How long will the DX format survive

ToddnTN

TPF Noob!
Joined
Jun 24, 2013
Messages
85
Reaction score
17
Location
Nashville, TN
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
In the mid to late 90's I bought a Canon Elan IIe with the thought that digital photography would be fine for snap shots, but that it would never be able to replace "real" photography. Now my Elan IIe is a useless relic that at best is worth about $25.

I wonder if the same thing is going to happen to the DX format of DSLR's. How much longer will they be around; will full frame cameras drop in price enough to replace the DX format?

Any thoughts?
 

Derrel

Mr. Rain Cloud
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
48,227
Reaction score
18,929
Location
USA
Website
www.pbase.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I cannot see the merging of DX and FX (full-frame) in the Nikon lineup within the forseeable future. DX camera sensors simply cost less to produce, and FX format cameras bring a hefty price premium. That alone means that there's no real incentive to hurriedly "end of life" DX. The mirrorless segment that appeared doing so well a couple of years ago is now hurting. In the USA,from what I've gathered,"serious camera" sales breaks down roughly 80% DX, 20% mirrorless, less than 1% full-frame. PHONE cameras are killing the compact point & shoot class, for good reasons.

WHo knows where things will be in the next 15 to 25 years.
 

Gavjenks

TPF Noob!
Joined
May 9, 2013
Messages
2,976
Reaction score
588
Location
Iowa City, IA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I doubt any DX specific lenses will hold value very well over 10 years. But it will never be a terribly inferior product or anything. Obviously people take great photos with crop sensors, and the advantages of full frame versus crop sensor are much less dramatic than the differences between digital and film.

As in, even in the most extreme (and unlikely) case of all companies selling only full frame cameras in the near future, there would still be a market for DX stuff. It wouldn't be a "relic" by any means. It would just be depreciated, that's all.
 

Tailgunner

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
May 2, 2013
Messages
1,850
Reaction score
280
Location
Dallas TX
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I can't see DX going away in the foreseeable future. DX format drives the industry, all your low cost DSLRs and P&S cameras all use it. Doing away with DX would put the cheapest Nikon DSLR around $2,000 and ultimately slicing DSLR sales in half. I mean lets face it, if people could afford FX, they would be using it. I'm sure FX cost would eventually drop to slightly more affordable ranges but what about P&S cameras? P&S sales has to be doing more than DSLRs and the cost of micro sizing FX technology could completely wipe out P&S all together.

Is DX really that bad? It's like we see a "When will DX die" thread once a week.
 

amolitor

TPF Noob!
Joined
May 18, 2012
Messages
6,320
Reaction score
2,131
Location
Virginia
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
If anything, FX is more likely to go away. The progression to smaller formats has been pretty inexorable for a long time with, I admit, some serious bumps along the way. We stalled out at 135 film for a long time because the quality just wasn't there with anything smaller, and enough abortive attempts were made to pretty much dirty the idea up by the time emulsions really got good.

There also wasn't a huge benefit to going smaller. Making smaller mechanical components isn't any cheaper.

Making smaller SENSORS is cheaper, and always will be. I expect KmH will be along with the handy graphic explaining why any minute now. Making smaller electronics is cheaper, not more expensive. So, we're back to an incentive to drive formats smaller, again. We're past the film era, and past the bad reputation justly deserved by smaller film formats. If the quality is there, and I submit to you that it is, there is no longer an impediment to proceeding downwards.

That said, we never actually lost most of the bigger formats. They're still with us, they just get less and less love.

It is by no means a guarantee, but it is at least a credible scenario that in, say, 10 years one of Canon/Nikon will cease to build FX gear entirely, and the other will have one model in perhaps a couple of flavors as their differentiating "Halo" product, in much the same way that 4x5 and 120/220 film equipment contracted in the last 20 years of the 20th century.
 

o hey tyler

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Aug 3, 2009
Messages
9,786
Reaction score
2,727
Location
Maine
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
If anything, FX is more likely to go away. The progression to smaller formats has been pretty inexorable for a long time with, I admit, some serious bumps along the way. We stalled out at 135 film for a long time because the quality just wasn't there with anything smaller, and enough abortive attempts were made to pretty much dirty the idea up by the time emulsions really got good.

There also wasn't a huge benefit to going smaller. Making smaller mechanical components isn't any cheaper.

Making smaller SENSORS is cheaper, and always will be. I expect KmH will be along with the handy graphic explaining why any minute now. Making smaller electronics is cheaper, not more expensive. So, we're back to an incentive to drive formats smaller, again. We're past the film era, and past the bad reputation justly deserved by smaller film formats. If the quality is there, and I submit to you that it is, there is no longer an impediment to proceeding downwards.

That said, we never actually lost most of the bigger formats. They're still with us, they just get less and less love.

