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Roger Hicks
11-11-2010, 02:05
To quote an old friend, long in the photo business (film manufacture), "When people say, 'Why don't they make...?', they almost invariably mean, 'Why doesn't someone make it cheaper?'"

Usually, the answer to 'Why don't they make...?' is threefold. First, it's surprisingly often available anyway, at a price. You may not be able to afford a 21 or 24 Summilux (I can't), but it exists. The second answer is that many markets are very small. We may love RFs, but most people don't give a toss. The same is true of ultra-slow B+W film. Third, many specialist products are sufficiently expensive to make at all that there's little or no scope for making them cheaper. In fact, dividing the market might mean that both manufacturers have to stop making whatever it is because it's no longer commercially realistic.

So why do so may people entertain so many fantasies that a few moments' thought will reveal as unrealistic?

Cheers,

R.

Mcary
11-11-2010, 02:15
To quote an old friend, long in the photo business (film manufacture), "When people say, 'Why don't they make...?', they almost invariably mean, 'Why doesn't someone make it cheaper?'"

Usually, the answer to 'Why don't they make...?' is threefold. First, it's surprisingly often available anyway, at a price. You may not be able to afford a 21 or 24 Summilux (I can't), but it exists. The second answer is that many markets are very small. We may love RFs, but most people don't give a toss. The same is true of ultra-slow B+W film. Third, many specialist products are sufficiently expensive to make at all that there's little or no scope for making them cheaper. In fact, dividing the market might mean that both manufacturers have to stop making whatever it is because it's no longer commercially realistic.

So why do so may people entertain so many fantasies that a few moments' thought will reveal as unrealistic?

Cheers,

R.

Rodger

For the same reason people fantasize about winning the Lottory or aliens abducting them and taking them to meet Elvis :)

Pickett Wilson
11-11-2010, 02:21
"So why do so may people entertain so many fantasies that a few moments' thought will reveal as unrealistic?"

Because ever so often, a company like Cosina, out of the blue, and into an apparently non-existant market, decides to make inexpensive rangefinders.

Discerning the machinations or motivations of companies and the folks that run them is only slightly less difficult than enriching uranium.

Roger Hicks
11-11-2010, 02:39
"So why do so may people entertain so many fantasies that a few moments' thought will reveal as unrealistic?"

Because ever so often, a company like Cosina, out of the blue, and into an apparently non-existant market, decides to make inexpensive rangefinders.

Discerning the machinations or motivations of companies and the folks that run them is only slightly less difficult than enriching uranium.

Very true. Kobayashi-san's innovations are astonishing. But he used an existing SLR body, with significant compromises (most notably a very short RF base). Even the ZI uses no ground-breaking technology, and caters to a known (if small) market. The ideas that someone will make FF digital RFs at $2000 each, or films that hardly anyone wants, are rather different.

Also, you say 'a company like Cosina' but apart from them you have (a) tiny companies making things on small numbers, often at quite high prices, as with some screw-mount lenses, and (b) Nikon's 'commemorative' S-series. I can't quite think of another 'company like Cosina', but of course that may be simple oversight on my part.

Cheers,

R.

Pickett Wilson
11-11-2010, 02:53
I agree with you, Roger. Most of the time, as can be seen by the large number of folks using old RF lenses on cameras like the Olympus E-P2 when the lenses made for them (I own an E-P2) give excellent results, it's a matter of wanting something we can't afford. Many folks, for example, appear to stay with film only because they want to shoot an RF but can't afford a digital RF. Technology to the rescue. Now we buy EVIL cameras that really aren't the same thing at all.

The dream seems to be that technology will make the unaffordable, affordable. But, there is also the myopia that forums like this create, causing us to imagine that there is a large potential market for things that few really want. :)

fergus
11-11-2010, 02:57
For the same reason people fantasize about winning the Lottory or aliens abducting them and taking them to meet Elvis :)

What's to fantasise about? Elvis lives in my building. :p

Roger - we all like to dream. A 24 1.4 in my price range is a very fond wish.

Keith
11-11-2010, 03:02
I'm not pointing the finger at you here Roger but I think a fair few digital M owners are quite smugly satisfied in knowing that they have the only game in town in their hot little hands regarding a decent digital rangefinder.

Not all but part of the reason for the clamoring throngs wanting another company to bring out a viable alternative is to cut these tall poppies down and level the playing field a little. It's human nature IMO.

