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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:56 pm 
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Maybe a little contradictional with Nikon just having released the D3 and probably Sony preparing for their own full frame camera, but I wonder if full frame camera's will survive in the end.

Aps size sensors have now evolved to 12 MP, while still performing excellent in noise performance (Nikon D300). I suppose sensors will evolve more in the coming years until more resolution will be useless. This will happen when sensors will outperform lenses.

So when will this happen? I think with consumer grade lenses this is already happening with 10 or 12 MP sensors. Clearly cheap lenses do not justify camera's with more then ~12 MP sensors.

With pro level lenses the situation is a little different. Recently I read a test comparing the Canon 1Ds mark III (21 MP) with the 5D (12 MP, I'm not sure about this last one) and it was possible to see a difference, but the difference was small. So I think the limit will be around 20 MP and after that lenses simply won't be able to to match the sensor.

So when this happens, any advantage of the full frame camera's will evaporate. What's the use of having a full frame 40 MP sensor if the lens cannot resolve it?

So what do you all think?

Hans

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:59 am 
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Hi Hans,

As a number of members already know, I'm fascinated by this topic. To set the scene, the Canon 1Ds MkIII has 21.1 MP and the Canon 5D has a more modest 12.8 MP. Fabrication technology has moved on since the 5D sensor was designed but, from what I read, in terms of sensor noise and dynamic range the 5D pixels still hold the advantage over the 1Ds MkIII but not quite as decisively as the difference in pixel area might indicate. An example of how things move on is the Nikon D3 which, with a 12.1 MP sensor, has only slightly bigger pixels than the 5D but can operate at remarkably high ISO numbers.

The 1Ds MkIII pixels are still bigger than those of the semi-pro Canon 40D. Scale that 10.1 MP 40D sensor up to full-frame while keeping the pixel size the same and you'd end up with 25.8 MP so, centre frame at least, the 1Ds MkIII is still working its lenses less hard than the 40D (and the 450D for that matter with its 12.2 MP sensor).

It's my guess (no more) that Canon could produce a full-frame successor to the 5D sensor with 16 to 18 MP and still achieve the same per pixel image quality. The rumour mill, and we know how unreliable that can be, suggests that Canon is working on a new generation of CMOS sensors with IQ as good as the current 1Ds MkIII and 50 MP density. Expectation is that we will see such a sensor in the 1Ds line possibly as early as 2010.

Coming back down to earth, Canon's Chuck Westfall said, in an interview with CNET, that he thinks that "the full-frame market is set to expand in 2008". So yes, full-frame sensors will survive. Maybe the question should be whether they will increase their market share of the DSLR market. Both full-frame and cropped sensor DSLR sales are likely to increase, unless the world economy goes seriously south, but if cropped sensor sales increase faster then full-frame market share decreases.

I think the squeeze will occur in the niche medium format digital camera market. If Canon, Nikon and Sony, to name but three, start producing high IQ full-frame sensors in the 40 to 50 MP range that leaves medium format cameras nowhere sensible to go.

Bob.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:47 am 
I think the question is just the opposite... will cropped sensors survive?

I've been talking to some pro's and they really prefer full frame for a number of reasons.

Somehow, I agree with them too. One logic reason is that you can push more pixels in a bigger area. You can catch more light, and in my case, I can use EF lenses in my 35mm and my digital full frame without headaches (One day I will have one full frame, maybe the day when the price is below $2K :P ).

Anyways, I'm just hoping for a standard some day in the near future, it's a pain in the neck to be always dealing with crop factor and focal lenght.

Cheers


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:56 am 
As evidenced by the Phase One 40MP backs, there indeed is a hunger for more MP. At least on a PRO level. They still use these cameras for studio photography for images that are not blown up to cover the side of a house.

When that technology - as it surely will - becomes available at consumer-level prices, undoubtedly it will be popular. Look at the existing race for MP on he market today. People do not appear to care if it's enough or too much - more is simply, better.

With the dropping prices and increased capacity of digital storage for home computers, the massive file-sizes will not be very important to very many people.

Pixel-density, noise performance processors and sensor sizes will interact in an ever-evolving spiral.

Although I deliberately chose a 6MP camera when I recently bought my first DSLR, the trend is pretty clear. More MP for the masses.

We forum-posters are already more conscious about this than the average consumers and are probably no longer representative of the market that generate the most revenue. Heck, they already have 12MP compacts.

I think that the full-frame sensors will have a future - if for no other reason than to allow much higher MPs than what we can reasonably achieve with the cropped ones.

Then again - perhaps the large manufacturers will begin to consider the multi-sensor approach such as the Foveon from Sigma and there could very well be a synergy between this sensor's improved color-dynamics and lower MP-per-sensor and the more common sensors we have on the market.

