The Rapple 4000 (or Roger designs the perfect camera)

Published August 21, 2011

I had an epiphany of sorts this weekend. I took home the new Schneider 50mm f/2.8 Super Angulon. For those of you not in the loop, this is a 50mm tilt-shift SLR lens made by a company that is best known for it’s Cinema lenses (along with filters, glass, and some other stuff). The point is the lens is totally different from anything I’ve ever shot with: you tilt and shift it by rotating rings like zoom rings and clear markings tell you exactly how far you’ve tilted or shifted. It’s much more exact than any SLR tilt-shift. The lens is a dream to use and truly different than any other tilt-shift I’ve shot with.

It got me thinking. This is what I had hoped for when SLRs and Cinema started crossing over: The best of both worlds. I’m not saying the Schneider is the best tilt-shift made (it may be, I haven’t shot enough to say that though). But it certainly is the best made tilt-shift housing I’ve ever seen. All I could think of while shooting it was “why didn’t Canon or Nikon ever do this.” And the answer is simple. Because big companies don’t think out of the box like that. Too bad.

Then I started getting ready for Announcement Week next week, looking at the rumor sites, wondering what’s going to be new and exciting. Maybe a Nikon mirrorless system – probably an improvement on other mirrorless systems in some ways. And maybe a D4. Maybe Canon replaces the 1D Mk IV, maybe not. Some new lenses perhaps. But I doubt we’ll see anything as different as that Schneider lens. The amazingly different stuff comes from new entries. Like RED. Heck, even like Sony – I’m not a Sony fan that much, but at least they’re trying some different things with their newer cameras.

<begin camera fantasy>

You’re Going to Play the Apple Card, Aren’t You Roger?

Yep. All of this started me thinking (have you noticed I think too much yet?) about what I would really want in a camera, just to shake things up and be different. And how could that actually happen? Well, really it won’t happen. Small companies don’t have the financial ability to take huge development-cost risks, nor to grab market share when they do. The Fuji X100, perhaps (Fuji isn’t exactly tiny, but in comparison to the big boys). Zeiss has certainly done it with lenses to some degree. Panasonic and Sony with their AG-AF100 and F3 video cameras. But overall the camera world isn’t a risk taking world.

But who could really do it? Apple could if they wanted. I was shocked to find Apple had so much money that they could buy Sony (not saying that would be anything other than a horrible idea, but they could if they wanted to). But Apple certainly could snap up a smaller camera maker or division (Olympus, Pentax, etc.) and a nice lens-making company (Zeiss, Leica, mayby Sigma. They’re all private, but I bet for the right price . . . . ).

An Apple Quick Take 200 camera, circa 1996, courtesy Jared Benedict

And it might be a nice fit. For you youngsters, Apple was one of the first digital camera marketers (I believe Kodak actually made the camera for them), with their Quick Take cameras released back in 1994. Nikon and Canon, for those of you not aware, didn’t go true digital until some years later. And cameras sell computers and iPads and stuff like that.

Now before I get 8 million Apples versus Windows fanboy emails, let me say I get it: an Apple camera would be expensive, even elitist perhaps. But you have to admit that Apple makes stuff that works intuitively and is ergonomically superb. Not something that’s often said about SLR cameras. Plus Apple already knows how to make successful electronic gizmos. And one other thing: There are 500 Apple Stores where you could go in an try it (not to mention an existing online store). A lot of medium size cities that don’t have even one well stocked camera store have a busy Apple Store (I know, I live in one). So people could actually go in and lay hands on it before they bought it.

I realize it isn’t going to happen. But in Roger’s World, this is the camera that would be announced next week (today is my birthday, so I get a birthday wish).

Roger’s Fantasy SLR

I know Apple isn’t going to name their new camera after me but maybe they’d throw in an initial? So we’ll call my design the Rapple Cam. It’s the least they can do after I hand them the formula for a world beating SLR. (OK, they probably won’t even give me an initial. We all know it will be named, after months of careful marketing research, the iCam. But hey, U2 got an iPod so maybe they’ll color one bright red or something and call it the Roger iCam and preload it with all my blog posts? Or maybe all my great photos? That wouldn’t take up much memory at all. OK, maybe not.)