And of course Leica actually caters to these types by offering them some garish looking limited edition special to stroke their egos even more effectively if the standard issue doesn't do it for them.

Im such a cynic! :D

oftheherd
11-11-2010, 03:04
What's to fantasise about? Elvis lives in my building. :p

Roger - we all like to dream. A 24 1.4 in my price range is a very fond wish.

Yeah, I guess that is it Mr. Hicks; dreaming. Dreaming about a lens or camera, and affordable. I have those wishes myself, but don't expect them to come to pass.

Brian Sweeney
11-11-2010, 03:10
I've worked at a Research Lab for 32 years.

When I ask "Why doesn't someone make an xxx", it usually ends up being me to do it.

When explaining an idea, I often like to use the phrase "Just like on Star Trek".

And I saw Elvis. Quite a while ago, but I did see him.

pvdhaar
11-11-2010, 03:22
So why do so may people entertain so many fantasies that a few moments' thought will reveal as unrealistic?

Good question Roger, but I simply can't stop fantasizing about the imaginary camera that makes me take that one perfect picture..

aad
11-11-2010, 03:26
My "why don't they" moments are never camera related. I do wish we could get more diesel cars in the US, affordable and reliable.

Mahindra is entering our market with a small, 4 wheel drive diesel pickup-automatic only. Argh.

John Lawrence
11-11-2010, 03:34
So why do so may people entertain so many fantasies that a few moments' thought will reveal as unrealistic?


Because facing reality is (usually) harder, more unpleasant and boring.

John

damien.murphy
11-11-2010, 03:41
So why do so may people entertain so many fantasies that a few moments' thought will reveal as unrealistic?



Your argument assumes the market is a fixed size, and will never change. Perhaps some people see new products potentially growing the market, as opposed to cannibalising it.

Not that cannibalisation is not a bad thing in certain areas of the market, where some manufacturers have become quite complacent. For example, Paterson continue to churn out poorly designed and manufactured products, yet are the unchallenged market leader in their primary market segments.

Or perhaps I'm odd in wanting tanks that do not leak, reels that are user friendly, or timers that are designed to facilitate my film/ photo developing process, for example.

It's also a fact that some items are blatantly overpriced, like many items marketed to the 'photo market'. For example, on what planet do darkroom easel manufacturers assume people live on ? £450- £700 for a new decently built easel is absolutely ridiculous, and destroying whatever small market is left in this area.

I know my above examples are examples from the film market, but this to me would be a prime example of a low growth market you allude, which would either be damaged by competition or not big enough to take advantage of economies of scale to keep prices lower. I don't think your argument holds water in the higher growth photo markets, like digital for example.

Rob-F
11-11-2010, 04:12
To quote an old friend, long in the photo business (film manufacture), "When people say, 'Why don't they make...?', they almost invariably mean, 'Why doesn't someone make it cheaper?'"

Usually, the answer to 'Why don't they make...?' is threefold. First, it's surprisingly often available anyway, at a price. You may not be able to afford a 21 or 24 Summilux (I can't), but it exists.

Cheers,

R.

Not too long ago, there wasn't a 21 or 24mm Summilux.

Now, why can't they make a $1000 8.5MP body in Leica M mount, with a sensor as large as the one in the R-D1; with smaller body; no rangefinder, 21mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm and 50mm framelines; and electronic focusing aid. I want to use my Leica lenses on a small digital platform, without the hassle of IR filters, coding, etc.

How about one for the Leica-R lenses? But I want 1.5x crop factor, not 2:1. So that rules out micro-4/3.

Brian Sweeney
11-11-2010, 04:17
I suppose my question is why Leica does not do a Monochrome version of the M9. I see so many images from the M8 and M9 converted to Monochrome, it would make sense. 17 years ago, I needed a near-Infrared digital camera for work. Kodak did not make one. I looked at the spec sheet for the KAF-1600, called them up, and asked them why they did not make an Infrared version of the DCS200. They called back a month or so later and agreed to do it. $4000 extra. But these days- I just do not need a Monochrome M9 for work.

tlitody
11-11-2010, 04:42
And speaking of flying pigs, well this little piggy has got GAS !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtMFSvY5EsQ

Roger Hicks
11-11-2010, 05:11
I suppose my question is why Leica does not do a Monochrome version of the M9. I see so many images from the M8 and M9 converted to Monochrome, it would make sense. 17 years ago, I needed a near-Infrared digital camera for work. Kodak did not make one. I looked at the spec sheet for the KAF-1600, called them up, and asked them why they did not make an Infrared version of the DCS200. They called back a month or so later and agreed to do it. $4000 extra. But these days- I just do not need a Monochrome M9 for work.

