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25 new DSLRs


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#1 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 04:20 AM

A couple of weeks ago, Phil Askey on DPReview suggested that there might be as many as 25 new DSLRs released this year.

And I wonder whether as underwater photographers we should demand that housing manufacturer's make housings for all of these, or whether we should accept that there will not be a housing for ever model, but those housings will be cheaper and have better ergonomics (as a result of housing manufacturers having to catter for less models).

While I love my Subal housings, I would be the first to admit that my Subal D2X does not have the attention to detail of a Subal F5 housing. It was also a damn sight more expensive. Of course it works and the ergonomics are perfectly acceptable, but I miss those good ol' days!

By demanding housings for ever model of camera that comes out we cause the housing manufacturers to spend less time on each housing and with the consequently shorter production runs we drive the price up. Maybe if we did not demand a housing for every DSLR we would have cheaper, better housings.

Right, off diving.

Alex

p.s. Personally I think that they should just make a housing for the D3X and stop! :)

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#2 loftus

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 04:49 AM

p.s. Personally I think that they should just make a housing for the D3X and stop! :)


I'm with you on this Alex. It's hard to see how the manufacturers of cameras, and subsequently housings, are going to be able to sustain our interest in continuously upgrading, unless some whole new paradigm of photography emerges. The top end digital cameras now have feature sets that equal and exceed the feature sets found on film cameras. The sensors, which are really the ' film' of digital cameras are similarly reaching the point of equaling and exceeding the abilities of film. Combine this with post-processing abilities, and it seems that without inventing whole new ways of doing photography, current high end cameras have reached a plateau. Last week I took a nude and landscape photography workshop, and Craig Blacklock, who shot only 4x5 previously, has not had anything beyond a full frame Canon DSLR in his hands for the last 3 years, believing that these now meet and exceed his overall abilities with 4x5 film...yes 4x5 film.

Edited by loftus, 23 January 2008 - 04:53 AM.

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#3 pmooney

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 06:22 AM

I would imagine that we will continue to see housings for most of the SLR's from Canon & Nikon , although I would not be surprised to see support for entry level models fall away.

I think we will see a trend for manufacturers to embrace rapid prototyping practises and utilise cutting edge machines & technologies to deliver mainstream housings to the masses.

We have already seen some of the manufacturers introduce a mix of machined offerings to their cast line ups , while others have moved completely to machined units. The benefits of this type of manufacturing and the ability for manufacturers to make design corrections in a timely manner all point to a exciting time for end users.

The developments in selective laser sintering & 3D printing and the various composites that are used in these processes will enable manufacturers to prove designs in a cost & time efficient manner.

Those that embrace and invest in these new methods will thrive and those that don't will slowly lose market share.

#4 james

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 06:36 AM

Great topic Alex.

I'm hoping we will se an evolution back to the product design of the film days. Meaning each housing manufacturer would produce something like three housings per camera brand: an entry level, mid-range, and pro.

For example: for Canon, manufacturers would choose to house the:

400D
40D
1Dmkx

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#5 TheRealDrew

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 06:44 AM

Right, off diving.

Alex

p.s. Personally I think that they should just make a housing for the D3X and stop! :)



Alex, which is your current camera? :P

You raise good points. Some manufacturers such as Ikelite can turn things around and modify what they have quickly due to the way they make them. The others take time and I think run into issues because they are trying to appeal to everyone. If you think about it in general there are three levels of cameras, the pro dSLRS (such as the D3X) the mid levels (D300/D80, 40D) then the lower ones (D40X, xTI) and I am not sure you can freeze out anyone of them. Each have their pros and cons which will make them appealing to shooters. Though the argument can be made that the low end models do not match up with the others, the body sizes (plus lesser cost) do have an appeal.

At some point the cameras themselves will level off a bit more where the next generation of camera does not immediately make you want to go and get the newest camera and perhaps that will make things easier for manufacturers not having to get a housing out.