A Camera-worthy Display

First, let’s start with the back. Everyone usually complains about two ergonomic factors with SLRs: It either has too many buttons, or not enough buttons and weird, nonintuitive menus that nest down to 36 levels. (Being photographers, we often complain a camera has both too many and too few buttons.) Plus it’s a sad, sad world when I download pictures from my camera to my cell phone so I can see them better. Or have to hook up an external monitor to be able to see well enough to live-view focus accurately or to pull focus for video. So the back of my camera will be all display. Maybe with a pop-up shade.

A camera worthy display is high on my wish list. Yes, I know it's bad Photoshop, but you get the idea.

Ortustech’s 4.8-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel HAST (Hyper Amorphous Silicon) LCD with 160-degree viewing angle,  and 16.8 million colors would do nicely. So out of the box I can display high-definition video and photos right on the camera. (What a concept! Who would want to do that? Everyone, that’s who.) Touch screen, of course, and no button to push to expand live-view for focusing, just finger-pinch to zoom in and zoom out. Tap to select focus point. Maybe double tap to bring up the screen menu. This is so self-evident I can’t understand why it’s not being done already.

There might be room to put a row of nicely recessed buttons on the back of the camera along the edges of the screen (because soft buttons aren’t good when changing settings and looking through the viewfinder). But logically they could also be moved to the front of the camera, to the right of the lens mount where your grip fingers are located. None of us grip the camera by pushing down on that area, we grip by holding the grip. But they’d be right below your fingertips when needed.

So we have 4 commonly used buttons (maybe ISO, white balance, focus point selection, and direct print mirror lock-up. Do you hear me Canon? Mirror-damn-lockup!!! Or you can direct print my . . . sorry, lost it there for a sec.) in the front location and 4 more on the back to one side of the viewfinder. Maybe make one set programmable buttons so each does exactly what you want. The Scroll wheel / directional button thingie would have to go, of course, it takes up too much space. But it would be easy to put in on the top right side of the camera. (I realize a scroll-wheel on the touch display won’t work well, but I do love the mental picture of spinning it like roulette wheel and seeing what function I win.)

The Universal Lens Mount

Since I would be starting from scratch and want to get people to change to my brand, this one’s easy too. I put in an interchangeable lens mount. Since I don’t particularly want a mirrorless camera, I’d go with maybe a 40mm flange to sensor distance. Then I could add adapters for Canon (44mm), Sony alpha (44.5mm), Nikon (46.5mm) and even PL (52mm) lenses. Change your adapter, change your lens brand. So a person could try my new camera without having to change any of their current lenses.

And since, in my fantasy, we’ve already bought a third-party lens maker, they would already have reverse-engineered the focusing algorithms etc. (Or, because I have a zillion engineers and programmers on staff, I just let them do it while we’re slapping the cameras together). I make each adapter properly route the electronic signals from the Rapple camera to the appropriate lens contacts so autofocus and electronic aperture control are functioning. If necessary, we could change camera firmware for each lens brand. In one fell swoop I’ve overcome the biggest hesitation to changing brands because now you can keep your existing lenses. And solved the biggest problem new camera brands (or mount types) have — nice camera but the lens lineup stinks.

And now I could carry the Sony 135 f/1.8, the Nikon 14-24 f2.8, the Canon 24 TS-E and 100 Macro IS in my bag and shoot all of them on my camera. That, my friends, would be 3 steps past too cool.

A Few Added Features?

Well, if Apple is making it, I’m sure it would wirelessly connect to an iPad (and iPhone, and MacBook, etc.) to let you (or the director or the client) view the images in real time. Probably connect the other way and let you control the camera from said device too. “Tethering? We don’ need no steenking tethering.” And of course since they’ve got the technology in spades, Apple would slap on a very accurate GPS.

As long as we’ve got that wonderful LCD on the back let’s go ahead and steal the focus peaking indicator from the video world and the Sony NEX cameras. With that feature and pinch-and-spread touch control on the viewfinder, I might not care too much (other than action shooting) if the lenses were autofocus or not. It wouldn’t be difficult to add video-like false-color exposure zebras. In many ways they are far superior to a histogram.

Instead of the plethora of connectivity found on so many SLRs (some of them have 5 or 6 covered connectors on the body) how about just one electronic connecting station. Make it as proprietary as an iPad’s if you want. But then sell different modules that can connect to the camera through it. One module could be as simple as a PC connection or a remote shutter release. Another might be a clamp-on video camera module (mounting to the camera like a grip) that gives HDMI, XLR and other inputs and outputs in a larger box suitable for mounting on rails.