Dear Brian,

I specifically asked at photokina and was told that a short run (c. 50) of Kodak mono sensors would cost far more than the ballpark figure you estimated. I asked because I'm puzzled too. It could be that it's an excuse, but it didn't sound that way. Maybe I'm just too trusting.

Cheers,

R.

Brian Sweeney
11-11-2010, 05:19
Also the advantage of working at a Research Lab. If it was required for a project, it just was done. I've worked projects where we had the company make custom sensors from scratch. One of our groups built a 100MPixel sensor 6 or 7 years ago.

The Monochrome Sensor- kind of like Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces, just make the BLT but leave the Dye out of the Mosaic Filter.

j j
11-11-2010, 05:22
Other manufacturers made film cameras that cost less than a Leica, so why is it fantasy to wish for the same with digital? There are cameras equally as good as and with similar specs to the X1 available much more cheaply than that Leica.

Roger Hicks
11-11-2010, 05:28
Your argument assumes the market is a fixed size, and will never change. Perhaps some people see new products potentially growing the market, as opposed to cannibalising it.


Dear Damien,

Not fixed, but (a) finite and (b) unlikely ever to be big enough to warrant the R+D, tooling, stock-holding and support (distribution, repairs, marketing) required.

Digi RFs are an example. Yes, I'm sure that the market for a cheaper digi RF is at least twice as big as the Leica market, and quite possibly five times the size. BUT, it's nothing like big enough to amortize the R&D on an FF chip down to the level required for prices to compete with the mass SLR market. Those things cut every penny they can: they don't even have pentaprisms any more, just penta-mirrors.

In other words, IF a manufacturer reckoned he could sell (say) 10,000 cameras a year for 5 years, they'd still be damnably expensive, and they'd be competing with second-hand Leicas and even RD-1s. Crop sensors are probably a non-starter, because, after all, the entire point of a digi-RF for most people is legacy lenses.

Of course I could be wrong, but as I've yet to meet anyone in the trade who holds a different viewpoint, I suspect I'm not. RFF is a highly self-selecting forum.

Cheers,

R.

Gumby
11-11-2010, 05:36
The Monochrome Sensor- kind of like Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces, just make the BLT but leave the Dye out of the Mosaic Filter.

I think it would be even easier than that.

Roger Hicks
11-11-2010, 05:41
Other manufacturers made film cameras that cost less than a Leica, so why is it fantasy to wish for the same with digital? There are cameras equally as good as and with similar specs to the X1 available much more cheaply than that Leica.

Two words: market size.

Once, there were many fixed-lens RFs. They ceased to be profitable, and disappeared. As far as I know, not one remains, though someone will probably prove me wrong.

The market for digital RFs is now so tiny that (I suspect) the only way to meet it is by making a very expensive camera.

Are there that many cameras similar to the X1, notably with an APS-C sensor? The obvious competitor is the X100, and it may well be that the X100 is closer to what people want, and closer to what people can afford. We'll see when it actually comes out. But I can't really think of any others that are as compact and that are conventionally laid out. "Conventional layout" reduces the size of the market too, but some people want it -- enough people to make it worth while.

Cheers,

R.

Gumby
11-11-2010, 05:57
Another approach, of course, is for "someone" to 'build the market' rather than respond to the existing market. Risky... but that tactic has worked before.

Most people don't understand the complexities and cost, both engineering and manufacturing, of most "why don't they make..." questions.

What I don't understand with regard to mono digital is why "someone" doesn't put out a camera that has the software to acceptable output monochrome. Why don't they just set the software on an exisiting product to "monochrome" and sell it to people who want it?

ferider
11-11-2010, 06:03
Yep. Why doesn't anybody make a full frame digital titanium rangefinder for US 19k ? I want one. I guess the market size is too small, anything less than US 22k would be a pig in the wind ...

:)

sig
11-11-2010, 06:05
Not a lot of development/progress would happen if nobody asked 'Why don't they make'.........

Pablito
11-11-2010, 06:10
Plastics.........

Gumby
11-11-2010, 06:14
Not a lot of development/progress would happen if nobody asked 'Why don't they make'.........

Very true!

