Digital Cameras '04 -- OFF the HOOK!

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Canon is coming with 20 new compact digital cameras, a 10D replacement, and possibly a new model to slot between an even lower 300D price and the new 10D.



Nikon is going to add a D300 competitor, more DX lenses, and possibly an interchangable back system based on the F5 ?



Fuji is going to have an 11MP (22MP output) full frame S4 (dunno what they'll call it, but rumor abounds and a 20.1MP medium format sensor of approximately twice the size already exists, so cut it in half and voila?). This might be really good; since the SCCD is a very quiet sensor, it might become the high ISO/low noise leader among full frame cameras.



Pentax, Minolta, and Nikon are all looking at putting anti-shake technology in the camera!



Minolta's DSLR will finally arrive, and Pentax will have two more DSLR models out next year. Pentax has also said that they will both compact by 35mm standards -- no bigger than equivalenbt film cameras.



We might even see a couple more 4/3rds cameras...



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    low-end digital cameras are a dying market, set to disappear soon.

    camera phones will replace most of the discount cameras below 2MP.



    the mid-range market will be interesting to watch,

    but it will be interesting to see if the Foveon sensor starts to replace current CCDs this year.
  • Reply 2 of 21
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    I don't think we'll see Foveon sensors abound any time soon. They're not ready. Resolution-wise, 6MP+ mosaic sensors and the 3.5Mp foveon return about the same resolution, but the mosaic sensors can operate at much higher ISO ratings and interpolation schemes just seem to get better and better. Foveon has improved the ISO speeds with their SD10, but we're still looking at 800 vs 1600-3200. Most experts seem to agree that a 6MP APS frame contains about 70-75% of the resolution of 35mm film once you account for the much lower noise, 8-10MP would be right on. A little less overall res, but so much cleaner that it makes up for it. When we're getting that quality out of mosaic (sometime next year) nobody's really going to care what the sensor technology is. Canon, Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, and now Nikon, all make their own sensors, and all are sufficiently larger than Foveon, that they can push their products.



    Secondly, Foveon doesn't seem to be going anywhere. The SD10 is a little faster than the SD9, but the only sensor they've mentioned since the 3.5 is a 1.5 MP small sensor. We might argue about how many megapixels an X3 sensor actually produces, but we can roughly equate a given number of X3 pixels with mosaic pixels. Seems to be anywhere from 1.5-1.8 depending on subject, in terms of resolving power. Ergo, no Foveon has 3X the resolving power of a mosaic with the same MP count and so long as Bayer/SCCD manufacturers can crank out sensors with twice the pixel locations of a X3, the they're not wanting for anything.



    At some point pixels will get too small for noise free performance (especially at higher ISO) but a lot of other factors come into play. Things like cooling and dark current noise become issues with even FF sensors -- most of the FF sensors tend to be a bit noisier than APS size ones, even though they're bigger, is it the current going through the sensor? How will Foveon deal with this, with 3X the number of photodiodes?



    The real revolution in digital camera sensors will come when we get a true "digital" sensor. Then we will banish noise and really crank up the resolution, untill then, Foveon may not actually produce any real world advantages, or at least not enough for any company to drop their tech in favor of a small outfit.
  • Reply 3 of 21
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,146member
    I'm definitely excited about Canon and what they have coming.

    I'll probably buy the newest version of the A70 along with an i960 printer. Digital Cameras will start to dominated much more of the Photography world. I don't think Camera's in Cell Phones will supplant low-end models this year but by late 2005 that seems most likely.
  • Reply 4 of 21
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    I'm going to have a digital camera by early 2004, I'm sure. A Canon, of some sort. I dig the A60, but realize the A70 might be worth the extra $100 for larger prints (not that I HAVE a printer, but still...).



    Might just sit and wait a bit. Isnt' a huge priority right now. I dig Canon stuff the most.
  • Reply 5 of 21
    mac+mac+ Posts: 580member
    I'm looking forward to a greater proliferation of digital SLR cameras from Canon, so I can use the lenses I purchased for my EOS camera a few years ago. Mind you, no great rush presently as the IXUS V (even though it's a lowly 2.1 model) is fine for web and cards, etc.
  • Reply 6 of 21
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Quote:

    A little less overall res, but so much cleaner that it makes up for it. When we're getting that quality out of mosaic (sometime next year) nobody's really going to care what the sensor technology is.



