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The beginning of the end of the digital SLR era

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by olli, May 22, 2011.

  1. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    olli
    According to Thom Hogan in his post, Prices (Up and Down) on May 20, that's where we are right now and he looks at the strategies being pursued by the main challengers to the Canon-Nikon duopoly. Needless to say CSC's are a major factor in the challenge.

    He also has some thoughts on the price relationship between DSLR's, CSC's and high end small sensor compacts in his post, Prices (Down) from May 19.
     
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  2. ZDP-189

    ZDP-189 Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/ZDP189">@Z

    64
    Apr 18, 2011
    I wrote that small sensors are slowly catching up with large sensors in terms of IQ. I think that the consumer end of the market will slowly get eaten up by compacts and CSCs. They will stay ahead of the cellphones for many years yet. The very best cameras will remain those with the best lenses and full sized sensors and this means full frame or MF.
     
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  3. mmacleodbrown

    mmacleodbrown SC Regular

    197
    Oct 10, 2010
    London
    Interesting post..
    For 90% of any photos I want to take, the S95 is fine, even with the smaller sensor the IQ is great for day to day stuff.
    There will always be a market for DSLR, as there will be too many people who will reach the limit of what their compact can do. I bought my Pentax K20D because there was a shot of running water that I could not capture correctly with my little Powershot S95, it was just beyond what the little fixed lens could do..
    Now if I know Im going out shooting, I will take the DSLR, but it is heavy and not that convienient compared to a P&S, but I appreciate the greater options it gives me for a photo (even if I dont understand them all!).

    I think the Sony/Panny 4/3 market is a real shake up and will attract a new breed of customer, sensor's will get better with each generation, and more lenses will be released. It takes things like a new system to make manufacturers rethink what they offer.
    DSLR's have reached a point where there is no need to upgrade the body as even entry level models have a feature set that will do for most people, and that will hit sales. But overall there will still be the same number of people who still want to take a high quality photo, all that will change is the equipment that they use to take it..

    My K20D will do me for a few years yet, it is a much better camera than I am a photographer, so I have room to grow into it, and then when Im ready, 2nd hand K5's will be nice and cheap :)
     
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  4. Lili

    Lili SC Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Lili
    At first I discounted the 'death' of the DSLR. But honestly Since I got my Pen System I virtually never use mine anymore.
    Upon further reflection I feel that the CSC in its varied formats are placing great pressure on both the Mid-Low end DSLR's AND the Small Sensor compacts.
    If I may be permitted to digress a bit from the DSLR; The Cell Phones are eating lower end small sensor cameras NOW.
    Just go to any function and see just how many are using their phones instead of dedicated cameras.
    Just look at Phone Cameras like the N8, with its 5 aspherical element prime 28mm-e lens, mechanical shutter and a sensor that matches many high end compacts in physical size.
    In good light my Nokia's IQ beats my F70EXR, rivals my F200EXR and comes very close to that of my XZ-1 (unless one does RAW).
    All three beat the N8 in versatility and low light shooting but still; this is a device that can make calls, send texts, browse the web, edit pics/videos and upload them to the web.
    HTC is evidently bringing out a 16mp cameraphone code named "Bresson" if that tells you anything.
    The Small Sensor Compacts will have to differentiate themselves somehow.
    in exemplar
    1- the Ricoh GRDs with their superb dual dial UI
    2-Fuji F550EXR with huge zoom ranges
    3-Oly XZ-1 with very fast superb zoom lens
    Sadly I think the DSLR cannot so differentiate; with adapters the CSC's can use any of their lenses and I suspect that we will soon see fully Pro version's with Weathersealing and DLSR User Interfaces.
     
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  5. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus SC Top Veteran

    578
    Jul 6, 2010
    Whether he's right or wrong to a large extent doesn't matter. People who buy and use cameras will decide whats best for them. If a camera with an SLR design, including the mirror works for them, thats what they will buy.

    For those of us who want a decent viewfinder, how many are concerned whether its OVF or EVF? Surely what we want is a good, useable under all circumstances, viewfinder, regardless of how its made.

    I've just made the move away from DSLR's and currently don't own one. However, I don't see this as some kind of religious conversion, its all about what I prefer and makes sense to me.

    The great advantage I see from the current situation changing is that we can concentrate on what a camera actually does rather than what it looks like. While it will be nice if the "Mines bigger than yours" attitude of many disappears, it never applied to people who assessed cameras on their relevance to their photographic life anyway.

    In many ways the 35mm film styled camera can be seen as a stop-gap solution anyway while digital photography discovered its possibilities. Its obvious now that there is no neccessity to go with that familiar design.

