology to the Live View camera experience.

    I know this is rambling.....

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    HI Terry
    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    The funny thing is the missing camera is in some ways sort of already here we just all wrote it off. I know Jono is talking about a bigger sensor than 1/1.8" sensor in a compact body but think about the Ricoh GXR. When you are in good light and can deal with a small sensor, you get a longer zoom on a smaller sensor. As the light drops low and higher ISO capability it a must you change out your lens/sensor unit and you get something optimized for low light. I'm not saying right now the GXR is optimized and that each unit gives good performance but that is one way to keep the size in check and allow you to get optimal results in different conditions.
    Well, I completely agree that Ricoh are in a good position to produce what I would like to see . . . . but they haven't done it yet! the 24-72 has a small sensor, and the 50 has a large one - what we want is something the size of the 50, with a zoom and a sensor that's somewhere inbetween (it really shouldn't be too much of a problem)!



    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    I loved my Digilux 2 and can certainly deal with the 2/3 sensor. However, much has been written about that camera and how large the lens would need to be to keep it fast and good on a bigger sensor.
    To be honest, I'd settle for a 2/3 sized sensor with a lens like the digilux2 - they could make it 12 mp, which would have a much better pixel density than the likes of the G11 - bring it on!

    The very fact that so many people still love the camera proves it's desirability, how would you like one with a 900,000 pixel fast high quality LCD, video, an evf like the G2 and image quality half way between a G11 and a GF1 - I know I'd like one - but, 2/3 sensors haven't been used in any new camera for over 2 years! Still, one might perhaps a like a sensor a little larger - with a lens either a little larger and or perhaps slightly slower (after all, high ISO is so much better these days).

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    I have the NEX5 here now and last night I held up my little Voigtlander 35mm f2.5 lens. It is an absolutely teeny tiny lens and I look forward to seeing how some of these do on the NEX. I fully expect like m4/3 the corners to be dreadful. This just makes me wish someone (Leica are you listening) could take the micro lens technology to the Live View camera experience.

    I know this is rambling.....
    Fine, but surely this is just another competitor for the Gf1 or the Samsung - but to be honest, if I want stellar performance on a small(ish) camera, I'd rather use an M9 with a 35 summarit - it's really pretty small.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    Aha! Yes, now that you've better defined what your "in-between" must have, I will agree with you. Wouldn't it be great?

    I still have one reservation about a sensor smaller than the 4/3. That is the relative increase in the minimum DOF due to the requirement for very short focal length lenses.
    Hi Tom
    but the DOF cuts both ways - I'm not suggesting that this should be a replacement for the M9 (far from it). But smaller sensors are great for close up or macro, and there are times when one doesn't really want a small DOF.

    But it isn't so much what I want - the point was that there clearly are opportunities for an 'in-between' sized sensor.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Jono,
    I've always said with the Digilux 2 , leave the body, leave the lens put current sensor tech, EVF tech, LCD tech and image processing engine and I would be first in line.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Of course - splendid - as was the 8080
    Just the sort of thing I'm thinking about ...
    I had an Olympus C8080WZ. It made very nice JPEG files, was atrociously slow on raw capture, had a horrible little viewfinder which was impossible to see well enough with to focus manually, and had control ergonomics that made me so frustrated I sold the darn thing in three months.

    But, to the point of this thread, it was larger and heavier than my Pentax *ist DS DSLR. It certainly wasn't small and light, nor would it fit in your pocket unless your pocket was about the size of a camel's feed bag.

    Why is that "just the sort of thing I'm thinking about" ???

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    I had an Olympus C8080WZ. It made very nice JPEG files, was atrociously slow on raw capture, had a horrible little viewfinder which was impossible to see well enough with to focus manually, and had control ergonomics that made me so frustrated I sold the darn thing in three months.

    But, to the point of this thread, it was larger and heavier than my Pentax *ist DS DSLR. It certainly wasn't small and light, nor would it fit in your pocket unless your pocket was about the size of a camel's feed bag.

    Why is that "just the sort of thing I'm thinking about" ???
    Actually Godfrey, although it was heavier (724gm) than the *ist (650gm) that was with a lens ( which the Pentax didn't have), It was however smaller (4.9"x3.3") as opposed to (5.1"x3.7"). I wouldn't be pedantic, but I know you like to have things right! It had a useful 28-140 f2.8 zoom and you might not have liked the ergonomics, but others would certainly disagree (it was still going for a decent price on ebay long after having been discontinued).

