Headless mirrorless crazyness buzz mess

Olá,

I am getting a big headache, migranis extrapolis ;)
Wannabe pros, tech-bloggers, big mouths around the globe are claiming the death of DSLR. Luckily, not yet the death of professional photography like Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, or the Chicago newspapers lay-off of their photographers, or indicated by the times’ pro-active use of Instagram posts.

What do these people say?

  • “Look what I use, a nice mirror-less, tiny kit, and I sold my huge monster”

What they don’t say?

  • “I spent too much for equipment I never needed, because my photography is done by Photoshop anyway.”
  • “Please convince me that I did make the right choice.”
  • “Oh, I just see, I could have made my photos even with my newly purchased mobile phone.”
  • “I’m a pro blogger and app re-seller, selling stuff and photos to a personality-fan, not so much to an photography Art enthusiast.”
  • “I’m not a pro photographer, having to feed my family with my art, weddings, travel, fashion, news, … -photography. I’m just doing this photography for fun, as a hobbyist, just more often and feel like a pro. Love people who admire me as a pro.”

Now, go into arguments with them using facts. They say:

  • “DSLR are too bulky”, but mean: “pro cameras are big and heavy”
  • “DSLR mirrors are old tech”, but mean: “don’t want mechanical parts”
  • “DSLR market will die”, but mean: “pls let me be right, just lost so much money transitioning”
  • “DSLR market will die in 5 years”, but mean: “I am right, if not I’ll extend the term I promised two years ago”
  • “this will replace my big system”, but mean: “I’m moving anyway professionally to medium format as a primary system, and love to use the new mirror-less as may daily street photography, family camera”

Now the technical arguments:

  • “the shutter gets silent without mirror”
  • “the frame-rate is much faster without slow mechanical mirror elements”
  • “the modern compact design is more ergonomic”
  • “mirror-less cover all ranges of photography and video as good or better then DSLR”

What’s the fact?

