Photokina - dpreview summary

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Alan Browne, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Alan Browne, Oct 4, 2004
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  2. Alan Browne

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Any idea who might have a review of film camera products from Photokina? The link
    you listed is only for direct digital products.
    Gordon Moat, Oct 4, 2004
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  3. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Alan Browne, Oct 4, 2004
  4. Alan Browne

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Okay, I had a chance to read that, and it points out some interesting industry trends.
    Mostly, these are things that I thought would happen two to three years ago, and it seems
    I guessed fairly correctly. There is a slight convergence of imaging technologies in
    imaging devices. What has surprised me is how quickly camera phones have developed, and
    the volume of sales, far greater than I ever imagined two years ago.

    Judging by sales volumes in Europe, Japan, and the US, direct digital cameras and film
    cameras have nearly split in total volume, with projections for direct digital to surpass
    film camera sales this year. That excludes camera phones, and one-time-use cameras. Also,
    with one-time-use cameras, Long's Drug Stores in the US have made an agreement with a
    company to sell $20 one-time-use digital cameras. At the end of your use, you get
    postcard sized prints and a CD. While that is more than for a similar film disposable, it
    might address a desire for some to try direct digital, especially since the proposed
    camera has an LCD image review.
    Largely direct digital, mostly compact and P&S style, with a few ZLR reviews thrown in.
    Well . . . not a bad review, though I was hoping for a more in depth report, since much
    reads like press releases.

    Okay, so compact digital is under increasing pressure from more capable camera phones.
    The next big imaging development will be wireless imaging, and not just for camera
    phones. Film camera sales will continue, though development is decreasing, and film
    camera sales are expected to decrease.

    If I were to predict towards two years from now (late 2006), my guesses are that compact
    cameras will greatly suffer in the market. I mostly expect film P&S cameras to disappear
    (maybe Contax and Leica exceptions), and most direct digital compact cameras to
    disappear, all mostly replaced by ever more capable camera phones, which I expect to see
    common at 3 to 4 MP, with zoom lenses, and small flash units.

    I also predict the ZLR cameras will continue in direct digital, though some pressure will
    come from even better still capability in video cameras. I also expect motion image
    capture to become more common in ZLR types within two years. No new film products will
    match this market segment.

    My prediction for SLR cameras is that the lower cost film cameras will continue to be
    sold, though some pressure will come from even lower priced direct digital SLRs, probably
    in the 8 to 12 MP range, some full frame. When 2008 arrives, I expect no new film SLRs
    from Japan, and possibly only Leica and Contax with film SLRs (and those might be the
    only manual focus cameras still available new). Higher specification SLRs will continue
    from Nikon and Canon, but I would guess none from anyone else in Japan. Higher
    specification full frame digital SLRs will become common, lower priced, and somewhat
    lighter due to newer battery technology.

    I predict that medium format digital backs will advance to 645 and 6x6 full frame, but
    the costs of new gear will not change much. Mamiya will be the biggest player, followed
    by Hasselblad and Rollei. Pentax will leave the medium format market, as will the Contax
    645. Film backs will continue to be sold, though all new lenses will be proclaimed as
    digitally optimized designs.

    Film scanners will get better and lower cost. Flat bed scanners will become substantially
    better, and meet the needs of more people exploring Polaroid imaging, and large format
    film. Drum scanners will continue to develop, but fewer professionals will use these as
    the cost of in house film scanners drops.

    Anyway . . . fun to speculate, but it is easy to be wrong on much of this. The bottom
    line is that a creative vision is the most important thing about photography, and vastly
    more important than any gear.
    Gordon Moat, Oct 5, 2004
  5. ZLRs are coming into their own. :) [blushes]
    Woodchuck Bill, Oct 5, 2004
  6. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    While I don't think phones with cameras are too useful for we merry band of
    photographers, stating it the other way around becomes useful: cameras with a
    cell phone connection could be very useful. You shoot, and as soon as the
    camera is in range of a cell tower it automatically begins uploading the images
    to online storage for later retrieval. The few widgets that exist (Nikon,
    Canon) will offload to a nearby PC tank, so that's a good first step.
    Having prepared and distributed numerous press releases at shows, I can tell you
    that the journalists preparing show news use mainly PR's for direct source
    material. They may show up and ask a few questions and add that to the report,
    but the PR's "as is" often make the story in "Show" news reports.
    I've still got a bug on this one. I don't see it. The idea of phones having
    cheap little lenses and 480 x 512 (whatever) sensors is a natural, but having
    the full capability of a Canon A95 in a phone seems extravagant. You would
    possibly need two power sources, one for the less demanding phone another for
    the more demanding camera... in the meantime, serious mobile communications in
    the form of Palmone Treo and others is really where the value will be (IMO) and
    there is just a simple camera built in.