    The reason I said that is because it was a compact camera which produced decent results with the sort of pixel density I was reckoning on - I was thinking of it in the context of it's time (6 years ago) - never had one myself, but I do remember the Iraq war photographer who produced wonderful results with 5 of them.

    But . . . . I obviously presented my thesis really badly - I wasn't arguing for any specific camera (although I'd like a compact camera with a fairly good IQ and really good zoom lens personally).

    The point was that there is a lot which could be done with the gap in sensor size (which is substantial and surprising and has grown) - and, to be honest, I think it's incontrovertible, and certainly nobody has made a cogent argument against the idea.
    Last edited by jonoslack; 26th June 2010 at 12:35. Reason: correcting Godfrey (sorry)

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi Tom
    but the DOF cuts both ways - I'm not suggesting that this should be a replacement for the M9 (far from it). But smaller sensors are great for close up or macro, and there are times when one doesn't really want a small DOF.

    But it isn't so much what I want - the point was that there clearly are opportunities for an 'in-between' sized sensor.
    Jono, of course this proposed camera or cameras would not replace my M9, I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    The point was that there is a lot which could be done with the gap in sensor size (which is substantial and surprising and has grown) - and, to be honest, I think it's incontrovertible, and certainly nobody has made a cogent argument against the idea.
    Hmm. You're presenting a bit of a moving target, it seems to me. GF1 is a great camera but you're looking for a zoom. Fair enough, I'd like that, too, and one would suspect a camera with a "between" sensor could be created with a truly compact but high quality zoom. My point is that the small sensor cameras are badly limited at, say, 35 or 55mm equivalent FOV by the deep DOF. If I'm satisfied with that, I might as well stick with a compact small sensor camera. But isn't it your point that you want something better? If the camera makers would stick to 5-6mpx on the tiny sensors, they can produce great photos--but the deep FOV cannot be overcome. I think the benefit of the "between" size sensor is it's ability to add the OPTION of narrower DOF. Talking about macro shooting introduces a "special case"; I want a small camera that does a high quality job for "general" photography. I maintain that the sensor should be large enough to preserve the narrow DOF option, or else why not just stick to small sensor and ask for fewer pixels? 12mp is counterproductive on this type of camera.

    I enjoy a good argument. Let me be clear, though, that I do agree wholeheartedly with your basic premise that the sensor size "gap" presents an enormous opportunity that has curiously been ignored by the camera manufacturers.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    Jono, of course this proposed camera or cameras would not replace my M9, I agree.


    Hmm. You're presenting a bit of a moving target, it seems to me. GF1 is a great camera but you're looking for a zoom. Fair enough, I'd like that, too, and one would suspect a camera with a "between" sensor could be created with a truly compact but high quality zoom. My point is that the small sensor cameras are badly limited at, say, 35 or 55mm equivalent FOV by the deep DOF. If I'm satisfied with that, I might as well stick with a compact small sensor camera. But isn't it your point that you want something better? If the camera makers would stick to 5-6mpx on the tiny sensors, they can produce great photos--but the deep FOV cannot be overcome. I think the benefit of the "between" size sensor is it's ability to add the OPTION of narrower DOF. Talking about macro shooting introduces a "special case"; I want a small camera that does a high quality job for "general" photography. I maintain that the sensor should be large enough to preserve the narrow DOF option, or else why not just stick to small sensor and ask for fewer pixels? 12mp is counterproductive on this type of camera.

    I enjoy a good argument. Let me be clear, though, that I do agree wholeheartedly with your basic premise that the sensor size "gap" presents an enormous opportunity that has curiously been ignored by the camera manufacturers.
    Well - I think that the DOF argument is a completely different one - we all understand the implications of smaller sensors and can take it or leave it. We all want 'perfect' but that isn't an option (yet, anyway)!

    as for the 'less pixels on smaller sensors' argument - I would have made the same one myself a year or two back. But you are always entitled to downsize your 12mp image to 5 or 6, and it seems to me that will produce a better image than a 'native' 5 or 6 mp camera. More sampling is generally better - even if the individual samples aren't. Looking at a 12mp image at 100% is always going to be worse than a 5mp image from the same size sensor . . . but then one is looking at more of the image!

    for instance - 100% viewing of 1600 ISO shots with the M9 and the X1 clearly show that the X1 does a better job . . . . . but if you downsize your M9 shot to 12 mp, and then look again, strangely things have changed!

    But perhaps this is rather beside the point!

