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Old Sep 22, 2014, 6:54 PM   #1
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Default In praise of a sensor ?!

Before you get totally confused by the title let me explain. In the era of film there was much discussion about the particular qualities and peculiarities of various film stocks, in fact it was a major topic, with devotees of a particular film stock singing its praises. Well, here we are in 2014, many of our favourite films have gone off to search for the dodo. Like it or not the digital sensor is now the way for the vast majority of photographers, and since the sensor is now an integral part of the camera we seldom separate them in discussion. Sony has recently produced three physically near-identical cameras in their A7 series, but each has a different sensor! Does this open the discussion floodgates on sensors?

Frankly it doesn’t really matter to me. Right now my thoughts are on an antiquated sensor, not the latest and greatest, but a sensor which appeared in several products from several different manufacturers. I am referring to the 6MP CCD sensor which Sony supplied to the first wave of non-Canon affordable DSLRs. The Nikon D100, D70, D50 and D40 all started life with a variation of this sensor as well as the last Minoltas, the Konica/Minolta 7D and 5D and the Pentax *istD, *istDS, *istDL, *istDS2, *istDL2, K100D, K110D, and K100Dsuper. If I have missed any models I apologize. I have owned a number of DSLRs over the past few years and in spite of higher resolution with more detail I still have a soft spot for the output of these old 6MP cameras.

Why you may ask? I have only one really large print, a 20” X 30” canvas which adorns our living room wall. It was shot with a *istDS and an FA 50mm f1.4 lens and it is beautiful. Could a newer camera with another great sensor like the Sony 16MP CMOS do better? Technically yes, but the way this sensor rendered the scene I have doubts that any other camera could have produced a more pleasing result. So what does that mean for my photography, I am somewhat regressing to basics. I have higher resolution CMOS cameras with HD movie modes (Pentax K20D and K7), faster shooting rates and better AF but I now have two *istDS cameras and an older Pentax TTL flash (which does not work with the newer models) that will probably be my go-to cameras for the usual shots I do which will see posting on line and an occasional 8” X 10” print. The RAW files produced by these cameras are more than adequate for my purposes and as a bonus, these cameras use AA NiMH batteries so a supply can serve both camera and flash. I will use my newer cameras for critical work such as family weddings and special events but for everything else...


Why go back to 6MP when camera phone offer higher resolution? Because there is far more to a good image than the number of megapixels it contains.

Here is that print on the wall, pardon the poor image quality, it was not shot with a Pentax. :-)

Oops, I stand corrected, the picture below was shot with my K20D.
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FA 35mm f2, FA 50 f1.4, FA 28-70mm f4, FA 28-80mm f3.5-5.6, FA 80-320mm f4.5-5.6, F 50mm f1.7, Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 Di, DA 10-17 f3.5-4.5, DA 14 f2.8, DA 16-45mm f4, DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 WR, DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 WR, AF-540FGZ

Olympus E-P2, E-P5, OM-D E-M1: 9mm to 150mm lenses

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Old Sep 23, 2014, 3:42 PM   #2
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I understand what you are saying, I had a 4MP 1/1.7 sensor camera that was amazing, a Canon S400 and I have (7) 20X30 prints hanging is the basement from it. I am now on my 3rd DSLR and 7th 1/1.7 sensor compact and those prints are still some of my favorites.
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...It is better to burn a roll of film than curse the darkness. Equip. K30, Q7, DAL 55-300, DA 35 f2.4, DA 50 f1.8 DA 18-135, SMC-M 28 f3.5, SMC M 50 f1.4, Canon P&S S100 w/CHDK Beta, Panasonic DMC-GM5, Flickr:
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Old Sep 23, 2014, 10:52 PM   #3
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I have (2) of the Ist DS-they are 7 yrs old-afraid they will stop working one day-great dslr-easy to use & takes great photo's. Hope my new K5iis will exceed my expectations
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Old Sep 24, 2014, 6:51 AM   #4
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Much like film- a sensor is a small part of the equation in the final image process.
Those processes aside, some of the older 6mp camera's had a very nice texture to their images- my old Canon 10D springs to mind- especially when shooting RAW...
Of course,there's no doubt that the latest DSLR's blow the old guard away in certain areas- especially high iso performance- though how much of that is down to the processor as opposed to the sensor, who can say...
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Old Sep 24, 2014, 11:34 AM   #5
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Many Olympus users have the same love of the old Kodak sensor in some of the early models. Rightfully so, my E-500 may be horrible in many ways but it does produce shots with some wonderful color.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Pentax forum over at DPR is full of people who seem to think that nothing less than a 36MP FF sensor can produce truly good shots.

