Where have you gone, Bob Monaghan ???

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Annika1980, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. Annika1980

    Annika1980 Guest

    Check out this post that Bob wrote less than 3 years ago.
    Pretty funny stuff, although I think he was right about point #5.

    From: Bob Monaghan
    Date: Sat, May 10 2003 4:52 pm

    How about a different approach to the film is dead debate? ;-) I'm
    to show you why the days of "serious" digital photography are numbered

    First, nearly everybody making digital cameras is losing money doing
    They have lost money, year after year (cf. Kodak, where film profits
    support losses in digital camera divisions ;-). Some major players like

    AGFA have already dropped out of making digital cameras and scanners at

    a loss to focus on profitable film mfgering.

    Second, nearly everybody in the USA who wants a decent digital camera
    already has one (i.e., 3 MP are now $150 New in Box). Who is left to
    Given 89% never make prints, just email photos on web, why do they need
    "upgrade" to newer and higher megapixel cameras when they never do

    Third, sales of older used digital cameras highlights the huge
    depreciation losses, often 75% to 90% in just 2-3 years. This
    is going to make it harder for second time buyers to be as enthusiastic

    about upgrading to a higher $$ new digital camera, knowing they'll
    lose another 75-90% of their investment again in a few years. Once
    twice shy...

    Fourth, an industry shakeout is pending. Corp. are losing $$, cutting
    costs, including loss leading divisions like digital photography (Cf.
    agfa). As the losers become more apparent, we are going to see a lot of

    "orphaned" digital cameras too. No support, no service, no driver

    Fifth, cell phone cameras will meet the needs of those 89% of current
    digital camera users who never make a print (per PMAI statistics),
    is to say, 90%+ of current digicam buyers/owners. They're going to send

    photos via their webpages or email anyway, so don't need prints. Nor do

    they need huge megapixel counts and interchangeable lenses and all

    The above is a critical point; 90% of the digicam users today - and
    in the cellphone camera future - don't need or want prints. These folks

    will NOT be in the market for a "serious" digital still camera.

    Sixth, Foveon's 16MP chip should shortly hit the volumes needed to
    prices under $100, and eventually under $10/chip. So disposable or
    recycleable 16 megapixel digital cameras will be available for $100 US$
    so. Why bother with today's 6MP cameras in the future, when for $100
    can have a handy and compact cell phone with 16 MP camera built-in?
    National Semiconductor's CEO, makers of Foveon's 16MP chips, on prices)

    Seventh, today's DSLR are transitional cameras, designed to help the
    mfgers (nikon, canon..) make $$ and develop digital camera technologies

    while retaining their market share and user base. Some of these OEMs
    not going to survive the digital camera industry shakeout (i.e., those
    $100 16 MP disposables). Will Nikon, or Canon, or Ricoh.. still be

    Eight, the digital sensors are limited by physics (noise, capture
    in size, probably won't get much smaller per Carver Mead of Foveon fame

    (Foveon's 16 MP is 22x22mm size). This means we don't need big lenses
    high resolution, but smaller lenses (22x22mm coverage) with less glass
    lower cost, capable of matching the 50 lpmm resolution of the current
    digital sensor technology. You don't need zeiss glass or $$ to do that!

    In other words, future 16MP cameras are likely to NOT use today's 35mm
    lenses, let alone medium format ;-) Expect a small zoom perhaps, fixed
    lens mount etc. with digital zoom

    Ninth, today's MF and 35mm DSLR with full size chips will lose out to
    much lower price high volume 16 MP chip cameras. Who wants to carry MF
    camera with 16MP back or 35mm DSLR (6 or 11 MP) bagful when a shirt
    camera will deliver same resolution 16MP images? When Foveon's 22x22mm
    chip is $10 for 16 MP, how many will want to spend thousands of $ for a

    larger area chip with the same resolution? It will be much cheaper to
    switch to the smaller, more convenient digicam. 35mm gear to the

    Tenth, 16 MP will be the "sweet spot" for digicams. Most folks will get
    good enough 11x14" print, and only 1% of current minilab prints are
    in size or larger anyway. So the benefits of a 64 MP or larger sensor
    be a hard sell to this volume market. If anything, the larger file
    will mean longer uploads for no increase in on-screen quality, fewer
    images per memory stick or drive etc. So larger sensors will be much
    costly for those serious digital camera users wanting higher image


    On the other hand, improvements in abysmal scanner technology of today
    will make it possible to capture the high frequency (high
    contrast/resolution) data captured on film with today's lenses. The gap

    between digital and film images, which today is only really obvious
    very good drum/laser scanners, will become obvious to even the
    Improved digital printers and scanners may make the superiority of film

    and film based image prints obvious over limited resolution 16 MP
    digicams, just as a good enlarger makes the difference between an 800
    film 35mm image from a disposable camera versus a medium format shot