The last generation jump (adding LiveView, anti dust protection and higher bit depth) seems to be a big one and (for me at least) are enough to justify a new camera.**** I am not sure what else will make me jump after that as quickly. (One rumor is movie mode in dSLR :guiness: ). So perhaps at that time there will not be as great a need to jump on every model. Perhaps 6 housings, one for each level of Canon and Nikon.


**** Disclaimer. I will probably find something else to justify a purchase regardless :guiness:

#6 rtrski

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 09:02 AM

A couple of weeks ago, Phil Askey on DPReview suggested that there might be as many as 25 new DSLRs released this year.

And I wonder whether as underwater photographers we should demand that housing manufacturer's make housings for all of these, or whether we should accept that there will not be a housing for ever model, but those housings will be cheaper and have better ergonomics (as a result of housing manufacturers having to catter for less models).

...


Doesn't the same question apply to the camera releases themselves? Does the market really NEED 25 new DSLR designs? Is there really enough stratification that the top 4-5 manufacturers need 4-5 different "levels" of entry/consumer/prosumer/pro cameras, each year? Does the large number of offerings divide the attention too much within a given camera maker's design teams and result to similar lack-of-optimization in the models that do result?

Maybe this year is a bit 'special' (coincidence of longer development cycles overlapping) and the count will drop next year again. But I see your point.

Personally I'd rather see more attention paid per housing...but at enough levels to allow starters like me to get a foot in the door without having to go all the way up to the 'pro' cameras. So I'd rather not see 'all' of them housed to permit the time to do a bit better layouts, perhaps, but if that bar is too high I can't get in at all, because as a relatively new photographer I'm not leaping straight for the top of any particular camera line. Catch-22, all created by the camera manufacturers themselves.

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#7 MikeVeitch

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 09:20 AM

i'm not going to buy any of them so my input is moot. :)

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#8 herbko

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 10:20 AM

i'm not going to buy any of them so my input is moot. :)


Of course what we say here is probably moot. It's a business and product decisions are driven by perceived demand.

I think the reason DSLR housings are less refine is the product life cycle is much shorter than film cameras. There's a big premium in getting it out quickly as people rush to buy the new models, and sales will probably go to zero in a couple of years as that model gets replaced. There's just not enough time.

People will have their favorite camera for their own reasons and ask for housings for it, but I don't think we'll see much support for most of the 25.
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#9 Craig Ruaux

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 11:19 AM

And I wonder whether as underwater photographers we should demand that housing manufacturer's make housings for all of these <snip>


If any of these models have attributes that clearly position them as superior to existing models for UW photography, then I would imagine that our community will create that demand. But let's face it, how many of these new models will be genuinely new and how many will be megapixel creep and metooism of already existing models that are not housed because they do not have anything to distinguish them from the existing hegemony of Nikon/Canon/Fuji/Olympus

(read nothing into the order of those names :) )

If someone comes out with a new DSLR that just knocks the snot out of existing models as far as dynamic range is concerned, for instance, then I could see a demand to house it that would lead to products from the faster moving companies like Ikelite or Aquatica. Say a cheaper body from Sony that can do the extreme ISO range, low noise characteristics of the D3. Or an Olympus body that is not that much bigger than the barrel of an ultrawide (weitwinkel) angle OM zoom, so you could make something really compact as far as housings go.
Why would I take a perfectly good camera underwater??
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#10 scorpio_fish

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 12:08 PM

A couple of weeks ago, Phil Askey on DPReview suggested that there might be as many as 25 new DSLRs released this year.

And I wonder whether as underwater photographers we should demand that housing manufacturer's make housings for all of these, or whether we should accept that there will not be a housing for ever model, but those housings will be cheaper and have better ergonomics (as a result of housing manufacturers having to catter for less models).


How do we demand this? I don't get it. Do we somehow coerce the government to legislate that all manufacturers must make housings for all models? Absent this, it would seem a silly argument.

Our demand is that of a consumer. Manufacturers pick and choose based on demand. If the demand is there, someone will fill it. I would guess that in hindsight, there were many housing models that were a financial failure. So, if anything, housing manufacturers make too many models.