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Old Sep 26, 2014, 9:52 PM   #6
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I have visited the DPR forum, it is an unpleasant place!
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Riverview, NB, Canada
http://aicphotography.blogspot.com/
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Current equipment
Pentax K5, K3:
FA 35mm f2, FA 50 f1.4, FA 28-70mm f4, FA 28-80mm f3.5-5.6, FA 80-320mm f4.5-5.6, F 50mm f1.7, Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 Di, DA 10-17 f3.5-4.5, DA 14 f2.8, DA 16-45mm f4, DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 WR, DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 WR, AF-540FGZ

Olympus E-P2, E-P5, OM-D E-M1: 9mm to 150mm lenses

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Old Sep 26, 2014, 10:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMJJR View Post
I have (2) of the Ist DS-they are 7 yrs old-afraid they will stop working one day-great dslr-easy to use & takes great photo's. Hope my new K5iis will exceed my expectations
My "newest" DS has only about 1200 shots on it, and the other one was well cared for. I now have an old AF 500FTZ TTL flash, only works with the *istD or *istDS (or the film cameras). The combination is more reliable at exposures than my K7 with the 540FGZ P-TTL combination. I like it.
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Riverview, NB, Canada
http://aicphotography.blogspot.com/
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Current equipment
Pentax K5, K3:
FA 35mm f2, FA 50 f1.4, FA 28-70mm f4, FA 28-80mm f3.5-5.6, FA 80-320mm f4.5-5.6, F 50mm f1.7, Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 Di, DA 10-17 f3.5-4.5, DA 14 f2.8, DA 16-45mm f4, DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 WR, DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 WR, AF-540FGZ

Olympus E-P2, E-P5, OM-D E-M1: 9mm to 150mm lenses

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Old Sep 27, 2014, 12:37 AM   #8
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I have the same set-up. Also use a Gary Fong Lightsphere with great results. Have the battery pack for the flash-have done quite a few weddings using this configuration. My partner uses Sony equipment & the Ist DS keeps up with his.
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Old Sep 27, 2014, 7:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMJJR View Post
I have the same set-up. Also use a Gary Fong Lightsphere with great results. Have the battery pack for the flash-have done quite a few weddings using this configuration. My partner uses Sony equipment & the Ist DS keeps up with his.
Interesting, my wife has Sony equipment (mostly older Minolta lenses) and she helps me with the family weddings we shoot. Small world.
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Ira
Riverview, NB, Canada
http://aicphotography.blogspot.com/
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Current equipment
Pentax K5, K3:
FA 35mm f2, FA 50 f1.4, FA 28-70mm f4, FA 28-80mm f3.5-5.6, FA 80-320mm f4.5-5.6, F 50mm f1.7, Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 Di, DA 10-17 f3.5-4.5, DA 14 f2.8, DA 16-45mm f4, DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 WR, DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 WR, AF-540FGZ

Olympus E-P2, E-P5, OM-D E-M1: 9mm to 150mm lenses

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Old Sep 27, 2014, 7:36 PM   #10
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BTW someone took the time to correct me on the image I posted, the picture of the picture was taken with a K20D and 14mm DA f2.8 lens. I thought I had used my Olympus. ;-)
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Ira
Riverview, NB, Canada
http://aicphotography.blogspot.com/
_______________________________
Current equipment
Pentax K5, K3:
FA 35mm f2, FA 50 f1.4, FA 28-70mm f4, FA 28-80mm f3.5-5.6, FA 80-320mm f4.5-5.6, F 50mm f1.7, Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 Di, DA 10-17 f3.5-4.5, DA 14 f2.8, DA 16-45mm f4, DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 WR, DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 WR, AF-540FGZ

Olympus E-P2, E-P5, OM-D E-M1: 9mm to 150mm lenses

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Last edited by Monza76; Sep 27, 2014 at 7:40 PM.
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