It would have a pixel-binning option, of course, for when I’m willing to trade some resolution for clean high ISO. That may be difficult to accomplish on a Bayer sensor, but it isn’t impossible either. And speaking of high ISO, this camera wouldn’t apply noise reduction at high ISO without telling you (I see you blushing over there, Nikon) and would let you turn it off if you’d rather do it yourself. And perhaps a “sports shooter mode” (we may see this soon anyway) that lets you use just the central portion of the sensor (perhaps a 1.3 crop) at faster shutter speeds for action photography or if you accidently mount a crop-sensor lens (Mr. Nikon’s grinning proudly now, Mr. Canon’s blushing).

You want to know something eminently simple, though, that would be awesome? I hear from people all the time: “the camera’s grip was too small for my hand, I felt like I would drop it” or “that camera’s grip was so big I couldn’t get my hand around it”. That’s easy: let’s make an interchangeable hand-grip (the part where you hold every camera, not talking about a battery grip here). It should be cheap to include both a small and large grip with each camera that simply screw-mounts on where the hand-grip should go. It may sound stupid, but I know people who would love to shoot with a 1D Mk IV or a D3s but their hands are too smal to hold it comfortably. The same thing goes the other way: I’d love to travel with something small like a Canon T3i, but honestly I have to hold it with my fingertips and that gets old pretty quickly.

Of course, given I have Apple making this and it has that killer touch-screen display, it would seem a waste not to be able to put some Apps on my camera. That way I’ve got PhotoCalc, DoF Calc, and Toland’s Digital Assistant (killer app, BTW, although probably not worth the cost) right there on my camera. And perhaps a game or two.

</ end camera fantasy>

Back to Reality

OK, I know and you know that none of this is going to happen. But I’m pretty comfortable that what I’ve suggested is actually doable (given many million dollars to invest) and would sell like gangbusters if its price point and quality was reasonable. I didn’t put in anything (interchangeable sensors, full modular design, etc.) that I wasn’t pretty certain could be done right now.

I probably left out some things, but I’m sure some of you will pretty quickly add comments to point out features that I forgot.


Roger Cicala

August 2011 (right before announcement week)

Author: Roger Cicala

I’m Roger and I am the founder of Hailed as one of the optic nerds here, I enjoy shooting collimated light through 30X microscope objectives in my spare time. When I do take real pictures I like using something different: a Medium format, or Pentax K1, or a Sony RX1R.

Posted in Equipment
  • Quick recommendation…. more photos and video clips
    in upcoming articles. Massive blocks of text injure my sight and I hate it, lol.
    Wall of text strikes for 4500 damage…. lol. This joke never ever gets
    old. Good content though!

  • Roger Cicala

    I haven’t, but obviously I like their ideas.

  • Carl

    The whole point of a camera for photographers, is control. Making a shiny glorified pinhole camera that images onto a sensor the size of a grain of salt, but uses “apps” to take pictures or make them look “good”, is something people who take snapshots need. It’s not what photographers need. Physics is physics. Air molecules, and light photons don’t shrink.

    Microsizing is something that will always compromise the performance and control of a camera.

    When an iPhone has a zoom lens that is a constant f/1.4 arperture, with a full frame equivalent focal length zoom range of 14mm to 500mm…whose gigantic elements are comprised of forcefields that are weightless and optically perfect…that get projected out in front of the camera…engaged by thought control…and another forcefield holds the iPhone to your eye (viewed through an optical eyepiece that also employs projected forcefield mirrors) and follows wherever you look…and images onto a sensor the size of the touchscreen…all this for a data package costing only $10 a month…that never drops calls…ONLY THEN WILL I BE IMPRESSED by a phone camera.

    Otherwise, we are just talking overpriced gobbledygook, personal electronic bling…nothing more. Certainly not a real tool for real photographers!

    As I said before, Apple is sitting on well over $70 billion in cash. They are a greedy corporation. They need to do their “fair share” and spread the wealth around…”gift” it to the treasury to help bring down the deficit…so Obama can go stand in front of another rusty bridge somewhere, and fix it with his rainbows and unicorns.

  • Have you seen this concept camera?

  • Promit

    I don’t like Apple products. But I immensely respect the design that goes into them, and I had this discussion recently with a friend while doing some white-board pie in the sky engineering work along the same lines. (I think you’re not ambitious enough in the design, btw. This camera is reasonably competent boredom.)

