September 22, 2014, 10:56:54 PM

Author Topic: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).  (Read 3556 times)

Jettatore

  • Guest
An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« on: December 02, 2011, 01:58:17 PM »
I know it has just been stated that Canon is not currently going to enter MF.  But, if they ever do, I have a potentially interested idea that might be fun to talk about.

Right now we have rectangular image sensors, and when you put an EF lens on a full-frame sensor, the entire sensor is covered and portions of the lens are not used.  An approach towards MF could be to make a larger, square shaped image sensor, where a current EF lens would place a full circular image/vignette onto the square frame and now rather than portions of the lens not being used, we have the corners of the much larger sensor not being used.  With this circle, one would get a wide range of cropping options to arrive at a final rectangular image.  You could choose a long thing rectangular crop, either vertically or horizontally through the circular picture, you could choose a square or near square rectangle, etc. etc.

Now, that's what the current EF lenses would do.  Next up, would be to now introduce new, larger MF -EF mount lenses that would cover the entire frame of the new larger square sensor.  Now with these new larger lenses the entire sensor is used and portions of the lens are not, but we have arrived at some sort of medium format.

I thought this may be a neat way to transition from 35mm to MF while keeping the entire EF system connected.

canon rumors FORUM

An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« on: December 02, 2011, 01:58:17 PM »

briansquibb

  • Guest
Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2011, 02:51:52 PM »
I know it has just been stated that Canon is not currently going to enter MF.  But, if they ever do, I have a potentially interested idea that might be fun to talk about.

Right now we have rectangular image sensors, and when you put an EF lens on a full-frame sensor, the entire sensor is covered and portions of the lens are not used.  An approach towards MF could be to make a larger, square shaped image sensor, where a current EF lens would place a full circular image/vignette onto the square frame and now rather than portions of the lens not being used, we have the corners of the much larger sensor not being used.  With this circle, one would get a wide range of cropping options to arrive at a final rectangular image.  You could choose a long thing rectangular crop, either vertically or horizontally through the circular picture, you could choose a square or near square rectangle, etc. etc.

Now, that's what the current EF lenses would do.  Next up, would be to now introduce new, larger MF -EF mount lenses that would cover the entire frame of the new larger square sensor.  Now with these new larger lenses the entire sensor is used and portions of the lens are not, but we have arrived at some sort of medium format.

I thought this may be a neat way to transition from 35mm to MF while keeping the entire EF system connected.

Perhaps rather like the old APS cameras where the full size is 35mm square and options for pano or portrait? That would certainly keep the EF investment alive and well. That would make an 18mp ff density up to 27mp?

Hawker1

  • Guest
Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2011, 02:57:44 PM »
Check out EK's stock. 

If they are sold, divided, or simply go under, Canon or another player may be able to pick up some plate technology rather cheaply.  They are already beginning to sell patents. 

dr croubie

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1400
  • Too many photos, too little time.
    • View Profile
Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2011, 08:47:34 PM »
I've been thinking about Canon MF for a while now, and also had this thought at one stage too.
First problem is, how big do you make the sensor? I've made a mock-up drawing of different sensor-sizes attached below.
Assuming an EF-lens  properly covers the FF image, it's got an image-circle diameter of 44mm (in reality not true, a lot of faster lenses vignette a lot before this, TS-E by definition covers a lot more).
Medium Format 120-film square is 56x56mm (but i've shown the 54mm which is the biggest used by digital backs).
I've also shown a 44mm-square sensor, that would just cover the image-circle all-ways.

Now, flange distance of an EF lens is 44.0mm, flange to sensor. 24mm of this (FF body) is taken up by the mirror, leaves 20mm. The distance from the flange to the inner-most bit of an EF (not EFs) lens is 7mm (just measured my 50/1.8II), so that's 13mm left. The sensor sits behind a few protective layers, IR and Bayer filter, whatever, take off another 1mm for that, 12mm. Add in a bit of safety-error-margins (you don't want your mirror accidentally scraping your sensor, or your lens), and maybe you can get a 32mm-high mirror in there. (You can make it as wide as you want, up to 54mm or bigger). So you'd only get an image sensor of 32x44mm or so (which i've added in dashed lines), without increasing the flange-distance.

Or, you can can increase the flange-distance to a normal 6x6 MF distance (74.1mm for Pentacon Six up to 112mm for RB67). They did it before with the move from FD (42mm) to EF (44mm), but lenses won't focus at infinity any more. So you'd need a piece of glass in the adapter, like a mini-teleconverter. Proper Canon-brand FD-EF adapters from the 80s were good quality, and now sell for a lot of money. Or you can buy one from china on ebay for the price of a jar of jam (the bottom of which is probably where they got the glass for them).

