Now that these sub $1000 DSLRs are coming out...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Mark Weaver, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. Mark Weaver

    Mark Weaver Guest

    When is somebody going to build MY next camera? I want a compact digital
    with an APS sized sensor taken from a low-cost DSLR providing the low noise,
    high-iso capabilities in a compact package. At the same time, the bigger
    sensor should make it relatively easy to provide at least a 28mm wide on the
    bottom end of the zoom. Put that in both a compact 3-4x zoom body and a
    compact ultra-zoom body, and one of those will be my next camera. I've
    realized I'm never going to buy a DSLR (just too big -- that's why I almost
    never used my film SLR) and cameras like the Sony F828 just aren't doing it
    for me -- too much noise at anything other than the lowest ISO (and too big
    anyway). Give me an APS sensor in an something like an Oly C-750 and I'll
    be the first standing in line.

    Mark
     
    Mark Weaver, Jan 28, 2004
    #1
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  2. Mark Weaver

    JoeInArizona Guest

    Yes I agree, but it might be quite a bit of engineering to make the body
    small with a large sensor. They may have to bend the light around a
    corner like they do in the credit card size cameras. Or perhaps a prime
    lens would be enough.
     
    JoeInArizona, Jan 28, 2004
    #2
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  3. Mark Weaver

    Jim Townsend Guest

    I don't know WHY they don't do this either..

    A run of the mill compact with a large sensor and quick autofocus would be
    ideal and it would save a lot of people having to dish out hundreds of
    dollars extra just for low noise at high ISO and fast autofocus. They
    could make one for about 500 dollars... The sensor being the biggest cost.

    I guess the system is money driven... Sell SLR's and you also sell
    lenses.
     
    Jim Townsend, Jan 28, 2004
    #3
  4. Mark Weaver

    Mark Weaver Guest

    But these sensors are still APS sized -- which is to say much smaller than a
    35mm frame, and a compact 35 was apparently not a terribly difficult
    engineering problem.
     
    Mark Weaver, Jan 28, 2004
    #4
  5. Mark Weaver

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    Tony Spadaro, Jan 28, 2004
    #5
  6. Mark Weaver

    Nils Rostedt Guest

    My 2 cents:
    Technically, this should not be a big problem. After all, we already had
    these tiny APS film cameras with that kind of lenses.

    The challenges are IMHO :

    1. Cost . A big DSLR sensor is bound to cost much more (perhaps 10x) the
    cost of current small P&S sensors. Additionally, today's DSLR sensors don't
    deliver the live preview most people take for granted in a digital P&S.
    2. Cost. Bigger sensors require more glass and physically larger lenses,
    which is more expensive.
    3. Quality. Today's small sensors and lenses already provide enough
    sharpness for 4x6. And most users still think more MP is better than low
    noise.

    My guess is that once the P&S market realizes that more MP is not needed,
    the trend will shift to cameras of the type you want. But it may still take
    a year until the MP fixation fades.

    Kind of reminds me of the Hi-Fi evolution in the 60s/70s: In the first
    phase a 20-20000 Hz freq range was the essential thing (besides the Watts of
    course), only later did people realize that 70dB of dynamic range was
    significantly better than 65dB.

    /N
     
    Nils Rostedt, Jan 28, 2004
    #6
  7. Actually, as I understand it there is a problem with today's sensors.
    Then the light strikes the sensor at too high an angle it causes some
    problems. Special design wide-angle lenses can be made to overcome it, but
    the lenses tend to be longer than a standard 35mm film lens would be. I
    would think this along with a wide range zoom would be a complex (expensive
    and maybe low resolution) problem however.
     
    Joseph Meehan, Jan 28, 2004
    #7
  8. Mark Weaver

    CBM Guest

    Give me a Big ass Foveon Chip ( I like its Idea ) with big pixels better low
    light and lower noise which isn't bad now, make it 35mm in size, a true 8-
    12 MP not the 3 MP now made , better software and other users.
     
