Camera gear discussions

Discussion in 'Photography and Cameras' started by Bill-P, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,019
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Well, depending on how "high-end" you'd like to go, and depending on the type of photography.

    AF-speed-wise, DSLR will continue to maintain the lead until an undetermined amount of time later. I honestly do not see mirrorless cameras with bigger sensors than APS-C catching up to DSLRs any time soon, or at least not within 5 years time. Even now, micro 4/3 and APS-C cameras are barely catching up to regular DSLR speeds. Nikon D4, D4S, D5, etc... run circles around them. This is both a physical and processing speed limitation. I think any photographic style that requires fast AF will continue to use DSLR for a while to come. This is why Canon and Nikon don't care for mirrorless, contrary to what the naysayers and doomsayers keep preaching.

    Where resolution and image quality are concerned, though, mirrorless beats DSLRs hands down, because their flange focal distance is shorter, and this is on top of allowing more lenses to be adapted to the system. And then it just comes down to sensor quality. Landscape, portraiture, wedding, etc... will probably all move to mirrorless before long. This is probably just blanketing a lot of things, but I think it captures the essence of why so many are preaching mirrorless dominance now. Mirrorless is compact, and high quality. For most, this is all they need.

    That aside, mirrorless cameras do not necessarily have to rely on EVFs, @TRex. Rangefinder cameras are also mirrorless. In fact, mirrorless cameras have been around for a long time. It's just that digital mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras took so long to materialize due to technical limitations such as: we couldn't produce sensors with fast readout speed to do live preview, and then we couldn't produce high resolution screens to fit into an EVF, and/or it costs so much to squeeze mechanical stuffs into the body to avoid EVF (Leica),... Though the chief reason, admittedly, was just that manufacturers wanted to make money, and so they did not bother with mirrorless until they were able to sell enough DSLRs. That's just how it is.

    The thing is... I don't think "high-end" is just all about AF speed or EVFs or OVFs. 35mm photography in reality is just barely mid-fi in digital, and lo-fi in film. For film, large format is where "high-end" is, and for digital, 645 format (54mm x 40mm effectively) is where it's currently at. When you get there, you forego AF, EVF, and OVF altogether and you just go with whatever is most comfortable for you: if you want "live view" style, go for Cambo or ground-glass focusing, if you want AF and DSLR, Pentax 645Z and Mamiya ZD and Hasselblad H offer those, and if you want mirrorless, you buy a back and adapt it to a rangefinder camera, or... you buy the new Fujifilm GFX.

    There is much more to photography than trying to capture a candid shot of an athlete about to break a record, or freeze a car running at 180mph after all. ;)
     

  2. shipsupt

    shipsupt Head flea in the market - Admin

    Staff Member Friend Contributor
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    927
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    You really think that mirrorless IQ is beating DSLR's "hands down" right now? Or are you saying it has the potential?



    While I agree the typical photographer shouldn't base his system selection on AF speed or EVF alone, I'm going to call bullshit on 35mm DSLRs not being high end. The basis of the technology might be older than dirt, but there is some serious technology packed into these professional bodies and long prime lenses.

    Come and join me on the sideline for an NFL game, or even a D1 college game for that matter, and tell me that we're not shooting high end gear! There will be no serious sports photographer out there with a film, full or medium format, or even mirrorless camera. Yeah, you might find a guy who is sponsored now and again who will drag along his free gear and shoot part of the game... and then he will pull out his DSLR to make sure he gets what he needs for the wire. If we could get away with lighter or cheaper gear, we would. If shooting something else would give us even the smallest advantage in selling a photo, we'd be all over it.

    While I enjoy many different types of photography, in many ways for me it is all about capturing that action of sports. That's my thing. That definitely means expensive high end gear that has the best AF, best long glass, and best low light performance. It needs to function in all weather conditions, take a beating, and shoot all day long, day after day.

    Your point on a high level is well made. Most folks don't need the kind of specialized gear we use. I just think you're taking a rather Ken Rockwell approach to making your point ;).
     
    struggles likes this.
  3. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    Likes Received:
    129
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    SoCal
    Thank you for mentioning the Ricoh GR, such an underrated camera. It sorta has a cult following but you almost never see them.
     
    Lasollor likes this.
  4. jowls

    jowls Something related to poop - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,370
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Australia
    I loved my GR. I wish I had never sold it :( Such a great camera. So intuitive, it's just one of those shooting by 'feel' cameras.

    Meanwhile, I just picked up a RX100. What a joyless camera to use. Remarkable image and video quality for its size though...
     
    Lasollor likes this.
  5. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,019
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Mirrorless will either match or beat DSLR's hands down given the same lens on both systems IMO.