    You're comparing digital to film when digital should be compared to itself.



    Bayer-pattern imagers still need to address interpolation, which creates color accuracy issues, moire, sharpening noise. If Foveon was really stuck in a rut, I would agree with you, but they aren't. The SD10 is a giant leap ahead of the SD9. It DOES do ISO 1600 in extended mode. The SD10 is also $1600 with two lenses included. It is a fantastic deal for early adopters. So what's going to happen when full-frame Bayer-pattern CCDs hit 25-30 mp and the X3 hits between 12-15 mp? What then? Foveon has the advantage because the lenses won't need to resolve to such densely packed photodetectors with really narrow pixel pitches. You'll get just about film resolution with the X3 type sensor, except you'll get pixel-for-pixel accuracy...no moire, no noise, no grain, no blur.
  • Reply 7 of 21
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    What in the HELL did you just say??!



  • Reply 8 of 21
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Matsu

    Canon is coming with 20 new compact digital cameras, a 10D replacement, and possibly a new model to slot between an even lower 300D price and the new 10D.





    The 10 needs an overhaul res wise, it has all the fast bits, I would expect that it takes some of the 1'Ds stuff.. A lower priced 300d is almost certainty when the nikon comes out, they must have sold a bazillion of them already... either that or they unlock some of the firmwared out stuff... imagine if they bumped it (new model say 500d ) at the current price to 11mp and had a couple hundred US dollar lower priced 300d taking it to $699 or something !!!.. woooot... as much as I want a 300d now (money not having btw )

    I think 2004 will bring something special when the others play catch up to canon in this market segment, there is going to be a boom here in this prosumer market...
  • Reply 9 of 21
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    You'll always get noise, it's just part of the game with photography whether you're talking about digital or film sensitivity.



    Anyway, the question in my head is how reasonable are 15-25 Mp images for consumers and even hobbyists/"prosumers" in the next year? Even with the relatively low cost of storage and especially given the limits of current file formats and compression technology, it seems kind of ridiculous, though I suppose you have to push the envelope somewhere. Nevermind the megapixel marketing trick. Traditional film and slides have only slightly higher grain density depending on the sensitivity. To me, the weak point in most people's digital photography workflow is their printer: the inks and paper, not their camera. They buy $500 4-5 Mp cameras to take pictures of their family and create prints on a $100 4-ink printer and pay way too much for the color ink cartridges whose ink degrades in a year. (The color ink cartridges also annoy me because they make you waste unused ink when one color runs out.) Not to mention that most people do not have a proper setup for color matching/calibration, and don't have an easy time of doing it if they want to it right.



    My 5 Mp Minolta can give me 26x36 poster size prints right now (at 72 dpi, which is a pretty standard dpi for this size output in my experience) or a 6x8 print at 300 dpi. Another 1 or 2 Mp like the Canon 300D now gets users E-size posters or 300 dpi 8x10 prints. RAw images at that size are, what, 30 MB? Jpegs are something like 4MB at that size. Not to sound so shortsighted like Bill Gates when he pondered what computers would do with more than 640 kb of memory, but what are people going to do with all that resolution when their monitors and printers can't make the difference worthwhile? Are those things keeping up, or is the megapixel marketing machine going to fool people into thinking bigger and denser sensors will make the difference?



    Canon, Nikon and Sony have to really fix their camera UIs IMO too. People find my Minolta somewhat daunting in its hardware UI (dials and buttons), but some of that is due to just how flexible it is, and a lot of it is that it's not a Canon. But the menu system for the Minolta (and this is also true of Pentax) IMO is way better than the big players' crusty old display UIs, especially Sony's.



    I'm somewhat skeptical of dSLRs too. By dSLR, I mean two things:



    1. the actual "SLR," aka, single lens reflex action of the shutter in a digital camera. Unlike film cameras where you had to protect the film from exposure and could never quite know what the exposed film would produce until it was developed, digital sensors can be left exposed and you can see a "live" view of what the sensor sees and how it sees it. While the technology of EVFs and LCD viewers aren't quite there yet, I can't see why a true SLR would be any advantage in digital photography. That's one area where the rules have changed, and I think a lot of the stink about EVFs and getting true SLR bodies is either based on bad assumptions or old habits. Anyway?



