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Author Topic: Canon, range finder to medium format.  (Read 3472 times)

Ray Padden

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Canon, range finder to medium format.
« on: January 13, 2012, 07:25:24 AM »
This is just a wild thought, maybe a dream.  For the past few months, since I returned to photography I have been a regular reader of Canon Rumors.  I love canon, still have my old F1.  Canon have been hinting at a medium format and a range finder spin off, so here are my thoughts on the matter.
Canon have mentioned about aquiring a company with medium format experiance and they have spoke of introducing a range finder, ok, I call it a range finder, the new name is evil.  One company that is no longer in the market that I know of, is Contax.
Contax were the 'poor mans lecia', not that the prices were with in my poor wallets range.  Contax had models covering rf, slr and mf.
I would like to picture a canon evil similar to that of the G Series, classic styling with an ef mount, maybe a few specialize lenses and a smaller flash with it.
Again with medium format, keep the ef mount (contax slr lenses could be used on hasselbalds) and maybe release a range of leaf shutter lenses to avail of high shutter speeds with flash.
These are just my thought as I said, but will finish with this.
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Canon, range finder to medium format.
« on: January 13, 2012, 07:25:24 AM »

AdamJ

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Re: Canon, range finder to medium format.
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2012, 09:46:41 AM »
As a company, Contax no longer exists so there's nothing to acquire except the brand name.

I expect lenses from the Contax 645 series could work with a Hasselblad but surely not their 35mm lenses - a 35mm lens's image circle is too small. For the same reason, medium format with an EF mount is not possible.

Sorry to wake you from your dream.  ;)

Ray Padden

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Re: Canon, range finder to medium format.
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2012, 11:59:07 AM »
As a company, Contax no longer exists so there's nothing to acquire except the brand name.

I expect lenses from the Contax 645 series could work with a Hasselblad but surely not their 35mm lenses - a 35mm lens's image circle is too small. For the same reason, medium format with an EF mount is not possible.

Sorry to wake you from your dream.  ;)


Damn, it was such a nice dream too Adam.  When it comes to lense size you say image size of the lense, educate an old guy, do you mean it is to small to suit a mf sensor?  I would of thought distance between the mount and sensor dictated this, Rollifex had small lenses on their tlr's .  I know contax is gone, but I am sure Kyocera still own the rights.

funkboy

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Re: Canon, range finder to medium format.
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2012, 12:03:52 PM »
As much as we'd like Canon to branch out & embrace "retro" ideas like that, I don't think it it's in the cards any time soon.  Certainly not in this economy.

However, with the CinĂ© project, and G1X, we have seen that Canon is listening to market demand and responding.  They've done more "mold-breaking" in the last few months than in the past several years.  Here's what I think:

 - the D30 was a game-changer:  the first DSLR for mere mortals
 - the 300D was a game-changer:  the first consumer DSLR
 - the original 5D was a game-changer:  the first FF DSLR for mere mortals
 - the 5DII was a game-changer:  the first video DSLR

since then, until the C300 announcement:  more or less business as usual in the camera body department. Some very spiffy lenses though.

The G1X shows that they're ready to be a game-changer again.

I think that we have a lot to look forward to this year (remember it's a Photokina year too).

Specifically, a lot of Canon brass have been quoted saying that consumers want smaller high-performance cameras.  I don't think the G1X is the end of that trend.  I think there's a lot of potential for a very small EF-s camera this year, possibly even full-frame EF.  We'll see...

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon, range finder to medium format.
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2012, 12:11:57 PM »
When it comes to lense size you say image size of the lense, educate an old guy, do you mean it is to small to suit a mf sensor?  I would of thought distance between the mount and sensor dictated this, Rollifex had small lenses on their tlr's.

A lens is designed to project an image covering a circle of a certain diameter.  For Canon EF lenses, that circle has a diameter of 43.3mm, which is exactly the size needed for an inscribed rectangle of FF proprotions, i.e. 24x36mm.  Thanks to Pythagoras: SQRT (24mm2 + 36mm2) = 43.26mm.

Yes, you can move the lens further from the sensor, resulting in a larger image circle - that also results in a loss of light intensity, and a loss of infinity focus (that's how an extension tube works for macro shooting). 

So, if you want a larger sensor, you need lenses which project a larger image circle at their intended focal plane.
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Re: Canon, range finder to medium format.
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2012, 04:31:28 PM »
There were rumors that Canon was interested in Pentax, if I remember correctly.  However, that rumor seems pretty dead now.

With Canon suddenly getting "religion" about overly high pixel counts, Acquiiring a MF company still makes sense to me, but Canon seems locked in to propriatary lenses and mounts, and has the talent and knowledge to develop and manufacture their own.  They also have a distribution network that is second to none, and can get product into pro shops anywhere in the world. 

Right now, it looks like they have decided to move into the Cinema business in a big way.  There must be more money in it than I had thought.

Kernuak

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Re: Canon, range finder to medium format.
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2012, 05:57:09 PM »
By the definition supplied by Wikipedia, medium format is any size larger than 24x36mm, but smaller than 4x5 inches. I remember some time ago, there was a rumour about a 1Ds MkIII replacement with a square sensor and I think a separate rumour about a 50MP range replacement. Of course, there were also various other rumours, including a 32-36MP sensor. A thought to chew on, by my calculation at the time, a 36x36mm sensor, with the same pixel density as a 32-36MP 24x36 sensor would be close to 50MP. Whether that would still fit within the image circle of an EF lens, I have no idea, I suspect it would be tight and would certainly result in some quite impressive vignetting. Something else that may be a possibility, with the 4:3 format of the G1-X, who's to say that Canon won't at some point apply that to a larger sensor DSLR. It might sound a little silly, but by the Wikipedia definition, a 36x27mm sensor would qualify as medium format.