    This is not just because of the lack of a mirror, but due to other factors such as how the sensor is newer (most DSLRs end up using older sensors because they have been in production for so long, and only the computer/processor changes in some of them). All else being equal, some mirrorless cameras (like Sony's lineup) typically uses much faster processors compared to other cameras in the same class (this is partially why they can keep up in terms of AF in some situations, but obviously, not all the time).

    If we are talking about pure image quality and nothing else, then actually, Sony's A7Rii would beat everything hands down, even the new Fujifilm GFX. The reason being that the sensor is backside-illuminated, which helps with ultra wide angle lenses with obscure light angles around the edges. Then if you replace the filter stack on top of the sensor for an even thinner one to reduce diffraction, then you'll get even better image quality. The filter stack thing is actually why Leica lenses work best on Leica bodies, as opposed to other mirrorless bodies.

    Granted, you can do the same filter stack replacement and put BSI into a DSLR camera (I suspect Sony has done this with the A99ii), but the last problem with DSLR is that due to the mirror making flange focal distance quite long, light has the potential to bounce around the inside of the camera box, and unless the inside of the camera is coated with perfect dark matter that sucks up all light without reflecting, you'll still lose a bit of quality with DSLR. :p

    I mean... all of that is nitpicking (who really cares about corner sharpness except for hardcore landscape photographers?), but it's true in any case. This is why some prefer to use medium format digital backs on Cambos and the likes instead of on DSLR-style camera. While you'd think the backs should all be equal, those who understand the above will most likely try to perform the same modifications to their sensors. Up to a point, of course, since BSI is much more complicated than just adding an LED panel to the rear side of the sensor.

    I think there needs to be a clear separation between what constitutes a "high-end" camera and a "high-performing" camera, because I'd describe what you are describing as a "high-performing" camera rather than a "high-end" one. :p

    Because to the end, a camera's ultimate goal is simply high image quality. I don't think "focusing speed" factors into it because again, it's not really a part of the photography process... if you know what I mean.

    And beside that, if we're going to have a contest to see who can shoot action the fastest, where money is no object, then I'd just go rent a bunch of Weapon 8K Helium cameras (8K is actually ~33MP already) and leave them at key points to film the whole match from start to finish with AF tracking. After that, I can just selectively choose some frames from the videos to cut out as still photos.

    The sensor is actually not as big as full frame 35mm either:
    http://www.red.com/products/weapon-8k#tech-specs

    It's like 1.26x crop so DOF will be much wider and then I can use shorter lenses to achieve almost the same shots. Hell, with over 16 stops of dynamic range, I don't think ISO will be an issue either if I want to shoot at f/4.0 - f/5.6. f/5.6 @ 1.26x crop is close to f/7 on full frame 35mm already. ;)

    Not to berate the difficulty of achieving a successful sports photography session, of course. I know full well how difficult it is to carefully frame something and be able to snap it in just a split second. The skill level required to do something like that is immense. But... all the same, if you can solve the problem by simply filming the entire thing from start to finish, and capturing something like 60 frames per second, at ~32MP per frame, wouldn't you say the end result would be almost the same? ;)

    Yes, I agree... that perhaps I am Ken Rockwell-ing this, but my point still remains that as technology progresses, and cameras like the Red 8K become more and more affordable, then we'll all eventually have 8K 60-120fps cameras that do not require the fastest AF anymore, as you'd only need AF tracking in that case. But I'd also argue that those cameras won't really be "high-end" per se, just like a phone being able to take 4K videos now really can't be considered "high-end", but hey, your phone is still doing 8-10MP stills at 30fps. That was unthinkable a decade ago.
     
    uncola likes this.
  6. TRex

    TRex Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2016
    Likes Received:
    375
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    - @Bill-P Sorry, I always separate VF as OVF, EVF, and RF. Haha! But then there are just a couple of mirrorless with RF.

    - Agree with @Bill-P regarding IQ. Mirrorless IQ matches DSLR. The evidence has been proved on numerous reviews.

    - Disagree with @Bill-P regarding Fuji GFX (the new medium format sensor size) outputs worse IQ than Sony A7RII. Fuji GFX is the new king of digital IQ, except TOTL RED cameras.

    - @Bill-P I think "high-end" doesn't mean "simply image quality". A camera is a tool to record a scene, not only "traditional" landscape use which ultimate IQ is paramount, but also high motion objects (sports, science, etc) and many more. Cameras ultimate goal is not high image quality but to record a scene as good as possible, and it's the combination of IQ, frame rate, autofocus, read/write speed, and so on depending on use case.

    - @Bill-P technically, RED cameras can substitute sports DSLR yet I doubt it will happen soon. Moving from still camera to video camera needs huge cost. RED cameras themselves are expensive. 8K @ 120fps? That requires completely different setup (especially storage), processing power (beefy computers), and most importantly added time. Why would do that if D5/1DX are capable enough?