It is by no means a guarantee, but it is at least a credible scenario that in, say, 10 years one of Canon/Nikon will cease to build FX gear entirely, and the other will have one model in perhaps a couple of flavors as their differentiating "Halo" product, in much the same way that 4x5 and 120/220 film equipment contracted in the last 20 years of the 20th century.

I strongly disagree with this Andy.

35mm format has become much of a standard in photography as it was widely shot, and still is the most common film shot to date.

Aps-c exif data provides the FoV when compared to 35mm format. Also, depth of field is not as easily controlled with smaller sensors. Other improvements such as noise handling are much better on full frames as well.

I don't necessarily see either going the way of the dodo. But I surely do not see 35mm sensors being the most likely to go.
 

Gavjenks

TPF Noob!
Joined
May 9, 2013
Messages
2,976
Reaction score
588
Location
Iowa City, IA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Making smaller SENSORS is cheaper, and always will be.
It will always be cheaper yes, but if manufacturing advances get to the point where the difference is something like $5 versus $1, then the cost difference would be completely negligible for any practical purposes. Obviously anybody would be willing to pay $4 more dollars for extra stops of ISO, etc.

Thus, as manufacturing becomes cheaper for all sensors, the overall market pressure should begin to favor the sensors that simply offer more capabilities. Which is full frame for most purposes (and eventually, medium format and maybe even large format). Smaller sensors will only really have the advantage of greater portability, since the camera has to physically be at least as large as the sensor, no matter how cheap you make things and how small you can make the electronics. 8x10 is not very pocket-sized, for instance. So it would probably max out around the size of the large end of medium format for casual photographers, and maybe the smaller end of large format for pros.

(I'm assuming that a futuristic camera could essentially be as small as simply the sensor + enough room for light to spread out from the mount to the sensor + a mirror and prism, and that's about it. With batteries and electronics taking up negligible size/weight)
 

SCraig

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Nov 12, 2011
Messages
6,474
Reaction score
2,450
Location
Nashville, TN
Website
sc-photo-tn.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I can't see DX going away in the foreseeable future. DX format drives the industry, all your low cost DSLRs and P&S cameras all use it. Doing away with DX would put the cheapest Nikon DSLR around $2,000 and ultimately slicing DSLR sales in half. I mean lets face it, if people could afford FX, they would be using it. I'm sure FX cost would eventually drop to slightly more affordable ranges but what about P&S cameras? P&S sales has to be doing more than DSLRs and the cost of micro sizing FX technology could completely wipe out P&S all together.

Is DX really that bad? It's like we see a "When will DX die" thread once a week.

Not always true. I can afford an FX camera, I just don't particularly want an FX camera. I may buy one sometime but it won't be to replace my DX bodies, only to supplement them.
 

KmH

In memoriam
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
41,401
Reaction score
5,706
Location
Iowa
Website
kharrodphotography.blogspot.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
How long will the DX format survive
Until June 22, 2024 - http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/digital-camera-sensor-size.htm

FX image sensors basically cost 4 times more than a APS-C size sensor because of how many of each can be made on a wafer of silicon.

So even if manufacturing costs are reduced, the 4x cost factor will remain.

The APS-C size first appeared in film cameras. The negatives were 25.1 × 16.7 mm and had the same 3:2 aspect ratio 35mm (36 x 24 )film has.
 
Last edited:

amolitor

TPF Noob!
Joined
May 18, 2012
Messages
6,320
Reaction score
2,131
Location
Virginia
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
FX might be the one to go away

I strongly disagree with this Andy.

35mm format has become much of a standard in photography as it was widely shot, and still is the most common film shot to date.

Aps-c exif data provides the FoV when compared to 35mm format. Also, depth of field is not as easily controlled with smaller sensors. Other improvements such as noise handling are much better on full frames as well.

I don't necessarily see either going the way of the dodo. But I surely do not see 35mm sensors being the most likely to go.

As you probably gathered, I ain't placing any of MY money on it either way! My point was, really, twofold: 1) Neither one's going away completely in the forseeable future, that's really not how it works, and 2) an argument (that's not bonkers) about which one will "win", whatever that means, can be made either way.
 

Tailgunner

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
May 2, 2013
Messages
1,850
Reaction score
280
Location
Dallas TX
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I can't see DX going away in the foreseeable future. DX format drives the industry, all your low cost DSLRs and P&S cameras all use it. Doing away with DX would put the cheapest Nikon DSLR around $2,000 and ultimately slicing DSLR sales in half. I mean lets face it, if people could afford FX, they would be using it. I'm sure FX cost would eventually drop to slightly more affordable ranges but what about P&S cameras? P&S sales has to be doing more than DSLRs and the cost of micro sizing FX technology could completely wipe out P&S all together.

Is DX really that bad? It's like we see a "When will DX die" thread once a week.

