Pixel Density is GENIUS!

Started Jul 13, 2008 | Discussions thread
OP RRJackson Senior Member • Posts: 2,555
Re: No really, it isn't

Morbius wrote:

True. And why the public care? For most people a photo is a memory
captured. If it looks ok, it's fine. People on this forum obsess
about details of images and equipment that mean nothing to others who
don't share a passion for photography. Many who comment on this (and
not you by the way) adopt a condescending tone as if being satisfied
with a nice 4 x 6 with a bit of noise or slightly overdone flash or
Aunt Mary's legs cut off awkwardly and a hectic background was a
personal failing.

Most people would be overjoyed with a 3-megapixel cell phone camera if the images weren't always noisy and if the highlights didn't blow out and the shadows weren't always crushed. Of course, they wouldn't describe it that way. They'd just say, "It takes good pictures."

The formula seems kinda simple, really. I know there are engineers hovering who'll probably be happy to tell me what points I'm being retarded about (heh...and I don't mind), but the basic formula seems kinda simple. In-between chip size. Even 2/3" would probably be OK, but 1" would probably be a lot nicer. That way using a fast lens doesn't make the DOF so shallow that the average consumer autofocus system can't deliver a high percentage of keepers. Relatively low megapixel count to maintain as much low-light ability as possible. The aforementioned fast lens. Something around f/1.8 or f/2 would be peachy in a fixed lens. Something with around the same field of view as a 35-40mm lens on 135 would be ideal, IMO. An f/2.8 2x - 3x zoom for people who can't live without a zoom. Something with a low enough zoom ratio that the optics don't have to suck. Auto-ISO so Ma and Pa Kettle don't have to take photography classes. RAW capability for people who want to use it. Seems like you'd sell as many of 'em as you could build.

Which is why the DP1 is such a mystery to me. First off, they knew up-front that Foveon chips aren't exactly aces at high ISO and intead of putting a fast little lens on it they put a 16mm f/4 lens on it. If you've got one lens to work with you want a 28mm equivalent lens? At f/4? With that 1.7x crop they couldn't have more easily put a 20mm or 24mm f/2.8 ( 35mm or 40mm effective) on it and bought themselves another usable stop? Asking for f/2 would probably jack up the size and price even more, but two stops of improvement would be a pretty huge deal.

This stuff is all just starting to get useful. I don't doubt that the next five years will see a lot of great product introductions, but we seem to be in kind of a threshold period where the majors are all just starting to stick their heads up out of the trenches and consider releasing cameras that aren't slightly improved versions of the same stuff they sold last year. I hope we start seeing a real variety of options, maybe some new concepts will surface at Photokina.

I haven't bought a compact in years, but if I bought one today I'm not sure what I'd get. A DP1? For $700 with a slow wide-angle lens? A ginourmous G9, even though it feels really well-built? Probably an F40fd. even though the lens is really slow. Some friends asked me what to buy in a compact a few months ago and I suggested one. I've spent some time playing with it and it seems nice enough, but a lot nicer options should be out there. And I'll probably keep whining until they are.

FWIW, it really seems like we should be right on the verge of a real renaissance in photographic tools. I'm just impatient.

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