    NOTE: Many companies (esp. in aerospace and defence) will not allow you to visit
    them if you have a camera... whether seperate or in a mobile phone.
    Yep. Although the sensor resolution of a ZLR is many times higher than a video
    camera. You could gang together many pizels to form a single video pixel, I
    suppose and then turn a ZLR into a video competitor... but such capabilty seems
    limited to date (I may be wrong on this, I don't dwell on it very much).
    My Maxxum 9 is about as full featured as it gets. I expect I'll be able to pick
    up a used one or two as backup/spare parts. This camera should last another 20
    years if well maintained. In 20 years from now I may be the eccentric who uses
    With Bronica now bleeding out on the altar of competitive pressure, Pentax and
    Contax have short term relief and long term worries. Mamiya may be in the
    strongest position of all. (I was offered a used Mamiya 645 package then I
    discovered that some lenses are leaf and some are not... and for the camera in
    question the sync was 1/60 when non leaf... no deal).

    Mamiya have very high feature/price ratio. Few will be able to justify the H1
    with a digital back, even if leased...
    I believe drum scanners are at their technical limit and they are fussier than
    desktop film scanners (which are fussy enough) to use. Desktop film scanners
    cannot get the fine detail of the drums. For the person who really needs that
    detail the drums are it. Flatbeds have even more limitations than desktop film
    scanners so for film scanning will always be last choice.
    Yeah, but we're all gearheads at some level or other!

    Alan Browne, Oct 5, 2004
  7. Alan Browne

    Gordon Moat Guest

    I read about the first front page newspaper image from a camera phone almost one year ago. It
    happened in Australia, and involved an interview at a prison. Cameras were not allowed in
    there, but the reporter managed to get his fairly new camera phone into the place without
    anyone noticing, and managed to get one photo.
    Check out this press release from Zeiss. They seem to think that 10 MP is within reach on
    camera phones in the near future, and are designing lenses for camera phones already. I have
    also heard of Canon doing the same, and likely other companies are investigating that market
    area. More here:

    Palm and other handheld PDAs were mentioned in the overall Photokina report. They are
    definitely becoming more sophisticated. It is currently speculated that nearly any mobile
    electronic device might have an imaging system, either still, video, or both, in the near
    I think that is becoming much more common. Perhaps most electronic devices might be banned at
    some point, in certain locations. All this makes a Minox seem rather pedestrian.
    I might be there with you . . . and we might be both buying film through B&H that comes from
    China, India, and Eastern Europe (maybe Africa).
    Pentax has no easy solution for a digital back, or medium format digital like the new Mamiya.
    That means additional tooling costs to enter that high level, mostly professional, market
    segment. With Contax, their 645 is really nice, but high prices and a limited range of gear
    makes it a less common choice. I have rented a Contax 645, and it is a very nice camera,
    though I wonder how long it will be around.
    Though Hasselblad is hedging their bets by offering an Imacon back solution for the V system
    cameras. That plays into an existing user base. Rollei have been electronic interface and
    control for quite some time, and now have the only autofocus 6x6 camera. While they have
    offered direct sales of digital backs, now they have shifted to partnerships with three back
    makers, Imacon, Jenoptik, and PhaseOne. Rollei also make more money off their P&S and compact
    digital cameras, though most of those are made by Sanyo (if I remember correctly).
    That could be . . . early last year a drum scanner came out that can image down to 3 µm
    (microns). With some films, that is nearly the size of the grain clumps. I also wonder if
    there would be any benefit to being able to scan at less than 3 µm size. However, the
    companies still making these could go some ways to making desktop units that are more
    affordable. I have used some drum scanners, and the software interface is generally easy to
    use. The oil mounting differs slightly, those many work well without using any oil.
    Agreed. I don't think drum scanners will disappear, just that they will be used less often.
    Not sure what that would do for the price of drum scans.
    Shame that AGFA did not further develop their DuoScan, but maybe Microtek will do something.
    The other company I expect more out of is Umax, who are rumoured to have made some of the
    Linotype-Hell and Heidelberg desktop scanners.