But what tends to stymie new developments is when the requirements are stated so design or implementation specific that there is not enough solution space.

Inquisitive enqiries are a good thing, generally, otherwise nobody knows what the market might need.

Bob Michaels
11-11-2010, 06:29
Take a few giant steps backward and remember some great, if not legendary, photos made years ago with camera bodies, lenses and film that we would scoff at today. Many of us would simply believe we could not make a good photo if those old tools were all we had to work with.

Have all these technological advancements actually improved photographs? Or, just cameras?

wgerrard
11-11-2010, 06:31
The dream seems to be that technology will make the unaffordable, affordable. But, there is also the myopia that forums like this create, causing us to imagine that there is a large potential market for things that few really want. :)

Sometimes people seem to think "If I dream it, someone else can do it." Of course, that's not true. Little poodles might dream of being big Labradors, but it's not going to happen. It's fine to dream about a $2000 version of the M9. Few here, I suspect, would object to its arrival on the market. But, to blame that dream's lack of fulfillment on vendors who could, if only they would, make a $2000 M9 is a leap into unreason, for lack of a better word. If any of us know where to get full-frame sensors cheap enough to allow a camera to come in under $2000, maybe we ought to get into the camera-making business.

The myopia enabled by the net and other contemporary media is very real. Everyone is narrowcasting, and we can pick and choose sources that are in perfect and unchallenging accord with our own biases and proclivities. That creates a reality distortion field, to steal a phrase, because it is so easy to assume that the tiny slice of voices you listen to represent the rest of the people on the planet.

My own expectation? Digital technology in photography will continue to follow the same path as other digital products, albeit more slowly due to the smaller market. That is, we will see something like a bell curve, with very cheap products using older tech along the lower left side. Cutting edge high tech goodies at very steep prices will populate the lower right side. The top of the curve will be populated by products ordinary mortals will buy. The important thing is that prices will remain more or less steady at each point, while the technology available at those prices improves.

So, will we be able to buy a full-frame digital RF for less than $7000? Very probably, but who knows how much less. Will new technology, especially in sensors, EVF's, and autofocus, eventually make pining after a digital RF with a sensor as big as a 35mm frame just a bit passé? Almost certainly.

damien.murphy
11-11-2010, 06:37
The market for digital RFs is now so tiny that (I suspect) the only way to meet it is by making a very expensive camera.



Roger,

I think you underestimate the market for digital rf cameras.

As long as professional dslr's remain the size they do, I imagine there will always be a decent-sized portion of that market that wish for a smaller, but fully capable camera. This group is far larger than the typical rf-user market, and with the right price point (ie not M9 $9,000 price point), these people could all be digital rangefinder shooters, I suspect.

It's a self-fulfilling prophecy, pricing a product so highly that only a small portion of your potential market can afford it, and then claiming that there is no market for the product. That sort of thinking would have us all believing film is dead! :)

damien.murphy
11-11-2010, 06:43
If any of us know where to get full-frame sensors cheap enough to allow a camera to come in under $2000, maybe we ought to get into the camera-making business.

Why not ask Nikon - they sell full-frame D700's for less than $2400 (B&H)

Roger Hicks
11-11-2010, 06:55
Roger,

I think you underestimate the market for digital rf cameras.

As long as professional dslr's remain the size they do, I imagine there will always be a decent-sized portion of that market that wish for a smaller, but fully capable camera. This group is far larger than the typical rf-user market, and with the right price point (ie not M9 $9,000 price point), these people could all be digital rangefinder shooters, I suspect.

It's a self-fulfilling prophecy, pricing a product so highly that only a small portion of your potential market can afford it, and then claiming that there is no market for the product. That sort of thinking would have us all believing film is dead! :)

Dear Damien,

This is of course entirely possible, but equally, there must be quite widespread agreement among manufacturers or I suspect we'd have seen an M9 competitor by now. The fact that the X1 and X100 do go head-to-head, with the X100 currently looking better on paper, though not actually available, argues that this style of camera is much closer to the market among those 'that wish for a smaller, but fully capable camera'.

The probem is that we're dealing with unknowns, rather than with self-fulfilling prophecies. Leica couldn't make the M9 a lot cheaper: they'd need vastly more automation, a bigger work force, a totally different business model. No-one else does make an M9 competitor, which suggests to me that they don't see any money in it, at any price. It would have to be quite a lot cheaper than a Leica, or people would find the extra money to buy a camera from a manufacurer less likely to be 'here today, gone tomorrow' at least in the DRF market).