    CBM, Jan 28, 2004
    #8
  9. Mark Weaver

    Mark Johnson Guest

    Mee, too. dSLRs are as unwieldy as any SLR, maybe even moreso if the
    bodies are actually bigger and heavier. Plus you can't frame the shot,
    except bringing the camera up to your eye for the viewfinder.
    They should be able to do just that, hopefully soon. Digicam noise at
    high ISO . . IS . .noticeable, even in RAW. I like the Oly 4040 noise
    killer software, for example. But then the 4040 doesn't have RAW/ORF,
    and was a plastic case.
    10x should be standard, with some stabilization. The capability of the
    e-100rs should have been expanded to larger CCDs, in my opinion. It
    was just fun to hold, nicely balanced, quiet, rugged, all of that.
    Well, also auto bracketing, even if shooting RAW. Buffered storage for
    rapid 'sports' shots, but any fast action. And so fast auto-focus, as
    well - not so easy. Optimized macro settings. Get rid of incamera
    sharpening. No digital zoom. Save only in RAW format, with JPG
    thumbnail. And better than 2" LCD.

    Oh, yes. Detachable bounce flash capable of filling a hall - standard
    equipment.

    I'd go for a C5050 body and even bayonet 'SLR' type lenses, as opposed
    to screw on (but probably not the 5060 and its darker lens). But
    something that is portable in a little velcro palm case, even with
    72mm oversized close up lenses and parorama/WA attachments, and desk
    tripod/clamp, batteries, and the rest.

    Could be common place by next Christmas. Be interesting to see if they
    keep trying to play at dSLR, or a more miniaturized approach.
     
    Mark Johnson, Jan 29, 2004
    #9
  10. Have you actually held a 300D? It's only slightly larger/heavier than an
    Olympus OM-1n. It fits my hand very nicely. (Although I admit the 1Ds is
    But you _can_ frame the shot with the camera at your eye, unlike the P&S
    cameras with their useless 85% coverage squintfinders. Sure, waist-level
    finders are nice, but you can get a 90-degree viewer for the dSLRs.
    The noise killer software fixes the _appearance_ of the noise, but it
    doesn't recover the low contrast and shadow detail destroyed by the noise.

    The main problem with using an APS sensor in a compact package is that the
    lenses are going to be the same size as the dSLR lenses. You can't make a 4x
    f/2.8 zoom for an APS sensor that's as small as the G3 lens: the sensor is 4
    times larger, and the lens is going to be similarly larger. The
    affordable/liftable SLR zooms* are all f/3.5 to f/5.6. That's OK if you can
    switch to an f/1.8 prime when you need to, but will be very limiting in a
    non-interchangeable lens camera.

    *: The new Nikon 18-70 (27 to 105 effective) is an f/3.5 to f/4.5, is 3
    inches long and weighs almost a full pound.
    A 10x lens for an APS sensor would be 18-180mm, over twice the length of the
    Nikon 18-70, and either over twice the weight or a lot slower.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
     
    David J. Littleboy, Jan 29, 2004
    #10
  11. Mark Weaver

    Charlie Self Guest

    David Littleboy responds:
    And you add a power winder to that OM-1 and it's all of a sudden right in the
    same class as the 300D.

    I'd like an SLR with a zoom lens, like the Olympus E20, but with a 20 to 135
    zoom (7 times?) (effective, as 35mm). Add a bit for glass quality, manual
    focus, bring the MPs up to maybe 8 or 10, with an APS sized sensor. Lens could
    be f/2.8 or f/3.5 and satisfy me, but probably would need to be f/2.8 to sell
    to others. All manual controls available, as well as standard program stuff,
    with manual focus and other needs easy to access and use (no menu crawling
    needed). Add in a decent focusing screen (split center would be nice), maybe a
    slip-off pentaprism for low level shooting, at least 95% viewing, and I guess
    to be saleable it would have to have a rotating LCD on its back, so stick one
    ono with 6 times mag for checking, roughly, focus. Autofocus with Minolta's
    moving crosshairs would be nice, too. Stick with AA batteries or make an
    optional grip to add battery life at somewhat mroe rational cost than the one
    for the current E10s and E20s, put a decent sized (10 shot?) buffer in. Meter?
    Whatever works. I often use a handheld anyway.

