Prepare yourselves for a new landscape

Started Nov 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
Senior MemberPosts: 3,904
Re: you think there will be F/0.6 zooms in 15 years
In reply to RussellInCincinnati, Nov 11, 2013

RussellInCincinnati wrote:

Meland original post:In ten or fifteen years (the exact time span is not the main point of this prediction) mainstream enthusiast photography may have gone small format. Forget full frame. Forget APS-C. Forget M4/3. These may all be then regarded as medium format and as such only the province of a few professionals and quality fetishists.

You seem to think that large-enough, beautifully smooth and detailed/crisp images will in 10 to 15 years be made by tiny-sensored cameras having a single wide-range zoom lens, even in low light.

Doesn't the Sony RX10 (9 by 13 millimeter sensor) already have most of those qualities, except for the low light capability? By your prediction, as soon as the Sony RX10's low light performance becomes the same as a high-end APS-C sensor now has, then APS-C sales will evaporate. Oops, that will be when the RX11 comes out with an F/0.9 or so max-aperture zoom of the same size, cost and weight and zoom range.

For one thing, you are implying that in 10 or 15 years, there will be lenses ten times as sharp as a full frame lens today, that will thus work just as beautifully as a Nikon D800, but on a 10 times smaller than full frame sensor. Since my 20 to 40 year old full frame lenses are "about the same" sharpness as my newest ones, I do not share your optimism that we are on the verge of an era of hugely sharper lenses--that are at the same time cheaper, smaller and lighter and have the same crispness, enlargeability, zoom range and light-gathering ability as today's "large" iron.

A second point is that in 15 years, there will not be F/0.6 zoom lenses that will work just as nicely in low light on a tiny sensor, as the new Sigma F/1.8 zoom lens works on APS-C today. Not while also being significantly lighter, smaller, cheaper. Hmm, I think it took the industry about 10 years to go from F/2.8 wide-to-normal zooms to F/1.8 zooms. Buy you think we're going to be at unheard-of F/0.6 or so zoom designs, in cheap small light lenses that would benefit from tiny-sensor bodies, in 10 or 15 more years?

I.e. your predictions assume optical advances that are at least not on anyone else's horizon, if not impossible. Because the only way that tiny-sensor cameras are going to work as beautifully as today's cams in low light, are if their lenses have the same light-gathering front element diameter. That's because the limit to low light performance is unavoidable "photon shot noise" that is only suppressable by gathering more photons. And camera/lens systems cannot both get arbitrarily small, light and cheap and also work just as well as DSLRs do today.

Yes you can predict that in the future people will be happier with lower-quality images than they are used to today. I guess you will thus also predict that in 10 or 15 years televisions will be smaller and lower-resolution too, and women won't buy makeup, and interior decorators and landscapers will be obsolete, since by 2022 people won't want nice images.

But what you are really predicting is not that bigger cameras will disappear, because that's silly. Bigger cameras will always take nicer photos, whatever the era. No what you're really predicting is that in 10 or 15 years there will be no photographers. I.e. there will be no people that enjoy taking as nice as photos as they reasonably can of the world around them.

That prediction is as likely to come true, as it is likely that neither you nor any significant number of viewers of this forum message, will click on the above image to see what it looks like at full size.

No Russell, what I am saying is that with a relatively small increase in small sensor quality (and not nearly as much as you say I am implying) the majority of fairly-interested photographers, or should I say non-obsessed by IQ photographers, may be completely satisfied. They may not care as much as you do, or perhaps even I do, about beautifully smooth and detailed/crisp images. But the images they do get will be good enough and will satisfy them. And I am certainly not saying there will be, or even implying there might be, any massive increase in lens aperture or performance to achieve this. I know enough about optical design and materials having worked in this particular field for more years than I care to admit to know that is very unlikely if not impossible. And I don't think I ever mentioned low light performance in any case.

The really serious enthusiasts and a few professionals may not be satisfied, in fact they probably will not be. But that reduced number of people who really care about what you so eloquently describe may not be sufficient to support a camera market like we have today.

High end stuff, at a price, will still exist for the reduced numbers of people who really do care - but the price of entry is likely to be much much higher because of reduced demand. That is actually what I am saying.  I hope I have been able to clarify things?

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