Along, presumably, with the manufacturers, I am far from convinced that it is financially feasible to bring a DRF in at the necessarily low price.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
11-11-2010, 07:02
Roger, I think your question must be rhetorical. You may hardly be blamed as you've spent a long time in a state of love and I suspect it has softened and opened your heart. These are good attributes.


A generalization: men (and perhaps women too) who struggle in endeavors where success is not clearly defined will sometimes retreat into competencies more easily measured. I do not confuse technical mastery with this form of retreat. But this form of mental retreat allows concepts to be developed as rationale. The rationale allows for excuse-making avoidance of the task at hand: producing work. In our case, photographs. It is distraction by fantasy or delusion and it is perhaps one of the ego's best-used techniques to avoid the hard work of producing photographs (or anything else for that matter). Absorption in the process, whether Tai Chi or photography or cooking, subsumes the ego. It doesn't like that.

Maybe.

Perhaps we might, just as an exercise, divide the user group into two camps. One uses the gear they have, doing the best the can while wishing they had better. The other, produces nothing because they "don't have the right tools". Or produces less than they are able under the same speciousness. The reality is most people fall somewhere in the spectrum rather than at the extremes, if you will.

Maybe.

Men love metrics. Another generalization, but of all the female photographers I know (I restrict this definition to those who are producing completed works), and their number is somewhat greater than a dozen, only one of them engages in the "why don't they make..." litany. Of the males in the same line of work, a significantly greater proportion of them can tell you not only about the cameras that they have but the one that they "really wish they had", existent or not. I leave the implication where it lies. It is hardly scientific but it's all I have.

One notable exception amongst the male photographers I know is perhaps the most successful - all he knows about is the cameras that he uses and he knows them inside out, fingers moving across the controls, eye rarely leaving the viewfinder. He shoots digital but if you have a discussion with him about photography the camera is never mentioned other than his dictum that you must understand the camera so completely that you can operate it unconsciously. You must understand the camera you have - not the one that "they really should make...". He too has been softened and opened by long association with his lover.

Lest that provoke other readers to the folly of derision, this particular photographer came in second place in the U.S. heavyweight karate championships held at Madison Square Garden. In his hometown. Mid 1960s. While working full time as a commercial photographer. He is now an éminence grise, and not solely as a photographer though his body of work keeps growing and he keeps improving. Perhaps it is because he was trained as an painter and, as far as I can tell, always maintained a fine art practice, that his focus is on light rather than the black box we push it through.

Maybe.

Or it could simply be the technological musings of the technologically adept.

Maybe.

Generalizations. But we are talking about a group of people.

Best,

Shane

Dear Shane,

Whew! A magnificent epistle -- but too much to answer. All that I can say is that I am sure you are right about 'concept as rationale'; about the absence of the 'ideal tool' as an excuse for not actually engaging in the job; and about the greater willingness of women to use what they have, or can afford, or merely is available (says he whose wife has four sewing machines).

As you say, they're all generalizations, but what else have we?

Cheers,

R.

damien.murphy
11-11-2010, 07:10
Dear Damien,

This is of course entirely possible, but equally, there must be quite widespread agreement among manufacturers or I suspect we'd have seen an M9 competitor by now. The fact that the X1 and X100 do go head-to-head, with the X100 currently looking better on paper, though not actually available, argues that this style of camera is much closer to the market among those 'that wish for a smaller, but fully capable camera'.

The probem is that we're dealing with unknowns, rather than with self-fulfilling prophecies. Leica couldn't make the M9 a lot cheaper: they'd need vastly more automation, a bigger work force, a totally different business model. No-one else does make an M9 competitor, which suggests to me that they don't see any money in it, at any price. It would have to be quite a lot cheaper than a Leica, or people would find the extra money to buy a camera from a manufacurer less likely to be 'here today, gone tomorrow' at least in the DRF market).

Along, presumably, with the manufacturers, I am far from convinced that it is financially feasible to bring a DRF in at the necessarily low price.

Cheers,

R.

We agree on a few points, Roger. I don't think Leica are the ones that have the capability or desire to offer a lower cost digital rangefinder.

Likewise, amongst the market, many of the imaginative camera manufacturers are no longer around, and the likes of Canonikon have neither the desire nor imagination to bring a digital rf camera to market. If they did so, it might very well be counterproductive to their dslr sales.

