'Digital only' lenses - are they a good investment


redbirdpete

Link Posted 23/08/2007 - 13:06
Now, I'm not an expert photographer, but I am a computer programmer. The physical size of the sensor doesn't have a bearing on the digital data you get out of it except insofar as you hit the physical limit of each pixel sensor's width for a given resolution. In other words, a 10mp 35mm sensor is going to provide no more resolution than a 10mp APS sized one, indeed it will look exactly the same to the software (unless it has a different hight/width ratio).

Since people are already packing 10mp on what seem to be smaller sensors still (camera phones for example), what actually is the purpose of going to the 35mm format except for comforting people who are used to that size? Surely the next development will be APS with > 10mp?

I do believe there is a theoretical limit where the individual pixel sensor is too small to accurately pick up colour, but again we can't have arrived there yet or the smaller sensors would already be producing inaccurate results.

Don

Link Posted 23/08/2007 - 13:28
with the way the sensor moves in the pentax, for the shake reduction, i wonder if its possible to develope a camera that can capture multi images, with a one pixel shift, and merge them....like a sixty mp still off a 10 mp sensor....

there's also the real possibility that you could develope a sensor, that can resolve more detial than ANY current glass lens can deliver....
then what? all glass lenses become obsolete, and some liquid filled plastic bubble with cubic zirconia lens becomes the new standard?
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.

MattMatic

Link Posted 23/08/2007 - 13:51
The main thing is this:
* The smaller the sensor, the small the photo-sites and the more susceptible to noise they become.
* So... the larger the photo-site the higher the ISO can go (especially with CMOS, rather than CCD sensors)

A case in point is the Nikon D3. Check out the ISO rating on it

Additionally, for landscape photographers, the FF has the appeal of gaining ultra-wide that is very difficult to do with APS-C.
But, if you're into sports or wildlife, you'll probably find the APS-C better - because the lenses can be effectively smaller

(Oh yes, and one big downside of FF is it shows up any bad lenses you may have )
Matt
http://www.mattmatic.co.uk
(For gallery, tips and links)

niblue

Link Posted 23/08/2007 - 13:52
With current technology the sensor size is a factor in the amount of noise especially at higher ISO's - that's one reason why the 7MP sensor in my wife's little point and shoot produces results that are very, very much poorer than the results from my 6MP DS.

Even if we ignore the fact that there are loads of lenses already in circulation for the old 35mm equivalent frame it's clear that it's much easier (and cheaper) to make wide and ultra-wide lenses for the larger sensor than it is for APS-C - that also impacts fast "normal" lenses. For film we can get a SMC-FA 50mm F1.4 for 170 but to get anything like an equivalent for digital we're looking at perhaps the Pentax 31mm F1.8 (an astounding 800), or perhaps a Sigma 30mm F1.4 (270). Ok the 31mm is a limited lens and better made, however the 50mm F1.4 (or even the cheaper 1.7) is an excellent lens and, for me at least, certainly good enough as well as being significantly faster.

The issue with wide lenses does have a positive APS-C trade off in that it's cheaper to make long lenses and that's great if that's your thing - however I tend to be a wide angle shooter.

johnriley

Link Posted 23/08/2007 - 14:04
Quote:
with the way the sensor moves in the pentax, for the shake reduction, i wonder if its possible to develope a camera that can capture multi images, with a one pixel shift, and merge them....like a sixty mp still off a 10 mp sensor....

There is such a device in existence - the human eye. The eye vibrates and hence the image contantly is scanned by more than one set of receptor cells. The resolution is astonishing.

However, the software is also quite sophisticated...
Best regards, John

ChrisA

Link Posted 23/08/2007 - 14:07
MattMatic wrote:
Additionally, for landscape photographers, the FF has the appeal of gaining ultra-wide that is very difficult to do with APS-C.

Just out of curiosity, can you go ultra-ultra wide with bigger format still than 35mm, by the same token?

johnriley

Link Posted 23/08/2007 - 14:13
In a way you can, with Horizon panoramic cameras and the like. There are some medium format oddities around that are ultra-wide.

Generally, though, 35mm is the format that caters for extremes.
Best regards, John

niblue

Link Posted 23/08/2007 - 14:33
johnriley wrote:
In a way you can, with Horizon panoramic cameras and the like.

I used to have one of those - it's a very interesting camera and capable of excellent results if used carefully.

redbirdpete

Link Posted 24/08/2007 - 10:07
Hmm. Well, if you look at what we have been progressively able to pack on a chip and with the demand for smaller and smaller devices other than high end cameras, then the cost and pixel density of small devices will be where the investment goes. And I'm sure they'll solve any interference problems - we are good at this electronics stuff - ask Intel

Mind you, I don't suppose the manufacturers with the bandwidth for some small volume production will object to selling a few very expensive large cameras for those who feel they need them. And fair enough for the wide angle enthusiasts (I'm a tele fan, 300mm is my favourite lens) with what is available at the moment.