    2. The other thing I'm skeptical about in prosumer dSLRs is the whole interchangeable lens thing. A lot of people don't consider a camera an "SLR" ergo, not up to snuff for hobbyist work if it doesn't allow for interchangeable lenses. In my experience the whole expansion thing is purely a marketing gimmick, and precious few who aren't willing to spend $1500 on a body are willing to spend on more specialized lenses and carry them around. It's like the debate about adding more expansion to the Cube or iMac. People demand it, use it as a basis for buying or not buying, then don't use that expansion. Most hobbyists buy between one and three lenses over the lifespan of a camera body. The last one is typically a zoom that includes the range of the first lens, and they never bother to change the bigger zoom lens once they buy it. For 90%+ of the hobbyist market, buying a true dSLR is more about the perception of expansion than the reality of it. They change their bodies and therefore their lenses more often than changing the lenses on the same body because despite even Nikon's standard F mount, lenses are usually either not compatible with the new bodies or better lenses come along to make them less desirable. So people usually trade in their lenses with their bodies unless they spend a fortune on the right lenses, which is pro territory.



    3. OK, a third reason to wonder about dSLRs. With the interchangeable lenses, cleaning and maintenance are a lot trickier with digital "fixed" sensors, and if these new bodies really are going to have anti-shake tech like the Minolta, opening that end of the camera puts the much more delicate (and important) digital body at risk. moreso than a traditional film body.
  • Reply 10 of 21
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    The mirror is delicate in cheaper systems, but it will probably offer the most accurate framing/focusing for some time yet, and so will continue in DSLR cameras. Without the video circuitry, a sensor might have more active area and less noise, I'm not sure that these current big sensors could be used in an EVF at all without some modification. However, an EVF rangefinder built around a smaller (4/3rds) would probably find lotsa buyers (at the right price). Something like a 14-100 (28-200 in 35mm equivalents) would be easy enough to do on he smaller 4/3rds image circle. Most consumers would never change that lense, and it wouldn't be so big.



    But so far 4/3rds has been less than impressive. The E-1 is down on resolution and higher in noise than 4/3rds. Not fatal if priced right, but the oly is priced into a high-end market where there exist many better choices with better lense support. Looking at something like Minolta's APS film SLRs, it doesn't seem like 4/3rds has any lense size advantage over APS lenses -- their insistence on light striking the sensor perpedicularly has made the 4/3rds lense not much smaller than the equivalent APS crop (using 35mm lenses) Is a 200mm E system lense smaller than a 135mm (35mm) lense mounted on an APS camera (about 200mm equivalent) ??? People had thought that angle of incedence might be a concern, but so far, in full frame cameras, it hasn't proved to have any noticeable effects on performance. Perhaps Oly over-engineered the spec. It might matter latter on though, if we move to multi-layer sensors like X3, when light has to travel through two more layers of sensor material instead of just hitting the surface of a micro-lense. I don't know.



    As for Foveon, Eugene, you might be right, but they don't seem to be advancing so much, or maybe they aren't talking about it? Very possible. OTOH, the body plus two lenses is not more affordable than what you get from Canon at the price, and will be joined this coming year by Pentax and Nikon. When we get to the limits of sensor pitch, then Foveon may be the only way to go, but untill then, Canon, Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, and Nikon will choose to roll their own. I wonder though, I'm very confused by the dark current noise of full frame sensors versus APS. I guess, like any larger chip, you need to move more current through it to get it to work and that this raises the dark current noise a tad over APS. This really doesn't have anything to do with Foveon except to wonder that with X3 the number of diodes, the Foveon might also get a little noisier when the resolution is pushed, so that even while it's conceptually better, there's no free lunch and they're going to have to put in some more development untill they can say they've clearly overtaken the mosaic sensors. A 5-7MP SD11 sure would be an interesting camera, maybe they could even add a few JPEG capure modes?
  • Reply 11 of 21
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Quote:

    Nevermind the megapixel marketing trick.



    Boom.



    Given the lenses you find in consumer level cameras, there's really not much benefit at all going from a 1/1.8 Canon S40/S45 to an S50 to a hypothetical S60. The photos will indeed be larger, but they'll be blurrier too.



