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The decline and fall of Reflex.

Newman

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I used OVFs from 1977 until 2013. Mirrorless since then.

And when I bought an upgrade camera for my wife in 2018, who had been mirrorless since 2011, the best camera I could find for her was a DSLR - the D5600. And I personally think it's a real pleasure to use.

So, I am capable of balanced assessment and not a slave to fashion or progress for its own sake, thank you very much.

My input to this thread has been more about context regarding the Bell curve of technology adoption, or even regarding change itself, and how people sit at various points along it and sometimes aren't aware that their mindset, flowing from their position on the curve, is the real determinant, not the actual pros and cons of the new vs old things under discussion.

For which input, by the way, I have been reported, which says something about the narrow mindsets of some, given how mild and inoffensive my posts have been, on the curve of offensiveness. ;)

New "new isn't all bad" man
 

audio2design

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A "feeling" I have with much of user facing technology, whether that be my cell phone, the latest SLR, and most certainly anything related to home automation / home control (Alexa, Google Home, etc.) is that these companies employ far too many programmers, program managers, product managers, etc. with not nearly enough life experience. I often wonder if they actually use their own products.
 
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rdenney

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I used OVFs from 1977 until 2013. Mirrorless since then.

And when I bought an upgrade camera for my wife in 2018, who had been mirrorless since 2011, the best camera I could find for her was a DSLR - the D5600. And I personally think it's a real pleasure to use.

So, I am capable of balanced assessment and not a slave to fashion or progress for its own sake, thank you very much.

My input to this thread has been more about context regarding the Bell curve of technology adoption, or even regarding change itself, and how people sit at various points along it and sometimes aren't aware that their mindset, flowing from their position on the curve, is the real determinant, not the actual pros and cons of the new vs old things under discussion.

For which input, by the way, I have been reported, which says something about the narrow mindsets of some, given how mild and inoffensive my posts have been, on the curve of offensiveness. ;)

New "new isn't all bad" man

It’s a fair position and you certainly did not get reported by me. I see this as friendly banter and I’m enjoying it while savoring a bit of my favorite single malt. It’s not that I hate EVFs, it’s that I hate how a market (that is—buyers) that used to celebrate diversity of individuality seem now to move as a herd.

But I do worry to some extent that Ricoh struggles for sustenance, particularly with the 645z, and seems to be unable to offer assurance of their commitment to the platform. They have offered mirrorless cameras before, but their brand is Pentax, fer cryin’ out loud, and that’s a name derived from an SLR pentaprism. (Fun fact: Asahi Kogaku actually bought that name from what became VEB Pentacon—the Iron Curtain owners of Exakta—in the 50’s)

Rick “doomed to value most what others are actively abandoning” Denney
 
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rdenney

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A "feeling" I have with much of user facing technology, whether that be my cell phone, the latest SLR, and most certainly anything related to home automation / home control (Alexa, Google Home, etc.) is that these companies employ far too many programmers, program managers, product managers, etc. with not nearly enough life experience. I often wonder if they actually use their own products.

What I see is an inexorable move towards doing as much as absolutely possible in software and as little as possible that requires three-dimensional design, tooling, and manufacture. This is not all bad, of course, but it means things like touch screens instead of buttons, and that does not serve a large percentage of use cases.

Rick “it’s happening in audio, too” Denney
 

Raindog123

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…move towards doing as much as absolutely possible in software and as little as possible that requires three-dimensional design, tooling, and manufacture.

I thought all-in-all it was moving toward 3D printing (and more generally ”additive manufacturing”) :)

Yes, driven by “software” - “digital“ - designs, including modern-age CADs (like solid modeling), and more generally physics effects and behaviors modeling..?
 

rdenney

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I thought all-in-all it was moving toward 3D printing (and more generally ”additive manufacturing”) :)

Yes, driven by “software” - “digital“ - designs, including modern-age CADs (like solid modeling), and more generally physics effects and behaviors modeling..?

I wasn’t talking about computer-based design or manufacturing, which has been a game-changer in many industries.