While I love my Subal housings, I would be the first to admit that my Subal D2X does not have the attention to detail of a Subal F5 housing. It was also a damn sight more expensive. Of course it works and the ergonomics are perfectly acceptable, but I miss those good ol' days!

By demanding housings for ever model of camera that comes out we cause the housing manufacturers to spend less time on each housing and with the consequently shorter production runs we drive the price up. Maybe if we did not demand a housing for every DSLR we would have cheaper, better housings.

Right, off diving.

Alex


First, the good ol' days were never that good. Selective amnesia keeps us talking about them. Housings are no different than any other consumer product. The shorter the product life cycle, the more expensive they will be. The shorter the life cycle, the more critical design to production time becomes, hence the product will lack some of the details of longer cycle equivalents. The shorter the life cycle, the less process engineering on the existing product, e.g. the first Subal F5 housing may not be near as wonderful as the last one.

We, the people with the cameras, have less control over housing demand than you may think. As camera models come and go, the consumer and housing manufacturer must follow. The first time buyer of a DSLR can't and don't want to buy a D100 or a 20D. They can no longer be bought new. So the housing manufacturer has to produce new models.

p.s. Personally I think that they should just make a housing for the D3X and stop! :P


Listen to yourself, Alex. :) You are stopping the clock at a model that doesn't even exist yet. That's so easy. Sounds great now, but once the D3X has been around for a few years, we will wishing they would just stop at the D4X.

I think the market will take care of itself. There may be 25 new models, but I bet there will likely be housings for less than 10, maybe even much fewer. As an example, Ikelite's website used to be filled with compact digital housings. Now, not so much. They have staked out a couple of brands and that's it. Would any manufacturer in their right mind design a housing for a Pentax DSLR? I see a dearth of housings for Olympus, Sony and Sigma, and so it will remain.
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#11 Poliwog

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 12:53 PM

Interesting thread!

I have found my thoughts on housing design and manufacture drifting in the direction of less not more buttons and dials on the housing. Don’t get me wrong -- I still really enjoy diving with my D2x and Aquatica housing, but lately I‘ve been musing about a housing with the absolute minimum number of controls machined into the housing.

Instead, I was thinking of substituting an electronic interface, that would control the camera, housed in one of the hand grips that makes use of a simplified USB electronic interface something along the lines of the camera control software that most of us have on our laptops. With or without thumbwheels and a few reprogrammable buttons. A joystick as a camera housing handle with all the controls concentrated in an area for quick reach with your thumb, index, and fore fingers that would be able to control the camera with any combination of buttons.

Benefits would include a less expensive and more generic main housing adaptable to a wide range of cameras and different camera manufacturers. By adding different spacers or adapters to center the camera in the housing, one would only need to upgrade the electronic interface when changing camera models and brands.

That way, us lefties would finally have a camera that feels just as ergonomically intuitive as the rest of the shooters in this world. :) :P
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#12 vinny

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 03:49 PM

what about having the choice of buying the camera as a standard model or already in an underwater housing


i know certain manufacturers make dedicated underwater cameras , but if you had mainstream cameras that have the main casing as an underwater housing and have lenses that are already waterproof and interchangeable, so the housing would be virtually the same size as the normal housing

i know the logistics would be hard but with wi-fi and blue tooth you wouldn't need to have a memory card that needed to be removed transfer can be wireless

batteries can be charged without leads

so a housing on a camera could be made that doesn't need to be opened unless there is a problem
or it needs to be serviced
so the chances of flooding are reduced

i know there would be a lot of problems but it is an idea

Edited by vinny, 24 January 2008 - 11:05 AM.


#13 blackbird

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 11:06 PM

Alex

I heard Nikon were only releasing the D3x to people who looked after their D2x :)
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#14 gobiodon

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 04:25 AM

I expect even more than 25 DSLR for this year. E.g. sony will release a lot of them differing only in minor details, like cmos vs ccd, liveview vs no liveview, 10 vs 14 megapixel.
Check this link for details:
http://photoclubalph...a300-a350-a750/

This is mere speculation, but seems to be that two models will be released soon having the same body but slightly different specifications. However, it's good for UW-housing design.
Sony was criticized to have only one body for a long time. They seem to release a lot this year.