  • the point and shoot market is declining, rapidly
  • the mobile photography usage already surpassed all historical figures and is still growing the next unspecific number of years in still and video formats.
  • camera manufacturers are trying to find a new, more lucrative market, cashing in 1000$ per sale, with a healthy margin of a few hundred USD per item.
  • the big DSLR market sale is in the consumer and amateur range around 500$ – 700$ as a APS-C based kit including lens. Very tight margins for the manufacturers.
  • the professional photographer has and needs a full range of perfectly connected fast lenses, from fish-eye to huge-tele, and zoom variants to partly own and others to rent for specific applications.
  • the professional photographer requires professional repair and replacement services globally and reliable, not finicky camera bodies in first place.
  • the mirror-less market referenced resides above 1000$ including lens for m43 & APS-C, and around 2000$ – 7000$ for a full frame kit.
  • the low-end mirror-less market goes between 600$ and 900$, as a kit.
  • excellent mobile replacements are available for 200$ under contract in USA, and for 500$-700$ off-contract.
  • the enthusiast market went retro, totally contradicting the modern approach initially expected from mirror-less. They even look like SLRs, or at least like an old rangefinder. Hipster society.
  • m43 photo quality lacks professionally compared, even though good enough for average amateurs liking. Any DSLR of the same generation tops that easily.
  • mirror-less lens portfolio is mainly covering wide-angle to mid-tele, with average speed lenses f4 up. Some rarer specific lenses go below at f2.8 or 1.7, not many though, certainly not as many as with DSLR.
  • mirror-less consumer cameras in The low-end range with electronic only shutter are silent.
  • mirror-less amateurs cameras with leaf shutter are still silent, too
  • mirror-less amateurs cameras with mechanical shutter are loud, the latest Sony releases are the loudest by far, reaching easily the levels of older DSLR, who were the loudest of all.
  • mirror-less cameras cover high-speed frame rates only with electronic shutters, some reaching but not surpassing the in most other cases much faster DSLR.
  • mirror-less cameras batteries are too small to give a full day photography experience while using LCD or electronic viewfinder, and seize at around 300 frames.
  • DSLR run 1600 frames and more with one battery, full day availability.
  • as mirror-less cameras become finicky and quickly drawn their batteries, they now are fitted with the same huge battery monster grips that are optionally available to DSLRs. Speaking of small! LOL!
  • today’s DSLR are the best cinematic low-budget video cameras you can use, sharpness, shallow death of field. Recent Sony full frame mirror-less remains to be tested for its capabilities. The larger sensors are more targeted by the negative rolling shutter issue.
  • again, for consumer video snapshots, the “best” is to use the mobile option, unless you need an action cam.
  • most bloggers are not paid by the manufacturers, nor can they use or own the equipment they promote. But YES, there’s NO honest scientific review out there, it’s all subjective, some very obvious. Why? They “survive” with the “relationship” to manufacturers and shops. They need to comment on most rumored and newest equipment, just to get hold of it, make manufacturers and distributors aware of them as a sales tool. They have no time and means to properly test it, thus write without a scientific base. But, that’s OK for most of us readers, collecting subjective messages. What’s not OK, is that the fuzz is multiplied by all wannabe related bloggers, re-posters (that love to be called curators), and just produces a social viral marketing buzz about a message, product, brand of a specific brand or set of brands, driven by manufacturers who started the controversy discussion initially. This is how this industry survived the struggles of the film to digital change, it took a few years and revised marketing concepts.
  • another market trend is not a new trend anymore. For the last 3 or more generations of digital photographic equipment (started already in the film age), software is embedded into the cameras to reduce negative impacts of optical and mechanical elements with a matrix of internal correction and exposure parameters, now more and more with sensor supported automation, specifically adjusted to the manufacturers accessories, adapters typically can’t bridge to foreign extensions, i.e. adapted lenses.
  • more or less complex wi-fi, NFC connectivity to upload your pictures via your mobile to the social cloud is available to more and more of all types of systems. It kinda works.

What will happen?
Apple will soon show camera manufacturers and other industries how you evolutionary develop a technology brand into a lasting lifestyle brand, with reliable and consistent, distribution channels and marketing, while innovating technology, markets and ensuring strong margins. Leica has done that already successfully, without damaging its so much older history, just recently A. Kaufmann was awarded accordingly as most innovative CEO. Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Ricoh-Pentax, … will continue to strive for a way out of their dilemma, Hasselblad had big dreams without substance. We saw individual crappy lifestyle products combined with cheap marketing. Fuji’s photography strategy is mid-term, their long-term focus is cosmetics and healthcare. Sony’s big business is yet to be found, photography it isn’t. The near future is not asking for miniature, but even more complex 2./3. Level products, but for a modern lifestyle sustained by personal lifestyle partners that make your life not just stylish for the next 3 months, but consistently easier and less cluttered in many ways, handing you the key device to better control all these life-situations you’re in.
The user who can’t simplify his life himself, will outsource it to these new partners.
There is huge potential for many companies, while Leica will remain a niche, Apple is entering that space at large, look at all the key personalities and expertise they have concentrated in the recent few months. Nest is another example. Microsoft still has to find a strategy, same as Google, while amazon may be able to quickly fill that demand, too, with a slightly updated strategy and set of services.

Oh sorry for that rant.

What will happen in the camera market?
Whatever you want, and are willing to pay for. Everything is available now, excellent all-you-can-dream lightweight lower budget DSLR, hipster high-price miniature bad-ass sensor cameras, mobile all-you-need-all time photo and video devices and awesome-all-of-my-crap-photos-as-soon-as-uploaded-and-share cloud services.
There is no bad camera around anymore, unless you’re looking at the sellout boxes for 149$ or below. Near professional quality is available from 500$ on. Please just don’t buy dead or never have been brands, such as Rollei, Polaroid, Kodak, … Do buy the best you need and can afford from active innovation drivers and get it into your hands first, guide yourself through it, understand the complexity of its use and menu ergonomics, then check if you’re not far better off with a high-end smartphone camera – no extra to carry, always available.

