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Matsu
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2012-02-02, 07:29

Well this is weird

Pentax K-01

It might be of particular interest to Canon and Nikon. It's design is at best, inelegant. They've cleared away the mirror box, but don't seem to have used any of the vacant flange distance. The 40mm looks like it would work just fine on a traditional DSLR. What's the point of that? But, it might still be interesting for those manufacturers selling an established DLSR lens system - Nikon, Canon, and Sony/Minolta, in some ways already ahead.

Can they successfully evolve their DSLR systems by dropping the reflex mirror?

Sony has designed a better implementation than Pentax - though SLT robs a little light - they have real PDAF and a viewfinder. But they too haven't made better use of the roomier mirror box. The transluscent mirror doesn't swing, so I highly doubt that all 44.5mm of flange are needed for clearance. At best the mirror protrudes partly through. And, if we use Leica's M registration as a guide, we know it gets challenging to make non-retrofocus, full-frame wides with even a 28mm registration. Basically, if we go to pellicle mirrors or on chip PDAF, there is room in the mirror box to make old style, pre-retrofocal wides that protrude into the box a little. You then keep wide compatibility will all lenses but are free to try new lens and camera designs while maintaining system compatibility with all current lenses. More faster pancakes and wides maybe? But not if they look like the K01...

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Last edited by Matsu : 2012-02-02 at 19:19.
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PB PM
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2012-02-02, 14:23

I think we need to get away from the idea that an ILC camera has to be the size of a traditional point and shoot. It limits comfort for long shoots, limits the control layouts, making them increasingly dependant on things like touch screens.
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Matsu
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2012-02-02, 17:06

Agree. Hands and lenses can only be so small. But that void of space in the now empty mirror box of the K-01 makes no sense - except to eliminate costs. Imagine if they used up some of it to make their 40mm lens deeper? More glass, larger aperture, same overall camera profile.

What the K0-1 does point to is that at least some DSLR makers/designers are grappling with how to keep the mount their systems are built around despite the eventual demise of the mechanical mirror.

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Last edited by Matsu : 2012-02-02 at 17:30.
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PB PM
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2012-02-02, 18:26

That space isn't a waste. Having the lens too close leads to the poor wide angle performance of the NEX system.
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Matsu
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2012-02-02, 19:14

Ah, but how close? I have to admit this is an aspect of lens design I don't really understand. While the poor performance of some wides becomes an issue on NEX, in another corner of the digital camera world, Fuji is championing the short distance between the rear elements of their new X lenses.

I think I get it, maybe. You could still usee a retrofocal design with a shorter rear element distance in order to include more elements for greater correction, rather than just clear the mirror box, which maybe is what Fuji is doing?

Or, I could be completely wrong.

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PB PM
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2012-02-02, 20:30

Since we have no idea how the Fuji will perform, so it is hard to say.
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Dorian Gray
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2012-02-03, 10:12

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
The transluscent mirror doesn't swing, so I highly doubt that all 44.5mm of flange are needed for clearance.
Yeah, you don't need 44.5 mm for the mirror. The figure to keep in mind is 39 mm, which is the approximate back focus for all full-frame SLRs on the market. The mirror on all full-frame SLRs swings within this distance from the focal plane. The distance from flange to focal plane is less important, since that doesn't in itself restrict the position of the last element.

You and PB PM mentioned there are problems with putting the exit pupil too close to the focal plane, even if you make that possible by eliminating the mechanical restraints (mirror, etc.). In fact, two big problems arise, both caused by the very acute chief ray angle (i.e. incoming rays are very tilted from perpendicular at the corners of the sensor):

1. Individual photosites suffer from shading by the metal on the sensor and/or the microlens array and/or the colour filter (Bayer) array; if the shading is reduced by using less metal, then optical crosstalk occurs. This causes heavy artificial vignetting and colour shifts at the periphery of the image.

2. Astigmatism is induced by the filter pack between the lens and the sensor. The thicker the infrared and anti-aliasing filters are, and the more acute the chief ray angle is, the more astigmatism is induced. This is why Leica dumped the anti-aliasing filter and used a thin (0.5 mm) infrared filter in their rangefinders.

Astigmatism causes the tangential and sagittal foci to separate fore and aft with variation in image height, i.e. the field curvature of the tangential and sagittal foci is different. It is this astigmatism, caused by the filter pack (which has a different refractive index than the air that was assumed to be there during the lens design process), that results in NEX cameras producing soft corners with most rangefinder lenses.

If you're designing a lens that will only ever be used with one sensor (a fixed-lens camera), then you know the characteristics of the sensor and the filter pack, so you can design your lens around those properties. This lets you put lens elements really close to the image plane. For example, a large convex element near the focal plane converges the diverging bundle of light rays, effectively magnifying the exit pupil and pushing it away from the focal plane: a good thing for corner performance.

