WERE THE ROMAN FORUMS LIKE THESE?


I am probably a slow learner but I  only  discovered photography-related forums late in 2008.  Three currently have my attention: dpireview.com/forums, rangefinderforum.com/forums and reduser.net/forum and these are the same three that I wrote about then.

10 November 2008
It is probably an admission of inadequacy but I have just discovered forums on the web. I knew that such things existed but never felt the need to enquire further. Then in the course of researching something I was writing in the run up to Photokina, I made the mistake of typing the query “Nikon rumors” into Google.
What a wonderful can of worms. Every fruit cake and his neighbor had an insight into what Nikon were going to release at Photokina. But other than the D900 nothing happened at all and I thought that the furore would die away. That was mistake number two. The rumor mill is still in overdrive, with, supposedly, the denouement due for November 20 according to today’s (November 10) dpireview forum.
The new camera (surely you didn’t expect any thing less) is going to be a rangefinder model, a 24MP (minimum) D3X, a new Medium format chip camera (rangefinder, DSLR, normal MF style … make a choice) with a new lens line, or one that taken F mount lenses (in crop or uncropped mode depending upon how tenuous the writer’s grip on optics is) priced as low as a D700 or somewhere in the stratosphere.
Reading the postings is sheer delight except for the degree of venom running through some of them. It almost doesn’t matter what is posted in terms of content, there are people who not only attack the posting but indulge in a great deal of petty, personal spite.
I don’t understand it. Everyone knows that these are rumors and rumors can be as wild and unsubstantiated as one likes and even if someone is pulling our collective pudding what does it matter? The truth will out … maybe on November 20, maybe not. The answer is probably that some people have far too much time on their hands and need to get a life, and others have obviously just forgotten to take their tablets.

3 December 2008
The December 1 release date for the new Nikon has come and gone and far from cooling the tempers of the posters it has heated them up. Most are horrified at the price of the new D3X, for it has proved to be a 24MP version of the D3, which is being directly hailed or derided as a medium format beater, according to the bias of the particular correspondent.
The reasons for the price difference between it and the D3 are a matter of great conjecture, but I suspect that much of it can be attributed to the fall in the Dollar versus the Yen plus an allowance for a price premium for the top of the range model.
Direct comparisons to the cost of the Sony A900 are a total furphy. Sony is trying to buy market share at the top end of the market with its very aggressive pricing, which has very little to do with costs or profitability. Comparing it to the top of the range Canon is a more realistic comparison, while the new, much cheaper, 5D addresses a completely different section of the market.
Very little of this hoo-haa has anything to do with the capabilities and potential of the D3X. It is not intended to be a replacement for a medium format digital camera for all users, but rather as an another option for photographers who need high quality, but are not overly concerned at shooting at high ISOs, and do not need high speed motor drives.
Red
The curious folks at Red are at it again, announcing more details of the company’s cross-over video/stills range of cameras. In the couple of weeks since the original press release the specifications have undergone some changes and most of the prices have been revised downwards.
Astonishingly, Red have also released details of an upgrade path for existing Red One owners into a comparable new model that credits them with the full $US17.500 purchase price of their original camera.
While the specifications of the up-range models are quite mouth-watering it is the basic model Scarlets that comes ready to shoot (according to the blurb, although it is not clear what the package includes) $US3,750 (just under $A6K) and the $US2,500 (for the Brain, read body) that I find the most interesting.
Regular readers of DPII will know that I am interested in the concept of convergent cameras and the Red concepts take the idea further than any of the mainstream makers. So the fixed 8X zoom lens Scarlet model intrigues me. At this stage all we have seen are some basic specs and artist’s renderings of the camera but we are  informed that the base models Scarlets have a 2/3″ (10.1 x 5.35mm) Mysterium-X sensor with a resolution in video terms of 3K (about 5MP in still camera terms) capable of shooting from 1 to 120 frames per second (with 150fps in bursts).
Information is vague on the specs of the 8X zoom lens, but the interchangeable lens model will take (among others) a C-mount for conventional cine lenses as well as Red’s own miniRed lenses that range from 6.5 to 75mm (prime lenses) with the 8 and 16mm having a maximum speed of T1.5 (roughly equivalent to f-stops) as well as zooms.
For me this is one area where Red needs to give out more information … the prices on the Red lenses for the red One video camera are quite high, and so far there has been no indication of what the miniRed lenses will cost. For the camera to get wide spread acceptance they have to be competitive with DSLR lenses.
Effectively this is all vapourware at the moment. Red has its critics, as well as its supporters, and there is quite a lot of discussion about whether the company can deliver on its announcements and whether or not Canon and Sony will take up the challenge to produce comparable models. To date the latest Canon 5D is the clear leader. It exists, it is cheap and it produces good video as well as top quality stills. Sound lags behind but Red haven’t made its intentions clear in this area either.
All in all its is going to be an exciting year or so watching the developments from the various companies concerned — Canon, Sony, Nikon (who already have a video capable model, the D90, available), Panasonic who have already promised a video capable version of the G1 and Red.

Not much has changed. Vitriol still drips from the keyboards of the naysayers and every one else wishes for something other than what the manufacturers are giving us.

The GH-1 with video was released and every one, without exception, griped about the price. The Nikon D3X came and every one, without exception, griped about the price. Most of these people came from the US while Australians who had to pay something over a thousand dollars more, gritted their collective teeth griped about the price and paid up.

People also complained about the Olympus EP-1, and lo and EP-2 came onto the scene, but Olympus did learn some sort of a lesson and are now selling both in body only form. Panasonic have yet to see the sense of this.

Rangefinder.com users still refuse to recognise that theirs is a minority voice and ask for the impossible … a Leica M9 for around the price of a pont and shoot complete with a f0.95 50mm lens even less money and wonder why the manufacturers take no notice of their whining.

And Red … ah, Red. Like God they continue on their own way. A few days ago the company released details of its new 2/3″ Scarlet Digital camcorder that also takes stills. It looks like a space-age brick, is smaller than a D3S (it should be given the tiny chip) costs $US4,750 in fixed lens form and the Brain (Red speak for the electronics part) of the interchangeable model is $2,750 … add the bits that actually make it work and we are staring down the price of the Nikon and then it still needs a lens. These may be the real reason to buy one when the camera finally get to market. It may be next year. It may not. For all that it is interesting and desirable, but I’d be happier if one of the major manufacturers were making it.

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