Technically spoken,
if something kills DSLR, it’s not mirror-less,
but mobile & social & software & lifestyle!
The quality is there, and still improving with big leaps.

Summing up:
– buy what you need, not what you want.
– be creative.
– don’t waste your time with the above and above referenced crap ;)

Bom dia.
@pessoist

Advertisements

photo panic

Olà,

Panic @ Nikon, bad results @ Olympus, Fuji killing more film-lines, overall sales down 30-40% …
So what’s up? Is m4/3 killing the DSLR, Digital finally killing film, Smartphones killing Point&Shoot, Google Glass killing GoPro, Virtual Reality with Google Now killing everybody?

What we don’t want:
Nikon: we don’t want bulky and/or expensive cameras, that need a computer because we don’t understand them.

Olympus: we don’t want tiny copies of what Nikon sells, that in fact are not that tiny as you promised, but as complex and partly even more expensive

Sony: we don’t need really tiny cameras with more complexity at an even higher price

Google: we don’t want to shower with Robert Scoble just to wear an ugly glass, that spies on us

Vine: we don’t want to have to watch all your crap, just to get the one good scene.

We want:

Memories, funny and happy, jokingly, crazy, angry memories of the moments we went through and want to share. Moments that tell a story to anybody we like it to watch it.

Short and funny with a clear message, longer ones with music or (mono-)dialogues telling a story or documenting phases, happenings in life, others artistic to express our feelings. And we want to have it with us, any time, any where, quick in access, best compromise in speed and quality, no compromise in sharing.

Leica talks about the decisive moment
Nokia talks about the best low light quality
Apple talks about the best camera in a jewel-case
Samsung glues together what doesn’t work
Sony never stopped doing that
Nikon copies Samsung, Sony, Canon cluelessly
Google innovates in beta, never creating a product
Instagram fights for monopoly

Here we are, all for them, none for the users.

I wished we had a beautifully designed Smartphone with Apple’s apps and Lumia technology.

As a dedicated camera I wished we’d concentrate back to the basics, a full-format fixed lens 35 mm camera with a 21 superwide extension and a sensor/firmware combination that allows for similar crop-tele adjustments and sharing, as the Apple/Lumia setup described before, at a quality of a Leica M or Nikon D800. With a large optical viewfinder. All manual setup with aperture, shutter, iso, wb priorities, only and a basic feature/sharing setup screen. Our main communication screen is our phone, anyway.

Professional photographers for sport or similar will find their niche products.

Ah, film, yeah, well there’ll be 2-3 films for nostalgic creative use around for a long time.

Bom dia,

@pessoist

undecided

Olà.

I’m stuck in thoughts about selecting a very personal tool for the next years. My Nikon D200 is a trusty tool, but you feel the sensor’s age now. My Sigma DP2x doesn’t offer the all-round flexibility due to the crappy Foveon sensor and crappy Camera Firmware (banding noise, slow and messy AF, slow storage).

As quickly as I can decide on what phone, computer, and other stuff to use, I still don’t feel comfortable enough to pick the right photographic tool that allows me to:

  • re-focus on the creativity, taking pictures
  • trust its solidity of manufacture
  • have a full-size 35mm tool-quality feel
  • take it with me on most activity to just take a picture when I feel to
  • flexibly choose a lens for the planned purpose
  • switch between AF and MF, as my eyes get older
  • photograph people without frightening them
  • pay for it as a hobbyist that can but doesn’t like to throw out all cash

The market lists me:

  • Leica M-family, no AF
  • Leica X1, too expensive for a fixed lens camera, APS-C
  • Fuji X100, too techie UI to concentrate on photography, APS-C
  • Fuji X1pro, hmmm, quiet expensive and as improved APS-C, maybe
  • Canon DSLR, well I’m kinda Nikon guy, but if Nikon screws, hmmm
  • Olympus m43, just too small sensor, else, valid
  • Panasonic m43, see Olympus, liked the Oly-colours in exemplary pictures better.
  • Pentax K, see Canon, will check the new K-01, missing EVF or flexible Monitor
  • Sony, no, no Sony.
  • Sigma, no, no more Sigma.
  • Ricoh, if I was looking for a PS, the GRD, but I’m not.
  • Ricoh GXR, nice concept, but a compromise, standard quality APS-C
  • Nikon D5100, very good APS-C, but techie UI
  • Nikon D7000, better APS-C, hmmm, maybe, like
  • Nikon D800, crazy high price expected, like, but ufff.
  • Nikon D700, yeah maybe, not cheap, used, like.
  • Nikon D400, may cost as much as a used D700, like but wait

The options I can see:

  • Fuji X-1 pro for 2300EUR (including 1x lens, pricy)
  • Nikon D7000 for 900EUR (body, used)
  • Nikon D800 for 3200EUR (body, pricy)
  • Nikon D700 for 2000EUR (body, new)
  • Nikon D400 for 1700EUR (body, expected avail Jun12)
  • Nikon D5100 for 600EUR (body, new)

Let me recap a dream, “imagine”:

  • Leica M9-type camera with AF at half the price
  • Nikon D700 mirror-less with EVF
  • Fuji X-1 pro full-frame at current Crop-sensor price

useless, won’t happen.

It seems that with the current development of the sensors (high-iso), firmware and CPU (fast), camera pricing (high), the integration of photography with video, the best option to go would be a Nikon D5100 with a superb ultra-wide-angle lens and an excellent external mic.

And for Canon fans, the 600D would be a similar suggested choice.

Bom dia,

CR.

world, please pay your japanese & US tax

Olà.

It’s a wonderful time for photographers who focus on cameras more than on taking pictures. Lots of new cameras have been introduced to the market lately and a few upcoming exhibitions will present us even more wonderful camera porn.

But, what’s that? Look at those insane prices compared to your average DSLR.

For some years already the mid-range average amateur DSLR with Kit-lens is sold for values (both USD and EUR) in the 550-750,- range. I’m thinking of Canon’s T2i, T3i, 550D, 600D and Nikon’s D3100, D5100 and earlier models.

Now we’ve been presented with:

  • smaller sensors
  • smaller lenses
  • more coloured plastic
  • less complexity (mirrorless, electronic shutter, less mechanical parts)

Miniaturization by reducing capabilities to a more or less still acceptable level, filled with compact camera software gimmicks to add up marketing value.

But all of this at same or higher price levels:

micro Four Thirds at a range of 500-800,-

  • Fuji X10 at 600,-
  • Nikon 1 at 600-800,-

Adding to this the retro-camera wave that adds no more value than an integrated prime-lense and APS-C (just as the average more flexible DSLR) and thus size-reduction to a level where it doesn’t fit in your pocket, but is still lighter to carry around than your D3, 1D or whatever big Monster you feel you should have to cut from, while actually not having ever seen one in real.

  • Those go for the range of  1.000-2000,- ! Examples: Fuji x100, Sony Nex-7 (not so much retro), Fuji X-1 pro, Olympus OM-D (expected).

The Pro-DSLRs are raising their price, too, while only minimally adding low-light capabilities to the earlier model and some video feature missing before.

  • D4 +1000,-
  • D800 +1000,- (expected)

Don’t forget the dispersed market prices, i.e. between US and Europe. While the recently introduced Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85 mm 1:1,8G is set to a US-List of 499,- USD, Nikon’s European offer is at a EUR-List of 529,- EUR, which makes a approx. 26% increase based on the current USD-EUR exchange rates, while our past price-lists showed 1:1 conversions.