    Weight? I don't care, though I guess it would be nice if it were under, say, 4
    pounds. To me, heavier means sturdier. Size? Again, I don't care, as long as it
    isn't as large as a 5x7 view camera. At 6'2" and 260 pounds (and dropping, I
    hope), I am not going to find such a camera to be too large a percentage of my
    body weight to haul along. If it is, I'll add a plate or 2 to the barbells. A
    feature set similar to the Dimage A1 would be nice, minus the IS (if you need
    IS with a 135mm zoom, you're due for a tune-up yourself, I think, but if you're
    shooting a lot of nightclub stuff withuut flash, it might be handy).

    It's never going to happen, of course. Mosty pros insist on interchangeable
    lenses (and many of those really, really need them). Most amateurs would be
    terrified by the weight and size and cost. The cost would probably keep me
    waiting for a replacement so I could buy the older version!

    Charlie Self
    "To create man was a quaint and original idea, but to add the sheep was
    tautology." Mark Twain's Notebook

    http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
     
    Charlie Self, Jan 29, 2004
    #11
  12. Mark Weaver

    Mark Johnson Guest

    Remember - my comment about the plastic kit lens?

    You'd have to bring it up to the eye. The LCD gives you freedom of
    movement. That can make a photo. Of course, I suppose, a real pro
    knows exactly how the photo comes out, based on his speed and shutter.
    So he doesn't need to look. But I do.

    You can hold away from you, and get the view. But it wouldn't be the
    same. You'd basically need a second sensor to show the eye view. There
    was the switch, just for example, that you had on the old e-100rs,
    though admittedly it was the same sensor. But a good dSLR would have
    an LCD view for you. You come to take it for granted when using
    digicams.

    I would think, as well, that you want the cleanest image - to begin
    with - in the digicam when you hit the shutter. And it would appear
    that say the Canon dSLR sensor are less noisy. That alone, would
    recommend them over a digicam.

    You can rescue a lot from shadow - but not from 'hot' areas. I like
    that about RAW, for example. There's often a lot hiding in those
    shadows. And the old fix for noise was to carefully select and blur.
    It's not automatic. But it does the job accurately and precisely. I
    just like the convenience of the noise reduction software. But I don't
    see it as an auto-fix, particularly as I see all of them can have
    trouble with certain edges. The best to deal with a photo is pixel by
    pixel, almost. That assumes there are not a lot of 'keeper' shots. You
    couldn't take that time with a whole bunch.

    I understand. Larger glass. Quick change. Heavy and expensive. But I
    suppose one could refract from a smaller lens to a larger sensor.

    On the other hand, I prefer 62mm and 72mm glass for macro and filters
    and whatever else, just to get in the center of the lens.
     
    Mark Johnson, Jan 31, 2004
    #12
  13. That would be 36MP in Bayer terms, or a 48MP equivalent after you account
    for Bayers 2D inefficiencies. I doubt you see that soon.

    The current $620 10.3MP SD9 Foveon Pro 10M DSLR provides medium format film
    quality when enlarged to less than 40 inches, that should be enough for
    most.
     
    George Preddy, Jan 31, 2004
    #13
  14. Each of us likes something a little bit different.
    I've found I don't like feel of the light weight compact cameras.
    They can be handy on occasion, but I prefer the heft and balance of an
    SLR, let alone a dSLR. Albeit I admit I find the F4S to be less handy
    than the little 8008, or my E20N. If the E20N weren't so slow it'd be
    my primary choice.
    Which I prefer.

