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Author Topic: The Price of Full Frame  (Read 10606 times)

neuroanatomist

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2012, 12:37:42 PM »
- Current 7D AF - paid off tech

Keep in mind, AF systems have to be designed for the sensor size they compliment, to achieve the right amount of frame spread. The 7D AF was designed for an APS-C size sensor, so technically speaking, creating a 7D-style 19 cross-type point AF system for FF would not really be paid-off tech. Who knows what kind of nuances might present when "scaling" the technology to FF size, but its highly doubtful it would be particularly cheap. It would need to go through the same kind of design and QA process that any new AF design goes through.

What is the 'right amount of frame spread'?  By most accounts (mine included!), the point spread on the 5DII sucks.  Relative to the image sensor size, every other current Canon camera in the lineup has better AF point coverage, from the 1D X down to the T4/1100D, than the 5DII. 

FWIW, below is a superimposed image of the 7D's AF points (black) projected onto the 5DII's AF points (blue).  The coverage still sucks, but to be honest, it doesn't suck all that much more than the 5DII, and the greter density of points would mean better AI Servo performance.  Just sayin'...
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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2012, 12:37:42 PM »

jbwise01

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2012, 01:25:52 PM »
Anyone have any idea on the actually manufacturing costs of a full frame chip vs. a c size? Other then one being larger then the other, I would have to guess that the technology can't be all that different.

Canon has stated that production cost for a FF sensor is upwards of 20 times the production cost of an APS-C sensor.  It's a combination of far fewer sensors from each wafer, a requirement for more stamping passes for FF vs. APS-C, and proportionately greater loss of FF sensors from QC.

If you look at the raw difference in production capability based on a standard 8" silicon wafer you would get the following:



So based on a $2500 price for the wafer, that gets you the following cost for each sensor:
FULL Frame: $104
APS-C: $31.25
Nikon-1: $10.24

Of course there is quite alot more that goes into the cost of the sensor, but lets say that at minimum the 400 to 600 process that are involved from silicon wafer to image sensor would cost about 5 times as much as much as the raw silicon itself, so you would basically mulitple the price by 5 for each sensor.

Now you have:
FULL Frame: $520
APS-C: $156
Nikon-1: $51

Now we are getting closer to a materials cost for the sensors themselves. This does not not take into account the simple fact that the higher cost FF sensor would be require special handling to ensure the wafer isn't damaged. Imagine for a minute if 5 sensors on each wafer were damaged due to dust, etc.. that would ruin roughly $2500 worth of FF sensors, but only $775 of 7D and $250 worth of Nikon-1's

Next you have to consider the camera body, image processors, etc... not to mention the huge difference in Reserach & Development, and you can quicly see the justification for the cost difference between these cameras.

DavidRiesenberg

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2012, 01:57:08 PM »
The problem is that there are a lot more unknowns. For instance, what does Canon do with less than optimal sensors? In CPUs that's usually not so big of a deal and the manufacturers sell the less than perfect specimens with a lower clock or locked cores. I'd imagine that this won't work so well with a camera sensor.
On the other hand, a factor that may skew the price difference in favor of the FF sensors is that in general, the edges of the wafer are the ones that produce lower quality chips and since that in FF wafer the edges will be less utilized anyway that could mean less discarded chips than in the APS wafer.

kubelik

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2012, 02:09:40 PM »
as awinphoto noted, the bigger issue over production cost is actually the competitive landscape.  even if Canon could drop full frame cameras for $2000, why would they?  nobody's out there buying the Sony A900 or A850.  Nikon just dropped the D700 replacement ... for upwards of $3000.  there is zero reason for Canon to low-ball themselves to the bottom of the market.  frankly, and I don't mean to tempt fate here, if Canon just continued to compete against the D800 with the 5D Mark II, I think they could still do pretty well given the fairly small performance difference and the fairly significant price difference.

briansquibb

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2012, 02:11:31 PM »
- Current 7D AF - paid off tech

Keep in mind, AF systems have to be designed for the sensor size they compliment, to achieve the right amount of frame spread. The 7D AF was designed for an APS-C size sensor, so technically speaking, creating a 7D-style 19 cross-type point AF system for FF would not really be paid-off tech. Who knows what kind of nuances might present when "scaling" the technology to FF size, but its highly doubtful it would be particularly cheap. It would need to go through the same kind of design and QA process that any new AF design goes through.

