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Author Topic: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me  (Read 7993 times)

Marine03

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Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« on: September 06, 2012, 03:03:49 PM »
my first real SLR that I bought was the 450D, so before the age of digital how did Canon differentiate its model line up feature wise?   I mean back say year 1998 the determiner of IQ was the lens and film and the paper that it was printed on.  My point is, why have so many sensors across a brand's line up, with 1DX sensor, 5D3, 5D2 and then the rebel line up of sensors, if all camera's just over a decade ago had the same ability to capture light correct?  So what you pay for then is build quality, FPS, and metering etc. 
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Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« on: September 06, 2012, 03:03:49 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2012, 03:22:50 PM »
APS-C vs. FF, you're paying for the bigger sensor.  Silicon wafers are the basis for CMOS image sensors, and they're a fixed cost.  You can cut a lot more APS-C sensors from a wafer than FF, and the larger area of FF mean more loss to QC.

Electronic systems have noise - the better the electronics and the cooler they run, the less noise, and less noise means you get a cleaner image, or you can amplify more if you need to.  Consider the ISOs possible with today's sensors.  Ever see ISO/ASA 25,600 film?  The 1D X delivers usable images at that ISO.

Within a sensor size (comparing Rebel/xxxD to xxD to 7D), you're getting features (in fact, they all use the same image sensor, with the exception of the 650D which adds on-sensor phase AF) - better AF system, higher fps, better metering, build quality and sealing, etc.  5DIII vs. 1D X is similar - higher fps, better metering (which also means better AF), better build, more customization, etc.  Some of the features are physical, some just firmware (so yes, Canon could include those 'for free' on lower models, but they need to maintain differentiation, too).
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Marine03

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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2012, 04:37:56 PM »
So what your telling me is there is no reason why we actually need different sensors other than marketing purposes.  Cause like I said before with old camera's the features not sensors is what made them unique. 

So even though FF sensors cost more, if they sold 100K rebel FF's a year I think you could spread R&D costs around and prob make a profit.

How many MP equivalent would a traditional 35mm film equal out to in print size.

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jfretless

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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 05:40:51 PM »
The word "megapixel" was a god send to the camera makers.  It was a way that they could easily show people, 4MP is better than 2MP.  ...and people would buy new cameras solely based on that.

In the film days, I think technology reached a plateau.   Look at the flagship Canon EOS 1v HS.  10FPS and 45 AF points.  ...and that was in the year 2000.   

What has canon really improved in?  Sensors.  We still are around 10FPS and 45 AF points.  in 12 years?

oh and...

...everyone knows that once a new camera is released, the previous model is rendered useless and unable to produce usable images.

The past couple of generations have been trained to consume, consume, consume.

dr croubie

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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 06:03:08 PM »
http://www.canon.com/camera-museum/camera/film/chrono_1933-1955.html has good info, as does http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_EOS-1v (the timeline down the bottom).

From top to bottom, a few differentiators of quality:
1V, top of the line. 45pt AF (same as 1D/s), 21-zone metering, spot-linked metering, interchangeable focus screens (same as 1D/s), 100% view pentaprism, built like a tank and weather sealed (as well as any 1D/1Ds), 3fps or 10fps with motor drive, doesn't fog IR film.
Older 'top', the 1NRS. 5pt AF, 10fps with power drive, 100% pentaprism, 16-zone metering.

1-rung down, EOS 3. Same 45pt AF (but with eye-control), same screens, 97% view prism, pretty much all the same as 1V, but does 4fps or only 7 with motor drive, and the film counter does fog IR film.
Older 'next top', EOS 5. 5pt AF (with eye control), 94% pentaprism, not as well sealed as the 3 (afaik). inbuilt flash (the 3 and 1V had no flash, like the 1D/5D).

1-rung down, EOS 30V. Only 7-zone AF (with eye control), first camera with E-TTL II flash metering, 35-zone metering (it was a lot newer than the 3 and 1v), only 90/92% viewfinder coverage.

1-rung down, EOS 300X. 7-pt AF, 90% view pentamirror, 35 zone metering.