Not always true. I can afford an FX camera, I just don't particularly want an FX camera. I may buy one sometime but it won't be to replace my DX bodies, only to supplement them.

Agreed, I also can afford an FX setup but we're exceptions, not the rule.
 

JeremyGreen

TPF Noob!
Joined
Jun 21, 2013
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Location
United States
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Will DX soon disappear? I think not for the same reasons already stated. But I don't think FX will disappear either...it's too good. When I bought my first FX body (a lightly used Nikon D700) a little over a year ago, I finally felt "back home" in a big way. I sold off my DX-only lenses and to round out my FX system I bought a couple new FX lenses, including the 50mm f:1.4 prime. Then I went on a road trip to Santa Fe & Big Bend. I was so astounded at the improved image quality and night shooting capabilities over my last DX body (Nikon D300) that it was only a short time later that I bought a D800. Now I treat the D700 as my everyday camera, and my D800 like my Hasselblad used to be. I shoot most of my jobs on the D800. I have been upgrading hard drives, memory cards, and soon my computer though. It was a major shift when I switched to FX, but there is no comparison in quality in my experience. I'm home again and really happy about it...thousands of dollars later. I personally think both sizes of equipment will be around for a long time, whatever "long time" means now.

$20120320_Terlingua_BigBend_0564.jpg $20120321_BigBend_RoadHome_0081.jpg
 

Gavjenks

TPF Noob!
Joined
May 9, 2013
Messages
2,976
Reaction score
588
Location
Iowa City, IA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
yes, FF is noticeably higher IQ and ISO performance usually. But that's nothing compared to what a large format 4x5 sensor would be like.

ISO performance, for example, is almost directly related to pixel size/area (for the same generation of sensor technology). When you double the area of light gathering, you can go to about twice as high of an ISO with the same acceptable noise level threshold.

A 4x5 sensor would be over 13 times larger than a full frame sensor, but could still fit theoretically in a camera of a similar size to mid-upper range modern DSLRs.

So if a modern FF camera can go up to, let's say, 3200 ISO with reasonable noise levels, a 4x5 sensor could go up to 43,000 ISO with reasonable noise levels, 3 2/3 stops higher than full frame. (And almost 6 stops better than micro 4/3 of the same generation technology).




Assuming manufacturing gets to the point of being able to provide affordable 4x5 large format sensors, would YOU give up 6 stops of ISO performance just to have your camera fit in your pocket?
For reference, this is a difference of six stops that I took just now:
$lo.jpg$hi.jpg


Similar improvements would be seen in dynamic range and in resolution (if the pixel count was high, and the future camera was pooling across pixels dynamically/intelligently in high ISO scenarios, etc. etc.)

I find it extremely unlikely that smaller sensors can possibly win out in light of such possibilities. The logical "sweet spot" of sensor size, in a world where any sensor size is cheap to make, would be the size that is as large as possible while still being portable in a reasonably hand held device. Which is probably about 4x5 or slightly smaller.
 

amolitor

TPF Noob!
Joined
May 18, 2012
Messages
6,320
Reaction score
2,131
Location
Virginia
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Here's an interesting bit of tech I invented last night.

So there's this Nikon 1 thing out there, with a really interesting picture-takin' architecture, which boils down to "shoot a bunch of frames at 60fps for a while and try to sort out something from that". So you can, in theory, so whacky stuff like "take a picture half a second before I press the shutter button" and so on. I think their default fancy-mode is "pick out the 5 best frames based on some algorithmic notion of best" but the underlying architecture allows lots of hinky stuff. Like this:

Focus on your subject, press and hold.. some button. Wave the camera around for a couple seconds.
Properly configured, the camera locks the focus and then shoots a couple hundred frames. Then:
- roughly stitch into a big pano
- find the faces, pick sharpest frames for those
- fill in the rest with minimal motion-blur frames
- finally stitch up the result

In-camera "Brenizer" or, if you prefer, virtual sensors as big as you like them. Wanna shoot virtual 8x10 sheet film? We can get it for you wholesale. No fuss, no muss, no bother. Click/hold/"hose the scene down" and wait a few seconds.

Now, the Nikon 1 doesn't do it. But it could, no problem.

Now, it ain't the same as a full frame sensor, it acts differently, but it begins to encroach on that space. Ideas like this have the potential to turn the whole situation upside down.
 

amolitor

TPF Noob!
Joined
May 18, 2012
Messages
6,320
Reaction score
2,131
Location
Virginia
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Gavjenks, there are, to put it mildly, substantial problems with manufacturing chips that are 4x5 inches, and I am not sure that the properties (really, rules of thumb) that describe how sensors work scale up that far. It's an interesting thought experiment, but I am pretty sure there are likely to be multiple axes of "impossible, or damn near" involved.
 

Most reactions

ClickASnap

New Topics

Top