How long will the DX format survive

Derrel

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All this talk about 4x5 inch sensors...and yet the fastest-growing segment in photography is occurring in the smart phone/cameraphone and on-line image uploading and sharing segment; a segment where the typical sensor size is smaller than that of my pinky nail.

Today, the average consumer does not give a whit about technical image quality. What counts more is portability, affordability, ease of use, ease of focusing, deep depth of field, and internet connectivity. The average smartphone user accesses his or her camera on average, eight times per day, according to a 2013 research report on internet trends and behavior.
 

Gavjenks

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I also think other scientists will find different techniques and materials to make these a more affordable reality.
For sure. See the video linked previously in the thread to the "gigapixel camera" that has 100 small sensors arrayed around a spherical lens. This scales linearly instead of exponentially in cost for larger overall sensor size. And you could choose any pixel pitch etc. on those small sensors to also get ISO boosts, etc. Drawbacks are lots of little pieces that can break, you have to use stitching software that can and does make some errors, and you have to buy 100 lenses if you want to change your focal length, lol. But I'm sure they'll iron out some of the kinks, and this seems most likely to be an immediate future product than a very large sensor would be.

Also, check out the "Lytro" camera (google it). A product already on the market that captures more of the overall light field (sensors that detect direction of beams, not just amount of them that fall in a given area and can thus "refocus" images after they are taken). It has pretty terrible specs right now, but is only first generation.

Regarding lenses, what methods other than refraction are you thinking of for bending light? There are certainly many advances in glass (aspherics, strange glasses, coatings, diffractive/fresnel lenses), but I'm not yet aware of any ways of bending light otherwise (besides mirrors) that would preserve a usable image?

All this talk about 4x5 inch sensors...and yet the fastest-growing segment in photography is occurring in the smart phone/cameraphone
"The fastest growing segment" is not the same thing as "The only growing segment."

Both camera phones and high end DSLRs are growing in market at the same time. For instance, all of the recent much more affordable full frames hitting the market. It's not a zero sum game (most of the serious photographers with high end DSLRs probably also have cell phones with cameras).
 

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High-end d-slrs probably comprise about 0.4% of the total d-slr market. IF even that.
 

Gavjenks

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High-end d-slrs probably comprise about 0.4% of the total d-slr market. IF even that.
1) Where is this number coming from? I can find no by-body-type data anywhere.
2) Why does it matter what the number is anyway? It is plain to see that full frames are getting cheaper and better at a very decent pace, greatly ahead of inflation, and continue to be introduced in new models. So whatever % of the market it is, it is evidently sufficient to drive innovation and continually lowering costs. The most recent 6D costs less than 2/3 as much as the extremely similar 5DMkIII from just a half a year prior, for example. The D600 is also 2/3 the price of the fairly similar D800 from half a year earlier.
 

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Gavjenks, Thom Hogan estimates that around 85% of Nikon's DSLR sales are DX. FX sales aren't squeezing that large share much--if at all. That despite aggressive discounts and running promos since early this year on FX cameras. One could argue it's the lingering recession in N. America--the only market Nikon seems to be doing well in--but it may be that DX is "good enough" for the many shooters who buy entry and intermediate level gear.

At any rate, the CIPA stats on camera production offer a solid reality check to speculation and provide data that are tough to explain away or ignore.
 
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Derrel

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High-end dslrs to me means just that: camerras that are like the Canon 1DX or Nikon D4, and priced in the approximately $5999 to $6999 price range. Not dicounted, cheap plastic-body D600 cameras. With the Nikon D3100 and 18-55 zoom len s kit at MSRP of $549 (and available cheaper through various outlets), what do you suppose the sales numbers are versus say, the $6999.99 Nikon D4???

Again,experts who study the field have stated that high-end full-frame cameras make up less than one percent of the total d-slr market.

CIPA figures. Look into them. They will show that the mirrorless market for example, is seriously hurting. BADLY hurting. You might be under the impression,m for example, that the new mirrorless segment is "growing", since so many fanboys say it is. But the May,2013 CIPA stats will show the truth is the opposite. The d-slr market is not doing all that great either; dslr shipments are down 15% over the first five months of 2013. Mirrorless shipments for May 2013 are down 25% compared to May of 2012. For the first five months of this year, mirroress shipments declined 18% compared to last year.

Compact cameras?? zOMG--this segment is being KILLED by phone cameras. Year over year, compacts are down 47% from last year's first five months.

Mirrorless shipments to the USA in May of 2013 were a dismal 20,000 cameras. That's 1.5% of all cameras shipped to the US. Thats a year over year decline of 64% from last year.

May production numbers for d-slr cameras decline 18%.

As I said, all this talk about 4x5 sensors, when the fastest growing segment is PHONE CAMERAS. And instant internet uploading; the TOP cameras on Flickr are ALL iPhone models. d-slr sales are not growing. FX format d-slrs are a miniscule part of the overall market. Only three makers have even one FX model. And Sony doesn't hardly count, since its market penetration is ridiculously small compared to the Canon and Nikon duo that dominates the serious photography market. The idea that people are interested in 4x5 digital sensor cameras is ridiculously out of touch with the realities.
 

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I was talking about just any full frame.

But if you want to talk about super high end flagship models, then those as well have significantly dropped in price/quality, ahead of inflation.

The relevant point is that at any given slice of the market, the price:feature ratio has been going down rapidly and steadily since the technology was introduced. The companies might make more or less money, and relative popularity may change, but despite all of that, the price:feature is still plummeting for everything.

Thus my conclusion: full frame DSLRs will eventually become more commonplace, because continuing innovation will eventually bring them down to a "Why not?" difference in price. I make no predictions whatsoever about their portion of the market share prior to that point. It will likely not be linear or predictable at all. It may go up, or down, or sideways, or do a couple backflips. But as long as price:feature keeps going down in the meantime, we will get there eventually, and they will take over, because they're simply better, and if/when you don't have to pay much for the betterness, then people will.

And then if the trend continues on after THAT, the same will eventually happen for medium format, and large format, etc., up until the point where the sensor itself makes the camera too damn big to conveniently carry around, at which point there could be a natural peak size.
 

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