I’m talking about products that eschew mechanical complexity in favor of software complexity, mostly for the purpose of lowering manufacturing costs at the expense of ease of use. We see it in everything from cameras to phones to car radios. Want FM station preset buttons in the car so you can change stations on a bumpy road, simply by feel so you can keep your eyes on the road? Nope. You have to navigate a software system, by sight, and then try to aim your finger to a touch control or operate a visually regulated and sensitive joystick while you and the vehicle are variously responding to a dynamic environment.

Want a washing machine that survives a lightning storm? Nope. All the controllers are now microprocessor-controlled software devices that provide little in the way of functional advantage but much in the way of planned obsolescence. Oh, but you can control your washing machine from an iPhone app. Does anybody actually need to do that?

Want a camera that lets you change settings using buttons you can feel with your eye at the finder? Yes, with good DSLRs. Less so with many of the minimalist mirrorless cameras I have seen. It’s not required by being mirrorless, but it seems to be part of what’s driving mirrorless—how can “manufacturers” get the same money while devoting less and less to mechanical design and complexity?

You’d think 3D printing would make it easier, but, of course, 3D printing is great for prototyping but doesn’t scale into mass production well.

It’s not about being anti-digital. It’s about being pro-user. The amazing part is that we have allowed ourselves, as with,say, bottled water, to be persuaded that we need it.

Rick “not his first rodeo” Denney
 

Raindog123

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@rdenney Yep, I think we understand each other. "Ease of use" and "[positive] user experience" always has been the ultimate goal. Yet often forgotten by "expert" developers, in this crazy, accelerating world... Yet, there are some amazing things truly enabled by "digital" ("software") design, often hidden from our eyes: :)

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audio2design

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Want a washing machine that survives a lightning storm? Nope. All the controllers are now microprocessor-controlled software devices that provide little in the way of functional advantage but much in the way of planned obsolescence. Oh, but you can control your washing machine from an iPhone app. Does anybody actually need to do that?

You mean from a poorly designed software app that makes you wonder if the person has ever used a washing machine, or if they still live with their mom?

To be honest, I love that my washer sends me an alert when it is finished. It is in the basement and I used to forget I had a load in and have to run it 2, sometimes 3 times :) after wet clothes sat in it for a day. A fridge with a monitor / touchscreen in it and a bar-code scanner? ... just silly and from what I can tell, not a hot seller.

However, it is even more mundane things, like setting up Google Home devices, what a nightmare. Changing settings is sometimes 3-4 menus deep. One day I can say "set xxx to RED". Next day only works if I say "set xxx color to RED". Why can I turn my HVAC thermostat off, but I cannot turn it "on", only set to heat or cool .... but I just want the bloody fan on!!!. Oh, I can turn the fan on if it is already on. Turn it off ... nope. Don't even get me started on the "cancerous growth" that is the Amazon Music web-interface / computer app. I used to have Google Play Music because the I/F was really quite good, especially in the car. What do they do? ... kill it and roll it into YouTube music which they claim has all the same features. No, no it does not, but it has a lot of "features" that really suck (i.e. negative features).
 

rdenney

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Yes, the complaint is about bad software and user interfaces that do not fulfill the requirements that trace to the actual use cases.

That's what I like about higher-end (and even cheaper) DSLR's--they are made by real camera companies, using the expertise built from decades of listening to professional photographers. Some of the mirrorless cameras can be that good, but often they just aren't, because they aren't targeting that class of pros, but rather the current class of wannabes (or their own bottom line). Or so it seems to me. The notion is that our signal processing is better than your technique.

(Edit: Meant to add this...the countdown timer on your iphone, or a $5 mechanical kitchen timer, for that matter, will tell you the wash is done as readily as constructing a washer with a network connection that requires configuration, troubleshooting, and maintenance to sustain. Solutions looking for problems. Example: I needed a light on my new barn to light the path back to the house at night--it gets DARK in the country when there's no moon--and I had a choice. All my friends suggested a "smart home" device that would let me turn the light off from the house after my I had made it in the door. My choice: A countdown timer switch that uses a mechanical timer. I just crank it over to a couple of minutes on my way out the door of the barn, and the light turns off two minutes later all by it's own self. It will work fine 30 years from now, even if the network is down, or the software can no longer be updated, or a lightning storm surge took out all the sensitive electronics in the barn. Fun fact: Three-Mile Island could have been prevented with a toilet-bowl float attached to a switch that powered a warning siren as an electro-mechanical backup to the water-level control systems that failed.)