    We are I think on the verge of some exciting breakthroughs. If a 24MP NEX camera appears, then that will challenge many peoples ideas of just where the limits are. Just as in other technologies, camera R & D departments are challenging a lot of the long held certainties. I've yet to "upgrade" and find I've taken a backward step and I have no doubt that will continue. I'm also pleased that camera design is now looking beyond the ubiquitous black DSLR for inspiration.

    Whatever appears in the future will probably increase our options and allow us to get more for less. To me it doesn't really matter whether that has a conventional, modern, reto or futuristic appearance. If I like it and what it does I'll buy it. If I don't I won't.


     
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  6. mmacleodbrown

    mmacleodbrown SC Regular

    197
    Oct 10, 2010
    London
    I knew of the NEX and 4/3 systems, but only as far as they existed. Having read soundimage's post and this one Im wondering what to do.
    Bloody internet, just spent 2hrs reading about the above systems and now am wondering about a change in direction.
    I was just about just about to splash out in the next 3 weeks or so on a macro lens for my K20D, but Im now wondering about switching systems before I make that initial investment as then Im committed for the forseeable future.
    Id always discounted NEX and 4/3 systems as having an inferior sensor and apart from Panny, no viewfinder, which I prefer.
    The G3 has good writeups for image quality and the size is very appealing, though I need to read up more on the lens systems and whether they have a decent macro lens.
    If I can get a 4/3 system that will give me a viewfinder, good macro lens with the image quality the same as my K20D, then I might think again. I love the image quality of my K20D, so don't need an improvement as Im more than happy with it, if I can match it, and get the bonus of a tilt screen which I loved on my old Powershot G2, then maybe I need to think about changing before I really get started..
     
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  7. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    I feel for you, Martin.

    Now I'm going back to my darkened, camera news free corner of the world...
     
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  8. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    Martin wait a while for the G3 to hit the shops and try one in hand - a crucial step in the decision making. I've tried to like the Pens having owned and sold an E-P2, E-PL1 and just today my E-P1. I don't miss the size and weight of the E-3 but anything smaller than a GH1/2 would not suit my hands. I really like an eye-level VF and the electronic ones are now very good.
     
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  9. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    I wouldn't be too concerned about committing to a system. If there is one thing that people will spend a lot of money on, hardly use, and then sell six months later for two-thirds of the price or less it is camera equipment. As long as you are the buyer and not the seller in this situation you won't take a big loss if you change systems later on.
     
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  10. ZDP-189

    ZDP-189 Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/ZDP189">@Z

    64
    Apr 18, 2011
    I was at a kiddie's party today. The host was my good friend, a pro photographer with a decent DSLR. However, the X100 won the day.

    The room had a low white ceiling at 8' to 9'. The back wall was white. There were big bay windows on the other two of three sides with indirect late afternoon sunlight. EV was about 7; plenty for ambient-only photography, but there was a moderately strong backlight from the windows that precluded shooting ambient-only, even with strong exposure compensation.

    He was shooting with a Canon EOS 60D, EF 17-40/4L and a 580EXII in the hotshoe. He was in P mode and ETTL-II. Flash was challenging. His images were either washed out with direct flash, even with flash compensation dialed down. Overhead bounce gave that awful thunder-clap-overhead look that lights up the tops of your subject's head. Side bounce was impossible because of the distance to the back wall and people in the way.

    I was next to him with my X100. I was shooting with the built-in flash forced on, auto ISO (priority 1000), auto aperture and shutter, DR400, AF-C and Auto WB. All my images were coming out great; faces were all well balanced with indoor and outdoor lighting being in the same ballpark and very little evidence of flash having gone off. All faces, clothing and even the white table cloth were well exposed, with good histogram headroom and details in all the shadows. The midtone contrast was great. Overhead incandescents shone nice warm cones of light and candles illuminated the top of the chocolate cake. There's no noise to speak of. Detail was great too; definitely on a par with a DSLR. Depth of field was just right and most photos were well focussed. In short, there was no need to edit the images in desktop post processing; <i>not in any of the photos<i>. Shoot, job done, just pick the favourites and upload or print. Perfect.

    Incidentally, the second camera I was packing was the Fujifilm Finepix F200EXR. That was a different matter altogether. I brought it because I was unfamiliar with the venue and worried that I may need a tele or wide lens. My worries were unfounded; the X100 focal length was ideal. I found I couldn't use the F200EXR because of the combined shutter delay and red-eye preflash delay was such that children would have moved on by the time the flash discharged. EXR mode does not give control over red-eye preflash. The three choices are red eye auto, red eye forced flash and suppressed flash. Therefore I had to shoot in EXR/DR priority and suppress the flash. This cost me resolution and I was down to 6MP and faces were still coming out a stop under. I can live with midtones being underexposed as there's room to apply curves, but every shot needs work. As a result I rarely used it, favouring the X100.