The 45 point 1Ds3 AF would fit straight in. Not as good as the 1DX - but they have to maintain the differential

jbwise01

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2012, 02:37:38 PM »
Also something to consider...

We (consumers) have no idea what the margins or economies of scale are for a particular sensor.

The price of the camera is far more complicated that you might think. Supplier Cost (+mark-up), Assembly Cost (+mark-up), Packaging Cost (+mark-up)... inventory cost.. longterm storage of supply prior to release to vendors. The you add the cost markup by distributors (B&H, Amazon, etc..)

You would think canon sells the cameras for a profit of some kind... but maybe they don't have a very large margin on these cameras , at least not a first... Sony, for exmaple, sold the PS3 at a loss for a few years before it became profitable. Canon may employ a similar strategy, with higher margins on lens' and accesories, to ofset the loss or minor profit on camera sales. This may explain the high cost of the new 24-70 II and you would expect any other new lens' to be high $$$ as well


stabmasterasron

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2012, 02:50:43 PM »
I think kubelik is spot on.  Having worked in new product development for many years (not the camera industry) in my experience, this is typically how things happen:  The marketing team and sales team get together and decide what the product road maps will be (with some input from engineers).  They decide what the selling price and features of a particular product will be.  It is then up to the engineers to develop a product whose production cost will be under the selling price.   The engineers will then go back to the team with a production cost.  There will be a negotiation of features and selling price.  Eventually they will settle on a set of feature and selling price.

I have been on teams for many new products where production cost was a factor in selling price, but not the major factor.  It had more to do with what the market could bear.  Or perception.  And yes, a few times, we even sold a product at a loss but knew we would make our money in after sales service and accessories.     

But all of the production cost, profit margin talk is just for fun.  None of us here really know, we are not Canon insiders (I guess there could be a few canon insiders trolling this forum).

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2012, 02:50:43 PM »

K-amps

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2012, 03:31:40 PM »
i'd be very interested in an "entry-level" full frame camera. what i'm looking for is basically a 60D with a full-frame sensor.

take the 60D build quality, articulated LCD screen, put a 5D2 sensor in it with Digic 5 and sell it for $1500 (i.e. twice as much as the 60D and probably half the 5D3).

if something like that came to life i'd probably preorder it though i'm not holding my breath. if it doesn't i'll probably wait until next year and opt for a used or refurbished 5D2.

Why you just come out and say it, you are looking for a 5D KISS x2.  :P
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 03:38:52 PM by K-amps »
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jbwise01

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2012, 03:37:08 PM »
But all of the production cost, profit margin talk is just for fun.  None of us here really know, we are not Canon insiders (I guess there could be a few canon insiders trolling this forum).

very good points... I think it easy for us to guess the price bc we know what the 5DII debuted at ($2699), what the D700 debuted at ($2950),

The D800 will sells for $2999, so I would expect the 5DIII/X to retail for $2799 at release, and be down to $2599 a year later... This its easier to understand than all the production cost talk...

supply and demand... if canon sells the 5DIII for $2999, people will buy it, if they want more sales they will simply drop the price until they feel comfortable with the sales numbers.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 03:39:12 PM by jbwise01 »

7enderbender

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2012, 04:04:58 PM »
Just read the rumour about the 5 Series split. I was wondering, with the D800 announced and priced ($3-$3,5k body) and Canon bound to respond within this same spec and price range (it seems for both), where does this leave average photographers - whether enthusiast or pure amateur/hobbyist.

I am almost certain there are more casual (even pro's) photographers out there that are PRICE sensitive rather than SPEC sensitive.  In the film days, full frame cameras were truly available in all shapes, sizes and prices. 

