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Interesting commentary based on the MF rumors

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http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/09/nikon-readying.html

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  • http://robinedgar.blogspot.com Robin Edgar

    It looks like the guy who wrote that article does not know a lot about photography. A fellow by the name of Edgar Bonet left this very pertinent comment -

    If we believe the figures on the Otoji spy shot, then the sensor should be 54×54, not 48×48. The picture shows the FX resolution to be 4256×2832. Given that the FX format is 36 mm x 23.9 mm, this implies a pixel density of 118.3 px/mm. At this pixel density, you need a square sensor 53.9 mm x 53.9 mm in order to get the quoted 6380×6380 MX resolution. BTW, this resolution is 40.7 Mpix, not 48.

    A medium format DSLR compatible with current Nikkors seems very unlikely to me. Current Nikon lenses are designed with a flange to focal plane distance of 46.5 mm. A medium format SLR mirror will never fit in such a small space!

    I followed up with this one –

    Another problem with the (almost certainly mistaken) idea that “the camera itself will be able to use existing FX (full frame) lenses via an adapter” is that the image circle projected by most lenses designed for 35mm film cameras is not big enough to cover the larger format. A 50mm Nikkor lens designed for 35mm cameras will not act like a 25mm lens because it’s image circle cannot cover the sensor (or film) area required to do that. Personally I do believe that Nikon may well be developing a medium format digital camera but, if it does so, it will provide lenses specifically designed for the MX format.

  • Nordberg

    Although exciting, if this happens, I supsect the pricetag will be huge. Why not do the exact same thing with an APS-C sensor?

  • Joe

    Nikon getting into the MF format is ridiculous, focus on perfecting the 35mm format then worry about another format and another set of lenses.

    If they head down this path it will be diworsification.

  • Brian

    There seems to be an Otoji rumor echo chamber forming. A lot of circular references, technical ignorance, and specious reasoning.

    Just an observation. No offense intended.

  • rhlpetrus

    To me this is completely off-the-wall speculation. It doesn’t make sense, the MF market is very small, Nikon still hasn’t been able to update lenses for FX (primes, tele-zooms), doesn’t have an affordable good Q f/4 zoom line to go with larger FX market which is just now starting to develop, and come with an MF camera?

    It seems that we’re out of credible rumors for this to get space around here.

  • http://robinedgar.blogspot.com Robin Edgar

    Well there is certainly technical ignorance and specious reasoning in Charlie Sorrel’s WIRED blog post, hence my comments on it. I still believe that Nikon may well be developing, or at least experimenting with, a medium format digital camera though.

  • Renee

    Well, I have been hired to several (software) development firms developing new consumer-electronics devices.
    One thing I can conclude is that a lot of companies are working and expanding the current product portfolio, as are other small research-teams testing and developing prototypes and market-probes. Developing devices that might not see a commercial introduction soon.

    Thats why I don’t see a reason why Nikon should not be developing probes or alike to see if MX-format is something to step into. And doing something like that, has nothing to do if they already have they portfolio updated in an other area of their product portfolio.
    Or do you believe that people who are specialized in developing hi-end cameras are the same as those who are specialized in developing new hi-end optics?

    Those things are different trades and require quite some different skills. So I expect that research teams for body, software design or electronics-design might be doing some unexpected work, just to see if things are possible. Or to see if the market is ready for – lets say – Nikon MX format products.

    Just my few cents.. ;)

    Cheers,
    Renee.

    btw, I don’t work for Nikon nor work for Canon, nor for any other camera brand.

  • au

    “A medium format DSLR compatible with current Nikkors seems very unlikely to me. Current Nikon lenses are designed with a flange to focal plane distance of 46.5 mm. A medium format SLR mirror will never fit in such a small space!” – that’s why the post suggests a rangefinder, not a dslr

  • http://www.lepingzha.com LEPING ZHA

    A Nikon MF rangefinder makes perfect sense, with a huge market for wedding and event photographers. Whoever saying it is the small market don’t really know how many MF backs are in use and how many are watching. Why should Nikon always follows a chase with Canon? Canon is a electronics company while Nikon is a photographic equipment one.

  • Blog Admin

    I cannot control what other sites are publishing. I posted the Wired link only as a commentary and I labeled it as such, that’s all.

  • Klaus

    Okay, how many MF backs are in use, and “how many are watching?”

  • Joe

    You might as well talk to a brick wall because your post has absolutely nothing to do with Nikons MF format.

  • Joe

    Wow, what a zealot you are. As others have stated MF back are a niche market and there are some fantastic solutions readily available i.e. Mamiya, Hasselblad and Phase One. Seriously, why try to take a bite out of their pie? The 35mm market his highly competitive and Nikon still does not have any clear edge over Canon, so perhaps they should start focusing on improving an existing market where they truly are a strong competitor rather then entering a market the majority could care less about.