On another topic, I like Marc Newson's work on the new Pentax:



The camera looks simple and functional, and the materials are top class: aluminium alloy, natural rubber, etc. Nice to see a camera with some thought put into it. It's pretty big for a mirrorless camera of course, since it uses the K-mount, but that's not all bad as PB PM notes. Good to have some choice on the shop shelves.
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Matsu
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2012-02-03, 13:51

There's nothing wrong with the dimensions. I like the small frontal area, this is much more important than thickness if you're trying to go inconspicuous. However, I'm not a fan of the surface details.

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PB PM
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2012-02-03, 16:12

The design of the K-01 is very simple, that much is true. The weak spot is the grip side, which is only covered by rubber. It's weak enough that Pentax put an extra door over the SD/SDHC slot.
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Dorian Gray
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2012-02-04, 06:52

The French magazine Chasseur d'Images posted the D800 details here (along with an angry tirade at Nikon's inept marketing; reminds me of Phil Askey in the good old days!).

Good news:
  • around 3000 euros in France, which is better than it might have been
  • 36 megapixels
  • about 100 grams lighter than the D700
  • 100% viewfinder (no word on magnification)
  • autofocus detection range down to -2 EV (ISO 100)

Good news for some, but irrelevant to me:
  • available in March
  • 3.2-inch VGA display
  • uncompressed video-out over HDMI
  • PCM audio recorder input
  • USB 3

Bad news:
  • 4 frames per second, though that rises to 6 with battery grip (resolution not specified)

Strange news:
  • per-pixel performance equivalent to the 24-megapixel chip used in the NEX-7. Might just be a mistake by the Chasseur d'Images writer, or it might be a sign that you can't just up-scale a D7000 sensor to FX without incurring a performance penalty, even 1.5 years later
  • related to the above point: the same ISO sensitivity range as the D7000, despite pixels the same size and a sensor over twice the size
  • CompactFlash and SD card slots, just like the D300S, i.e. no XQD card, and the twin card slots are of different types. But maybe this is most appropriate for this class of camera
  • rumoured version without anti-aliasing filter does seem to exist, at 300 to 500 euros more. Knock me down with a feather!
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Matsu
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2012-02-04, 09:57

The best D800 news is that it would get the D4's focus system. That's very very good. 4fps is a little slow, but if it finds and locks focus fast, that's good enough to get the first shot and a follow-up.

I'm guessing its low light performance based on what we've seen of both the 16 and 24MP APSC, and Nikon's typical improvements over the Sony version of same. The 24MP then, comes pretty close to the 16MP at high ISO, but doesn't quite equal it IMHO when equalized for size. So, what will this 36MP version do on a sensor 2X the size?

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Dorian Gray
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2012-02-04, 10:20

The 24-megapixel Sony sensor does get pretty close to the performance of the 16-megapixel version. However, on a per-pixel basis the difference is significant. This doesn't matter, except that Chasseur d'Images says the D800 will have per-pixel performance similar to the 24-megapixel DX sensor. I'd have expected something closer to the D7000 pixel performance.

If they had described the D800 sensor as equal to the NEX-7 sensor on a per-area basis I would have no reservations!

But it's possible the Chasseur d'Images writer misinterpreted something he overheard. It's also possible he used the English words "per-pixel" without fully understanding what they mean. He wouldn't be the first to confuse per-pixel, per-area, and per-sensor concepts when comparing image sensors!
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Matsu
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2012-02-04, 11:11

All I'm really expecting is that it's slightly better than a D700 equalized for size (or more clearly stated, "per area"). Anything else is gravy.

We'll soon see...

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PB PM
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2012-02-04, 13:53

Considering how poorly the NEX-7 / SLT-A77 perform in low light the D800 could be a real let down in low light. Even if Nikon can improve it by half a stop, you'd need to downsize your images to match D700 performance. The only real upgrades I see over the D700 are the 100% viewfinder and dual card slots.
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Chinney
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2012-02-04, 16:04

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
There's nothing wrong with the dimensions. I like the small frontal area, this is much more important than thickness if you're trying to go inconspicuous. However, I'm not a fan of the surface details.
I am not a fan of the K-01's looks at all. It may be unfair and largely irrelevant to judge a camera by how it looks, since it is what is recorded through the lens that is ultimately important. But, hey, this is an Apple forum and by default I take it that design does mean something, and from that perspective I find the K-01 to be awkward, verging on plug ugly.

Go softly on.
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Dorian Gray
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2012-02-04, 16:39

NikonRumors has some more details on the D800. A couple of things stand out:

"The D800/D800E will "read" images with 12 different channels (14-bit conversion)"
Does this imply off-sensor analogue-to-digital conversion, like the D700? The Sony column-parallel ADC technique uses thousands of "channels", so it can't be that (but that's what the D7000 uses). I'm not sure how the D4 works, but according to the Nikon brochure, it does have the ADCs built into the sensor.