    The only criticism of the X100 was that it takes 3-5 seconds of fumbling to switch in and out of video mode, so I used the F200EXR to shoot video. The F200EXR's video is really not of the level of the X100 or a DSLR though. Not that video is a selection criteria for me. I rarely shoot video; but when birthday song kicked off without warning, I was the only one with video to hand.

    The biggest problem the X100 was too unobtrusive for events like this. When there are three adults holding cameras, the kids naturally look to the big DSLR festooned with a big lens, hood and flash. I simply couldn't get their attention. Normally I shoot candids of the kids and this played to my advantage later. I could stick the camera right in the shyest kid's face and snap off a few shots without them flinching or even noticing. I was surprised that I hardly used the viewfinder, the lighting didn't require it and I was shooting from odd angles, rather than shooting at eye level.

    In summary, the X100 rocked.
     
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  11. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    olli
    I think that pressure on the small sensor compacts could be a good thing. One of the ways they could be differentiated from CSC's would be on price. We could get newer versions of existing small sensor compacts at much lower prices.

    I think we've both been on enough Sony forums to know that there is a hard core of posters who are concerned to the point of obsession with this:smile:. It's one of the reasons I stopped bothering with many of them.

    I agree with what you're saying - these are interesting times and we as consumers and photographers are the ones who will benefit most.

    Martin, sorry you're back to square one, but I think most of us have been there at one time or another. There is a 45mm macro for m43 but it is a Leica branded Panasonic lens and it is not cheap (usually around $850). M43 users might be able to point to other possibilities.

    The other thing to bear in mind is that you should be able to use the Pentax macro with either m43 or NEX using converters. So you could use it with both the K20 and any CSC you subsequently buy. You will have to manually focus but you would be doing that anyway for macro work. (Don't take my word for this since I'm not 100% certain of this but it is worth checking out.)

    I still have my DSLR and I'm not planning to sell it. In fact I'm planning to acquire a 75-300 or possibly 70-200 at some point. I think this is where DSLR's still have an advantage - sometimes bigger is better. While there are compact telephoto lenses that will work with CSC's fast telephoto/telezoom lenses are tricky on smaller cameras and tend to be better balanced on DSLR's.

    Just some more food for thought:smile:

    PS Totally concur on Bill's point. Handling these cameras is crucial before you buy. The better it feels in your hand the more you'll use it.
     
  12. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus SC Top Veteran

    578
    Jul 6, 2010
    I'm not sure the fact that a photographer isn't able to get satisfactory results shows that one camera is better than another. Doesn't it show up differences in how to approach a picture taking situation?

    While the X100 is an excellent camera for the situation you describe, so is the 60D. Doesn't this say more about the photographers and their choices rather than the cameras? i.e. You made the right choice and they didn't.

    A 60D is perfectly capable of shooting in low light without flash, and there are all sorts of ways of getting natural results with flashguns. I would pretty much make the same choice you did now, but there have been occasions when I've been in that kind of situation with something like a 60D and surely its a question of how well you understand your system that produces satisfactory results, not the system itself.
     
  13. Duane Pandorf

    Duane Pandorf SC Top Veteran

    868
    Apr 25, 2011
    Western NC
    Since I'm beginning a new phase of GAS hanging around here and reading Thom's post. (BTW, before I bought my GRD III I emailed Thom about which compact to buy. Out of the choices I was looking at the G-12 was his preference) but then I hadn't thought of the GRD yet.

    Since I'm now partial to how Ricoh has designed their interface and menu system, I'm looking forward to their M mount sensor module for the GXR platform!

    It will give me a chance to enter that world which I've never seen yet. In fact I've never personally seen nor held a Leica.

    Again GAS has attacked.
     
  14. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Maybe next time he might think to switch the flash to manual when using a bounce flash. I agree with David that this comparison is no indication that an X100 wipes the floor with a 60D + 17-40L + 580 EXII combination. The Canon guy might want to spend some time learning the equipment instead of just spending money buying it.
     
  15. ZDP-189

    ZDP-189 Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/ZDP189">@Z

    64
    Apr 18, 2011
    In response to:

    David, you missed the 2-3 stop backlight problem. Yes, you can shoot without flash, but depending on the EV comp setting, you either get people coming out looking like silhouettes, or it's as if everyone's feeling the rapture and gone to heaven all at once.

    and also in response to Nic:

    He's an expert on the EOS system and flash. He's my guru and the guru of several other pros, former pros and advanced amateurs. We had a brief chat and we agreed it was technical reasons. I can't speak for his thought process, but here is roughly what he'd have told me:

    Technically speaking, there are two areas in which the 60D falls short: (1) E-TTL II flash metering (2) JPEG dynamic range.