    Truth is, I don’t think Apple would produce a camera anything like this. SLR? Interchangeable lenses? These are almost offensively crude for the Apple world. No, the camera Apple would design would look a lot like a Leica X1 I think. Quality would ooze from every last piece of the system, massively trumping flexibility and control in every case. Apple is about doing one thing and doing it incredibly, violently better than everyone. An Apple camera would be zero involvement, point and click that would turn up amazing images. It would let you select nothing about the photo, because Apple has already put a lot of effort into making the correct decisions for you. (Look at the Camera app across four generations of iPhone. Even the iPad.)

    And if you’re designing your own camera, from the ground up, to really change cameras? Throw out the SLR mechanisms (go mirrorless) and start with more generalized computing hardware (ARM/PowerVR based programmable app platforms). There’s no real point to making buttons or dials for a specific purpose either (think NEX soft buttons but done a bit more carefully).

    If you really do this right from the ground up engineering and design, everyone will be able to love the camera without having to specifically add the exact features everyone wants. There’s a (camera-)app for that.

  • Simon

    Why not add voice control? I can yell at my car and my phone, why not my camera – “ISO 400”, “Shutterspeed Priority” etc. You could ditch a load of dial and menus at a stroke!

  • The Rapple-dapple sounds like something Tim was craving in the NEX line… perhaps the peaking mode was all that was missing from the first generation.

    I’m surprised you didn’t include a CCD sensor with live view.

  • Lee Saxon

    Several bits, the higher-quality screen, interchangeable mount, & reverse engineering focus algorithms, for instance, remind me a lot of Epic.

  • Carl

    Samuel, isn’t something similar to that already used by cinematographers? That wouldn’t be very useful without the rig holding the camera, or for still shot photography, it seems to me.

  • eyepiece: maybe we can go for an SLT with a big, fast, high-res EVF that can be separated from the body (except for the cable) and placed anywhere around it with a friction arm mounted on the hot shoe

  • Carl

    Jon, I second that! I do wish they made viewfinders as separate pieces, where you could upgrade them. I would love to scale the image up through a crop format camera, where the view through the finder shows the same “apparent” field of view, as that of a full frame. Telescope eyepieces can be made to do a similar thing, where the “apparent” field of view is scaled up, and thus much wider than the actual field of view. But of course they are rather expensive, large and delicate.

    And “A”, you are spot on as well. Leica is almost beyond Apple-oriented pricing. Not to say they aren’t high quality, but there is “diminishing returns” of performance vs. price. Just as in hi-fi. There are several highend German audio companies. Goldmund makes an LP record turntable that retails for around $300k…if you can imagine such a thing. Clearaudio is another German turntable company, whose statement model uses the same motor used in the Mars Rover. By those standards, Leica almost looks like a budget priced line. I would still love to try a great many Leica lenses, especially the 75mm f/2, “m” mount.

  • Roger
    I am fairly certain this is inappropriate but I think I love you (In a photographic sense that is)


  • Clay Taylor

    Roger – I’m surprised that you did not include an electronic viewfinder in the specs of the Rapple 4000. I know you specifically eliminated the mirrorless cameras, but the already-decent EVFs on the Panasonics and Olympi will surely be improved greatly – Sony has already made a move in that direction.
    My take on an EVF would be one that;
    1) shows no smearing when panning fast (Sony just did that),
    2) has more pixels and color depth to give an even more accurate preview of the image before you push the button – IMHO the best function that an EVF affords the photographer
    3) keeps showing a live view even as sequences are fired (with the option of showing a thumbnail in the upper corner of each frame taken)
    4) has some sort of signal buffer (like a walkman for joggers) that takes into consideration the time-lag between an event in the real world and you seeing that event on the EVF. When you push the shutter button, the real-world event has already passed, but a buffer would “record” the specific image that you reacted to.
    5) an EVF that was big enough, bright enough, and sharp enough would lessen the necessity of having the oversized LCD screen overwhelming the camera’s entire back.

    Love the blog,


  • Jon Gilchrist

    As long as we’re redesigning for an ideal world, can we make it so we don’t have to smash our nose up against the camera back when we’re looking through the viewfinder? And a button push to change the orientation from portrait to landscape by rotating the sensor instead of turning the whole camera?