The D3, D700, and D3S use six Analog Devices AD9974 signal processors/ADCs on the main circuit board, which means the charge must be moved a significant distance while still in a noise-prone analogue state. This technique limits the engineering dynamic range to under 12 stops in these cameras, although their pixel architecture is capable of far more at base ISO. (The Analog Devices AD9974 chips also cost over $30 each, accounting for nearly $200 of the D700 production cost!)

"Start-up and shutter delay identical to the D4"
Good stuff. This will clearly be a very responsive camera, with the notable exception of the frame rate. You have to go back to the D100 of 2002 to find a Nikon Dxxx with a slower frame rate! (Funny old quote from that link: "…the D100 is one of the fastest digital SLR's we've had the pleasure to test […] Remarkable considering the amount of data being shunted around the onboard circuitry. )
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PB PM
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2012-02-04, 20:18

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinney View Post
I am not a fan of the K-01's looks at all. It may be unfair and largely irrelevant to judge a camera by how it looks, since it is what is recorded through the lens that is ultimately important. But, hey, this is an Apple forum and by default I take it that design does mean something, and from that perspective I find the K-01 to be awkward, verging on plug ugly.
No doubt, it is an ugly design, compared to Sony's NEX, or Olympus's m4/3s cameras. Speaking of Olympus, the E-M5 (their OM styled camera) looks like a very good design (OM-D is the development name). Nice to see a mirrorless camera that is going to offer a battery grip for improved vertical shooting!

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Matsu
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2012-02-05, 05:07

Quite like it. More camera makers should learn something there. The vertical grip has something I haven't seen since my Dad' MD-11 motor drive. A deep horizontal (not vertical) grip with extra shutter button. The camera itself was a flat box, the drive extended the grip. My hands are big, and I like a deep camera grip, and I think most people find them more comfortable, so most serious cameras just build it in. Still, it's a neat option to do it the way Olympus has here - the camera body alone is the compact option, but I you need/add the extra grip, you get the ergonomic one too.

PS - I always felt that the camera shook less when I used the MD-11 - like the action of squeezing the shutter was somehow dampened through the grip's design/mounting, but I haven't seen the MD-11 or mounted it to a camera in years. It's still in his camera bag, maybe I should take a look.
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Matsu
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2012-02-05, 06:58

Rumors seem to be confirming two D800 models, D800 and D800E, with and without AA filter.

I have to ask, it's not an area of post processing theory I understand, I just play it by eye and use a different mix of sharpening, clarity and high pass sharpening each time. Not reaLly going for different looks, just what looks best to me for that image. Not the greatest approach if you want repeatable results.

I'll have to do a bit of learning on this. However, the AA vs non-filtered question presents a significant decision point. What's the best? For what sort of subjects? And, what sort of work flow?

Is it easier/better to capturE with an AA filter and sharpen? Or to capture without and anti-alias using software tools?

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Kyros
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2012-02-05, 12:41

I think no filter just means that the photo will have more real resolution (so it will look sharper), with the downside of there being a greater risk of Moiré. So I guess you should avoid thinly striped subjects .

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Matsu
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2012-02-05, 13:15

I guess the question is really how effective is software based anti-aliasing, and how often is it required in real world situations?

If its simple and not time consuming, it may be preferable to apply a little post process anti-aliasing where needed and go with an D800E.

Might it be predominantly a workflow question? Moire has got to be a tricky if you're doing a lot of resizing and/or digital presentation, or video. If you're mainly working with RAW for print enlargements, maybe less of an issue?

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PB PM
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2012-02-05, 14:49

What I've heard is that landscape and studio shooters want the camera without the AA filter. For most other people and anyone who shoots video, it is more trouble than it is worth. Nikon will have to add a UV filter to the sensor to make up for the loss of the AA filter, so you'll still lose some resolution.

The D800e is also said to be at least $500 more, not something I'd opt for.
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Dorian Gray
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2012-02-06, 03:21

Low-pass filters (e.g. anti-aliasing filters) are essential for digital sampling without artefacts. But, many photographers seem to like some artefacts in their photos (notably, ones that increase the perception of sharpness or detail).

If a perfect optical low-pass filter existed, I don't think there would be much debate on this. The filter would attenuate to zero all spatial frequencies above the Nyquist frequency, while having no effect on frequencies below the Nyquist. The full MTF of the lens would be captured to the limits of the sensor resolution, without introducing moiré and other artefacts.