All of this, while Europe, Japan, US are facing crisis times that won’t be solved that quickly, requiring at least another 3-5 years to overcome, if not falling deeper into recession?

What’s in those manufacturers mind?

  • compensating for a rebuild of destroyed manufacturing plants?
  • compensating for a diminishing compact camera market, shocked by the mobile phone camera’s quality/acceptance?
  • cutting margin from big money of young hipsters who get stuff paid by their rich family
  • Bail-out of Japan and US?

Not all of these cameras are built in Japan. Many of those are manufactured throughout the cheaper labor regions of Asia (i.e. Thailand, Vietnam, China, …) at reduced cost.

It’s time that somebody jumps into this semi-professional market to disrupt it, as it’s been done by Apple on the consumer compact market.

A well coded application that allows capturing multiple shots with a very fast and excellent lense integrated into a mobile phone will quickly reach the resolution of and virtually combines multiple exposures to a larger sensor format, gaining a lot of low-light quality this way. Sounds crappy, but actually, it’s manageable and can create excellent low-light high-resolution pictures similar to those over-expensive cameras available today.

The future lies in software bundled to a smaller piece of excellent hardware. Your technical photo will be made 70% by software and 30% by the lense/sensor.

Of course, individual composing/modification/execution will be the heart of your photo, but technically, software will take the job of many physical features currently still implented as hardware. All of this, while those lenses will be able to capture full-HD video at 50-60fps shortly, anyway, eating the new crema of the now introduced Video-DSLRs.

Bom dia,

CR.

PMA dreams

Olà.

I nearly overlooked that photography part of the CES, yes, the PMA.

Fuji and Canon have spoken already, Nikon’s lifted its table only slightly, yet. What else is to come?

Let’s think about a wish list to hand-over to Photo Geeny, based on the existing rumors and capabilities.

Here’s what comes to my crazy mind:

  • Nikon D800, as rumored, below 2.500 usd, not @ 3K.
  • Nikon SP1
    • a Giugiaro designed Nikon 1 System camera with improved manual controls for serious photography,
    • w/o integrated Flash, but with Hot-Shoe, mechanical shutter, EVF, improved body design (Grip)
    • further improved firmware to address pro/amateurs picture quality requirements
    • excellent built, fast Nikkor prime lenses 1:1.4 12, 18, 32, 50, and 1:2.8 148 mm
  • Sigma DP2x Firmware to fix sensor flaws at high-iso (“banding”) and matrix flare, when shooting against sun
  • Leica X5, a full-frame EVF rangefinder with integrated 35mm lens @ 3000 USD
  • Leica mobile phone clip-on lens for iPhone 4/4S (Marketing), similar to the oloclip,
    • combined with a Leica IOS-App for sharing photography to the Leica galleries and Leica friends (and all others).

Let’s see…

Bom dia,

CR.

a perfect camera?

Olà,

following-up on the two earlier posts, what’s pushing me in my current thoughts of the camera market is that I seem not being able to find the right device I’d like to have. Looking at the many changes happening, we’re definitely in a transition period, here, a phase of trial and error and compromises, while I wished it would be so dead easy as in the old analogue manual times.

What am I looking for?

  • rangefinder (ghost-type, with metering, aperture, speed, flash info), a compromise could be a high-resolution Live-EVF.
  • silent, like a compact Sigma DP2x
  • a decent made camera body of the size of a compact system camera, up to the size of a consumer DSLR
  • low-light capability and dynamic range of a D3/D700
  • professional grade prime lens range from 14 to 500 mm to select from (effect: 14, normal range choice: 35, 50, 85, 135, sports: 500)
  • 1/250 or faster Flash-sync
  • 3+ RAW shots per second
  • Off to shoot ((incl. AF)/metering) in 0,2 seconds
  • Spot/Integral lightmeter
  • Hot-Shoe for Auto-Flash, …
  • optional Smart 54+ Matrix AF system (my eyes are not getting younger)
  • priced well under 2000 EUR including a 50mm/1.4

I don’t care if it had a Monitor or not, a mini-flash, or whatever useless gadget. I’d be very happy if full-HD video at 60 f/s would be included, but it’s not required and neither do I want a compromise crap video capability.