    With our without the photographer learns how much extra they have to
    play with.
    Normally the pro looks as well.
    The pro and the artist, which aren't necessarily the same make do with
    the tools at hand although most prefer the most versatile equipment
    they can get. That doesn't necessarily equate to the most expensive.

    Yes, I do have some shots that I was able to frame using the LCD, but
    they were from unusual angles of either from high over head or holding
    the camera in a location where I wouldn't fit.

    In nearly two years I have used the LCD a maximum of 10 times. It was
    handy then, but one of those extras I could easily do without. WEre I
    to purchase a dSLR that gave me the choice of the LCD or not, I'd
    probably choose not and put the money toward something else.

    Likewise the person who only uses SLRs may find the LCD display a bit
    on the extraneous side.

    They are already getting there.

    It's probably the most noticeable in RAW.
    It does for a lot of people, but the majority of people using compact
    cameras are most likely interested in "snap shots" and for the
    majority of their shooting (even the majority of my shooting) noise is
    not an issue. Unfortunately for a small portion of my shooting, low
    noise is essential. Up till now that has forced me to continue using
    film in those instances.
    It all depends on how deep the shadow. If it's truly shadow and not
    black you can sometimes pull out a lot of detail. In grad school we
    were given images that appeared to be all black, but a histogram
    displayed about 16 levels of black all scrunched up at one end. Using
    a simple linear transform we were able to transform the black image
    into a fairly nice B & W image.

    If you saw any of the Voyager images that were sent back from the
    planet Neptune the histogram had virtually all the pixels at the
    bottom end, yet they were processed and turned into some breathtaking
    photos.
    Don't take up astrophotography with a digicam then <:))

    But with APS you still don't need near the heft and size of a full
    frame 35 sensor.

    For aps they can be enough smaller to be noticeably lighter and
    smaller.
    Depends on the format, but I too prefer the longer lenses in this
    case.

    Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
    (N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)
    www.rogerhalstead.com
     
    Roger Halstead, Feb 1, 2004
    #14
  15. Mark Weaver

    Mark Johnson Guest

    It's not a matter of feel so much as size, expense, and the
    limitations of dSLRs.

    That really reduces your freedom of motion. You have to contort
    yourself, and probably in an unsteady pose. Remember, we're not
    talking carefully umbrella placed rocky canyon shots, where you have
    half an hour at the 'magic hour' to frame everything, and maybe even
    shoot a perfectly indexed panorama. This is flying insect, or bucking
    bull, fast action. You've got to get the shot, clean, unblurred, etc.
    From what I read dSLRs present the same problem as SLRs, in that you
    have to keep the camera very steady, or shoot very fast. For some
    reason, digicams, are much more forgiving when it comes to movement
    and camera shake. It can make all the difference. That was the first
    thing I noticed when compared to my old SLR images. Almost everything
    shot, way back when with a 460z (a 1MP digicam), was bright and crisp
    and amazing. You just couldn't enlarge it with jaggies - though I can,
    now, with careful aliasing. The SLR has the advantage of detail.
    There's just so much more there, even more than expensive dSLRs. I was
    able to find detail in an old George Lucas display of his film props
    (held in Marin, years ago, including a big Latex Jabba, the little ET
    bicycle model, Willow, the Ark from Raiders, and a lot more) which I
    shot with slides by hooking a tube/'bellows' to my 5MP digicam, just
    recently, such detail that I hadn't realized was there.

    Either the dSLR or digicam, I'm not sure that's the case. With the old
    SLRs, these were 'keepers'. You learned the camera, the various
    lenses. You got filters. You tried tricks. You get some interesting
    photos, and try for more. Same with the digital stuff. But it's
    marketed as an expensive, incredibly depreciating, disposable
    commodity. The next model is out in six months, maybe with complete
    design changes - much like computer upgrades, except faster. And the
    old model is manufactured for a about a year or two, at best. You're
    not encouraged to explore, to push the camera. You don't have the
    time, or at least the manufacturer doesn't see it that way.