    Films will improve, become more sensitive and linear (cf AGFA's 10X
    formic film technology), and open a new range of high quality low light

    capabilities with today's lenses (e.g., 1000 ISO/ASA speed with 100 ISO

    grain). see http://www.cnrs.fr/cw/en/pres/compress/emulsionsphoto.html


    The bigger threat to serious digital photography is serious video
    photography. People are buying digital video cameras, and using them to

    create those photos they need for prints, email to family, and so on.
    new mini-DV cameras have both digital tape and memory stick media
    to make all this easier. While the mini-DV camera pixel equiv. is
    it is more than enough for most web and email images. Again, keep in
    89% of digicam users today NEVER make a print, per PMAI statistics.

    the second point is that if 89% never make a print, only 11% have ever
    made a digital print from their digital photos. In other words, very
    of these users of digital cameras needs anything more than a webcam
    quality for email photos and web use. So how will you sell them
    serious digital still cameras in the future, when they don't need 'em
    aren't pushing the quality of the cameras they have now?


    So here's what I think is going to happen in the mid-future.

    There is going to be a shakeout of the digital (still) camera making
    industry. Corp. HQ is going to insist on seeing some profits after a
    decade+ of investments in losing money to buy market share. The flip
    is that most of today's DSLRs and digicams are going to be orphans as
    their makers drop out when only a few "winners" emerge after shakeout.

    Low cost 16 MP digital cameras, of recycled/disposable $100-ish prices,

    will displace today's high end digital cameras in most user hands
    89% of current digicam buyers, for example, and most of us wanting only

    11x14" or even 20x24" prints max.). These cameras will be small, with
    optics matched to the sensor size and (low 50 lpmm) resolution limits.

    In other words, our old DSLRs and 35mm/MF lenses will be behemoth sized
    comparison, and folks will not want to lug them around. Full format
    (24x36mm or 56x56mm) sensors will be very pricey, due to low volumes,
    yield results only marginally better than the low cost 16MP cameras at
    typical print sizes.

    Similarly, 64MP will be better than 16MP, but not as evident at typical

    print sizes and viewing distances, while size of camera and lenses and
    weight will be much larger.

    Most digital users will want both a video and still image camera, for
    graduation and all that. Since most images are not printed but posted
    emailed, the resolution can be modest and still displace much more
    and better quality DSLRs, even full format ones ;-)

    Where does this leave digital still photography? The vast majority
    be using cell phone and/or $100 16 MP disposable cameras to capture
    as good as today's MF backs or best Kodak/Canon DSLRs. That's the good

    The bad news is that there won't be enough of a demand to develop 64MP
    produce in millions needed to get volumes up and costs down to make
    sensors (beyond 64 MP?) as cheap as 16MP. At the 16 MP "sweet spot",
    digicams will still be inferior to the quality of film cameras. This
    be more obvious as scanner technology evolves to capture the full range
    data in film, unlike today (unless you are using a drum scanner).

    In short, I see digital video with still frame capabilities displacing
    much of today's still digital DSLR and digicam use for most consumers.
    those wanting still images, 90% of us for web and email use only (no
    prints), the future disposable $100 16 MP digicams with small matched
    lenses will fit the bill.

    This doesn't leave enough market potential from serious digital still
    photography users to justify the cost of developing ($100+ millions for

    cameras, similarly for chips) larger sensors. Instead, larger areas of
    film in MF and LF cameras will be used in place of larger (low sales
    volume) digital sensors, along with low cost scanner technology, to
    produce higher quality "digital" images and digital prints at an
    affordable cost ;-)

    So the future of serious digital still photography is, er, film ;-)

    grins bobm
    Annika1980, Mar 16, 2006
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  2. Annika1980

    Paul Furman Guest

    Well people haven't thrown out their 35mm lenses yet.
    Paul Furman, Mar 16, 2006
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  3. Annika1980

    Mike Guest

    Can your Canon 20D even produce an 8x10" photograph at a true 300dpi??

    Correct my math if I am wrong:

    8*10*300*300 = 7,200,000 pixels
    Mike, Mar 16, 2006
  4. Annika1980

    Colin D Guest

    Yep. 20Ds sport 8.2 megapixels.

    Colin D.
    Colin D, Mar 16, 2006
  5. Annika1980

    Mike Guest

    Just barely.

    How about an 11x14:

    11*14*300*300 = 13,860,000 pixels
    Mike, Mar 16, 2006
  6. Annika1980

    Colin D Guest

    There's not many films can do that either. As for the general run of
    films, specially those of 100 ISO or more, no chance. Velvia, maybe.
    And if the lens can do 130 l/mm, otherwise it's empty magnification.

