Please tell me WHY?!
Seriously, why on Earth, with all the technology rally that makes cameras better and even way better every year, with all the bells, whistles and 250-page operation manuals, one cannot make a simple feature that is actually related to Photography? I mean composition-friendly 3:4 aspect ratio in the “sweet spot” segment of full frame “35mm” cameras?
Yes, there is a micro 4/3 format that has it. Panasonic GH5 is there, with all the speed and futuristic features… However, who cares? It needs 3 seconds of reviewing the micro 4/3 files to see that the tonality of those images is thin and lifeless. And this cannot be masked by choosing some “cool” subject matter by manufacturers to advertise their new cameras. The tonal depth limitations are too obvious. And this creates the “end of the story” for me, even before considering the resolution… Wait a minute, I have forgotten the resolution… 20 Mp? End of the story again. No, I won’t run for 80-100 Mp; 36-42 of Nikon D810 / Sony A7 R II are entirely fine with me. However, 24 Mp and below are “not yet there”, for my purposes.
And – on a bulkier side of the spectrum – we have the medium format. In fact, I am using Pentax 645D as my current “serious” camera.
I love that. I don’t mind carrying it around. And still – there is a factor of speed. No, not 12 fps or something, but a reasonable speed that, for example, D810 (pretty “slow” by today’s reckless standards) offers, and which is satisfactory for my purposes. So, that “35mm full frame” stays as a sweet spot, no matter how you try to reject this and defend, out of the wish to be original, something else.
I mentioned D810 and A7 R II. They must fit the bill, right? What is wrong with them?
They have a feature that is not discussed, largely ignored and forgotten in today’s techno-talks – silly 2:3 aspect ratio.
No matter what is the speed or whatever another property of your camera is, you are going to compose the frame. You are going to see and feel an intricate play of the lines and proportions. And on this path, dealing with stupidly long, “bathroom towel” 2:3 frame is very, very offensive.
The “bathroom towel” viewfinder is chasing you everywhere. It suppresses your imagination, it stupidizes your view, it rapes your brain, it makes you dizzy, it makes you vomit, suffocate and faint.
Why should you volunteer to stand this torture?!
I have to admit I was under this torture for almost 40 years now, starting from the day I was given my first camera – Smena 8M – as a birthday present… In 40 years, my brain should have be adapted to that, is that what you are saying? Never! Never ever! And finally, enough is enough! My trusty and babied Nikon D810 eventually went to eBay and was sold at a $1 no-reserve auction. What a relief! Yes, that was my the most-used camera (by the number of images shot), and still – what a relief! I do not have to become sick anymore from looking through 2:3 idiotic viewfinder! Hurray! My 645D is slow, has a more narrow dynamic range (and I am a big fan of dynamic range), it often misses shots because of a primitive autofocus… Still – it has the lovely 3:4 frame ratio, so every technical disadvantage of this camera is instantly forgiven!
So, what is the one single step to perfection the manufacturers (I am talking about Sony now, their upcoming improved A 7R, mark III or whatever, is destined to be my next workhorse camera) should take?
One can see 2 options.
Option 1 (hard). Design a all-new sensor with 3:4 aspect ratio within the classical 35mm image circle. A brief calculation tell us that instead of 24x36mm, we’ll have an approximately 26×34.6mm frame, with the same diagonal length. This will make use of the best lenses that were actively developed during the last decade to accommodate for higher-resolving sensors of the 35mm format. And this will – finally – give the thirsty photography artists a composition-friendly tool with the right balance of image quality, speed and portability.
Option 2 (easy). If a manufacturer (Sony, I mean, khe-khe) doesn’t want to spend a lot to develop a new sensor, why not just hide those 4 mm, using 24x32mm frame? It would be super-easy. My “travel camera” – Panasonic FZ-1000 – has this option. When switching to 3:4 aspect ratio, I see only the 3:4 frame (“overlay” approach in Nikon D800 is useless since you still see the distracting parts of the full frame). The question is – WHY? Why this simple thing (demanded not only by myself, softly speaking) is not yet implemented?!
Sony, are you listening?
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