Cheers :-)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:08 pm 
I think full-frame sensor would defiantly survive since you know technology advances so fast, once you get the invention, innovations happen so fast, like computers once they came out with one, 10yrs a better one, 5yrs even better, eventually every week a better computer comes out, same goes with 35mm digital sensors. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:29 pm 
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Yes, digital sensors will improve, but lenses will not, or at least not as much.
So what's the use of having a 40 MP sensor if the result will be the same as for a 20 MP sensor, simply because the lens cannot resolve this much detail?

Maybe for marketing reasons only, the 40 MP version will be sold anyway.
The only other advantage would be the noise levels. A 20 MP full frame sensor will produce images with less noise then a 20 MP APS sensor. But eventually we would be comparing ISO 12800 with 25600 or even higher and nobody would care anymore.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:39 pm 
Well today's lenses aren't that bad, there are lenses out there that can outresolve 10mp or scratch the surface.... Primes are probably most likely to get there and be able to let you use the max. potential of the sensor. Eventually zooms will also improve and you see the trend.

P.S. there is 40mp sensors but only in HUGE hasselblad sensors.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:44 pm 
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I'm not talking about today, but about the future. I know there are no 40 MP sensors for full frame or smaller yet, but one day there will be unless there is some physical limitation.

Hans

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:08 pm 
Hans wrote:
I'm not talking about today, but about the future. I know there are no 40 MP sensors for full frame or smaller yet, but one day there will be unless there is some physical limitation


In fact, Hasselblad has bigger sensors up to 39MP. The model H3DII-39 is a monster that has a sensor this size: 36.7 x 49.0mm and 39MP.

I don´t know, but could you say that a Hasselblad this big is not able to fully resolve?

Cheers


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:46 pm 
I'm not really bothered about what happens to full-frame sensors as long as the noise performance, dynamic range etc. of current sensors is improved. To be honest, all other things being equal, I would prefer the crop-frame sensors because of the focal length multiplier.

But seriously, the full-frame sensor will always be better than a crop frame sensor unless the sensor manufacturers can refine both to a point where they can both exceed ISO 51,200 without noise in which case the difference wouldn't really matter.

Ramblings aside, I do hope the prices of FF sensors continue to be pushed down. Like Thomas says, it is the "final frontier" after all. :D


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 6:59 pm 
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I think that one day, all camera's (apart from compacts) will have FF-sensors. That way they'll keep the noise at the lowest possible level and also enable users to buy lenses without having to consider cropfactors.
I think that one day, we'll also be able to shoot video's with our DSLRs, but that's still going to take some years. :D

- Bjorn -

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:58 pm 
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Oh my...

I thought I had posted yesterday here...I am sure I did...I wrote a pretty heafty post, and its; not here?

The browser must have timed out or something after I submitted it, and i never really checked to see if it posted...grr!

Anyway, the jist was, FF ftw, 1.5-1.6x crop for consumer DSLR + High end Compacts, 4:3's for mid range compacts and lower sensors for low end compacts.

and Medium format 60mm film doesn't out-do the resolution of medium format lenses, so the 48mm digital backs, even the 40MP ones are unlikely to do so. [yeah i know the 40mp digtal back on the 48mm size could have a higher ppi/dpi than the 60mm film, but its close enough]

Then theres large format, 6x12 panoramic plates anyone? Bringing out the big guns, yes sir!

So yeah FF for everyone by 2010. (sub £1000 brand new)

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:36 am 
DD_nVidia wrote:
Oh my...

I thought I had posted yesterday here...I am sure I did...I wrote a pretty heafty post, and its; not here?



Yeah DD, I can confirm you did. I came back reading this topic specially to read Bob's second post. I remember he said "he might have bought his last 1.6 crop camera". I'm assuming that will be his 40D.

I wanted to re-read his post but it doesnt appear. Weird.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:11 pm 
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yeah...forums went down for a minute yesterday too...strange, maybe some backend work is getting done :D

anyway off topic :/

on topic - FF FTW

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:42 pm 
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eL wrote:
...I came back reading this topic specially to read Bob's second post. I remember he said "he might have bought his last 1.6 crop camera". I'm assuming that will be his 40D...

Looks like two separate issues. I have no idea what happened to Daniels post but I did delete my own post (and only my own post!). At the time it was the last post in the thread. The reason was that I realised after posting it that it was rubbish! :!: :evil:

I managed to seriously mislead myself about Depth of Frame as it relates to landscapes shot with either cropped or full-frame sensors. My intention that my 40D is my last cropped frame camera still remains however. I want more pixels and higher dynamic range and the only way to get there, as far as I can see, is to go with a larger sensor.

By the way, I have noticed that the forum is usually unavailable for a minute or two after midnight GMT. I presume the server is doing some maintenance but when you consider that midnight here in the UK is prime time for the Americas maybe that isn't the best time that could have been chosen.

Bob.

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