    The industry really needs to change its ways here. They need to innovate, and just pushing out more densely packed mosaic imagers isn't the ticket.



    When full-frame sensors hit this same ceiling as their smaller cousins what's going to happen? The real innovators will step in long before that hopefully.
  • Reply 12 of 21
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Buonrotto and Eugene, I did a little digging, and there are two large sensos that could function as video sensors, that is, have an electronic shutter rather than a mechanical one. The SCCD used by Fuji and the X3 by Foveon.



    Electronic shutters are cool. You may never need a shutter speed faster than 1/2000 or 1/4000, but you can easily get an electronic shutter to 1/12000-1/20000. There can be some pretty exotic uses for something like that



    Maybe in the future a camera will have a mirror good for about 1/2000th or so -- for fine focusing -- and then a mirror lock-up. Only then, instead of locking the mirror to protect the body from vibration, you enable a live preview EVF if, for instance, you wanted to use a flip out screen at waist level, or use a live histogram (which doesn't really depend on this, but anyway)



    Of course as EVFs gain resolution there'll be less need for a mirror. I guess that even now you could take a smaller 35mm body and chuck out the mirror to create a 35mm/APS EVF system. Would this be cheaper to make?
  • Reply 13 of 21
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Manufacturers of cams with interchangeable lenses would be advised to keep mechanical shutters in place if only to protect the sensor when from being damaged or dirtied.
  • Reply 14 of 21
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    I would guess that the buyer of a digital EVF "SLR" wouldn't be too ham fisted. You do have to expose the sensor to clean it occasionally.



    iDunno. Do we get back to Buonrotto's idea of a fixed lense system. Perhaps to modify an existing lense to cover about 24-135 equivalent and make a decent 2X teleconverter for that "system"



    24-250 range would cover just about all you need for "enthusiast" use, especially with a fast AF and some sort of VR. But then this fixed lense might cost a little too much compared to more flexible systems.



    Or, maybe a cover for the sensor, instead of a whole mirror, just some sort of baffle that automatically swings down when a lense is removed. A simple piece of black plastic would do.
  • Reply 15 of 21
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Matsu



    Or, maybe a cover for the sensor, instead of a whole mirror, just some sort of baffle that automatically swings down when a lense is removed. A simple piece of black plastic would do.




    That's precisely what I meant. It would be protection for the imager and not part of the capture process.
  • Reply 16 of 21
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Sorry, I misunderstood you. Some peopel would probably bemoan the death of the mirror, but then, such a camera wouldn't be for them anyway.



    Curious, Eugene, do you think 4/3rds will go anywhere or will 35mm and APS just penetrate too much before Oly (and mebbe Kodak and Fuji) can have more models/lenses out there?
  • Reply 17 of 21
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    I just wish I could control aperture and shudder speed on a cheap (<300) digital camera with at least 4 megapixels. In a few months (time to buy new one for me, give old one to mom.)



    ALL my pictures on my Nikon Coolpix 3500 3.2 megapixel are blurry at night if I turn the flash off. With flash on the pictures look terrible, without it even holding it on a rock or putting it on a tripod results in pictures so blurry they are worthless. It basically can't take pictures at night. In the day I have to hold it very still and even then pictures look blurry. Come to think of it's a waste of $300, it can't take pictures that aren't blurry. I guess its autofocus sucks? I just want to be able to control focus, exposure, and shudder speed on a digital camera, like I can with a regular old SLR camera body. SLR mounts would be nice but every digital camera with those is 4 digits or close to it. I'm not a professional I just love taking pictures and know how to use lenses and find use for them. Digital cameras don't seem to be going anywhere, they certainly aren't getting cheaper for a good quality camera. Even with my employee discount at Sears.
  • Reply 18 of 21
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Aquatic

    I just wish I could control aperture and shudder speed on a cheap (<300) digital camera with at least 4 megapixels. In a few months (time to buy new one for me, give old one to mom.)



    ALL my pictures on my Nikon Coolpix 3500 3.2 megapixel are blurry at night if I turn the flash off. With flash on the pictures look terrible, without it even holding it on a rock or putting it on a tripod results in pictures so blurry they are worthless. It basically can't take pictures at night. In the day I have to hold it very still and even then pictures look blurry. Come to think of it's a waste of $300, it can't take pictures that aren't blurry. I guess its autofocus sucks? I just want to be able to control focus, exposure, and shudder speed on a digital camera, like I can with a regular old SLR camera body. SLR mounts would be nice but every digital camera with those is 4 digits or close to it. I'm not a professional I just love taking pictures and know how to use lenses and find use for them. Digital cameras don't seem to be going anywhere, they certainly aren't getting cheaper for a good quality camera. Even with my employee discount at Sears.




