How long will the DX format survive

Dao

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As far as full frame sensor with high ISO advantage. As technology advance, smaller sensor should be able to perform pretty well as well. Maybe a smaller cell phone sensor can beat the current Nikon D4 in high ISO performance. And cost of making sensor could possible going down as well.

With everybody betting on Graphene, (which is a single carbon atom layer material and 1000 times more light sensitive than CMOS). So recording medium size may not be the driving force. Lens design / cost could be the driving force.

Just look at the Sigma f/1.8 zoom lens for DX format. I can see more coming since it is cheaper to make and the lenses are going to be lighter in weight when compare with a lens that is made for FX with the same optical properties.

Imagine, a 300mm f/1.8 DX lens is about the same size and weight as a 200mm f/2.8 FX lens
 

Derrel

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There is no size and weight advantage in telephoto lenses for DX sensors. Telephoto lenses have pretty small image circles already, and well, there's no size or weight savings because the image format is smaller. Look at the Olympus brand's telephoto lenses for 4/3 format for example--they are as heavy and large as Nikon or Canon super-telephoto lenses. A 300mm f/1.8 lens will always be large and heavy. Here's a 300mm f/2.8 designed for the smallish 4/3 format, and it weighs 7.24 lbs (3.28 kilograms)pounds: Olympus 300mm f/2.8 ED Lens 261004 B&H Photo Video

Here is the AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8, which weighs in at 6.39 pounds AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II from Nikon
 

Dao

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There is no size and weight advantage in telephoto lenses for DX sensors. Telephoto lenses have pretty small image circles already, and well, there's no size or weight savings because the image format is smaller. Look at the Olympus brand's telephoto lenses for 4/3 format for example--they are as heavy and large as Nikon or Canon super-telephoto lenses. A 300mm f/1.8 lens will always be large and heavy. Here's a 300mm f/2.8 designed for the smallish 4/3 format, and it weighs 7.24 lbs (3.28 kilograms)pounds: Olympus 300mm f/2.8 ED Lens 261004 B&H Photo Video

Here is the AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8, which weighs in at 6.39 pounds AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II from Nikon

Thanks for the info. I always thought that it is possible to shrink the size of the glass elements. Of course, I was only based on the observation in smaller sensor camera that equipped with fast lens.



Edit : Okay, now I know where my confusion is. When looking at a smaller sensor camera, it is the *equivalent* factor. And that's why the optics were smaller. In other words, to achieve the same field of view, the smaller sensor camera is able to take advantage of the lighter fast lens which has a shorter focal length. Of well. I guess it helps in some way, but not the others.

So I think if 300mm (on 35mm format) focal length FoV is good for shooting that race car on the track, a smaller sensor with a smaller lens may help.
 

Gavjenks

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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.

I know little or nothing about the manufacturing costs (other than the simple "this many fit on a wafer + defects" stuff that is bandied around blogs all the time, etc.). I'm merely assuming they will go down in price similar to Moore's law over time, like almost all similar electronic devices have in the past. It's hard to verify if this has already been the case, because I can't find any graphs of cost of the sensors alone, but it seems very likely that it has, given the short duration of digital photography and the huge changes we have seen already in that time in affordability.

However, I do know a fair amount about the sensor advantages, and I see no reason why they wouldn't scale with larger pixel pitch. You should certainly see scaling benefits in dynamic range and ISO performance. And you could certainly see benefits in resolution. I'm not 100% sure that you can make a sensor that scales in both, since it would depend on pooling across pixels to get your high ISO benefits, which may not work as well as one might expect (and there are not many examples to look to for answers. There are only one or two pairs of cameras crop and full frame with equal pixel pitch, and they are at completely different levels of professional build, may have different software involved, blah blah). But I suspect that if you made a 250 MP 4x5 sensor, with the right software, you could make it have successfully scaling advantages in ISO, dynamic range, and resolution all at once.

But certainly one or the other. Dynamic range and ISO are just a result of simple arithmetic of signal:noise ratios. They're essentially just a matter of numbers of photons versus amount of noise (which gets higher, but less quickly than the light gathering area does). And resolution is simply a result of more pixels to work with, pixels which should easily be able to resolve actual information from a decent lens, if they are the same size or larger than modern ones.