Maybe some lateral thinking on wide angle lens design is what is really called for, rather than going back to a larger physical camera size. For 800 a pop some real innovation would seem to be called for!

johnriley

Link Posted 24/08/2007 - 12:29
It just goes to show how far things have developed when we're asking for real innovation and we already have 12-24mm f4 lenses at less than 600.

How much more real innovation do we need to be impressed?

The kit that we now take for granted would have been beyond comtemplation five years ago.
Best regards, John

niblue

Link Posted 24/08/2007 - 13:16
johnriley wrote:
It just goes to show how far things have developed when we're asking for real innovation and we already have 12-24mm f4 lenses at less than 600.

If you're a Canon or Nikon user you can have a 12-24mm F4 for 350 as you can buy the Tokina version...

amoringello

Link Posted 24/08/2007 - 13:39
Quote:
with the way the sensor moves in the pentax, for the shake reduction, i wonder if its possible to develope a camera that can capture multi images, with a one pixel shift, and merge them....like a sixty mp still off a 10 mp sensor....

There is software out there, I found a few years ago, that will take multiple photos and merge them to get better resolution. Nothing so precise as shifting by a single pixel, but it relies on slight changes in camera position and/or noise in the sensor (I think).

I can no longer find the same company I was thinking of, but these guys apparently do a similar thing ... (The examples are not as good as I've seen for the other software, either way, probably somewhat hit or miss as far as results.)
http://www.imageip.com/biz/Supa_top.html

stevejcoe

Link Posted 24/08/2007 - 13:39
I believe that there is a perception issue at work here. As prices of DSLR's continue to fall the expectation is that lenses will follow. If we draw an analogy with computers (not perfect but bear with me) we know that the real cost lies with the software.
I agree that there has been tremendous development in 'quality' zoom lenses, yes they are expensive, but 'quality' as opposed to 'kit' zooms always have been.

That said I do not believe it is unreasonable to expect a range of fast prime DA F1:1.2 lenses (16mm - 90mm), which should be much simpler to design, to be available at a similar price to the FA50 1:1.4 (165 UK but only 100 in the US) Manufacturers may claim a lack of demand, which at current prices is probably true as DA limiteds are not really an option for most.

I would be interested to know how many others on this forum would buy into such a range of reasonably priced primes

niblue

Link Posted 24/08/2007 - 14:07
stevejcoe wrote:
I would be interested to know how many others on this forum would buy into such a range of reasonably priced primes

I'd take a 14mm F2.8 if it were about half the price it currently is - a 16mm F2 or F2.8 would also be useful. I've already got a FA 50mm F1.7 but, if anything, having that in the range would be more useful than it was in the film days.

Canon have a few decent priced primes in their range, although nothing wide and cheap, that I wouldn't mind seeing equivalent priced Pentax equivalents for.

20mm F2.8 for 318 - Pentax equivalent is the 21mm F3.2 for 399
24mm F2.8 for 314 - no current Pentax equivalent
28mm F2.8 for 137 - no current Pentax equivalent
35mm F2 for 185 - no direct equivalent, 31mm F1.8 is 799
50mm F1.8 for 69 - no current Pentax equivalent, Pentax 50mm F1.4 is 169
50mm F2.5 macro for 189 - Pentax 50mm F2.8 is 349
85mm F1.8 fr 259 - no direct equivalent, 77mm F1.8 is 699, 70mm F2.4 is 449
100mm F2 for 299 - no Pentax equivalent

(all prices from warehouseexpress website)

Ok the Pentax limiteds will be better performers however for many of us (including me) the cheaper lenses would be good enough. In particular the Canon 50mm F1.8 and 85mm F1.8 are particularily good value.

Despite still much prefering the handling of Pentax cameras to Canon ones I did very seriously consider going for a Canon when I first went digital, primarily due to lens prices and availability (including 3rd party support).

Daniel Bridge

Link Posted 24/08/2007 - 15:02
Although the idea of cheaper primes is nice, I wouldn't want to sacrifice the quality. I'm much happier spending 300 on the 16-45mm and losing a stop or so of light than several hundred on mediocre primes.

Just check out the resolution of many of these cheap primes on photozone, the 16-45 wipes the floor with them at f/4, let alone stopped down. I know resolution isn't everything, but even so...

I've seen the 50mm f/1.8 and it's horrible - plastic mount and (I was told by the shop assistant but can't imagine it to be true) all plastic elements. The Canon 50mm 1.4 is 50% more than the Pentax.

I'm happy for Pentax to keep producing quality zooms that cover the range of focal lengths that most amateurs will need. If people want better quality, then the Limiteds or * lenses are there (and a lot better value than 'L' glass).

I can't help but think that many Canon users would start off getting these cheaper primes, then regret it after a year or so, then nearly choke when they see the prices of the good stuff.

But that's just my opinion...

Dan

P.S. You need to get a 109 extension tube ( ) to get 1:1 macro with the Canon 50mm.
K-3, a macro lens and a DA*300mm...
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