    At some point - you're right. At some point, someone says, even if
    it's not going to pay 'real money' - that he's going to be a
    specialist. That means everything, expensive, common, experimental,
    stuff the works, stuff that's used once, and so on. It's true in any
    craft. And then one gets locked into certain tools, and is reluctant,
    sometimes, to embrace new 'workflows' or perhaps better technology.
    Etc.

    It can start to become a real investment, with a bunch of stuff left
    laying around as one takes to the field.

    Which is often a great perspective. It's somewhat unusual. You're
    showing people something different, to answer their question - what if
    this camera angle?
    Again, side shots through a gap in barn, or something.

    What I'd prefer is a detachable display and hand control set for use
    with a boom - or simple pole. The remote I have for Olys only zoom
    in-out and snaps the photo. But you don't have the LCD there for
    viewing. What if you rigged cables over a pass to shoot an unusual
    angle? How would you know what the camera sees?

    Not unless it's using a separate sensor for the LCD. You can't see
    behind the mirror if the mirror is down.

    If you use it like an SLR. I wonder, though, why not just use an
    inexpensive SLR for that? If you want landscape detail, particularly,
    for your coffee table book, can you really beat film, at this point? I
    mean how big a sensor does one need for a sharp 'hair on the leg' fold
    out for the 19.95 titanium white gloss? Would a 10D be up to the job?

    In which case, film becomes an 'experts' tool. And prices are bound to
    go up, one day, unless the sensors become very impressive, and priced
    somewhat less than $5000, or so. Only the rare pro in going to spend
    'movie type money' on $100,000 rigs, and such. They don't have
    'investors'. They're not being sponsored.

    It's trivially easy with Photoshop, and similar. Digicams seems to
    hold a LOT of info in the shadows. It's more difficult to rescue
    detail from blown out highlights - though it's possible, but certainly
    not automatic. I prefer to shoot up to the highlight, and hope I can
    deal with any noise in the shadow in post processing.

    I think one could spend or develop tools if the backing is there.
    Again, as example - movie money. And there are a LOT of expensive
    tools (and often huge free trial downloads) used in CG, and such.
     
    Mark Johnson, Feb 1, 2004
    #15
  16. Mark Weaver

    Leonard Guest

    You say this as if users of film cameras and dSLRs are forever
    wishing they weren't tied to the viewfinder. Yes, it's
    sometimes a help to be able to see what you're doing on
    the rear LCD but it's not that big a deal. I've taken a few film
    pictures that were aimed blind and the results weren't too bad,
    and with digital's instant review and the ease of cropping and
    rotating later, shooting without the finder is a viable technique.

    Would I like a dSLR with live preview on the back? Oh yes. Would
    I be prepared to sacrifice the traditional SLR finder for it? No
    way.
    For fast action the eye-level viewfinder is much better. You're looking
    at something moving fast, and you want to take a picture - just raise
    the camera to your eye. One moment you're looking at the subject with
    your eye alone, the next you see it in frame. It's dead easy to track,
    because we have a lifetime of practice in following movement with our
    heads, versus none at all with our hands. Need to see what's going on
    outside of the frame? Just open your other eye. Piece of cake.
    When you fire the shutter on an SLR, there's various mechanical
    stuff going on that shakes the camera, most obviously the mirror
    being flapped out of the way. Use a faster shutter speed. I've
    shot race cars at 200mm with 1/180 and got reasonable results, but
    there's no doubt that they would be better with 1/500. Except that
    then the cars would look as though they were parked. I need IS.
    I don't think that this situation will last. Already the cameras
    available now are sufficiently good that they could be keepers.
    Give me a DSC-P10 and a 10D and I don't think I'd be in the market
    for another camera until one of them breaks. To be honest I don't
    feel under huge pressure to upgrade the (Canon) A300 and that was
    a budget camera a year ago.

    - Len
     
    Leonard, Feb 2, 2004
    #16
  17. []
    either that or good luck with your panning.....

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Feb 2, 2004
    #17
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