    My target isn't really moving although the discussion may be, and my personal desire from the thesis is a small camera with a decent IQ and a good medium range zoom - but that isn't the thesis - the thesis is simple:

    There is a large range of unused sensor sizes which could be usefully employed to produce small cameras with reasonably high IQ

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    There is a large range of unused sensor sizes which could be usefully employed to produce small cameras with reasonably high IQ
    +1

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Actually Godfrey, although it was heavier (724gm) than the *ist (650gm) that was with a lens ( which the Pentax didn't have), It was however smaller (4.9"x3.3") as opposed to (5.1"x3.7"). I wouldn't be pedantic, but I know you like to have things right! It had a useful 28-140 f2.8 zoom and you might not have liked the ergonomics, but others would certainly disagree (it was still going for a decent price on ebay long after having been discontinued).

    The reason I said that is because it was a compact camera which produced decent results with the sort of pixel density I was reckoning on - I was thinking of it in the context of it's time (6 years ago) - never had one myself, but I do remember the Iraq war photographer who produced wonderful results with 5 of them.

    But . . . . I obviously presented my thesis really badly - I wasn't arguing for any specific camera (although I'd like a compact camera with a fairly good IQ and really good zoom lens personally).

    The point was that there is a lot which could be done with the gap in sensor size (which is substantial and surprising and has grown) - and, to be honest, I think it's incontrovertible, and certainly nobody has made a cogent argument against the idea.
    Comparing C8080WZ against Canon 10D and Panasonic FZ10:


    You can quote all the numbers you want. The C8080 was a big fat pig of a point and shoot. It made nice pictures but compared to Pentax *ist DS was a lump. It's almost as big as the Canon 10D, which dwarfs the *ist DS. It was most certainly NOT compact, or light.

    Saying "there are a whole lot of unused sensor sizes out there" is kinda like saying, "there are a whole bunch of integers to use." It's not like there's some great conspiracy of chip makers hiding all these wonderful imager chips from the camera makers and keeping us from getting what we want. Format sizings are a dime a dozen ... real silicon takes massive money in development to produce.

    It's a silly notion that you're going to get some massive improvement in image quality coupled with a big reduction in lens size by going from a 6x8 mm to a 7x11 mm or 9x12 mm sensor. 13x17.3 is a quadrupling in photosite area of a 2/3" sensor (6.66x8.88 mm) which nets, using the same technology, an effective 2 stop sensitivity boost with the same sensor technology and photosite size.

    What's needed to get what you want isn't a bunch on intermediary sensor formats but research to make the 1/1.8" and other small sensors more sensitive. Where would you rather the manufacturers put their money?

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Of course - splendid - as was the 8080
    Just the sort of thing I'm thinking about
    But why a 1/1.8" sensor? (which is about the size of the G11 sensor)

    Why not a 1" sensor?

    (1.1/8" = 9 x 7mm
    (1" = 16 x 12mm)

    then one could have really stellar image quality - you might need to lose a stop on the lens, but that should be made up for with better high ISO.

    all the best
    The reason why I mentioned the 5050 (could as well have been the 7070, but that model had a slower although wider lens), was its compactness, form factor and the fact that it had an OVF. Importantly, it also had the pixel pitch that you're looking for. For most amateur uses, 5-6 MP is enough, and with current technology, even a sensor of 1/1.8" would manage very good results up to, and probably beyond, ISO1600.

    By There's no way around increasing the size of the lens if you increase the size of the sensor, at least if you want a zoom, unless you make it considerably slower. The Sigma DP1/2 and the Leica X1 have proved that beyond reasonable doubt.

    There is almost such a camera available today, the G11, and Canon even reduced the number of pixels from the G10. At 1/1.7", the sensor is even slightly larger than on the C5050. A G11 with even less pixels, a slightly larger sensor (which would probably have to come at the cost of a shorter zoom) Fuji sensor technology and a decent OVF, and at least I would look upon it as a very decent proposition.

    But if technology continues to evolve, and it usually does, even a G12 with the same number of pixels and the same sensor size will be very nice indeed. Pity about that awful viewfinder

    And as for a Fuji sensor in a Canon; I guess we can forget about that

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    My view is if it won't fit easily in a jacket pocket, then I may as well take a dslr. I bought the Sigma dp1s for that, it is about as big as I want as an 'always with me' camera. I would prefer an evf to an lcd screen on any camera, although a hinged lcd screen can be useful in some circumstances. It was my intention to sort of modify the camera to take other lenses, but the shutter is integral with the lens, so that would make it more tricky.