Some quick calculations and you can't really get any bigger than 30.6x30.6 for a square sensor and 34.5x25.9 for a 4:3
« Last Edit: January 13, 2012, 06:18:13 PM by Kernuak »
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Re: Canon, range finder to medium format.
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2012, 05:57:09 PM »

dickgrafixstop

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Re: Canon, range finder to medium format.
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2012, 06:25:06 PM »
Contax was a Kyocera company (also Yashica) that withdrew from the camera market.  I'm sure the specifications and licesnses if not the equipment required could be obtained.  Then what have you got - 1970/1980's designs to solve a 2010's problems.  The Contax G2 was an excellent advance in rangefinder cameras but never found a marketplace for a technologically advanced version of a 1930's design with excellent
but expensive proprietary lenses.   Not the sort of avenue I'd expect Canon would wish to trod.
The Cadillac of MF couldn't make the shift to digital - Hasselblad was sold to Phase one (a digital emphasis
company) and is even yet having problems, not the least of which is an entry price north of 20K.  The
shift from Zeiss to Fuji as a lens supplier may have helped margins, but not image quality.
Leica's volume is a rounding error to Canon and if you're going to buy a full frame rangefinder camera,
why not buy the relatively mediocre body that supports the world's finest 35mm lenses?  Don't see
Canon is the cloning business for small volume products. 

willrobb

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Re: Canon, range finder to medium format.
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2012, 08:45:08 PM »
Mmmm, medium format rangefinder. If canon everreleased one I'm sure it'd make a 1DX look cheap.

In the meantime, I'm happy with my Mamiya 7II medium format rangefinder and I'm just sorry not many people want film used for weddings/portraits these days, so it's become an expensive bit of gear for personal shots, usually when traveling.

Hillsilly

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Re: Canon, range finder to medium format.
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2012, 10:38:49 PM »
Your idea has merit. Contax made quality cameras.  Plus, apart from the G2, there aren't many other autofocus rangefinders around so there might be some technical know-how that could be useful.  But I doubt that there would be enough to make acquisition attractive.  If Contax had a modern, medium format, digital back production plant, it might be a different story.

The Contax G2 was an excellent advance in rangefinder cameras but never found a marketplace for a technologically advanced version of a 1930's design with excellent but expensive proprietary lenses.

Wow!  I just checked and Contax closed up in 2005.  About two years ago there was a spate of very positive G2 reviews, which made me a little curious.  I'm 99.99% certain that B&H etc were still stocking them.  Obviously, very few people were keen to drop a lot of money on 35mm film cameras by that time.
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FredBGG

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Re: Canon, range finder to medium format.
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2012, 11:09:34 PM »
Contax was never a company. Contax was not a Kyochera company.

Contax is a brand name owned by Carl Zeiss. The brand was licencesd to Kyochera.

I do not think that Canon has any interest in buying a medium format company.

The number of sales of a medium format camera are too low to be of interest to Canon.

IF Canon were to enter into the MF market it would be for brand prestige... something they don't really need.

The push into cine cameras is an extension of their video and film buisness.

I think that we are more likely to see a new MF camera come from Fuji. They are the word authority in MF.
They designed and build the Hasselblad H series.

Fuji has made a decision to grow it's camera and photo division and become the number 3 camera company.
Part of that stratergy could well be to make a MF flagship camera and do so under it's own name.

They have definitely won a few hearts with the x100 and the new x-pro.

If Fuji can scale up it's sensor tech in the x-pro to MF it's game over.

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Re: Canon, range finder to medium format.
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2012, 12:37:08 PM »
There were rumors that Canon was interested in Pentax, if I remember correctly.  However, that rumor seems pretty dead now.

With Canon suddenly getting "religion" about overly high pixel counts, Acquiiring a MF company still makes sense to me, but Canon seems locked in to propriatary lenses and mounts, and has the talent and knowledge to develop and manufacture their own.  They also have a distribution network that is second to none, and can get product into pro shops anywhere in the world. 

Right now, it looks like they have decided to move into the Cinema business in a big way.  There must be more money in it than I had thought.

MF would be interesting, and a rangefinder would be interesting... I really liked on the G1X that the exposure compensation is an actual dial. I would love a camera whose controls all had some dial or at least button. A rangefinder with a manual shutter selector, aperture selector, iso selector, whitebalance selector would be wonderful!

As far as Canon's new religion of low megapixels, I hope they repent of it soon and return to the good old ways! Or, at least, they don't mess up the 7D mark II...
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Edwin Herdman

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Re: Canon, range finder to medium format.
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2012, 07:59:54 PM »
Yes, you can move the lens further from the sensor, resulting in a larger image circle - that also results in a loss of light intensity, and a loss of infinity focus (that's how an extension tube works for macro shooting).
I found this very helpful and it's worth highlighting:  If you move a lens away from the sensor plane, the part of the image circle being used is reduced (the sensor will get a magnified image).  Just moving from one sensor to a larger sensor will require this process as well, and so infinity focus is lost (or else there will be heavy mechanical vignetting, same as has been described and seen from using EF-S lenses on full frame or APS-H format, or from using DX type lenses on FX format, and the like).

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Re: Canon, range finder to medium format.
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2012, 07:59:54 PM »