    The solution to (1) would be to enter a moderately high ISO setting manually, then dial in a degree of flash compensation; the X100 seems to be achieving a good balance and offers auto ISO with a preferred value. In my case I set a relatively high preferred ISO based on a good shutter speed at wide aperture. If the X100 saw light levels that got out of parameters it could slip the ISO. It never had to because it can sync at all shutter speeds. The Canon's needs HSS and manual ISO; basically you need to think it through beforehand, not something that you want to do 20 times a minute in the middle of a kid's party.

    In the case of (2) he needs to shoot in RAW, then post process to adjust for foreground flash exposure and recover shadows and highlights. The Fujifilm's DR program delves into the RAW data and does all that in camera for a pleasing effect. The X100's sensor has a higher native dynamic range than the 60D anyway. The areas in which the EOS system had technical advantages (speed of shooting, AF and flash joules, 18MP resolution) were negated in this situation, whereas the backlighting, moderate ambient lighting, proximity and such skewed the field to the X100's advantage.

    The messages I wish to convey are:
    • the X100's IQ is in the same ballpark as a prosumer DSLR
    • in certain circumstances, the X100 is the better choice
    • where both can achieve the same end results, it is easier to configure to ideal settings on the X100, the X100 requires less constant fiddling, and the workflow is altogether more pleasant.

    Yes, you are right that he picked the wrong tool; he also owns a X100, but ironically he hasn't had it long and selected the camera that he is more familiar with. I've had my X100 longer than most (since March) and I've gotten a pretty good feel for it.

    Anyway, at the end of the day, it's good to have various people all using different gear; you each end up with a distinctly different look.
     
  16. ZDP-189

    ZDP-189 Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/ZDP189">@Z

    64
    Apr 18, 2011
    However, I'm curious, why manual? Is the idea to test fire and dial it in? I'd be worried about missing the shot. Photographing big dynamic group shots I can't count on a reshoot. Playing kids don't offer a second shot either. Also, how would you dial it in? Would you adjust the flash power, distance or would you adjust the aperture? I presume aperture. That's how I'd balance a film photo. The other problem I forgot to mention was that as we had an uneven roof with things like A/C ducts overhead, the roof height kept changing, so each shot could give a different bounce exposure; that's why I presume he was shooting in E-TTL II. Not that it would have helped; as I mentioned, bounce flash could not work: the ceiling was too close and the solitary wall was too far and occluded.
     
  17. mmacleodbrown

    mmacleodbrown SC Regular

    197
    Oct 10, 2010
    London
    Luckily I have time on my side as with a DSLR already, I can wait...
    Will check out the G3 when it hits the shelves. Been looking at the Panny's, but their range is confusing..
    I have concerns over the 4/3 sensor size which made me look at the samsung NX line, but Im concerned over the life of the system.
    with 4/3 sensors, the more MP they squeeze onto it, the more noise?
    I can wait and do some research, but Im tempted to get a smaller more portable interchangeable camera.
     
  18. Lili

    Lili SC Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Lili
    Don't use any of the EXR cameras in EXR mode! I use mine on P mode, Auto(800) ISO, DR400%, MF 4:3 per Kim Letkeman. In P Mode you can have simple flash. Plus in Medium Fine resolution you can get ALL the advantages of EXR pixel-Binning without being on Auto-Pilot ;)
     
  19. Lili

    Lili SC Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Lili
    Back on point(s) after trying and failing to grab multiple quotes....

    1-EVF or OVF- never having used a full "Pro" grade DSLR I can say I much prefer a very good EVF over the Penta Mirror type OVF's; 100% coverage, larger image, as much screen info as I can stomach and magnified image on demand for manual focus assist.
    2-The Camera itself does NOT make one a better photographer- it needs to be transparent to you. A Window through which you record the world in your head. View Camera, TLR, DSLR or CSC; whatever works for you.
    For me it is a small camera with an excellent LCD and full controls; whether a SSC or a CSC.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Country Parson

    Country Parson SC Top Veteran

    682
    Apr 5, 2011
    North Carolina
    Dan
    To Martin about Macro

    Martin, if macro is your concern I can recommend highly the Ricoh GXR with the A12 50mm macro lens. Fantastic combination, and all the good things people say about the Ricoh interface are true. It is the best interface I have used. Here is a macro shot from that lens setup.

    GXR0055.