    I've grown up using an old all-manual Nikon, so I'm far more comfortable and get the best results from my camera when I just stick to manual mode (though I do use auto-focus with the option for manual override), ignoring program modes. The preset modes come out fine, exposures come out properly, but they're not, uh, as "interesting" as the results I get from manual exposures, especially the ability to control of the aperture for DOF.



    Night shots and low-light indoor shots without a flash are going to be blurry since the shutter speed is probably too slow. Also, Nikon has no real AF assist for night shots, and are notorious for not being able to focus in the dark. Even a flash can't help the Nikon with focus problems in low light. Pretty much all the other camera makers don't have this problem.



    The Minolta A1, Nikon 5700, Canon G5, Fugi S5000 and other prosumer bodies that aren't true SLR bodies are dropping significantly in price. I think the A1 is close to $600 if you look around. The pressure Canon put on everyone for a sub-$1000 (US) SLR body has pushed prices on non-SLR bodies way down. All the major players are expected to make prosumer dSLR announcements early next year, and the prices of the current models reflect the fact that a ton of people are holding out for one. The camera makers are pretty desperate to sell the current models, even if it means to a lower margin or market segment. Of course, you can't really expect them to act as "better" point-and-shoot cameras either. There are people on photography discussion boards who've learned the hard way that just because a camera is more expensive, it doesn't mean it takes better pictures out of the box.
  • Reply 19 of 21
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    Thanks that was informative. And sad too! My Coolpix is very easy to use and I like how its lens folds back into itself and can turn around on me. Hmm I guess I'll be keeping up with the dSLR game in 04.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Aquatic

    I just wish I could control aperture and shudder speed on a cheap (<300) digital camera with at least 4 megapixels. In a few months (time to buy new one for me, give old one to mom.)



    I can do this with my four-year-old Nikon Coolpix 950. Has Nikon changed things that much? Maybe you haven't found this (or maybe it's not there) but you go into manual shooting mode then there should be a mode button which you depress while rotating the command dial to go into either programmed auto exposure mode, aperture-priority mode, or shutter-priority mode.



    You can change any parameter and the camera will adjust the other to achieve proper exposure. But if you're talking about completely manual (setting both parameters), then no, that's never been a consumer feature. Getting nighttime shots handheld or on a tripod with a consumer digital camera is extremely tricky -- but I would adjust the ISO to its minimum level to cut down on noise, then set the shutter speed (in shutter priority) to 2 seconds (or, rather, use the widest aperture at your focal length). Use the self timer to avoid shaking the camera while you depress the button. You should get pretty good results this way. But realize, like a lot of people have said, when the sensor's no bigger than your pinky nail, the pictures aren't going to be spectacular regardless.



    So digital SLRs are without purpose, eh? Tell that to the thousands of professional photographers who have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in lenses, filters and lighting equipment for Nikon or Canon systems. If you had a chance to just move to digital without losing all that capital, you'd do it. And people are. SLRs also just have a better feel about them in my personal experience --- the bigger ones balance well in your hand, lending to better, sharper pictures (which the average consumer thinks a large pixel count is responsible for, but no!! My older brother complains that his new little Kodak takes pictures with blurry backgrounds and that he wants everything to be sharp. So I try to explain stopping down and finding either enough ambient light, increasing ISO or using a powerful enough flash, and he loses it.) Me and my DCS620 will keep on truckin' while the newbies hit the scene --- there still something about a hulking F5 body and a nice lens that are appealing, but one must keep in mind the goal -- getting the nice shot. It won't happen without the right light, the right subject, the right composition. And Canon nor Nikon can replicate those.



    P.S. Aquatic -- consider browsing eBay for an older Coolpix 900 series (950/995, etc.) -- they have flexible lenses as on your 3500 but deliver much better results and have the manual control you are looking for if the 3500 lacks it.



    (edited for unnecessary, silly-sounding preposition and missing verb )
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