    EDIT:
    Fact about high scores of RED cameras: the "loseless" end image isn't pure RAW. RED cameras output temporal-aliased loseless files. In layman terms, RED cameras combine many images to achieve a good one, similar to iPhones and old technique. That's why RED cameras aren't on DxOMark list.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  7. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,019
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Actually, GFX's output is indeed worse than A7Rii:
    https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilm-gfx-50s

    At high ISO, things fall apart on GFX. It's barely better than 645Z. This is where you start seeing the diminutive return of bigger sensor size versus better ISO capabilities (in reality, ISO on digital cameras really depends more on the amplifier being used and the de-noise algorithm rather than the sensor itself anyway). But beyond that, Fuji just isn't capable of making high resolution lenses. They made some pretty good lenses for the X system, but those have a maximum resolution of 24MP only.

    A7Rii having BSI seems to give it a huge advantage compared to other cameras in the same class.

    Granted, it's got a "high-performance" sensor that's bigger than 35mm, which is the whole selling point, but 44mm x 33mm has a long way to go to match 54mm x 40mm output. Just for context, the difference there is bigger than micro 4/3 (22mm x 17mm) to 35mm (36mm x 24mm). Not to mention that I'm sure Sony already has even bigger sensors (they make medium format sensors for other companies after all), but they probably are just waiting to pull off another "A7" move and monopolize the market again. :)

    And honestly, the "added conveniences", as I'd term them, are only there for the digital and electronic age. Note, you do not have the same "frame rate", "autofocus", "read/write speed" features with most film cameras, and yet those are still considered "cameras". That's because the extras are just... extra. Traditional photography has never "required" those things for something to be considered "high-end".

    I guess it's probably just because I'm still thinking of photography in the traditional sense where it's all about the artist - the photographer - and less about the gears. These days, the added conveniences (again, that's what I call them) of autofocusing, higher frame rate, better speed, etc... are nice, but even when we lacked those things, do keep in mind that photographers were still able to pull off sports photography just fine. It's not like sports photography, or photographing fast moving objects, has only become possible because of digital and automated cameras, right? :p

    Beside that point, why would you go with RED if D5/1DX are capable enough? Well, why use an autofocus camera when you can manual focus? :p

    8K doesn't require an insane amount of processing performance either. It just needs better software optimization, which... sadly, a lot of companies working in the industries don't currently do because just like autofocus has become a necessity for some, some others have come to want everything to be instantaneous. This means developers do not have the time to optimize software anymore. But case in point: Final Cut Pro on Mac runs laps around Adobe's Premiere for editing high resolution footage because it has hardware acceleration, and a lot of other optimizations. 4K can be edited on fanless Core M processors, and up to 16K can be done on higher-end Mac computers, which, if you are in the know, aren't really all that powerful. You can put together a ~$1000 computer that outperforms the fastest Mac computer on the market. And yet because Final Cut Pro is exclusive to Mac, you're still not gonna get the same thing. ;)

    And yeah, I know there's no such thing as "lossless" in cinematography. That's just not possible. You're gonna need insane read/write bandwidth to record 1080p if that was the case. What they do essentially is "compress" the dynamic range of each frame down to the lowest possible, and then you can "bump" that back up in post-processing. But the problem is that the same thing doesn't happen to photography. Why? Because the processing power and hardware required to do the same processing as video would not allow most manufacturers to make their cameras for cheap. That's why A7S and A7Sii are so expensive even though they only have 12MP sensors. :p

    There's a "cost" to everything for sure, but honestly, the whole point of discussing "high-end", IMO, is simply to take away that "cost" factor and look at what's absolutely possible when "cost" is no longer a problem. That's what I'd consider "high-end"... rather than having it just be "the extreme of what you can do with something" (if this was true, I'd think modded headphones should be considered "high-end", right?). ;)

    Edit: too many smilies ^?
    That just means I'm just discussing all this for fun and giggles. It's not really because I feel strongly about insisting that photography be kept to its traditional description and criteria, but... it's still interesting to note that photography used to not require "fastest autofocus" or "fastest read/write speed" to be relevant, ya know, and now it is. And funny enough, that seems to be "the whole point" of the DSLR vs mirrorless debate in most cases, where as I think there are still some other aspects to discuss, such as IQ.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  8. adpo

    adpo Rando

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2016
    Likes Received:
    23
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Recently switched back to Canon DSLRs from Sony FF mirrorless for my primary stills kit while still keeping an a6500 for video/backup duty. For me, its largely an ergonomics and handling thing when going from modern mirrorless to DSLRs. Image quality, AF performance and overall system responsiveness is pretty much a wash in most use cases these days with cameras like the a7r ii and a6500.
     
    Stapsy likes this.

Share This Page