There are also other ancillary benefits. For example, if you went with just 18MP but made them all much larger in a 4x5, then your images would not yet be diffraction limited even at f/45 ! And DOF gets effectively narrower, so you could do your "In-camera Brenizer" by just snapping a simple photo. After all, the whole point of the Brenizer method is to make it look like you used a MF or LF camera!

"shoot a bunch of frames at 60fps for a while and try to sort out something from that"
There are technologies that do pretty much exactly this already, in a much more controlled way obviously.

I can't remember the exact name to find a link, but some of those "gigapixel" images you see are made by using essentially a hundred little affordable sensors, arrayed in a hemisphere around a spherical condensing lens. The image comes in from the front from various angles, and depending on the angle, will condense onto a different one of those sensors, each of which has one or two small secondary lenses to control it more. This all allows them to essentially take a hundred precisely lined up panorama images in one instant, which can be stitched together. And the cost of the sensors only scales linearly, not exponentially like if you made it just one big one.

Video:

In the near future, this may very well be the method by which larger format sensors are practically achieved. If it becomes possible to make a larger sensor all in one piece, though, for cheap, then that would still be better, simply because there are fewer small parts that can get out of alignment, etc. and ruin your camera.

Also, using either your method or a sphere camera like in the video, it will look different than a flat sensor, because if you pivot, you are changing your perspective. In order to make it look like a rectilinear image, software has to bend and warp a whole bunch of lines, which can degrade local resolution and do other weird, undesirable things (if you look closely in the video, when they zoom in on part of the gigapixel image, there is a huge curved line of changing resolution in one spot, for example). A single flat sensor avoids such issues.
 
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table1349

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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?

I am usually pretty good at predictions of this sort. I guess I have the Nostradamus gene in me. Anyway.

I predict that the DX format will be around right up to the point that no one makes or uses them in their products any longer. After that they will be gone.


My bill is in the mail to you. Remember I offer a full 100% refund if my prediction turns out to be wrong. :lol:
 

curtyoungblood

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Gavjenks, I think you're missing the point where a crop sensor becomes "good enough". While you're correct that a full frame sensor will always perform better than a crop sensor in the ways you're describing, there are diminishing returns. For example, if a crop sensor can shoot at an ISO high enough to capture an image when the human eye can't see, does it really matter if a full frame camera can shoot effectively in twice as little light?

I would say we are already at that point in megapixels, for another example.
 

o hey tyler

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For example, if a crop sensor can shoot at an ISO high enough to capture an image when the human eye can't see, does it really matter if a full frame camera can shoot effectively in twice as little light?

Yes. It does matter. Because the image quality on the full frame camera will consistently be better.
 

Gavjenks

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Gavjenks, I think you're missing the point where a crop sensor becomes "good enough". While you're correct that a full frame sensor will always perform better than a crop sensor in the ways you're describing, there are diminishing returns. For example, if a crop sensor can shoot at an ISO high enough to capture an image when the human eye can't see, does it really matter if a full frame camera can shoot effectively in twice as little light?

I would say we are already at that point in megapixels, for another example.
Several points:

1) Just because the human eye can only see in such and such low light, doesn't mean it isn't useful to be able to photograph in LOWER light. That's like saying "Well a human can only build a car in 5 days by hand, so there's no point in making robots that can do it in half an hour." Of course there's a reason... if we control machines that surpass our abilities, then we effectively extend our own abilities. If a camera can see things that you can't even see, then it allows you to take photographs without lights when earlier you would have needed lights, and to freeze action at a distance that you wouldn't have been able to freeze (flash can't reach, or flash not allowed). You would also essentially be taking all the data you need for an HDR image in a single shot, by default, as another example.

By the logic of "if a human can't do it, then why bother?" there would also be no such thing as infrared photography...

2) Even if you aren't pushing the boundaries of physical possibility (like in #1), even if you're just taking normal photos of normal things and conditions, a camera with more ISO ability and greater dynamic range, etc. will still be a huge benefit, because it gives you more room for correcting errors. A 4x5 digital sensor would effectively have 3-ish stops more dynamic range than a FF sensor. Perhaps 20 stops of range versus 17. But if your eye can only distinguish 16 or whatever (just making up example numbers), then why would 20 be useful? Well, because if you have 17, you have to be within 0.5 stops of the correct exposure, or else you wouldn't be able to correct it (without loss of IQ) in post. But with 20, you could be up to TWO stops off in either direction and still correct it in post. So it's easier to not ruin a photo by making a mistake. The same goes for not cropping your composition quite right. if you have 250 MP, and all those pixels are getting real, distinct data, then you can easily crop down to 10% of your whole photo and still have enough resolution for as large of a print as you would ever want. Yes, your eye will still only be able to see 16 MP or whatever for a given print size, but having 250 gives you a huge cushion for WHICH 16 you can decide to print.