Being a 60D user, I regularly contemplate my upgrade path. The 7D is a very specific cam - well sealed & sports level AF. And FF appears to be that next step in IQ, low noise and DOF control everyone raves about.

What I would like to see is a rebel FF body - Call it a 6D or whatever:
- 1DX Sensor - this will give Canon another body to get volumes up on the sensor
- Upcoming 70D body and Movie features - another re-use
- Current 7D AF - paid off tech

Priced at at under $2k body only.  I can then either use F4 "L" zooms or 3rd Party lenses, with a non-L primes for low light (seeing that the new 24-70 is another price shocker).

Outside of 7D users, I guess most APS-C users are also not too heavily invested in glass, and if so, I suppose some of that is crop body specific in any case. So moving to full frame is not really "switching systems" for most APS-C users. So from where I am sitting a low cost FF body might just steal some other brand customer to Canon also.

Yes the 5D mark II will be available soon second hand, but Canon doesn't make any money from that.

Am I really alone in thinking, as a Hobbyist, that a $2k FF body will be awesome and the current Price trend seems ridiculous? Can Canon make money with such a lower priced FF body with parts from the wheely bin, bearing in mind future L lens sales? Will this cannibalize sales of other bodies? Or does every single FF user out there crave for the 36MP 61 AF pt monster at $3,5k body only as rumoured?


What about the price trend? Sure, cameras that are on par with what used to be very affordable 35mm film bodies and matching lenses are still expensive. And even that is relative. When the Canon A-1 came out (and I would say that is a fair comparison to, say, a 5DII) it was about $600 with the FD 50 1.4. In today's money that is about $2000.

And good digital SLRs that match that kind of quality are still relatively new. I never jumped onto the DSLR wagon because I could not see myself spending 6 or $7000 on a full frame camera when they were first available. And I simply never wanted a crop camera for a number of reasons. Now prices have actually come down and people who want the digital equivalent of an A1 or whatever can have that (and then some of course). Sure, it was nice when amateurs could actually get a used simple SLR and essentially get the same outcome as from a much more expensive pro model (lenses and skill set aside).

Eventually you may get "full frame" in cheaper and smaller cameras. But that may take a while - simply for marketing reasons. Once Fuji or Samsung or any of those guys come out with an affordable 35mm sensor camera (range finder or SLR) with exchangeable lenses things might change. At the moment you only get this at the 2000+ level - which, again, is quite an improvement of where things were 5 years ago or so.

As far as the cravings: not sure. Depends on where things are going. AF points, higher ISO etc will personally not phase me since I have little use for, especially while the gizillion of AF points are still being located around the center. Higher resolution? Sure, why not - though I'm still unclear of what you can do with it other then crop more. Printing technology is still stuck in the 8MP range somewhere unless you print really big. So it's kind of pointless.
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jbwise01

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #25 on: February 10, 2012, 05:47:06 PM »
It should be restated that the 5DII is a great value right now!

dr croubie

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #26 on: February 10, 2012, 06:06:20 PM »
Now there's a random thing that i've noticed. For anyone who doesn't know, i spend a *lot* of time on ebay (just ask my missus).

I've been tracking some second hand prices (dependant on condition, of course) lately, and here's what i've found. A few weeks ago, it looked like this:
5D - $800-1000
1Ds2 - $1200-1700
5D2 - $1600-1900
5D2 New - $1800-2200 (depending on exchange rates and how trustworthy is the seller).

Now, in the last week, I've noticed a disproportionate number of 5D (mark 1) bodies going, and they're going for a lot cheaper than normal, some as low as $600 in decent condition. I'm seeing more than 20 bodies in the list (still bidding) for less than $800. Some might end up over $800, but with a supply like this, the average price is going to drop.
But the weirder thing is, the 5D2 is not being sold at all. there's like 3 in the list that started below $1600, compared to a normal week of 6-10.
(1Ds2 doesn't sell enough to see any kind of trend yet)

What I think is happening is two things:
The 5D classic owners have had enough use of their bodies, 5 years is a good lifespan, and they're ditching them now in favour of nikon, or to beat the price drop once the 5D3 is announced.
The 5D2 owners are going the other way. Given that the D800 is launching over $3k, they figure that the 5D3 will do likewise, so a used 5D2 is going to be more attractive, and they're banking on a slight price rise to a used 5D2 later, so not selling them now.