  • A

    Doesn’t an “Apple for cameras” already exist? I think they’re called Leica…

    Wouldn’t an Apple camera would have the usual drawbacks though? You’ll not have a readily removable battery. Nor will you be able to shoot in RAW. You’ll only be allowed to use one program to edit your pictures, and that’ll be Aperture (on a Mac of course). You’ll need a new and proprietary (and expensive) card type (which can only be read on the iPhone12). You can only print pictures via iPrint. Etc etc. Rest assured it will look gorgeous though, and everyone will want one anyway 😉

    Meanwhile the other camera makers will fall into the same trap that the other phone and tablet companies are falling into. Failing to understand what makes a product great and instead idiotically copying every feature, even the stupid and annoying ones…

    Tangentially I still don’t get Michael Reichmann’s continuous carping on about a mirror lockup button. You enable it once, and then the job’s done. It really doesn’t need a button of its own. Of course the camera doesn’t need a direct print button either, but that’s another story…

  • Axel

    Anyway, Kenko is making a C-mount camera, which sounds great (that’s the universal mount right there). And now that Ricoh bought Pentax, the two best camera companies (i.e. making actual cameras for actual photographers) joined. Since everyone is using CMOS sensors now which are cheaper and easier to make, I hope it’s companies like these – i.e. actual camera companies, not some outsiders who don’t know the first thing about photography – will reinvent the camera. It’s needed, but it needs to be done properly.

  • Axel

    No, no no no no no no no. No bigger displays. PLEASE. Stop the display freakshow. The camera is for taking pictures, not viewing them. Want a bigger display? Bring an iPad or something. I hate when the new camera model has a bigger display then the previous one and the ergonomics suffer because of that. Those larger displays are ridiculous especially on small cameras. Where am I supposed to put my thumb? On the LCD?

    Take something like the Nikon entry models. D40/D40x/D60 were great. Small yet ergonomical. D3000 is worse exactly because of the bigger display – the thumbrest is smaller. D3100 is even worse, because LCD and LiveView control took precedence over the true photographic feature (the 4-way button for selecting focus point). BAD!

    Even worse are the p’n’s cameras. I have a really tiny compact cam here, it’s 2,7″ wide display takes up almost the whole back side. There’s literally no place for the thumb – I can’t even hold the camera properly since I have to compose with the LCD (and I have quite small hands btw). Not to mention that 1/3 of the wide LCD is unused since the camera takes 4:3 pictures.

    And those p’n’s cameras which have huge massive displays for the whole back side, like Sony’s? Totally unholdable. It’s not like p’n’s camera already don’t have ridiculously bad ergonomics, no need to make it even worse.

    It literally gives me shivers when someone says they want bigger displays on cameras, because I know the companies will do exactly that. It’s so easy to market huge displays, and tons of megapixels, way easier than actual ergonomics and image quality. Just look at Panasonic GF.

    Yeah, I’d like high-qualilty displays with true colors etc. on cameras, but NOT BIGGER!

    Oh yeah, and Apple? They’d make exactly that. Some crappy camera-like device with 5 features and a huge display. No thanks. It’s already pretty hard to buy a proper phone with a keyboard, and a proper camera with good ergonomics. Really, no need to make it even worse. A phone is a right device for Facebook and whatnot, but a camera needs to stay a camera.

    Or at least, leave us the option to buy a proper camera. Which wouldn’t happen if Apple entered the space, because everyone would copy their ideas. Just look what happened to Nokia in phones, or Dell in computers… They have to copy even the slightest thing from Apple, no matter how stupid it is. Hey, MacBooks don’t have the numerical keypad, right? Let’s remove it too! Hey, iPhones are heavy as bricks and with no keypad, right? Let’s do the same! Hey, the MacCam doesn’t have exposure compensation right? Let’s remove it too!

    Man, you sure hit the nerve…

  • I curse you, spambot, for you’re a thief and have no respect for the highest of ideas!

  • Dave

    The only problem I have with Apple making the camera is that it would have too few buttons… and none of them would be the shutter release.

    Oh I wish I could remap the iPhone’s wake/sleep to the shutter release when the camera is running!

  • Carl

    Sameul, very interesting thoughts! I wonder when “full frame” and smaller sensors will ever be able to be 16 bit? That would give more dynamic range as well. In audio, going from 16 bit to 24 bit didn’t seem that big of a deal, so it’s a shame that digital photo sensors can’t make the jump at minimal cost.