  • http://dotfuturemanifesto.blogspot.com/2008/06/nikon-d700-d3x-and-end-of-moores-law.html PHB

    It certainly sounds like an odd thing for Nikon to make a MF camera at this point and certainly to make an MF camera with a mere 48 MP.

    The limitation in the D3 is not sensor resolution, its CPU power. If Nikon wanted to they could make a 50MP FX format sensor. The camera would have to be huge to carry the processing power necessary and the battery drain would be significant. But it is certainly do-able with current technology.

    One option for taking the MF market apart would be to develop a new lens line that does not attempt to correct for chromatic aberration in the glass. This matters immensely for film of course, and preventing chromatic aberration doubles the number of lenses in the typical lens.

    But in the digital age it is completely irrelevant. Same goes for spherical aberration – correct it in software.

    I don’t doubt that Nikon would experiment with this type of stuff in their labs. And they have plenty of experience with consumer rangefinder cameras.

    Other MF format cameras on the market today do not come with a huge number of lens options, to say the least. And Nikon need not make the whole range themselves, at least not initially.

    BTW I can imagine you being able to mount an FX lens on the camera, just in crop mode like a DX lens on a D3.

    Nikon do go after much smaller markets, their photolithography line for VLSI manufacture for example.

    It does not necessarily divert effort from other projects either. If you have the software to do the design…

  • eyrieowl

    i’m just speculating here, but i’m guessing the digital MF market would be a lot larger if the price was, let’s say $6k per camera. i’d bet there’s a lot of people who might be interested in getting a piece of that action if it proved to create excellent photos.

  • JR

    wait, why would they target a rangefinder at a wedding, portrait, studio audience?

    reeks of bs.

  • Peter

    Sure, its ok to be careful about speculations. Its ok to doubt a little and sometimes for good “engineering” reasons.

    What about the ad Nikon put in rangefinder mag???

    How do we explain this?

  • Andy

    because a large mirror often causes a tiny amount of camerashake. Most studio photographers uses mirror lockup on MF cameras when shooting stilllife, or a LF camera with no mirror to eliminate this. I could imagine this nikon MX to be something like the Mamiya 7 possibly with an electronic viewfinder.

  • Blog Admin

    Again – all at  that point is rumors and speculations based on the little info we have – I am just trying to link the different pieces together. Maybe there is no link between the BIG ad and Otoji, maybe there is.

  • ac

    Lets face it, it makes perfect sense. 1)Canon is already very aggressive with rapidly increasing megapixels, see the 50D, upcoming 5d2 possibly at 21 MP, and they’re doing R&D at 50 MP? Bigger MF sensors lets Nikon stay competitive for years with just the “old” D3 sensor alone. With such a sensor size gap, Canon will have to have far superior sensors to compensate.

    2)mirror slap has always been a big deal with MF, even with the relatively “small” mirror on the new digital Hassy’s. the Mamiya 7 design was always the most efficient, its only glaring weakness the lack of interchangeable backs. And live viewing was practically made for a rangefinder design. Lastly, Nikon’s FX/DX crop mode is ideal for a big square sensor when you might want different/smaller orientations. Nikon+MF+Rangefinder is a match made in heaven, assuming Nikon indeed has the guts to go ahead and do it.

  • JR

    As a photographer, I will never EVER use an electronic viewfinder.

  • Renee

    Why not?

    If I remember correctly, less than a decade years a go, all mayor “serious” pro’s said they would never go to digital, as it would never be the same quality as analog.. See how the world is today… most pro’s dont use 35mm film anymore.

    So maybe the same could happen for your viewfinder. As long as it gives you en ought info to make your image, it’s ok, or isn’t it?

    Sometime we tend to forget that the camera to a photographer is like a hammer to a carpenter… it’s just a tool.. ;) And as long as it provide the right means to do our job… I dont care if it is analog or digital.

    Cheers,
    Renee

  • http://www.larry-bolch.com/ Larry Bolch

    Perhaps more significant than vibration is noise. Shooting a wedding in a quiet church, the difference in sound between a Mamiya 7 and a Hasselflex is enormous. The Mamiya is almost silent compared to a dSLR.

    Referring to posts above, Nikon already has many lens designs for large sensors. They have long supplied medium and large format camera systems with excellent lenses. These are not necessarily visible to enthusiasts, but any store catering to the photographic industry will be very familiar with the line. At the moment, manufacture of the lenses has been suspended, but the designs remain. A simple matter of designing a focusing MX lens mount and restarting production.

    The last film camera I bought was a Plaubel Makina 67 with a stunning 80mm f/2.8 Nikkor.

    Large and medium format has always been a niche market, compared to the overall market from disposable cameras on up, but though the whole film era, it kept many camera makers alive and prosperous.

    There seems to be a lack of comprehension among a lot of enthusiasts of how large the photographic industry really is and the number of photographers who show up for their shifts every day – along with the specialized equipment they may be using.

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