The company that can make this happen actually, would be Sony. Eager to dine at the top table, Sony has both the clout and sensors to produce the low cost digital rangefinder many yearn for.

Surprised we haven't seen anything from them in this space, as something like a low cost digital rf to go after the dslr customer base, is the only way I can see them forcing their way to the top of the photographic market.

wgerrard
11-11-2010, 07:10
Roger,


As long as professional dslr's remain the size they do, I imagine there will always be a decent-sized portion of that market that wish for a smaller, but fully capable camera. This group is far larger than the typical rf-user market, and with the right price point (ie not M9 $9,000 price point), these people could all be digital rangefinder shooters, I suspect.



I'm not so sure. Rangefinders were readiily available in the heyday of the film SLR, yet we did not see a big swing away from them.

I think it is much more likely that we will see a "smaller, but fully capable camera" that steals customers away from both the DSLR and the RF markets. M4/3 and similar technology are steps along that road. Remember, too, "fully capable camera" does not have to mean a camera with a 35mm-sized sensor.

Roger Hicks
11-11-2010, 07:10
A general note: thanks very much to everyone who has posted. I just don't have tme reply to everyone, but from the last few posts I especially liked:

Pickett Wilson's The dream seems to be that technology will make the unaffordable, affordable. But, there is also the myopia that forums like this create, causing us to imagine that there is a large potential market for things that few really want

Shane's a lot of dreaming is on the order of "I don't want to pay what it's worth", or "I don't want to work that hard."

ed's what tends to stymie new developments is when the requirements are stated so design or implementation specific that there is not enough solution space

Bill's Sometimes people seem to think "If I dream it, someone else can do it." Of course, that's not true. Little poodles might dream of being big Labradors, but it's not going to happen. It's fine to dream about a $2000 version of the M9. Few here, I suspect, would object to its arrival on the market. But, to blame that dream's lack of fulfillment on vendors who could, if only they would, make a $2000 M9 is a leap into unreason, for lack of a better word. If any of us know where to get full-frame sensors cheap enough to allow a camera to come in under $2000, maybe we ought to get into the camera-making business.

The myopia enabled by the net and other contemporary media is very real. Everyone is narrowcasting, and we can pick and choose sources that are in perfect and unchallenging accord with our own biases and proclivities. That creates a reality distortion field, to steal a phrase, because it is so easy to assume that the tiny slice of voices you listen to represent the rest of the people on the planet

Cheers,

R.

Benjamin Marks
11-11-2010, 07:13
Why? because it is fun. Why should the uninformed hopes and speculation of anyone be stoppered simply because of impossibility? I can't think of a reason.

wgerrard
11-11-2010, 07:14
Why not ask Nikon - they sell full-frame D700's for less than $2400 (B&H)

I take the lack of a digital RF from Nikon as pretty good evidence that they've decided they can get a better return on their money by not making one, no matter what the sensor might cost them.

That's not Nikon being hostile to RF fans. It's Nikon going where it thinks the profit is.

antiquark
11-11-2010, 07:14
One thing people often forget in their cost analysises (sp?) is the NRE, or non-recurring engineering cost of a product. It can add a lot to the final cost.

For example, the M9 might have needed 10 engineers developing it for a year, maybe the NRE cost was $2,000,000. That has to be factored into the product price. So if Leica hopes to recover the NRE after selling 1000 units, that's an additional $2000 per unit.

That's one reason mass sellers like DSLRs can go cheaper, because the NRE can be spread across a larger productoin run of cameras. There's more to a price than just the raw materials!

damien.murphy
11-11-2010, 07:22
I'm not so sure. Rangefinders were readiily available in the heyday of the film SLR, yet we did not see a big swing away from them.

I think it is much more likely that we will see a "smaller, but fully capable camera" that steals customers away from both the DSLR and the RF markets. M4/3 and similar technology are steps along that road. Remember, too, "fully capable camera" does not have to mean a camera with a 35mm-sized sensor.

There is a large difference between the size of slr's in the 60's vs the size of dslr's currently. Not so much of a difference between a Nikon F1/2/3 and a Leica M, but Leica M vs D700/D3/5D/1DS is quite a gulf in size.

Re: M4/3, I agree, fully capable does not have to mean a 35mm-sized sensor, but I think as good as sensor performance can get, there is an element of the DSLR pro market that are used to MF-like quality from their full-frame slr, and this is more likely to be met by a small full-frame camera than a best in class M4/3 camera. Just my opinion though.

damien.murphy
11-11-2010, 07:34
I take the lack of a digital RF from Nikon as pretty good evidence that they've decided they can get a better return on their money by not making one, no matter what the sensor might cost them.