Not saying that it won't happen, but the technicalities in making an MF camera are big enough without trying to adapt EF-mount lenses onto them.
(Another one is that the metering will not be accurate if there's black-corners pushing the exposure upwards, that's fixable with software)

If canon bring in an MF-camera (and I hope/wish they would), then you're looking at a whole new range of lenses, on a new lens-mount. But it'll be expensive, probably a lot higher than the "cheap" €10k pentax 645D, maybe up into €15-20k Leica S2 and Hassy-territory. Then canon would have a lot of competition from companies who have been in the business a lot longer (try 60+ years for hasselblad). Any pro wanting to switch, and having to invest in a whole new system and lenses, would be idiots for not considering pentax/leica/hassy/phasemiya. Only accessories like flashes and remotes (and DPP) would be interchangeable between the systems, not enough to sway most people on their own.
That said, canon do have a lot of lens-making experience, I don't think i've ever seen an MF lens with IS for example, and never uderestimate the power of fanboys switching formats but not brands.


One more option, in keeping with the EF-mount-on-MF-sensor, how about a Medium Format Mirrorless (Then the flange distance can be even lower, like 20mm, because there's nothing between lens and sensor)? I'll believe it when I see it, even an APS-C mirrorless would be a start...
« Last Edit: December 02, 2011, 09:16:56 PM by dr croubie »
Too much gear, too little space.
Gear Photos

Mt Spokane Photography

  • Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
  • ********
  • Posts: 8687
    • View Profile
Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2011, 11:30:51 PM »
One thing to keep in mind is the cost of producing larger sensors.  FF costs about 20X the cost of APS C (According to Canon).  Creating a larger sensor may multiply that figure yet again, depending on how many you can get on a wafer, the yield (larger sensors have lower yields), and the number of passes and masking necessary for the lithography equipment.

This means higher cost sensors, most likely new lenses required, it can really snowball.  The number of people willing to lay out big bucks for a MF camera is limited, and low production only raises the cost.

Canon has made their mark by mass producing cameras that may not be the very best, but are less costly to manufacture and can sell in large volumes for a lower price than say Nikon.

I really don't look for them to go into a specialty market because it does not fit the business plan that has been so successful for them for the last 50 years.

That might not keep them from buying up a MF company and slapping the Canon name on the product, much as Sony did when the took over Minolta.

Hillsilly

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 763
    • View Profile
Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2011, 04:05:06 AM »
If the idea of medium format is to keep photographers happy with a high MP camera, I'm hoping that they go with a rangefinder style body (such as a mamiya 6 / 7 and Fuji 670) for greater portablility.  But with autofocus and maybe an EVF.  If the price was....ummm....reasonable.... I'd buy one.

(I've got a Mamiya RB67 and a Mamiya 6.  Trust me, a large MF camera is the last thing you want to cart around on long walks.  Whereas a Mamiya 6 weighs less than most DSLRs and is a joy to use).

By starting afresh, the engineers can work out the optimal sensor / lens placement without being constrained by the current EF framework.  It could be a good opportunity to review a key problem that 35mm has - wide angle lenses. 
1000FN | 7E | 3000 | 3 | LS-100TS

Rocky

  • 6D
  • *****
  • Posts: 621
    • View Profile
Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2011, 02:52:37 PM »
One thing to keep in mind is the cost of producing larger sensors.  FF costs about 20X the cost of APS C (According to Canon).  Creating a larger sensor may multiply that figure yet again, depending on how many you can get on a wafer, the yield (larger sensors have lower yields), and the number of passes and masking necessary for the lithography equipment.

This means higher cost sensors, most likely new lenses required, it can really snowball.  The number of people willing to lay out big bucks for a MF camera is limited, and low production only raises the cost.

Canon has made their mark by mass producing cameras that may not be the very best, but are less costly to manufacture and can sell in large volumes for a lower price than say Nikon.

I really don't look for them to go into a specialty market because it does not fit the business plan that has been so successful for them for the last 50 years.

That might not keep them from buying up a MF company and slapping the Canon name on the product, much as Sony did when the took over Minolta.
You are abolutely right.  In the past. Film MF camera survive is due to low cost compare to 35mm. In fact some MF are actually cheaper than 35mm camera. For digital. It is totally different. How many of us will spend the amount of a car on a camera for fun or passion??

canon rumors FORUM

Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2011, 02:52:37 PM »

briansquibb

  • Guest
Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2011, 03:35:59 PM »

How many of us will spend the amount of a car on a camera for fun or passion??

Look at the number of 1D4 with large whites on the front - will cost some $15-$20 + the second and more lens :D

Rocky

  • 6D
  • *****
  • Posts: 621
    • View Profile
Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2011, 06:09:11 PM »

How many of us will spend the amount of a car on a camera for fun or passion??