In short:
You want a cheap FF, without fancy AF and without money and features wasted on video and things you won't need? Get a 5D mk1, and get it now while they're cheap. (I was contemplating a 1Ds2, maybe i'll get a cheap 5Dmk1 if i see one $500 or so)

(and I totally agree with whoever pointed it out already, just because we'd like a cheaper FF doesn't mean it's going to happen, canon has no competition and has no incentive to bring out a $1500 FF body, unless they want to compete with the prices of their old used bodies. That in itself is not a good thing, because if their used bodies go too far down in price they're not as attractive to buy new, total cost of ownership ($new price - $2nd hand sell price) goes down and then their bodies are not as attractive to buy new...)
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briansquibb

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #27 on: February 10, 2012, 06:49:55 PM »


The 5D classic owners have had enough use of their bodies, 5 years is a good lifespan, and they're ditching them now in favour of nikon, or to beat the price drop once the 5D3 is announced.
The 5D2 owners are going the other way. Given that the D800 is launching over $3k, they figure that the 5D3 will do likewise, so a used 5D2 is going to be more attractive, and they're banking on a slight price rise to a used 5D2 later, so not selling them now.


Perhaps the 5D owners feel that the 5D3 will be expensive and that the 5D2 is cheap at the moment and so are jumping at the upgrade.

5D owners of course will have mastered the AF by now so are not affected by the myth circulating about the rubbish AF

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #27 on: February 10, 2012, 06:49:55 PM »

LetTheRightLensIn

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #28 on: February 10, 2012, 07:25:05 PM »
What I would like to see is a rebel FF body - Call it a 6D or whatever:

That's the 5D2. Although perhaps just running one 1DX sensor line is cheaper than also keeping a 5D2 sensor line going.

One problem with low end FF is also that on the wide end it's tougher on glass. For APS-C a cheap Tamron will be crisp corner to corner, provide f/2.8, etc.

And if they don't add much to it then maybe it's not seen as worth the extra price over a used 5D2 or 5D.

Quote
Am I really alone in thinking, as a Hobbyist, that a $2k FF body will be awesome and the current Price trend seems ridiculous? Can Canon make money with such a lower priced FF body with parts from the wheely bin, bearing in mind future L lens sales? Will this cannibalize sales of other bodies? Or does every single FF user out there crave for the 36MP 61 AF pt monster at $3,5k body only as rumoured?

Some might depend upon sensor cost, larger sensors do cost more.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 07:32:48 PM by LetTheRightLensIn »

elflord

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2012, 07:26:17 PM »
Am I really alone in thinking, as a Hobbyist, that a $2k FF body will be awesome and the current Price trend seems ridiculous? Can Canon make money with such a lower priced FF body with parts from the wheely bin, bearing in mind future L lens sales? Will this cannibalize sales of other bodies? Or does every single FF user out there crave for the 36MP 61 AF pt monster at $3,5k body only as rumoured?

Sony tried a 2k full frame body and it wasn't very successful. The good news is that your sub $2k full frame is already here -- it's the used 5D mark II (or a new one if you can get it on sale).

You're not going to see what's very close to a flagship product at a discount price. There's nothing entry level about a full frame body with a flagship sensor and a top of the line AF system.

While it might not seem like Canon make money from used 5D Mark II sales, the buyers of the latest and fanciest technology need to sell their used gear to someone to fund their purchase. So a thriving secondary market where there is reasonably strong demand does help maintain demand for their flagship. If the market is flooded with cheap full frame bodies that are loaded with the same tech as the expensive full frame bodies, it could potentially undercut their high end products. Basically, the guys who would have bought used 5D mark IIs would buy the 6D instead, so those who are selling the 5D Mk II have to offload it for peanuts, and therefore have less to spend on the upgrade.

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Re: The Price of Full Frame
« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2012, 07:26:17 PM »