...everyone knows that once a new camera is released, the previous model is rendered useless and unable to produce usable images.
That's why I bought an EOS 3. It's only as good as the Velvia 50, Efke 25, and BW400CN that I put in it...
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preppyak

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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 06:59:55 PM »
So what your telling me is there is no reason why we actually need different sensors other than marketing purposes.  Cause like I said before with old camera's the features not sensors is what made them unique.
I would argue that cost is a huge part of marketing, so, technically yes marketing is why, but, only in a roundabout way.
Quote
So even though FF sensors cost more, if they sold 100K rebel FF's a year I think you could spread R&D costs around and prob make a profit.
Except if they can drive 50% of the profit margin of a 5D with the Ti series, and yet sell 50x as many, they'll make a hell of a lot more money. The biggest thing APS-C (and now mirrorless) is lower the entry barrier to better photography

Honestly evaluate the average DSLR buyer. They have no idea the difference between APS-C and Full-Frame in terms of how it impacts pictures, and so they probably aren't going to see the benefit of paying 5x as much for a 5dIII over a T3i. So Canon would be losing hundreds of thousands of sales if they only offered a full-frame entry camera at say, $1500.

Sensor size can be marketing, but, it also has many, many practical applications for why its bigger on some cameras and smaller on others. Most entry DSLR users would be frustrated by missing focus with the shallow DOF of full-frame, or by their pictures looking softer because their cheap lenses don't match the image circle. Not to mention, good full-frame lenses are heavy and expensive to make. APS-C is a way to cover those flaws yet still provide much better IQ than a P+S at a reasonable price.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2012, 07:02:47 PM by preppyak »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2012, 07:07:22 PM »
So what your telling me is there is no reason why we actually need different sensors other than marketing purposes.  Cause like I said before with old camera's the features not sensors is what made them unique. 

I disagree - size matters.  Let's use your 35mm analogy, why is APS-C called that?  Because of the old APS film format, which had smaller negatives than 35mm, resulting in lower quality and smaller max enlargements.
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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2012, 07:07:22 PM »

distant.star

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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2012, 08:35:23 PM »

.
Wow, this is the kind of discussion that could go on for hours -- on bar stools!

Since I'm a teetotaler, I'm going to make one point -- then head for the door.

Back in the film days, the "sensor" was a very mature technology. There are a few people around today who will suggest film chemistry could be dramatically improved, but really that's just picking the fly scat out of the pepper when compared with digital imaging.

Today's optical sensor technology is not mature technology. Over the last 10 years this upstart has evolved so fast (consistent with all new technological applications) that camera makers have had a dicey time keeping up with it well enough to formulate consistent product offerings. Development has slowed a bit now (and manufacturers have also gotten more control over the "development" so their engineering and marketing folks can get some breathing room to establish the kind of baselines that money-making entities like corporations so adore.

Almost overnight we've gone from a mature technology with limited possibilities to a radically new technology with almost unlimited (longterm) possibilities.

It's been a hell of a ride so far!

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risc32

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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2012, 08:36:38 PM »
so now we are suggesting that they should all have the same sensor? damn, i had been lamenting how they(other than the 5d/1d series) all did seem to have the same (7d) sensor. No, i hear what you are saying. other than costs involved in sensor sizes, and i don't doubt they are real differences, you are just paying for things like metering, build, whatever,whatever. they, the camera makers, just found themselves with another thing, sensors, they can use to their advantage to mix up the line-up. i don't dislike them for it. if they all waited until "full frame" sensors hit low costs instead of making up the little crop sensors cameras, us nonrich guys would still be only dreaming of shooting digital.

paul13walnut5

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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2012, 08:45:54 PM »
If it was a straight transition from 135 format film to full frame sensors, one would of course ask "Why have APS-C at all?"  but of course those who were there know it wasn't quite like that...

APS-C & APS-H were a godsend when DSLRs were in their infancy and production costs massive.

It set the ball rolling, would Canon have tackled their own FF sensor straight off the bat?

With the gift of hindsight a revisionist might think why have APS-C at all.  But that would be to ignore the benefits of APS-C such as focal length conversion (a godsend for budget wildlife / sports shooters) compact form and to render a generation of EF-s users lenses obselete.

The film analogy is also a little weak.  Budget bodies have always had more headline features but less top end functionality.. pop up flash vs weather sealing..  compact form vs fps...  PIC modes vs QCD...  things like higher shutter synch speeds, added AF functionality at f2.8, AF at f8 etc weren't headline features, but for the folk who used their cameras in anger, for money, they were essential.