    I don’t like the 60D at all, and don’t even like the feel of the 7D’s buttons and knobs, or its bright red AF points through the finder. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe the next go round will be more to my liking, or maybe not. I use live view for critical focus at times, but don’t see the need for a swivel screen very often. I would be happier if the image size through the viewfinder were a bit larger.

  • glad you like them, I’ve got more…

    take the body of a canon 60D, get rid of the tumb wheel and all the buttons around it, and make the swivel screen as big as you can without invading the palm rest area (this may mean 4″, and maybe it also requires a slightly taller body)

    make that screen touch sensitive, but with that capability turned off most of the time; on the top left, put two different buttons to enable the touch screen:
    * one that just turns it on, so you can click on any item and change it (like WB if you’re shooting, or erase if you’re reviewing)
    * one that enables the touch screen and gets you to the main menu
    click any of these buttons again or half-press the shutter to disable touch sensitivity again

    on the top right side of the back panel, put, right to left: a wheel to control aperture (like the one on your mockup), the zoom-in/focus point button, a pointing stick like the one in the keyboard of some notebooks to control that zoom-in/focus point, and the movie button

    now, about that grip size issue: that interchangeable hand grip may be too problematic to engineer, just build the case in two sizes, with the same internals, and let the people buy the size that fits them

    and lastly: the sensor

    I want vastly higher dynamic range and ISO sensitivity, and I’m ready to sacrifice some color resolution (not depth, but resolution) in exchange of that, so please give me a sensor with five colors and built-in chroma subsampling

    I mean: add two new colors to the bayer pattern, white (clear) and black (nd), and move from the current RGGB to something like RGGBWWWKK with a 3×3 basic structure instead of 2×2; this should deliver both clean shadows (thanks to W) and safe highlights (thanks to K) for a vastly higher dynamic range, at the expense of chroma subsampling (just one full RGB value for every 9 photosites, instead of one for every 4; this is very close to going from 4:4:4 to 4:2:2; I don’t think it would be a problem at all, but if you do you can regain most of the color resolution that you lost by increasing the megapixel count)

    if the lightest and darkest color filters of your current bayer pattern make you lose one and two stops of light respectively, and you can make W lose no light and K lose 4 stops, you’ve got yourself three extra stops of dynamic range
    (I think clever debayering is needed for moire patterns not to emerge if K is too dark)

  • Carl

    Roger, your ideas are so detailed and thought provoking, I always enjoy reading your posts!

    On this “eve of announcement”…I am sending you an email regarding my thoughts on a sample image from a recently released camera, maybe you could shed your own insight.

    My two cents: If Apple did anything close to what you want Roger, it would likely just promote some “free” app for the iPhone that seeks out the nearest pro photographer and automatically sends them a text message with your GPS coordinates, along with what type of photograph or shoot you want done, and how much you will offer to pay…to have a large metal print rushed out to your yacht as it waits out in the harbor…before you and your companions decide to head back out to sea, for the next chain of islands.

    Apple is good at apps that let a high priced studio photographer send live progress pictures and video to his clients’ iPhones.

    Apple is about snob appeal, and about leisure activity…entertainment. It’s about being youthful (dare I say immature) and lazy…more than about providing a creative tool to actually DO anything artistically productive or creative, like taking photographs for yourself. At least in my opinion. Not that this is all a bad thing…but don’t you wonder how much farther a culture can go, that is unwilling to actually do anything for themselves? If we are told that we should simply always pay someone else to solve our problems, how smart are we? How smart is a person who watches Netflix movies on their smartphone? I would rather watch them on my home theater, which happens to cost less than it would cost to watch a movie per day on a smartphone over a year or two. Is our culture really that mobile yet also that full of leisure time? Or do we just have spoiled teenagers who are?

    I see Apple as a company based on the appeal of almost gluttonous consumption, not creative thought or production. A means of convenience in communication and commerce? Yes…likely the best ever.

    This month, Apple surpassed Exxon Mobil as America’s largest company, based on market capitalization. Yes, they could afford to buy some countries with the amount of cash they are sitting on (I believe it is around or above $70 billion). Or, they could stop being so stingy and start paying a stock dividend…or perhaps they could even use some of it to help pay down the US debt. If there was ever a super rich “corporation”, Apple is it. They could probably almost put the state of California back into the black. It’s the fair thing to do, sharing the wealth…or is it? Haha…

    Or perhaps you could lobby them to rent your lenses somehow…at least that would help you and your customers out.

