Who's eagerly awaiting the rumoured Sony MF mirrorless?

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
JimKasson
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What I'd like
In reply to tex, 4 months ago

tex wrote:

I think both of us must count ourselves amazed at how close FF is coming to the overall IQ that was solely the domain of MF previously. I mean, I gave up on 35mm film format by the latter '80's except for art documentation. I was first startled by this when the A900 came out, and now we are much further along.

Tex, I think I remember a discussion that we had on this topic a month or so ago. I agree that FF digital image quality is as good as, or maybe even better then, where MF film was -- and, I suppose, is. If creamy sky is your ne plus ultra, FF digital is where 4x5 film was/is. And, I'll have to say, although it will get brickbats aimed at me, that I think that FF CMOS digital with the Sony sensors has as good or better dynamic range and noise as MF CCD digital. But I've seen some images from the Phase 80MP backs that are jaw-droppingly good, and I don't think FF digital is up there in overall IQ withMF digital. We're probably in violent agreement on this point.

I'm not certain what to say about Pentax. You are far more knowledgeable here than me, but at the same time, considering Pentax's position in the digital marketplace for a decade, now, the Hoya-Ricoh jumble....I kinda feel like they have done what they could, and was pretty amazed that they have made such decent bodies for apsc and managed to pull off their D645 mini-coup. I mean, until now (and maybe beyond...), they were the ones to break a "magic threshold" of sub $10K for DMF, analogous to the threshold of sub $2K for FF.

Maybe I ought to cut Pentax some slack, but the D645 always seemed 3/4 baked to me. And it needed some follow-on. You can't blame Pentax for rumors about Pentax, but the last couple of months (since the H5D-50c and IQ250 pre-announcements and actual announcements) have made me not expect too much from Pentax. Since you own Pentax, and presumably follow it closely, I think your opinion is probably worth more respect than mine.

As far as I'm concerned, the ugly reality of MF digital with CCD sensors has been the hoops you had to jump through to get accurate focus, and CMOS has the potential to fix all that, and that's a big part of why I so excited about Sony's new sensor, although I wish it were bigger, physically and in terms of number of pixels. The fact that the ADCs are on-chip is another good thing, both for lowering read noise and in making it a whole lot easier for just about any camera manufacturer to slap the thing in place and have good IQ.

Pretty much why people bought Mamiya 6's and 7's, and Fuji 645's...

There are a couple of ways a Sony MF could go, as has already been mentioned here. I'd be interested in either.

First, a great big, fixed lens camera, like an RX-1 on steroids. In the 80's I spent a lot of time doing street photography with a folding, Nikkor-lensed, Plaubel Makina 6x7, so ne plus ultra lus-X.that's my reference point. It was great for that. Much better IQ with Tri-X than my other stree camera, a Nikon S2, had with Plus-X. Harder to zone-focus, though. And the reaction that you got from people when you put this cartoon-looking beast up to your eye was great; people would just beam.

The leaf shutter meant it was stealthy, like the RX-1 is now. Actually, the RX-1 has all the IQ that the Makina ever had, so maybe I should be satisfied, but it would be nice to have a bigger RX-1. It would make a great travel camera. For the sake of keeping the sensor clean, we'd have to lose the folding part, but I could live with that.

But the camera I could really get excited about is the one that we're less likely to see, an interchangeable-lens mirrorless, with a short flange distance so we could use lots of lenses, a focal plane shutter that could be left open all the time when you're using leaf-shutter lenses, and a line of such lenses, or a way for the camera to couple to Hassy, or Mamiya, or xxx leaf shutter lenses.

Probably not gonna happen, at least from Sony. I understand that they're serious about the sensor business, and you don't build that by competing with your customers. On the other hand, Intel has been competing with theirs for years, and it doesn't seem to have slowed them down much. Microsoft has been doing that more lately, and, although they have troubles, that doesn't seem to be the major source of them.

Hey, I'm talking myself out of my pessimism. What if Sony said to themselves that there's not enough money in selling dribs and drabs of MF sensors to the likes of Phase and Hassy, who are going to turn around an continue to sell the cameras for the price of a car in tiny quantities, we've got to change the market. Let's see what we can do to encourage a volume market of MF camera bodies that sell for about $10K. We'll build a proof-of-concept camera, and sell it for that, and see what the market does. We'll forward-price the chip to our OEMs, so they can make money at that price. Let a hundred MF flowers bloom!

<bubble bursting>

Uh, I just woke up. It was a really nice dream.

Jim

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