Thursday, May 31, 2007
Is There A Medium-Format Digital In Your Future?
When it comes to ultimate digital image quality, nothing beats medium-format cameras and digital backs. The word 'medium' might be tepid—the image quality is anything but.
Follow The Money
In medium-format digital technology, all roads lead to price. If a photographer owns a medium-format digital system, it's probably because his or her business is successful enough that no price is too high for the best image quality available. Professionals who don't yet own a medium-format system likely attribute it to financial reasons rather than those of quality.
There's only one financial advantage in the process of manufacturing medium-format sensors: they use larger pixels, which are easier and less expensive to build than smaller ones. As resolutions continue to climb, however, even the extra-large photosites in medium-format sensors will begin to shrink as camera makers pursue ever-higher resolution (for example, see the redesigned and slightly smaller pixels in Kodak's 39-megapixel sensor). Therefore, as resolution increases, so does the price.
While price may be the dominant factor in a photographer's decision to purchase a medium-format digital capture system, Kodak's DeLuca sees that changing as technologies improve and photographers begin to look past sticker shock to understand the impact that medium-format digital systems can make on their businesses' bottom line.
“The camera that you buy today is going to retain its performance tomorrow, regardless of new advances,” says DeLuca. “So if the quality and the performance and the resolution and the functionality of this device are good enough for you to be able to get the job today, they're going to be able to do that tomorrow as well. One of the things we're encouraging people to do is not to be looking at the next generation of technology, but really look at the business case for the device that's there. If you had this now, what jobs would you be able to get, what income would that generate, what's the cost of the outlay, and how does that work? Look at that over a time period, and figure out whether it makes sense. When you start talking about it that way, a lot of the anxiety drops out.”
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