Some info on the 24 MP Nikon - from a Sony engineer

Started Oct 29, 2008 | Discussions thread
Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,660
Re: Let's make it

Joseph S Wisniewski wrote:

The whole MF rumor is just plain wishful thinking.

Agreed...

Actually, the more I think of the Leica S2 the more I AM wishful...

But there is one possibility that we are ignoring.

Heh, heh, now you're coming round ; ). People that know me and my track record with tech stuff know that I prefer to think completely outside the box. Outside the box = opportunity. Inside the box = heated competition, no chance to define the playing field, and design restrictions.

Yes, medium format can be considered to have "failed".

Not so much failed as "run its course." The problem for the MF camera makers when digital hit was this: the market stayed relatively small, and all the expense/profit/opportunity was in the back. But when we started, none of them made backs. Thus, there were three possibilities:

1. Keep making bodies and cooperate with back makers.
2. Keep making bodies and also start making backs.
3. Make the body and back but make it proprietary.

The problem with #1 is that there's no growth, and replacement is slow. Basically, you don't get very far from where you were.

The problem with #2 is that as long as you're "open" your back has to be better than and/or less expensive than those of companies that have been doing for a long, long time. The cost to development that expertise quickly was high, and the chance that you'd fail was high.

The problem with #3 is that, well, you just made a big DSLR.

It's #3 that spawns the Leica S2 and whatever Nikon prototyped (and don't forget the Canon MF rumors). As you wrote somewhere else, Nikon and Canon basically could wipe out the other players if they tried #3. Well, guess what, they tried #3.

Yes, MF sales have decreased at a steady 40% per year for the last 20
years.

Ask yourself why. Was it really because fewer photographers needed high end image quality, or is it because the image quality from a smaller format improved enough? Moreover, did the MF format really get competitive for the types of shooting we do with high end SLR/DSLRs? It didn't help that the cost of:

DIGITAL MF / DSLR > FILM MF / SLR

As I noted before, stitch two D3 sensors together and you have a MF camera that's probably the same size as a D3 that shoots in low light, at 5 fps, and has better other systems (focus, metering, flash, etc.) than any of the MF cameras. That changes the game, I think, and the Leica S2 convinces me of that. The remaining question is how big is the market, and that really is only determined by price, I think.

The possible marketshare for Nikon would never
pay for the R&D.

It might, if they did it clever enough. They've got the processor,
the UI, the sensor tech (if whoever they've got fabbing the D3 sensor
could stitch that same cell up to

Agree. For the big companies, it's really the mechanicals that are of issue. That and the investment in a new lens set.

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Thom Hogan
author, Complete Guides to Nikon bodies (19 and counting)
http://www.bythom.com

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