But the UW housing manufacturers will support only canon and nikon unless the other smaller companies will get a bigger market share. Only few company will support these niches. Ikelite is one of them.

Pentax has also some nice, very promising new cameras, but very poor underwater support.
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#15 photovan

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 05:06 AM

we shouldn't complain, if we had each put as much money into
e-film research as we have put into each generation of digital camera, we wouldn't have this problem. :( :) :lol: :lol:

there is more fun reading here and here :)

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#16 Yoko Qno

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 12:21 PM

Sony 24.8 megapixel full frame CMOS announced.
http://www.sony.net/...010E/index.html
I'm interested in this release.
Sony and Nikon are planning to release a camera with this fule-frame sensor?

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#17 photovan

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 01:21 PM

Sony 24.8 megapixel full frame CMOS announced.
http://www.sony.net/...010E/index.html
I'm interested in this release.
Sony and Nikon are planning to release a camera with this fule-frame sensor?

Yoko


will be interesting to see some of the nicer pieces of nikkor glass in front of it for sure.

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#18 drsteve

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 02:07 PM

At some point the cameras themselves will level off a bit more where the next generation of camera does not immediately make you want to go and get the newest camera and perhaps that will make things easier for manufacturers not having to get a housing out.

The last generation jump (adding LiveView, anti dust protection and higher bit depth) seems to be a big one and (for me at least) are enough to justify a new camera.**** I am not sure what else will make me jump after that as quickly. (One rumor is movie mode in dSLR :) ). So perhaps at that time there will not be as great a need to jump on every model. Perhaps 6 housings, one for each level of Canon and Nikon.
**** Disclaimer. I will probably find something else to justify a purchase regardless :(


Well, for me that point has already come. The reason I stretched my budget and got a 5D is that the cost of upgrading is so high. I definitely haven't hit the limits of what I can do with it, and don't think I will for quite a while. I am sure that the eventual successor will be wonderful, but I have a hard time imaging how the new crop of features will allow me to make better UW images.

They new features are all nice, not essential. The only one that would really tempt me is substantially wider dynamic range (the 14bit ADC and better high ISO performance). I certainly wouldn't use the liveview underwater and on land my current practice of taking test exposures already works fine. I don't have a lot of problems with sensor dust, so the ultrasonic cleaning, is not essential. Besides I periodically take my camera into a laminar flow table and clean the lenses and sensor with dry, dust free nitrogen. I don't need a faster frame rate since I am almost always strobe limited.

In short, the "upgrade" cost (new camera + housing) is so high, the camera will have to take a quantum leap in performance before I will be tempted to upgrade. Another thing I question about the "25" new models is why do we need 25 new body layouts? I really don't understand why the camera vendors spend so much design $$ to redevelop the body from model to model. If they were to spend that money on the features and testing, presumably they would get better products out the door quicker and we would not have to buy new housings for each camera. I guess it is just marketing. They want the new camera to "look" different than the old model so that it looks "fresh"

A final thought is that one should keep in mind that despite the current rapid improvement, cameras do not follow Moore's law. The high end cameras are all bumping up against physical limits of optics, sensor sensitivity, and amplifier noise. There is still more room for improvement, but we are already seeing the jumps become progressively smaller.

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#19 photovan

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 03:13 PM

Well, for me that point has already come...

In short, the "upgrade" cost (new camera + housing) is so high, the camera will have to take a quantum leap in performance before I will be tempted to upgrade. ...

.... The high end cameras are all bumping up against physical limits of optics, sensor sensitivity, and amplifier noise.


ahhh ...the voice of reason... dr steve, do you have consulting rooms? I have a few other issues i'd like dealt with. :)

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#20 drsteve

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 12:30 PM

ahhh ...the voice of reason... dr steve, do you have consulting rooms? I have a few other issues i'd like dealt with. :)

Actually, it is the voice of a limited pocketbook. If my pocketbook were about 10x bigger, I'd be all over each upgrade. About the "consulting", I ain't that kinda doctor ;)

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