    Apple wouldn’t be sitting on all, or probably ANY of that cash, if their products were principally made in America, or even Japan. So why are they America’s richest corporation? They might be very creative, and brilliant at marketing…but without the dirt cheap labor and parts involved with making that iPhone, iPad, etc…their profit margin would be non-existent. Without outsourcing their means of production to China, etc…they would be nowhere.

    I wonder how long it will take before Nikon and Canon begin to do the same? Or if they can’t or don’t, how much with their prices rise? Could Apple make a 300mm f/2.8 as good or better than Nikon and Canon do, and sell it for less? I would guess that they almost could, but only if they were willing to lose money on each one…sort of like what Toyota does with its Prius. They could afford to lose more money than Toyota can, at least for the time being. But it will never happen.

    The latest rumors say no SLR announcement from Canon anytime soon, not sure about Nikon. Roger, it’s possible that you might have your own line of information on some of this, but it’s not necessary for you to share it, haha. I just hope Nikon’s D700 replacement doesn’t have a body that rotates for use as a video camera. Might as well make the body out of recycled plastic bottles while they’re at it, haha.

    It looks like Canon’s next SLR is combining the traits of the studio and sports series, at a significant sacrifice of speed at full resolution. As you and probably most people already may have read or heard…it is the pixel diodes themselves that have been the main limiting factor regarding frame rate…they can’t discharge fast enough. Although logically it seems that making the sensor go into “crop” mode to shoot at a faster rate, would have as much to do with a lack of computing power/speed, as diodes discharging (although I guess it also has to do with heat). Anyway, it looks like Canon will be simply giving in and doing the compromise that Nikon decided to do with the D3, to get faster frame rates.

    Also, you should write a new blog post about crop factors regarding the “pixel count” and resolution…and how to equate them. It can be quite confusing…even if you think you have the math right. I am puzzled how a 32 MP full frame camera (i.e. the upcoming new Canon pro camera), has 20 MP resolution at a 1.6x crop. Seems like it should be less…but perhaps it has to do with the aliasing, and the different amounts of the three color arrays used. Or perhaps it is something else (or a mistake on their part). For intsance, by using the pixel resolution of an image ALONE (not counting lens blur), I calculate that a 15 MP Canon 1.6x crop, might have the resolving power via a full frame lens, that the middle of a 38 MP full frame camera’s image would have, using the same lens. The width dimension being 4700 x 1.6 = 7520, and this times the height equals just under 38 MP. Maybe I am off?

  • Roger Cicala

    Excellent suggestions, Samuel. I like them all. And Magic Lantern is awesome.

  • * it’s difficult to hold your camera with the screen reaching to the palm of my right hand; make the screen a tiny bit smaller or the body a tiny bit larger

    * if you really want to make that screen touch-sensitive, at least give me a button to turn that function off, and an alternative way to reach every function; I want to be able to operate my camera with my face pressed against it and without letting go any of my hands (so forget about that pinching for close-up focus, I need to do that with just my thumb)

    * have you tried magic lantern on a canon DSLR? I love my programmable zebras, false color, live histogram (only brightness, or RGB), waveform, focus peaking (even while recording video), custom cropmarks…

    as you see, I just want something very close to what I have, with just evolutionary improvements (no line-skipping in video mode, higher clean ISO, higher DR, slightly bigger screen, and I’m sold)

    to quote another genius from the blogosphere that I routinely follow:
    “Most common iOS app feature req: I love the simplicity and ease-of use. Now pls. add
    all and only the complexity that I specifically desire.” (@5tu)

  • Roger Cicala

    Jeurgen, that’s exactly what I meant: we wouldn’t need wired tethering because we’d have wifi control.

  • juergen gulbins

    The camera you dream of might be quite expensive, but i would starting harder to earn the money to buy it.
    Tethering may no be your favorit, but how about wifi tethering, allowing an ipad to control your camera, sending the image on to your computer or laptop?

  • Anthony Perez

    On the T2i, I put an off-brand battery grip on it and it helped immensely with the tiny-factor (although I rarely need more than the 900-1k photos I get off one charged battery).

  • Joe Towner

    The only downfall I can see (as I type this on my Mac) is that Apple is dependent on upgrade cycles for everything, not just bodies. A lens R&D cycle, and it’s sale cycle is way different from what they’re used to.

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