Rick "who has done enough pro photography to understand his needs" Denney
 
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Raindog123

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Back to the topic…. My dad had (and probably still has it somewhere) a Flexaret, an old Czech camera shooting on a 6cm film (and on 35mm, by inserting some guard adapter). I’ve played with it a bit, but by the time I got into photography, there were better (and more compact) "real" alternatives…

77810273-9168-4520-B7B0-561FBD0C6F9F.jpeg
 
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rdenney

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Back to the topic…. My dad had (and probably still has it somewhere) a Flexaret, an old Czech camera shooting on a 6cm film (and on 35mm, by inserting some guard adapter). I’ve played with it a bit, but by the time I got into photography, there were better (and more compact) alternatives…

View attachment 157922
The Flexaret was an example of a range of products made in the Second World when only the privileged very few could own western stuff. That category also included the Pentacon Six (and the various 35mm Praktica models), the Moscow, Iskra, Fed and Zorki copies of Zeiss and Leica folders and rangefinders, and the Arsenal/Kiev copies of Hasselblads and Nikons (plus their Norita/Pentacon-Six-style roll-film camera). (And the Krasnogorsk movie cameras.) The Pentacons were overdesigned for the production quality they could sustain, but in some ways they were very nice cameras. The Kievs were made like cheap alarm clocks--if they worked at all they tended to keep doing so. Most were junque. But the optics had the possibility of being really special, particularly those from Carl Zeiss Jena, and to a lesser extent from Meyer-Gorlitz--both ultimately absorbed into VEB Pentacon. A couple of the Kiev lenses are excellent, and the Krasnogorsk lenses used on rangefinders could be useful. Interesting stuff to play with, and I've played with lots of it. But risky in use if there was anything really counting on it.

On the other hand, my early-50's Rolleiflex still works perfectly. That was the model for all of these, and when I look at it now, I realize it was actually fairly compact and light for a medium-format camera. It was certainly more compact than my Mamiya twin-lens reflex cameras that I used for gig work for decades, though the Mamiya had more flexibility with interchangeable lenses.

My replacement for the Mamiyas when they became unsustainable was a Pentax 645NII film camera, which was a really excellent camera for things like weddings, despite being somewhat more noisy. I think I photographed only a couple of weddings with it, though, before (rather suddenly) switching to digital when I got my Canon 5D.

Fun stuff!

Rick "still the mostly absent moderator of the now-nearly-defunct Kiev Report forum" Denney
 

JeffS7444

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Once upon a time I thought I might like a return to traditional-style shutter and aperture controls, but came to realize that my style of shooting has changed, that I tend to "set and forget" the aperture, and my main input is via exposure compensation wheel. And while I once relied heavily on depth of field indicators on the lens barrel as a focusing aid, they're no longer sufficiently precise for many situations. Today, I feel that the best reason for fully mechanical - optical lenses is for their ease of repurposing.

Aside from very specific lighting conditions, like brilliantly sunlit sand and snow, I've found that I don't really miss having an optical finder too much. And in the case of digital cameras, I prefer seeing the effect that altering lens aperture has on depth of field without darkening the finder. I also don't miss "chimping" in order to verify correct exposure.

I might like having the option for an EVF which overscans, showing more than actual image-capture area. This, supplemented with contrasting frame lines, just like a rangefinder camera. But the current norm of black borders at the edge of EVF mostly works until your subject also contains dark areas along the edges.

Tertiary display: Sure why not, if it reduces some of the visual clutter in the EVF. In particular, battery status ought to go there. Leica M8 had a little round "porthole" display which I was fond of and missed on later models.

For grins, I got a brief hands-on demo with Nikon's retro-styled Zfc camera: I liked it! In terms of feel, it reminded me more of Fujifilm's X100-series of cameras than my Nikon FE of yore, but thought it promising that Nikon hasn't forgotten about a demographic who are yet to reach their peak spending years, and that they may have their own priorities:
https://www.nikon-image.com/sp/zfc/
 

TulseLuper

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I might like having the option for an EVF which overscans, showing more than actual image-capture area. This, supplemented with contrasting frame lines, just like a rangefinder camera.

