Is FF sensors going to slowly phase out?

Started Apr 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
forpetessake Veteran Member • Posts: 4,892
Re: FF is the future

tomtom50 wrote:

forpetessake wrote:

Robgo2 wrote:

With their RX1 camera, Sony has achieved what many thought impossible--miniaturization of the FF format.

I don't know how the myths about FF manufacturing difficulties, size, and weight, etc. got propagated, probably because people have short memory.

film and digital

There were plenty of tiny 35mm cameras in the film days, there is nothing that prevents manufacturing of tiny digital cameras with FF sensor other than cost. Their weight doesn't have to be bigger than their small sensor counterparts. It's the speed of the lens that makes it big, not the fact that it's FF, or APS-C, or m4/3. Just think about this. Which one is bigger (and more expensive): a Panasonic 12-35/2.8 for m4/3 or an equivalent FF lens 24-70/5.6?

Regarding manufacturing costs, as the old saying goes, every chip eventually costs $1. At this time FF sensor can't be cheaper than $100 due to wafer costs, but with falling silicon prices and manufacturing costs (taking into account inflation) one day FF sensor will be cheaper than other camera components and we'll see under $1G FF cameras smaller and with better image quality than the best APS-C today.

Yes. From P&S to FF the electronics are the same size. The LCD is the same size. The EVF (if present) is the same size. Gazillions of FF cameras had small sharp prime lenses. The only reason a FF camera needs to be bigger than older film compacts is the LCD and Sensor are thicker than the old pressure plate and back, but that is a matter of 3/8" (10mm) or so.

The question is whether FF sensors will significantly drop in fabrication cost as quantity rises with the new $2000 Canikon entries.

All that said it is unclear to me that a pocketable FF compact is a significantly better package than something like the Coolpix A, and any FF zoom will be much larger than the amazing RX100.

First thing to remember, that equivalent standard FF and APS-C or m4/3 zooms are all going to be practically the same size/weight. There are lots of variations in lens implementations, so no two lenses are the same, but as the first approximation one may expect FF lenses to be longer, but having less glass than equivalent lenses for smaller formats. And again, looking at FF film cameras one can see that we haven't achieved any size/weight reduction with current APS-C or m4/3 offerings.

With FF you can trade quality for price, e.g. same quality as APS-C but cheaper, or same price but better quality, or any other mix. When price of silicon is taken out of equation a lot of improvements can be made. For example, making good complex lenses is an expensive operation, involving manual labor, which doesn't scale, -- those costs can be unloaded to silicon. Anything that can be unloaded to silicon: glass, zoom, IBIS, mechanical shutter, etc. will eventually be unloaded.

When FF sensors become a commodity the  APS-C and m4/3 sizes will disappear if for no other reason than that they would require a specialized low volume, and thus more expensive production. It will be cheaper to use a standard FF sensor in a crop mode if necessary.

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