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The Future of the dSLR?


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So, it seems the current crop of high end dSLRs have sensors that exceed lens resolution for even the best lenses, superb noise control/image quality, combined with lightning fast performance, and some really good controls. Even at the entry/near entry level the 12 mP sensors exceed lens resolution for most lens, and have very fine performance.

 

It's hard to see what will drive future development.

 

Will the mP race end? What direction will future improvements take: Extended dynamic range, further control of noise to allow greater sensitivity (higher ISO), or are the manufactures working on things we haven't even thought of? Will dSLRs merge into camcorders as P&S's are?

 

 

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It's been at least two years since even the best "L" lenses were surpassed by sensors, and to improve those we'll need good old-fashioned, slow research.

 

But while they conduct that, I think there's room for improvement in:

 

1) flash power

 

2) speed of auto-focus acquisition

 

3) better low-light focus capability

 

4) more powerful IS

 

5) affordable broadband transmitters in the bodies

 

6) simpler, standardized workflow through printing

 

7) easier on location notation as shots are taken

 

8) sensors with less noise in low light

 

9) self-cleaning sensors, or operator alerts when they need it

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I agree with Rockwell somewhat. Certainly I've never confused mP's with image quality, and agree with him entirely in that direction.

 

Never the less, even Rockwell would see a doubling of mP's as a significant difference in resolution. So, would you pick a 6 mP or a 12 mP if the image quality was otherwise equal? My point above was, though... there is no point in going beyond lens resolution... that is a waste of resources at every level.

 

Fact of the matter is for web presentation I usually format 96 pixels/inch. In this scenario, extra mP's = optical zoom/cropping potential. This can be very useful. Even for printing, lets assume a print of a given size, for me typically 8 x 10", I want 240 pixels/inch. Again, mP's translate into crop/zoom potential. They offer me flexibility that would not otherwise be there. The point is that for any given presentation with a desired output resolution, excess pixels offer flexibility and zoom potential.

 

So, Rockwell's point that I could print larger at lower pixel density is likely true, though I hadn't tried it - but the local camera shop says the same thing. However, I can not print an 8 x 10 at lower pixel density... I have tried that and it results in obvious image degradation. So pixel count does have value, at least to a point, though I would agree there is a lot of confusion about what that value is and how it ought to be used.

 

I did not like Rockwell's Zion shoot. Way over processed, way over warm, hot even. Some of his other shoots seem fine, but not inspired. Anyone care to point out some of his finer work?

 

Jan

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Lets_Play_Two
So, it seems the current crop of high end dSLRs have sensors that exceed lens resolution for even the best lenses, superb noise control/image quality, combined with lightning fast performance, and some really good controls. Even at the entry/near entry level the 12 mP sensors exceed lens resolution for most lens, and have very fine performance.

 

It's hard to see what will drive future development.

 

Will the mP race end? What direction will future improvements take: Extended dynamic range, further control of noise to allow greater sensitivity (higher ISO), or are the manufactures working on things we haven't even thought of? Will dSLRs merge into camcorders as P&S's are?

 

 

I think we have long ago let the technology become more important than the image. The case in point being that digital has taken over for film, but digital has not yet, except in $40,000 digital backs, caught up with film in resolution. And this search for technology will continue, but hopefully we will continue to have photographers who use the technology rather than vice versa.

 

Canon's about to be released 5d MKII does integrate video and improves sensor cleaning and wireless transfer. Early reviews indicate substantial noise reduction at very high ISO equivalents, up to 12,800!!! So we may be getting to the point of being able to duplicate what a Leica M6 and a Noctilux lens could do 15 years ago!!! :)

 

I have been guilty of the shoot a lot and sort later syndrome, but have lately been going to macro and low light work which has the benefit of slowing down the whole process to get the picture "right". But I am still happy to be able to take 400 pics at a lacrosse game looking for the ones the parents really like!

 

Like David, at my age, I would really like improved IS and better auto focusing!!!

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My 5D is for sale. I'm upgrading to the new 5D MKII. What's not to like.

 

12Mp -> 21Mp

ISO1600(3200) -> ISO6400(12800)

No weatherproofing -> Better weatherproofing

No view -> Live View

No sensor cleaning -> Sensor cleaning

Digic II -> Digiv IV

3fps -> 3.9fps

No video -> 1080P HD video

2.5" LCD -> 3.0" LCD

$3300 (initial price) -> $2700

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The race could be for reducing size and weight, improving ISO sensitivity along with shutter speed. I also like the idea of instantanously transmitting images to a remote server. I've read there's some big improvements comming in non-volitile with dramatically more speed and greater capacity.

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Currently living in a 3mp world. :grin:

Dude, you need to get a 2lb DSLR along with 10lbs of lenses to understand what the fuss is all about. Seriously though, I stayed with a 4Mp camera for the longest time until taking a serious plunge into Full Frame Sensors. Now I'm so hooked. And no, better cameras cannot make one a better photographer. But it's been a very interesting learning process.

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Currently living in a 3mp world. :grin:

Dude, you need to get a 2lb DSLR along with 10lbs of lenses to understand what the fuss is all about. Seriously though, I stayed with a 4Mp camera for the longest time until taking a serious plunge into Full Frame Sensors. Now I'm so hooked. And no, better cameras cannot make one a better photographer. But it's been a very interesting learning process.

 

However, less capable equipment can screw up an otherwise well conceived shot. Or, to put it another way, there are a lot of shots I just can't get with my P&S that I can get with a manual control prosumer level unit, and then a bunch more yet that I can add with a dSLR and appropriate lenses, filters, hoods, flash etc that I could not shoot with the prosumer level unit.

 

This is not to say that the P&S can not make a perfectly usable image when conditions are right for it, simply that it has a much more limited range conditions in which it will perform well.

 

I would agree though, that cramming more pixels on a small P&S or prosumer level sensor chip is really just a numbers game/sales pitch. The increase in noise offsets any supposed increase in resolution. It's a whole different ball game in the dSLR world where the sensors are bigger and of better quality in general.

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Here's what's coming. Active ISO sensors. As noise is controlled to the nth degree, we'll see variable ISO sensors coupled with the exposure algorithms of the meters. What you'll end up with is HDR in the extreme, in one "frame" w/ the sensor adjusting its sensitivity in shadow and highlight areas based on the reading of the scene by the light meter and comparing it to the memory of "scenes" in its database.

 

You'll be able to open up shadows as much as you please w/o blowing out highlights. It will make post processing as important as the composition itself, with the ability to interpret the scene "endlessly" after-the-fact.

 

2nd, thing. The OVF in the DSLR will soon be a thing of the past. EVF's are getting better and better, and faster and faster. There will be a time in the not too distant future when a mechanical mirror / box mechanism will be looked upon much like sheet film holders are today.

 

Panasonic G1 is the "baby steps" beginning.

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