    Colin D.
    Colin D, Mar 16, 2006
  7. Annika1980

    tbv Guest


    Jeez, even your reposts of 3 year old posts are off-topic.
    tbv, Mar 16, 2006
  8. Annika1980

    Mark² Guest

    And if the answer was yes, you'd then ask... "Ya, but what about 16x20...and
    so on...right?
    What's your point? -That you can list ever-larger print sizes with ease?
    Mark², Mar 16, 2006
  9. Annika1980

    Scott W Guest

    LOL, what you going to keep upping the number on us.

    Scott W, Mar 16, 2006
  10. Annika1980

    Skip M Guest

    Just barely?? A million pixels to spare...
    No, but your 35mm film camera doesn't, either. And my 12.8mp 5D doesn't
    miss by much, a 9x14 comes out to 312dpi. (Hey, if a million pixel
    overshoot is "just barely," then a million pixel undershoot should qualify
    as just barely, too, shouldn't it?) So the 16mp 1Ds mkII gets it done,
    Skip M, Mar 16, 2006
  11. Annika1980

    Colyn Guest

    My 35's are still seeing a lot of use.
    Colyn, Mar 16, 2006
  12. Annika1980

    Colyn Guest

    I can easily do quality 11x14's from 35mm negs.
    Colyn, Mar 16, 2006
  13. Annika1980

    Matt Clara Guest

    Hell, I just had 5 20x30 prints made from 35mm Velvia, and they look
    You can't tell the digiots anything, though, 'cause they simply know digital
    is better...
    Matt Clara, Mar 16, 2006
  14. Annika1980

    Tony Polson Guest

    16 MB digicams for $100? With Foveon chips? Whatever next?

    A digital cartridge that replaces the film in a 35mm SLR?

    I know, we could call it "Silicon Film" or something like that.

    Tony Polson, Mar 16, 2006
  15. Annika1980

    Jeremy Guest

    It goes beyond mere resolution. We film users have access to numerous
    emulsions, each with its own unique signature--a "pallet" of films as it
    were--rather than just the sensor in a digital camera. I don't follow the
    digital SLR lens scene, but I doubt that I'd want to trade in my 18 SMC
    Takumar and SMC Pentax lenses, with their high level of descriptive power,
    their beautiful contrast and bokeh and the intangible feel that they give me
    in using them, for today's digital plastic barrel lenses.

    I never understood the need to choose one system over the other. Digital
    imaging offers advantages in terms of speed from shot to final print, but
    why would people want to dump their once-cherished film bodies and lenses?
    Jeremy, Mar 16, 2006
  16. Annika1980

    Mike Guest

    Which is why I shoot 6x6 and 4x5" film :)
    Mike, Mar 16, 2006
  17. Annika1980

    Scott W Guest

    You can print from just about anything to any size and it will look
    good if view from far enough away. You could make a 20 x 30 print from
    a cell phone camera that when viewed at the right distance (say 20 ft)
    would look great.

    The point is that if you try to print larger then around 8 x 12 inch
    with even the best that 35mm has to offer the quality when viewed close
    will be degraded noticeably. I would put forward that the standard for
    sharpness would be compared to a print from a 20D printed at 300 ppi,
    since that is Mike is implying that he can make 11 x 14 prints that are
    as sharp as the 20D can at 8 x 10.

    Keep in mind it was the assertion that the 20D could not print 8 x 10
    at 300 ppi since that would be 7MP that started this offshoot of a
    tread. Just for completeness the 20D can make prints of 8 x 12 at 292

    As for your 20 x 30 print, I am sure it looks fine from a distance but
    I am also sure that when viewed close it will be both soft and showing

    Scott W, Mar 16, 2006
  18. Annika1980

    Scott W Guest

    That is the first sensible thing you have said. I don't know why
    film users keep wanting to try and compete with digital using such a
    small format as 35mm, just does not make any sense. If you want a
    bigger print then you really want either more area on the film side or
    more pixels on the digital side.

    Scott W, Mar 16, 2006
  19. Maybe because (mainstream) digitals don't have as good lenses,
    especially in the wide range - especially considering the cropping factor.

    Of course you can believe in magic and think that your xxx MP digital
    sensor will resolve more than the *wonderful*(?) zoom which is mounted
    on it...
    Chris Loffredo, Mar 16, 2006
  20. Annika1980

    Annika1980 Guest

    Can your Canon 20D even produce an 8x10" photograph at a true 300dpi??

    No. You'd need 2400 on the short side for that and the 20D only goes
    to 2304.
    So you could get a 8x10 at around 288dpi with the 20D without

    Now, back to the real world. Do you think you can see a difference
    between 300dpi and 288dpi (or even 240dpi) in a 8x10 print?
    I'll wager not.
    Annika1980, Mar 16, 2006
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