Sure, a 300x with the same lens and film as a 1v may have the potential to give you the same image quality, but what if that lens is a TS-E that you can't rotate fully because the knobs foul the flash?  What if you want to change the focus screen to suit your application?  What if it rains?  What if the sun is behind the camera in a remote shot? What if you don't have an FEL button when dealing with fill light outdoors?  What if you need to do spot averaging?  What if you need to check depth of field whilst changing the zoom?  What if you want to change emulsion half way through a roll then change back?  What if you want a quieter rewind in a church?

Better cameras don't make better photographers, but they help better photographers make better photographs.

Before the 5D FF DSLRs were outwith the reach of all but the wealthy or professionals.  Without the 5 years of APS derived sensors leading up to the 5D we may not have had the 5D at all.

Whilst Neuros analogy stands there are practical considerations as well.  APS was perfectly adequate for the needs and aspirations of those spending APS money on a camera.  Much the same as the vast majority of those buying rebels aren't really thinking about 20"x30" prints.

FF cameras for all would be lovely.  But they would also be unnecessary.  I don't think it's a capitalist conspiracy.  I think it's more horses for courses.


CharlieB

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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2012, 09:45:07 PM »
The marketing term for megapixels is "measured-in quality".

The master of this is the venerable Sear-Roebuck Company.  The 5.2gallon Craftsman shop vac clearly isn't as good, or pricey as the 5.9 gallon model. 

~~

In the old days, there was clear distinction of cameras, as there is today, by feature set.  Its just that the features were different.

Back in the 90's we had the EOS-1 varient, the EOS-3, the EOS-5, and the EOS-7's... not in that order, and the Rebel line up. 

The IQ was more or less the same thru the whole line - as the FILM and LENSES were the same.  You got, back then, metering, FPS, other features, viewfinder coverage, flash manipulation, that sort of thing... and yes, build quality.

Today, IQ is part of the feature set.

I've still got a pair of EOS-5's, and they seem like Rebel lineup as far as build quality goes... even below that really.  My Rebel XTi was built nicer, felt better, sturdier.  But they work! 


pwp

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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2012, 10:59:18 PM »
This wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_EOS describes all Canon film bodies from 1987, and has links to more detailed information.

FWIW the one and only thing I miss about film is meeting other photographers at the lab. Now we have our conversations here.

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Hillsilly

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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2012, 11:52:01 PM »
.....So what you pay for then is build quality, FPS, and metering etc.

100% right. 

FYI, the last brand new Canon film SLR I bought was an EOS 3000 (as a second body with my 7e).  The 3000 was bottom of the line with virtually no fetaures.  It was around 1999/2000 and cost about $350.  I bought it because it was so cheap - it was on special and was normally $500+.  The top of the line Eos 1 was just over $2000 (and I think it still is).   For the price, you get so much more camera today.

Just like today, 90% of people just bought the cheapest slr.  Even now, I still run into people with 3000's. 

In between the Eos 3000 and 1, you had the 300, 33, 30 and 3 - all differentiated by build quality, weather sealing, FPS, focus points, eye control focus, AI servo speed, encoding of data onto film rolls, electronic recording of shot data, flash synch speed, max shutter speed etc etc.  By the late 1990's, camera had become very sophisticated and (ignoring the change to digital) its not surprising there hasn't be many big improvements to the basic features.

The prior generation used "5"'s instead of "3"'s in the model name.  But like todays, there was never any real consistency with the numbering schemes.  Eg, my first Eos in the early 1990's was 1000FN.
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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2012, 11:52:01 PM »

bdunbar79

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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2012, 11:59:27 PM »
my first real SLR that I bought was the 450D, so before the age of digital how did Canon differentiate its model line up feature wise?   I mean back say year 1998 the determiner of IQ was the lens and film and the paper that it was printed on.  My point is, why have so many sensors across a brand's line up, with 1DX sensor, 5D3, 5D2 and then the rebel line up of sensors, if all camera's just over a decade ago had the same ability to capture light correct?  So what you pay for then is build quality, FPS, and metering etc.

It's the sensor.  Could you buy 25,600 speed film back in 1988 and shoot low-light football at 1/2000s at night?  Of course not.  They didn't do it that way.  DSLR's, namely the 1D X, is truly revolutionary.
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Ew

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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2012, 01:01:31 AM »
This wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_EOS describes all Canon film bodies from 1987, and has links to more detailed information.

FWIW the one and only thing I miss about film is meeting other photographers at the lab. Now we have our conversations here.

-PW

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Re: Pre digital days, please shed some light for me
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2012, 01:01:31 AM »