That's not Nikon being hostile to RF fans. It's Nikon going where it thinks the profit is.

A silly discussion, who knows why Nikon do what they do, as aside from Nikon. I'll leave that to Thom Hogan/ et al.

It does seem there is a disturbing attitude here among digital shooters to spend considerable time second-guessing what Leica can & can't do. It's amusing for a while (the former business analyst in me), but it seems more and more photographers these days seem to be acting like shareholders of Nikon/ Canon/ Leica/ et al.

Anywho, I'm off to more amusing pastures/ threads. There's no profit in it for me to speculate on low cost digital rangefinders :)

Nokton48
11-11-2010, 08:24
Oh, Crap. I thought this was a thread about Pink Floyd. I just took my Boys to see "The Wall" LIVE with Roger Waters, they tell me they were in tears during the performance.

wgerrard
11-11-2010, 12:36
... this is more likely to be met by a small full-frame camera than a best in class M4/3 camera. Just my opinion though.

You misunderstand, perhaps. I see the m4/3, and similar cameras, as steps on the road to newer designs that will attract customers aways from both RF and DSLR users.

Keith
11-11-2010, 13:02
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cHsPCAZlP4

michaelshane
11-11-2010, 16:47
"With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine..." -- RFC 1925

This quote has been in my email .sig for about a decade now. :p


http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1390/4594382480_82c382dc1c_z.jpg

j j
11-12-2010, 01:54
Roger

Market size for micro4/3 was tiny until someone decided to take a punt. Now they take a significant proportion of camera sales. These are not so far from a rangefinder in concept (so long as you leave aside the idea that a rangefinder patch has to be small).

Direct competitors to the X1 include (soon) Fuji X100, Ricoh modular, Samsung NX100, Sony NEX, micro4/3 cameras and Sigma DP cameras. And there will be more.

Tech that exists for other cameras and can be adapted, which brings down the price of manufacture. Micro4/3 cameras share a sensor. Samsung and Sigma (and previously Epson) use sensors developed for SLRs. And Cosina re-used a film SLR for their rangefinders.

John

Pickett Wilson
11-12-2010, 02:32
"Market size for micro4/3 was tiny until someone decided to take a punt. Now they take a significant proportion of camera sales."

Do they? I wonder what proportion of camera sales are M4/3? You can't buy one at Wal-Mart or Target.

bigeye
11-12-2010, 03:13
If you bear with it, the marketing answer may be here for you in spaghetti (http://www.ted.com/talks/malcolm_gladwell_on_spaghetti_sauce.html).

Roger Hicks
11-12-2010, 03:43
Roger

Market size for micro4/3 was tiny until someone decided to take a punt. Now they take a significant proportion of camera sales. These are not so far from a rangefinder in concept (so long as you leave aside the idea that a rangefinder patch has to be small).

Direct competitors to the X1 include (soon) Fuji X100, Ricoh modular, Samsung NX100, Sony NEX, micro4/3 cameras and Sigma DP cameras. And there will be more.

Tech that exists for other cameras and can be adapted, which brings down the price of manufacture. Micro4/3 cameras share a sensor. Samsung and Sigma (and previously Epson) use sensors developed for SLRs. And Cosina re-used a film SLR for their rangefinders.

John

Dear John,

We are however looking at very different things here. Using a new technology in new cameras is one thing: 'reverse engineering' to fit a new technology into an old body is another matter, especially when you want a big sensor close to the lens flange. With a crop sensor, it's just about feasible to recycle an SLR sensor (RD-1). With full frame, you need either microlenses or a LOT of post-processing to get the edges bright enough.

At photokina I tried most of the cameras you mention, and a lot depends on what you call 'competitive'. I mentioned traditional layout in an earlier post (which I freely admit narrows the market still further) and really, I didn't see anything that I would regard as competing with the X1/X100 in that sense. Those who are happy with the cameras you cite will no doubt be happy, but if I were in that market, I think an X100 would be my first choice assuming it works. Even then, I think I'd like to try it next to an X1.

Cheers,

R.

j j
11-12-2010, 04:28
Hi Roger

I think I see similarities where you see differences; by competitive I mean a similar camera that makes similar pictures.