3) Better camera abilities = less weight and money and effort spent on peripheral devices. If I can shoot at ISO 43,000 without bad noise, then I don't need a tripod nearly as often as before. I would only need a tripod if I wanted to create intentional blur (waterfalls, traffic at night, etc.), but I would no longer ever need it just to make a still subject NOT blurry. This means less weight carried around. Similarly, if I have 250 MP, then I don't need as many lenses, because I can essentially take a wide angle AND a telephoto angle shot at the same time with the same piece of glass. If I want wide angle, I just resample the whole photo to a smaller resolution, whereas if I want a telephoto, I crop out the zoomed portion i want. This means fewer lenses have to be carried. This means that primes can be used as zooms, to some extent. This means all sorts of useful things.
 

curtyoungblood

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1) your 5 hour vs 30 minute comparison isn't the same as my point. Lets say I live a two hours drive from a car factory. Lets assume robots can make a car in 30 minutes and people can make one in two hours. Lets also assume that the robots cost so much that the robot ,add car costs 1.5 times as much as a human made car.

If I call the factory and order a car and they tell me it can be ready in 30 minutes for 15,000 or 2 hours for 10,000, then I'm going to pick the latter because the better one doesn't benefit me. I understand that a better sensor gives you more flexibility, but there are diminishing returns, and I believe that cropped sensors will get to a point that they aren't so much better that they give a benefit to most people in the same way that DSLRs have largely replaced medium format film.

2) I agreement however, there is a point where it just won't matter any more, and eventually technology will get there. I think your 250 MP example shows that. I can't imagine needing to store 250 MP files so that I can crop down 10%, particularly if I can pay 50% of the price and only be able to crop 50%.

3) I think that weight/money issue will have a bigger impact on bodies and lenses than on accessories. Yes, tripods are heavy and it sucks to carry them, but MANY more photographers carry their lenses and bodies than bother with one. It will benefit them more to have smaller and lighter cameras than to get people to stop needing tripods. You aren't taking the characteristics of different lenses into account when you say you'll need fewer lenses. Wide angle lenses and telephotos have very different characteristics and cropping a wide angle to a telephoto FOV won't look the same.
 

Gavjenks

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1) your 5 hour vs 30 minute comparison isn't the same as my point. Lets say I live a two hours drive from a car factory. Lets assume robots can make a car in 30 minutes and people can make one in two hours. Lets also assume that the robots cost so much that the robot ,add car costs 1.5 times as much as a human made car.
I am talking about a future world where large format sensors are cheap enough to make that any random schmuck can afford one with pocket change. There's no reason to believe that eventually, we won't be able to make 4x5" sensors for like $100. Yes, crop sensors will still be RELATIVELY much cheaper. Maybe a crop sensor will cost $0.01. But so what? Absolute cost is what my wallet cares about for one-off purchases like a camera. Not relative cost. I would very much be willing to pay an extra $99.99 in order to be able to shoot in 8x darker light, have instant HDR, more cushioning for exposure errors, etc.

Would be the best $99.99 I ever spent. Even if a 30% as good option exists for 1/10,000th the price. Because buying 10,000 of those sensors still wouldn't give me the abilities that the one nicer one has, and the total cost of the ncier one is still plenty affordable.

2) I agreement however, there is a point where it just won't matter any more, and eventually technology will get there. I think your 250 MP example shows that. I can't imagine needing to store 250 MP files so that I can crop down 10%, particularly if I can pay 50% of the price and only be able to crop 50%.
Keep in mind that STORAGE is going to get cheaper and cheaper too. 250MB (or hell, 500MB if we up the bitrate while we are at it) sounds like a lot for one photo now, but it isn't actually that much, if your average, affordable consumer computer comes off the shelf from Best Buy with a 100 terabyte hard drive. Which they will, in not too many years from now.

