DSLR vs Medium Fomat: Cost

July 24, 2009

After my last post talking about DSLR vs Medium Format I thought I would talk to some of my friends at Fotocare and Digital Transitions about the gear that’s hot right now.

From consumer to Pro, the most important trend is having VIDEO features on any and all cameras. Along with Video comes Sound, Hot Lights (vs Strobe), Storage of HUGE files, Editing and High Speed Uploads/Downloads. Web content and video are the future, it’s what clients demand now and it’s were the manufactures are moving.

Professional: 40-60 megapixel – a small market share but an important PRO niche

With the merger of PhaseOne and Leaf the big question is who’s left and what’s next for the medium/large format digital backs. For the past five years high-end digital backs were sold separately from cameras, then the digital back companies purchased the camera companies and then started buying the competition too. With PhaseOne buying Leaf (which owned RolliFlex) there are only two existing high-end companies left: PhaseOne + Mamiya vs Hasselblad + Imacon. Everybody is trying to spot the trend but it’s like tracking the stock market, it’s minute my minute right now. The other interesting player is RED, coming from the movie industry and stealing ‘new purchase’ market share.

• PhaseOne P65 – $40,000

• Hasselblad H3DII-50 – $40,000

• RED, Scarlet – $15-30,000

RED was the second business venture from the founder of Oakley Sunglasses, and is a big deal in the movie biz. Movies like Public Enemies and The Girlfriend Experience were filmed exclusively with the RED camera. The big news is they are making a Medium Format camera for the Pro photographer market – Scarlet.

Top of the line: 20+ megapixel. These are built for pros, heavy and expensive. At his price point cameras are built like tanks and will last the wilds of the Gobi or Ice Walls in Utah.

• Canon 1Ds Mark III – $8000

• Nikon D3X – $8000

Mid tier: 10-20+ megapixel. These are the real big sellers for Pros and Prosumers alike. Affordable to the average photo demographic with big file sizes, interchangeable lenses, dual card slots, these deliver a lot of camera for a great price point. Also, they are starting to integrate HD Video (this is a big BIG trend for the near future).

• Canon EOS 5D Mark II – $2700 (HD video)
Also, using the 5D for video has spawned a new market for Prosumer video rigging equipment: Red Rock Micro and Zacuto are two big players

• Nikon D700 – $3000 (no video yet)

• Sony Alpha A900 – $3000

This one is a stand-out category
• Leica M8.2 $6000-8500 – it’s crazy expensive for a 10MP camera but owning a German make Leica is like owning a Porsche
• M8 Limited White Edition (this is TOTAL camera porn)

In the more down to earth Point and Shoot category there are some great new models.

• Leica D-LUX 4 $700-1000

• Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 – $700

• Canon PowerShot G10 $500

• Nikon Coolpix P6000 $500

Finally, Micro 4/3rds cameras are pro quality digital cameras that have been redesigned to reduce camera size while keeping the features of bigger DSLR cameras: namely, high image quality and lens interchangeability. Big moves in the Prosumer/Pro point and shoot category and now there are two to choose from.

• Olympus E-P1 $800-900
Not available yet, I love this link – to prove my about video and the demand, this is a stop-frame video, to sell a still camera.

• Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 $800
and DMC-GH1 with HD Video $1500

Michel Leroy
Michel Leroy is an award-winning photographer based in New York City. Working with a select team of professional creatives at 2X Productions LLC they create advertising campaigns and social media solutions for advertising, media and corporate clients. Repeatedly clients including The Food Network, Adidas, Nike, Intel, Lenovo, GE, Pfizer, Bayer and L'Oreal have trusted Michel Leroy to connect their brands to customers through photographs with insight and narrative. Michel Leroy is a brand ambassador for Manfrotto US, Lastolite by Manfrotto and the range of Vitec brands in the professional photographic community.

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