RECENTLY, a barrage of product launchings rocked the photographic community. The rumors that a full-frame entry level camera will be introduced have now been confirmed. On top of that, most of the leading camera manufacturers came out with their take on the device and adjusted their line-up to fit the newly created market segment.
Last week, Nikon introduced to the world their first entry level FX or full-frame camera, the D600, priced around US$ 2,100. This is slightly more expensive than their semi-pro camera but definitely a lot cheaper than the D800 and multiple times cheaper than the D4; both FX models. This gives consumers a chance to own a full-frame camera without breaking the bank.
A few days later after the announcement of Nikon’s entry level full-frame camera, Canon came out with the 6D and so did Sony with the Alpha SLT A99, and a full-frame compact camera, Cybershot RX-1. Leica also came out with the M-Type 240 full-frame rangefinder. All these announcement came out the second week of September. With all the support for entry level full-frame cameras coming from the leading brands, one would wonder if they have intention of wiping out the crop sensor line of cameras.
For those who wondered what this craze is all about, let me give you a quick primer on sensors. Camera sensors are classified into different sizes. We have the full-frame which is the same size as the 35mm film before at 36x24mm and the crop sensor which is smaller than the full-frame at around 23x15mm. We also have the micro-four thirds which is smaller than the crop sensor, and it gets smaller as it gets to the point and shoot cameras.
The sensor is one of the most expensive components of a digital camera and therefore dictates the price. Sensor size is also the basis of pixel or image quality.
Therefore, with a bigger sensor size, you’ll get better quality but the camera also gets more expensive. However, with the release of entry level full-frame cameras, full-frame sensors are now within reach.
There are many reasons why you want to go full-frame. One, of course, is the pixel quality and another is depth of field. Having a bigger sensor would let you have more blurry background than using a crop sensor. When shooting landscapes, you’ll also get to have a wider perspective using a wide angle lens compared to crop sensors. Like a typical marketing ad, “You’ll get more for less”.
With the entry of entry level full-frame cameras, camera manufacturers are doing a very difficult balancing act. By dropping the price of these cameras, the semi-pro camera line-up is in peril of being replaced since they almost fall into the same price range. It’s a game of adding and removing certain features of the camera that would still justify the strength of the semi-pro camera.
What makes me wonder though is the timing of the announcement from the different camera manufacturers. Maybe behind the fierce competition in the market, these giants are actually conniving with each other to control the digital camera market. No matter how it is, I think this move benefits the consumers.
Keep on shooting, everyone!
(email@example.com / www.grp.ph)