3) I think that weight/money issue will have a bigger impact on bodies and lenses than on accessories. Yes, tripods are heavy and it sucks to carry them, but MANY more photographers carry their lenses and bodies than bother with one. It will benefit them more to have smaller and lighter cameras than to get people to stop needing tripods. You aren't taking the characteristics of different lenses into account when you say you'll need fewer lenses. Wide angle lenses and telephotos have very different characteristics and cropping a wide angle to a telephoto FOV won't look the same.

Actually for rectilinear lenses, cropping a portion of a huge resolution sensor/file would result in exactly the same "look" that you would get from zooming in with a zoom lens on a minimum resolution sensor/file. That's precisely why "crop sensors" are called "crop" sensors. The perspective and everything looks the same as if you had used a longer lens on a larger sensor with the same pixel pitch.

You aren't "cheating" in terms of getting free aperture, because the large format lens would be of the equivalent focal length of the cropped portion, not the wide portion. As in, in order to have a large format file where you can crop out a section equivalent to a full frame sensor's size and have it look like a 300mm lens on a full frame camera, the large format camera would have to also be using a 300mm lens.
Also, either your camera would have to be fairly bulky, or your lenses would have to be heavier/more expensive than equivalent ones for smaller sensors. But bulkiness or expense of lenses may ALSO go down exponentially over time for a given size image circle, due to advances such as fresnel lenses (like Canon's "diffractive optics"), cheap aspheric elements, cheaper exotic glass, etc (camera bulk could potentially be reduced by permanent optics in the camera to direct light in a tighter path. Admittedly the lenses are the more likely point of progress). So this might not be a big deal in the future. All lenses might be light weight enough for it to be perfectly reasonable to have an f/2.8 large format image circle 400mm lens for fairly cheap, etc. Who knows?
 
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Dikkie

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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.
Perhaps with some back focus button? :D
 

curtyoungblood

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While I agree with your points about a $99 large-sensor camera, I think that the large majority of consumers would much rather spend $1 on a camera that serves their needs.


Also, I still think you're misunderstanding the relationship of a cropped sensor (or cropped photo) to a lens. If you shoot a photo with a 50mm elms and crop it down to have the same content that it would have had with a 300, the look of the two photos would be completely different. The background is going to be much more in focus on the 50, and there won't be nearly as much compression of the subjects in the photo. This effect is real obvious on cropped bodies on the wide end. You'll get a distortion that doesn't feel right because the image isn't wide enough to make sense with it.
 

amolitor

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There won't be as much compression? You might wanna think that one over a bit.
 

pixmedic

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Honestly, i was really expecting the DX bodies to all disappear with the end of the mayan calender.
 

EDL

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I get what gavjenks is saying and I tend to agree, but not necessarily for the same reasons. Americans in general have a propensity for wanting to buy the "best one" (hence the many "which camera is best" threads here). Anyone with some photography experience knows there is no such thing. This is very much a "depends on what you're wanting to do and how" sort of thing...at least as far as current technology stands.

However...technology begets technology and so far this discussion has centered on a few, and I think, limiting technological premises. Who says sensors in the future will continue to be made the same way and of the same material? Certainly silicon wafers are expensive to make and as long as we continue to use them then larger sensors will cost more. The relative cost differences across sensor sizes will remain...and even with possible future base materials, so it will be.

Gavjenks' premise also takes into account basic economics. If a crop sensor camera is say, $100 and a FF (or larger) sensor camera is $1,000 then more average joes are going to have crop sensor cameras. If the price difference is negligible, then that model most likely won't fit. It all depends on the scale of difference.

Can or will technology grow such that the theoretical 4x5 silicon sensor can be made. I suspect it might, but I also think other scientists will find different techniques and materials to make these a more affordable reality. It's clear digital is here to stay. My limited little brain can't even fathom a completely different method in which to capture and process images that might replace digital. Quantum is on the horizon, but the information and processing will remain digital, I think.

So far the talk has been of sensors and ISO/light gathering abilities, and no one has said much about lenses. It's been centered on glass lenses as we know them. I'm aware that technology is currently "learning" to control light by using means other than glass lenses to shape or focus the light. Imagine a "lens" of the future with maybe a single element glass lens, or perhaps no glass at all using alternative methods to control the focusing of the light onto whatever the sensor du jour happens to be...all in a package no bigger than a current DSLR. Being able to bend, focus or control light without a glass lens could mean no more CA, no more diffraction, etc...if nothing else, we've sort of done it with pin-hole cameras....
 

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