Will there be a digital Leica M9 copy complete a sensor the same size as 35mm film and trad interface? Highly unlikely. Will there be a camera in a similar form that does a similar job? Highly likely.

Do I recall correctly that at one time or another Leica and Nikon both said there could be no full frame sensor in their digital cameras?

John

Hi Pickett

Yes. More than 10% of interchangeable lens camera sales in Japan last year from a standing start and 20% by December. Sales in Europe seem pretty high, too.

John

JoeV
11-12-2010, 09:37
Seven months ago there was zero market for tablet-based computers. Now the iPad is a 2+billion dollar market. Some follow while others lead.

Yet I can't help but think that manual cameras will always remain a niche market, if for no other reason than price; the average consumer is mainly concerned about cost.

~Joe

Roger Hicks
11-12-2010, 10:51
Seven months ago there was zero market for tablet-based computers. Now the iPad is a 2+billion dollar market. Some follow while others lead.

Yet I can't help but think that manual cameras will always remain a niche market, if for no other reason than price; the average consumer is mainly concerned about cost.

~Joe

Dear Joe,

I think this is the point, essentially.

A new technology can conquer the world (for a given value of 'conquer the world').

But what most people ask for, when they say, "Why don't they make...?" is NOT a new idea. It is not something hitherto unthought of. It is a cheaper (and usually nastier) version of something that already exists, such as a $2000 M9, or a continuation of something where the pitiless laws of the market have already cast their verdict, such as Neopan 1600.

In other words, most if those who say, "Why don't they make...?" are NOT leaders, but followers who don't actually understand the technology they are following, and want to keep an old technology alive -- cheaper.

Of course there are exceptions, whom God preserve. But read the vast majority of "Why don't they make...?" on RFF and elsewhere, and you will search in vain for traces of original thought.

Cheers,

R.

ederek
11-13-2010, 20:01
http://ederek.smugmug.com/photos/1089652229_rPjrA-L.jpg

John Camp
11-15-2010, 20:56
People didn't adapt rangefinders out of fondness for the rangefinder mechanism, IMHO -- they did it because it was the best way to focus, until SLRs came along. After that, some people stayed with rangefinders because they were relatively compact and they simply liked them better. Between the two types, there really wasn't much difference in image quality, because they used the same films.

But SLRs and then DSLRs got the bloat. There's really not much difference in frontal area between a Nikon D3/Canon 1Ds and a big fat Speed Graphic...and with lenses, the Speeds were probably lighter. (I'm writing this off the top of my head, so I'm not sure about those weights.)

At a time when the Speed Graphics ruled, photographers, and especially war photographers and then other journalists, went to "miniature cameras' i.e. 35mm, because they were light and handy. And, critically, the IQ was "good enough" for magazine and newspaper purposes.

It seems to me that the same thing is happening all over, in a somewhat more complicated scenario, because there are three contestants, rather than two.

Against rangefinders, M4/3 offers the small-size advantage, and also offer modern focusing and viewing systems, including autofocus and image stabilization, and the possibility of genuinely long lenses. The KEY in this competition is the modern features offered by m4/3.

DSLRs have better IQ than m4/3, just as a good 4x5 Speed had better image quality than an early 35...but, the DSLRs are big and fat and bloated, and not too much can be done about that. To some extent, body size and, importantly, lens size, is determined by sensor size. I have a Pentax K-5, which has a very small body for a DSLR. It dwarfs my GF1. The KEY to m4/3 versus DSLRs is size -- just as it was in 35mm vs. Speeds. I can carry my complete m4/3 system -- two bodies, several lenses, four batteries, chargers, etc., and Mac Air (and accessories) in a Pelican briefcase.

The m4/3 also offers image quality that is "good enough" for most purposes -- all purposes on the net, and good enough for most magazine and newspaper work.

Like most people here, I have a bunch of different cameras, including a Leica M7 and M8 and several lenses, which may be on the way out; a Nikon D3 and D300, which I may also be phasing out, depending on my experiments with the K-5; a Panasonic GF1 and GH1, my current go-to system; and the K-5. I generally want three camera systems, I think -- a pocket camera, like the Canon S95; a travel and street set, which is where the m4/3 cameras shine; and a heavy duty, APS-C or Nikon full-frame system.

But, if Panasonic comes up with a sensor that matches that in the K-5, I may stay with any new heavy system at all. The m4/3 will simply be good enough for me.

JC