    If you have ever seen a scan from a Creo flatbed scanner, you might be tempted to throw out
    your desktop toaster shaped film scanner. Of course, Creo prices are higher than even some
    drum scanners. I would expect the technology that Creo has now will trickle down to more
    affordable systems, though that might take longer than two years.
    Of course . . . and that is what brought us to this group.
    Gordon Moat, Oct 5, 2004
    Woodchuck Bill, Oct 6, 2004
  9. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    That's a "get away with it once" scenario.
    Well there ya go. I'm so disinterested in the notion, that I don't see it
    taking on greater capability...
    The ubiquitous device. I can see it now: "The mobile phone Shoot-in images are
    Retro time!
    If it works out that way, that's fine with me. Quality processes have taken
    root in these regions, so it may be a good thing. OTOH, while it has taken
    longer for digital to catch up in those places, it will catch up eventually.
    I don't know Contax very well. The only person I know who has one is a local
    photog who uses Contax (MF) for his business. Pentax will likely exit MF.
    That affordability thing does keep coming up...

    Alan Browne, Oct 6, 2004
  10. Alan Browne

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Yeah, that reporter was lucky.
    I would have dismissed it as well, though I also do evaluation of upcoming phone technologies for
    the 3G group. Mostly, I provide commentary on ergonomics and design layout, and I rarely get
    specifications. I enjoy seeing the possible shape of phones to come, though I am not able to
    disclose any of them. Anyway, I would have dismissed these things as well, but they are becoming
    very popular.

    I never would consider getting a compact 3 MP to 4 MP digital camera, but when camera phones get
    to that point (soon) I am likely to get one. I think many other people will feel the same, and we
    might see digital cameras in that range start to disappear.
    Maybe . . . . . A Minox could almost be passed off as a cigarette lighter. Industrial and
    corporate espionage is big business, and might even employ more "spies" than many governments.
    I tend to agree. Since I check EBAY every once in a while, it was interesting that I saw Lucky
    Film for sale about a month ago. I was almost tempted to get some to try out.
    The Contax 645 is barely promoted, but the Pentax medium format does not seem to be promoted at
    all. At some point, they might question justifying a workforce to produce new versions. Simple
    True. I can now consider getting an old Heidelberg or Linotype Hell flat scanner, but those can
    now be compared to some new flat scanners from other companies. The software is another issue, and
    too often the used items come up without the older software, which is a problem. I share flat
    scanners with two other design offices when I need them, though I could save some time with one in
    my office. The prices only get better.
    Gordon Moat, Oct 6, 2004
  11. ROTFL! That's a great idea for a mandate? Would you mind if I use that when
    my turn comes up? [half joking]
    Richard Cockburn, Oct 6, 2004
  12. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Richard Cockburn wrote:

    I hope not!


    "I told my wife the truth. I told her I was seeing a psychiatrist.
    Then she told me the truth: that she was seeing a psychiatrist,
    two plumbers, and a bartender."
    --Rodney Dangerfield (1921 - 2004).

    -- user resource:
    -- e-meil: there's no such thing as a FreeLunch.--
    Alan Browne, Oct 6, 2004
  13. The digital version of "special moments".
    Richard Cockburn, Oct 6, 2004
  14. Alan Browne

    Sander Vesik Guest

    Umm... Why? Imagine a world where everybody (and their dog) has a mobile
    phone, one that they always carry with them (many european countries have
    90%+ of people owning one, so this is far from "hypothetical"). Now imagine
    you can add a resonable quality - with say 3mp or similar - camera to
    the phone.

    and suddenly, the digital compact market (and compact film camera one too)
    is ... gone. and everybody at some point has a digital camera. and the
    competition is all about who makes which deals with which phone makers.
    Sander Vesik, Oct 7, 2004
  15. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    For me a phone is a phone. While I appreciate that a snapshot and a mobile
    phone seem to be naturals, I more appreciate devices like the blackberry for
    integrated communications. The new treo has similar features and some models do
    inlcude cameras.

    In my business, most companies ask you to not bring in cameras of any kind, and
    recently the question I've received at two places is: "does your cell phone have
    a built in camera?" Such a feature will be an inconvenience to me more than a

    Further, damnit, I take photography seriously and I take it with photographic
    tools. Mechanics do not use Swiss Army knives to do their work. (Oh shit!
    I've said it, and now Swiss Army Knives will have cameras built in too!).



    "I told my wife the truth. I told her I was seeing a psychiatrist.
    Then she told me the truth: that she was seeing a psychiatrist,
    two plumbers, and a bartender."
    --Rodney Dangerfield (1921 - 2004).

    -- user resource:
    -- e-meil: there's no such thing as a FreeLunch.--
    Alan Browne, Oct 7, 2004
  16. Alan Browne

    Sander Vesik Guest

    Sure, but you are by and large an exception and not the rule.
    People who take photography seriosly are proably not at all concerned
    about the disappearance of the lover end of P&S cameras and their
    replacement with mobile phones having similar features.
    Sander Vesik, Oct 8, 2004
  17. Alan Browne

    vxjlghnm Guest

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