Look at the number of 1D4 with large whites on the front - will cost some $15-$20 + the second and more lens :D

Even that is not 1/2 the price of a digital MF.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2011, 06:18:15 PM by Rocky »

dr croubie

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1400
  • Too many photos, too little time.
    • View Profile
Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2011, 06:49:27 PM »

How many of us will spend the amount of a car on a camera for fun or passion??

Look at the number of 1D4 with large whites on the front - will cost some $15-$20 + the second and more lens :D

Even that is not 1/2 the price of a digital MF.
Pentax 645D with kit lens is €10k, hassy H31 not much more...
« Last Edit: December 04, 2011, 01:35:41 AM by dr croubie »
Too much gear, too little space.
Gear Photos

Rocky

  • 6D
  • *****
  • Posts: 621
    • View Profile
Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2011, 08:04:41 PM »

How many of us will spend the amount of a car on a camera for fun or passion??

Look at the number of 1D4 with large whites on the front - will cost some $15-$20 + the second and more lens :D

Pentax 645D with kit lens is €10k, hassy H31 not much more...
Even that is not 1/2 the price of a digital MF.
Thanks  for the information. I am coming from the old school. MF for me is a 6 X 6 or at least 6 X4.5.  so I am thinking about Phase One or Mamiya Leaf.  Pantax 645D is 4.4 X 3.3 it skipped my mind. Thanks.

Edwin Herdman

  • 6D
  • *****
  • Posts: 543
    • View Profile
Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2011, 08:47:58 PM »
I know it has just been stated that Canon is not currently going to enter MF.
This is not exactly what has been stated.  At the moment, they aren't in MF, but Canon has stated they are doing market research.  (See my comment on one of the recent news posts, a translated article.)

moreorless

  • 5D Mark III
  • ******
  • Posts: 655
    • View Profile
Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2011, 12:17:10 AM »
I mentioned this on the LL forum recently and was told that many EF lenses don't actually project a circle, not sure if thats true but if would obviously hinder such a system.

Another way to use the same system might be to accomodate TS-E lenses though, I remember reading an article on a russsian MF system that used the 17mm and 24mm TS-E's with good results while retaining some shift functionally. Those lenses might be rarer than normal EF's but I'd guess there pretty common with seriously Canon FF landscape/architecture users(and likely represent there largest lens investment) who would be an obvious market for MF.

With the mentions of a Mamiya takeover one option that springs to mind for me would be a mirrorless(maybe allowing for Mamiya 7 lenses which seem like a good potential MF match with there sharpness?), thats afterall been a popular format in film MF for awhile and as far as I'm aware nobody has tried it on digital yet. Many of the same advanatges would hold true for digital afterall, lots of space saved by removing a much larger mirrorbox while most users would be using wide/normal lenses that offer more space saving.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2011, 12:17:10 AM »

AprilForever

  • 5D Mark III
  • ******
  • Posts: 721
    • View Profile
    • AprilForever.com
Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2011, 12:24:19 AM »
MF: niche, but alluring...

My LF Crown Graphic and I need to go a shooting... Why did I get the Crown Graphic? Wild image quality. Why have I not yet shot it? Having trouble finding a local film developer. And a wee mite of laziness...

So digital MF is alluring... The price is intimidating...

Canon should make a digital Crown Graphic: cheap, durable, dependable, not a whole lot of complicatedness about it, and especially cheap (how cheap can a 4"x5" be? I shudder...)...
What is truth?

moreorless

  • 5D Mark III
  • ******
  • Posts: 655
    • View Profile
Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2011, 01:27:58 AM »
One thing to keep in mind is the cost of producing larger sensors.  FF costs about 20X the cost of APS C (According to Canon).  Creating a larger sensor may multiply that figure yet again, depending on how many you can get on a wafer, the yield (larger sensors have lower yields), and the number of passes and masking necessary for the lithography equipment.

This means higher cost sensors, most likely new lenses required, it can really snowball.  The number of people willing to lay out big bucks for a MF camera is limited, and low production only raises the cost.

Canon has made their mark by mass producing cameras that may not be the very best, but are less costly to manufacture and can sell in large volumes for a lower price than say Nikon.

I'd say that Canon's recent sucess could be characterised more by clearly differentiating the comsumer and pro markets. They have afterall had alot of sucess with sports/jurno/wildlife users and tele lenses who'se price is in the same ballpark as medium format and are now trying the same approach in the video market.

If it was possible to greatly undercut the existing MF market I could see them doing so but I'd say there current business model would point towards offering superior performance and functionally then charging a prenium for it.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2011, 01:29:36 AM by moreorless »

canon rumors FORUM

Re: An approach towards Medium Format (MF).
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2011, 01:27:58 AM »