I now use a Sigma DP2x that takes excellent pictures in daylight, requires to be tricked in low-light and can’t capture direct sun through rain well (sensor-matrix flares). The worst: it’s slow, really slow, still, after all those upgrades, and the flash and video-feature are just crap.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the size, feel, UI of the Sigma, just hate the flaws, that make this wonderful small camera not a good choice for recommendations.

Leica? LOL, I’m no hipster. The Sigma is actually better than the X1. The M9, as good as it is, it doesn’t give the asked lens choice, nor can anybody serious consider it to be worth the price, maybe 50% of it. Leica Lenses? I do not believe they’d be any better both optical and mechanical than any top-end Carl Zeiss, Canon, or Nikon lens. Just more mechanical engineering, maybe. Here I’d not spend more than 50% of their asked price. Still too expensive for me.

As a Nikonian I’d appreciate Nikon offering us a Nikon F-mount full-frame mirrorless/EVIL body based on a reduced feature-set of the new D4/D800. After their strategic decision for a Nikon 1 System they’ll never go that route, but improve the capabilities of the Nikon 1 System, instead. I can see a bright future for Nikon there, if it’s not kicked like the Kodak film-APS system off the market.

Guess I’m already off the scope customers targeted by the Marketing people. ;-)

My trusty D200 and Diva Sigma will take care of me for some more years until this transition shows where it’s heading to and the players start to offer cameras to last longer than just 2 years. Will that ever happen?

Bom dia,

CR

Nikon shaking up the Pros

Olà.

Yeah, here it is, the D4, Nikon’s flagship, better, faster, video, wireless …

But what’s happening?

  • The amateurs would step into the queue if they had the cash, but already fear they can’t even afford the smaller sibling D800 that’s about to come out soon.
  • The Pros are split in proclaiming the death of the DSLR , just lining in as it’ll be paid by their agency, or switching to mid-format Mamya 645, etc.

Don’t they all tell you it’s about capturing light, having the right lenses, opening your mind to the situation? What is causing them so many headaches, then looking at the D4?

As an average hobbyist with a few Pro contacts I can say, most the Pro’s are not that wealthy, they face the same struggle to cash in for the over 6.000 USD this will need to be invested, while fearing the daily battle of faster, better, etc. The current situation can be subsumed by panic.

And – although much philosophical dispute has started whether this is really the last big DSLR, I can assure everybody, this market with this huge choice of great lenses will not get eradicated that easily, by whatever technology that is around the corner, i.e. Nikon V1.

MF will remain a niche, perfectly played by the Leica brand and their wannabees.

Tech innovation will try to create a new eco-system to sell the complete set of bodies, lenses, accessories, again and again.

The customer decides if he’s willing to ditch his expensive DSLR lenses to buy not so excellent small-format lenses, cheap at consumer level, as expensive for the pro-sumer level.

He will decide in favor of the new system, as I can hardly remember a long-term customer acceptance of an adapted approach, where legacy systems will be connected to new systems via an adapter. Marketing will drive that pivot with “features”.

I’m old-fashioned, I’d like to stick with the still evolving DSLR lenses program. I’ll be testing and waiting for a mini-pro Nikon 1 body, until there are M-adaptors or Pro-quality lenses available to it, to create current full-format quality with such a small body.

Until there’s a new generation of cameras of the higher end, that use great software to get most out excellent lenses, saying goodby to the old what “lens” sees is what you get approach.

The future is with the camera-integrated AI-“Photoshop” firmware (more than ever before) to level-out small-chip low-light shortcomings, and extensive sharing capabilities attached to a superb lens. No need for a large flash, by then.

Bom dia,

CR