    Adding the external optical viewfinder, or the macro attachment is more trouble than it is worth, and requires another pocket. If I need another pocket, I may as well put in a couple of lenses too, so it is quicker to just grab the bag with the dslr and lenses. I guess everybody has a different requirement, but at the moment I think you have to spend a lot more money to get a comparable image quality, at any size of camera. However, there are numerous other downsides to the design of that camera, as far as I'm concerned, and they are not all price related. (Not sure if it is an urban legend, or true, but the inventor of the original Sony walkman sold the idea to the directors by saying it would fit in a jacket pocket - but he had special pockets made)

    It is possible to put a larger than 4/3 sensor in a jacket pocket-able camera. The next size down would be something to fit in a shirt pocket. What size pocket would a camera with a 12 by 8 sensor fit? If it requires a jacket pocket, then that can be achieved with a 4/3 or larger size sensor.

    Best wishes,
    Ray

    (The APS-C size seems to be marketing hype - it covers the range, more or less between 4/3 and full frame - not like the APS for film.)

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by raywest View Post
    My view is if it won't fit easily in a jacket pocket, then I may as well take a dslr.
    Or an M9 in my case. Quite agree.

    However, an Olympus pen with the 14-42 kit lens does, just fit in a jacket pocket . . . so it seems to me reasonable logic to think that something with a sensor size half way between that and a G11 could easily fit in a jacket pocket.

    But this is definitely territory . . . . I've obviously not convinced anyone at all that those middle sensor sizes are worth using (except perhaps Jorgen).

    It's going to be the hottest day of the year, so I'm going out to play silly-buggers with a v-lux 20 and a minute sensor

    see you all in another thread.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    jono... maybe this is a possibility

    http://43rumors.com/ft5-awesome-new-...d-rangefinder/

    K

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinparis View Post
    jono... maybe this is a possibility

    http://43rumors.com/ft5-awesome-new-...d-rangefinder/

    K
    Sounds fab doesn't it - if it's possible to make it small enough, then I'll be onto it like a wotsit . . . . . not because of the rangefinder - but because of the idea of having something really small with a useable zoom.
    We shall see.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    somehow doubt the rangefinder part - more likely a OVF with framelines i would have thought.. but we will see... after all its just a rumor...

    K

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinparis View Post
    somehow doubt the rangefinder part - more likely a OVF with framelines i would have thought.. but we will see... after all its just a rumor...

    K
    I quite agree - the point of this thread was the desire for a pocketable camera with decent IQ and a zoom - if Panasonic can do it with a 4/3 sensor then so much the better.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I quite agree - the point of this thread was the desire for a pocketable camera with decent IQ and a zoom - if Panasonic can do it with a 4/3 sensor then so much the better.
    Aha! Jono, I'm writing this while smiling. I think you took my comments to be confrontational which had not been my intent. So I agree that the GF1 meets only the first 2 of the desired criteria, and I agree that it would be great to have the camera that met them all; if 4/3 can't do it, then a "between" sensor certainly should. Someone will make one for us. Some day.

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    my ideal would be a digital Oly XA with a 4/3 sensor... a classic design and i would have thought possible with current tech

    K

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    Aha! Jono, I'm writing this while smiling. I think you took my comments to be confrontational which had not been my intent. So I agree that the GF1 meets only the first 2 of the desired criteria, and I agree that it would be great to have the camera that met them all; if 4/3 can't do it, then a "between" sensor certainly should. Someone will make one for us. Some day.
    Hi Tom
    I wasn't really thinking you as being confrontational (although some others might have been). Still, reflection suggests to me that this is all at the whim of sensor manufacturers. and if they don't see a market for an in between camera, then nobody is going to be able to build one!

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous - the missing camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    ... Still, reflection suggests to me that this is all at the whim of sensor manufacturers. and if they don't see a market for an in between camera, then nobody is going to be able to build one!
    It's not whim: it's money. If a manufacturer don't see the multiple-tens-of-millions-of-dollars expenditure required to design, prototype, and come to production on a new sized sensor is going to return a significant profit, why should they do it? Never mind the multiple-tens-of-millions-of-dollars expenditure that the camera companies will have to spend to develop a new in-between camera model and lens...

    I'm am certain there is little significant benefit to an in-between sized sensor. And a lot of cost between startup and delivery of any such product. I'd rather see the manufacturers put that money into developing new, better sensor technologies than just reinventing yet another sensor format for mediocre gains.

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