The problem is that such a filter doesn't exist. If a real filter is tuned to cut most of the signal above the Nyquist frequency, it also undesirably attenuates the signal below the Nyquist. As long as it doesn't attenuate the signal to zero anywhere below the Nyquist frequency, you could theoretically reproduce the full signal strength by appropriate sharpening in software. In practical cameras, this is very nearly the case. The cameras resolve detail down to very close to the Nyquist limit, and that detail can be made as visible as you wish with suitable sharpening (example; and that's not my house, gee!).

There is an obvious downside to this need for sharpening: it introduces noise.

Photographers also find it hard to determine the appropriate sharpening level and apply it to best effect. But that's a knowledge or tools problem, and can be fixed by reading this excellent book.

We all know that removing the anti-aliasing filter allows moiré to occur. The particularly nasty colour moiré is also common if the camera uses a Bayer-filter array. However, all details in the scene are subject to artefacting, and do suffer from artefacts; you just can't see these artefacts as easily as moiré, because they don't repeat in patterns across large swathes of the image.

Ironically, it's this false detail that landscape photographers seem to enjoy, since it fills a field of grass, for example, with lots of sharp edges. Many of those edges never existed in the original scene, but who's counting blades of grass? The perception of a field full of sharp blades of grass may trump an accurate representation.

Therefore I suggest that the removal of the anti-aliasing filter does not make sense from an information theory perspective, but may make sense from an artistic-intent perspective.
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Matsu
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2012-02-06, 04:43

Dorian, you ought to consider writing about these topics.

Looks like Nikon is going to go after the digital medium format entry level market. There was a time when all serious working photographers used medium format, even the less famous/successful journeymen. Elsewhere online Kelby and others muse that digital medium format will finally start making its way back into the hands of well heeled amateurs, wedding and event shooters, and part-time pros. Mamiya based systems have come down a fair bit, and Pentax's 645 is just kissing the edge of affordability - in relative photographic terms. You still need about 10,000 to get into these backs/bodies.

I've been looking over a few comparisons between P45 backs and the D3x. The 31MP P45 kills it under the right conditions. While we also have to consider the lenses and shooting conditions, and I would add, work flow, the larger sensor/system has a very clear resolution advantage.

Mentioned elsewhere in this thread is Kodak's vast online resource. I remember a paper once held there that suggested that 4/3rd was more than sufficient to equal or surpass the results of 35mm film. So maybe 35mm digital is sufficient to reach/surpass medium format film. A 36MP filterless 35mm DSLR that comes close enough, while costing a lot less - could be a big seller...

It might not attract folks who need their Hassleblad systems in studio, it might not replace those, or replicate the look of the larger format either. Still, lots of folks have 35mm F mount lenses kicking around for their D3/s/x/D4... $3000-4000 for a body that let's them do different sorts of work, and go out into the field vs 10000 for a body, plus a few thousand more for lenses...

Last edited by Matsu : 2012-02-06 at 04:57.
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Matsu
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2012-02-06, 05:43

If the performance is decent, they're going to sell a lot of these

http://www.tamron.co.jp/en/news/release_2012/0206.html
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PB PM
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2012-02-06, 11:39

If they don't price it too high, like recent Sigma releases. I think the recently announced Tokina 70-200mm F4 VC is a more interesting lens (for me).
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Matsu
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2012-02-06, 11:50

Especially so for Nikon users, who have been asking for a 70-200 f/4.
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PB PM
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2012-02-06, 18:54

Looks like I'm going to be shopping for a new card reader, my Sandisk ImageMate appears to have bit the dust. It was working fine until last week, now it wont read cards consistently and when it does it causes Aperture/Finder/Disk Utility to hang when importing.

On the tripod head front, I think I'm going to order the Markins Q-10. Looks like a nice ball head, and it weights a lot less than the competition for the same load capacity.
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Kyros
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2012-02-06, 21:29

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorian Gray View Post
Photographers also find it hard to determine the appropriate sharpening level and apply it to best effect. But that's a knowledge or tools problem, and can be fixed by reading this excellent book.
Oh, good timing. I was just wrestling with sharpening one of my photos today, so I'm putting this on my wishlist .

EDIT: By the way, I picked up a copy of the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 a few days ago. My first impression is that it is indeed sharp as hell in the center, even wide open (which is all that matters to me personally for this lens). Manual focus isn't easy at f/1.4, but I'm start to get the hang of it already.

I also found a Vivitar Series 1 70-210 f/3.5 for $20 while I was at a local camera shop, bringing my 75-300 VR in for repair (I drove over it with my father's car ). Turns out it's the first version, which is quite sharp, and can focus down to 1:2.2.

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PB PM
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2012-02-06, 22:33

D800 is official, $2999.95 USD ($3194.95 Cdn). No real surprises spec wise.

http://en.nikon.ca/Nikon-Products/Pr...5480/D800.html
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