New backs to give 35mm format shooters the "drools"

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Alan Browne, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Alan Browne, Jul 18, 2005
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  2. Alan Browne

    Walt Hanks Guest

    It's $30K (U.S.), - what a bargain!

    BTW, you can use the back on any camera that accepts Hasselblad A or H
    series backs, or Mamiya backs. You can also use the back on view cameras
    via adapters.

    I'm sure they'll sell like crazy! <not>

    Walt Hanks, Jul 18, 2005
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  3. I thought Leaf already made a 52MB (?).
    Dave R knows who, Jul 18, 2005
  4. Alan Browne

    RichA Guest

    Lets compare cost to resolution:
    Phase 1 39mp $30k = 1300 pixels per $1.
    Canon 16mp $8k = 2000 pixels per $1.
    Olympus E-300 8mp $800 = 10000 pixels per $1. With lenses!
    Cheapo Fuji 4mp $250 = 16000 pixels per $1. With a lens!

    What does this mean?
    Nothing. :)
    RichA, Jul 18, 2005
  5. Can someone please explain to me just what a "back" is, as compared to a
    camera "body"?

    Many thanks,

    Cockpit Colin, Jul 19, 2005
  6. As this comparison shows, it's not the number of pixels, but the size of the
    sensor that drives the price. The challenge is to produce a defect-free
    piece of silicon. If the manufacturing process has an average of one defect
    per area the size of a medium format sensor, half of them will end up bad.
    On the other hand, if the same process is used to make the tiny sensors of a
    P&S, the same piece of silicon will yield perhaps 99 good sensors and one
    bad. A much cheaper manufacturing process, like one having ten defects over
    the same area will still yield around 80-90 good small sensors, allowing to
    produce them and make good money. But no matter how many times one tries,
    such process will practically never deliver even a single defect-free medium
    format sensor. Not exact numbers by any stretch of imagination, but you can
    see the logic behind the price ratio.
    Happy Traveler, Jul 19, 2005
  7. Alan Browne

    Walt Hanks Guest

    The "back" is the portion of the camera that holds the film. With medium
    format and large format cameras, they are typically interchangeable, so you
    can have multiple backs for one camera body.

    The digital backs in question simply replace the film backs on existing
    cameras, so you don't buy an entirely new camera to go digital, you just buy
    the back.

    However, these backs are extremely expensive because of low volume
    production and very high pixel counts to satisfy the needs of demanding
    commercial photographers.

    Walt Hanks, Jul 19, 2005
  8. Yikes!

    So you're saying you can spend $30,000 and then you STILL need a camera and
    a lens to be able to take photos?
    Cockpit Colin, Jul 19, 2005
  9. Alan Browne

    Walt Hanks Guest

    I think it is safe to assume that anyone in the market for this back would
    already have an extensive collection of bodies and lenses.

    Walt Hanks, Jul 19, 2005
  10. Alan Browne

    Father Kodak Guest

    True enough, but ...

    Most semi-conductor manufacturers practice "yield" management. For
    microprocessors, it means testing all "dies" at the highest speed
    rating (for your current product line). Those that pass get packaged
    up and labeled at that fastest speed, and sold for a correspondingly
    high price.

    Those that don't pass, they get tested at the next speed rating, "one
    down" from the fastest. The same yield process. Those that don't
    pass this slower speed test get rejected and then tested again at the
    next lower speed, and so on and so forth. If the manufacturing
    process is good, not that many "dies" are actually defective and have
    to be discarded.

    Same process for memory chips, and also for photosensors, CMOS and
    CCD. So in principle all sensors can be tested for that 54 MB
    Hasselblad-back part. Those that fail, which is probably most of
    those parts, will be sliced up and then tested again as ???? size the
    manufacturer also sells.

    Part of the logic behind the pricing is that there is a market at that
    high price. At some point, the price for all these sensors will drop
    as volumes increase and manufacturing processes are tweaked to improve

    It has always been this way in semiconductors and will probably always
    be this way.

    Back in the long-ago day of single-sided and double-sided floppy
    disks, Verbatim and others practiced the same yield management for
    floppy disk media,

    Father (grandfather??) Kodak
    Father Kodak, Jul 19, 2005
  11. Alan Browne

    Stacey Guest

    And this is why anyone who thinks cheap full frame sensors are just around
    the corner are dreaming.
    Stacey, Jul 19, 2005
  12. Except that you have to take the costs of producing a 'small' sensor
    into account. If we assume that Nikon makes a profit on the D50, then
    APS-C sensors can't cost all that much.

    The step from APS-C to full frame 35mm is not all that big.

    Even though relatively speaking larger sensors will be more expensive than
    smaller sensors, that does not imply that larger sensors have to be very
    expensive in an absolute sense.
    Philip Homburg, Jul 19, 2005
  13. Father Kodak wrote:
    Not for imaging chips, though. You can't re-slice them. Idon't know if
    any manufacturers make a large imager from two smaller chips physically
    abutted - I would guess not for the market segments we are considering.
    Whether there might be anything to be gained by putting, say, four sensors
    at a single "pixel" site, and being able to discard one dead one, I don't
    know. I suspect not, as the dead ones amy come in clumps.

    David J Taylor, Jul 19, 2005
  14. Alan Browne

    SMS Guest

    Lately the yield management in CPUs has focused more on binning by
    lowest power. You pay a big premium for the lowest power chips. The
    el-cheapo no-name notebook PCs are using the highest power parts, both
    in CPUs and graphics, which results in more heat, and shorter battery life.
    SMS, Jul 19, 2005
  15. Alan Browne

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    [ ... ]
    To provide a line on which they could be divided, you would have
    to leave a section of the image uncovered, so there would be either a
    cross-hairs through the center of the image, or a bunch of processing to
    synthesize the missing pixels. And a practical line for parting would
    be many rows of pixels wide.

    Remember -- the sensors are not all that is on the chip. There
    are also the addressing or shifting circuits which lead to readout
    devices (and perhaps even to A/D converters) on the borders of the
    sensor chip.

    Slice out a bad area, and you may wind up with a good sensor
    with no way to get the signals off the chip.

    And whenever a chip is sliced, there is some damage, so a border
    is needed to keep the damage from reaching the active circuitry. The
    two most common ways (at least back when I knew about it) were to scribe
    and then flex to break into individual chips, or to use a fine wire saw,
    carrying an abrasive slurry to cut through the material.
    Aside from that, each sensor must use up surface area. Four
    sensors in a single pixel area would mean 1/4 the area, and thus a
    corresponding increase in noise. (Though that could be reduced somewhat
    by averaging the four when all four are good.) This would also increase
    the processing needed to make the raw image. And, as long as you can
    get four sensors in the space of a single pixel, you can just as easily
    increase the resolution of the sensor by a factor of four, so which way
    do you think the manufacturers will go, given how many people consider a
    simple increase from 6MB to 8MB to be a "killer improvement". :)

    DoN. Nichols, Jul 19, 2005
  16. Alan Browne

    Father Kodak Guest

    True enough. Very good addition. The main point is that the
    "binning" process always allows a manufacturer to eke out revenues
    from parts that are not the "best."

    F K
    Father Kodak, Jul 20, 2005
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