The Leica Q/Q2 is like this if you select the 35mm or 50mm options (the full-width 28mm fills the EVF). It's an awesome implementation. Combine that with simple dials/controls (aperture ring, shutter dial, custom programmable dial which I set to exposure compensation, and almost nothing else), it's by far the most usable non-SLR digital camera I've come across.
 

JeffS7444

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The Leica Q/Q2 is like this if you select the 35mm or 50mm options (the full-width 28mm fills the EVF). It's an awesome implementation. Combine that with simple dials/controls (aperture ring, shutter dial, custom programmable dial which I set to exposure compensation, and almost nothing else), it's by far the most usable non-SLR digital camera I've come across.
Hmm, not quite what I had in mind, but good to know I guess. Price-wise I feel that Leica has reached the point where I'm having a hard time seeing the value anymore versus more advanced FF or MF outfits from other makers, and I've been around them long enough to feel that the brand alone isn't enough for me.
 
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Ron Texas

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It's my understanding that the MF digital market is very small. It could be that FF digital is good enough for the vast majority of advanced amateur and pro photographers. During the film era, MF was (more or less) the standard choice for portrait and wedding pro's.
 

rdenney

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It's my understanding that the MF digital market is very small. It could be that FF digital is good enough for the vast majority of advanced amateur and pro photographers. During the film era, MF was (more or less) the standard choice for portrait and wedding pro's.
Yes, that's likely the case. But the medium-format cameras are the only digital cameras that can approach what large-format film photographers have always taken for granted. An affordable 4x5" digital back (not a scanner) would be something I'd want badly. That's even a smaller market.

The advantage to film is that it's made in enormous rolls and cut to the various formats, so formats are easily scaled with film. The cameras themselves are relatively simple and cheap. All that complexity shifts from the film to the camera with digital, and sensor size (format) does not scale well at all because of wafer yields.

Fuji has always been the company that demanded a robust market for products, or they would drop them. Pentax has been more careful about how they invested, but then kept their products in production for longer. Typical for Fuji of old with their professional products has been 15-20 years, while for Pentax it has been more like 30 years for specific product lines. But, as they say, past performance is no guarantee of future results. :)

My real concern is that Pentax becomes unable to provide service on the camera--no worry of that in the near term because it's still in production. I'm fully outfitted with it now, so extending the product line is not something I really need. But I don't see many new folks buying them, either.

Rick "whose previous main medium-format landscape camera was a bigger and heavier Pentax 67" Denney
 

audio2design

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One aspect of the FF / MF (or even DX), is how good tools like the Topaz suite are now. The AI enlarger (with noise reduction) is really quite something.
 

rdenney

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One aspect of the FF / MF (or even DX), is how good tools like the Topaz suite are now. The AI enlarger (with noise reduction) is really quite something.

Yes, but it’s sorta like using DSP to add room effects to a recording…the more you can get from the real recording, the better. My camera is a beast but I don’t have to do any noise reduction or interpolated upsampling to make prints measured in feet.

With those tools, I can make murals.

Rick “prints 16x20’s at 430 pixels/inch” Denney
 

audio2design

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Yes, but it’s sorta like using DSP to add room effects to a recording…the more you can get from the real recording, the better. My camera is a beast but I don’t have to do any noise reduction or interpolated upsampling to make prints measured in feet.

With those tools, I can make murals.

Rick “prints 16x20’s at 430 pixels/inch” Denney

New algorithms go beyond simple interpolation. It is not simply a matter of upsampling in audio. The algorithms are extracting features, mathematically modelling, and enlarging (to some degree). The net result is much better than simple interpolation.
 

rdenney

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New algorithms go beyond simple interpolation. It is not simply a matter of upsampling in audio. The algorithms are extracting features, mathematically modelling, and enlarging (to some degree). The net result is much better than simple interpolation.

But it has no indexical relationship to the subject being photographed, so what it adds may look real but it’s fake.

I know the difference between a model and actual data, and it would bug me, if I had the technique and equipment to avoid it.

Rick “willing to carry a camera that doesn’t need it” Denney
 
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