This mirrorless thing has really gone way further than I predicted in the first place. We said it last week: a pythoness of the digital market Baron I is not. I really thought that the MILC developers would linger much more with unexciting small frame models, even smaller than APS-C which it is way too small to be taken seriously.
Size matters more than ladies would ever admit. Those who, with the purpose of making you buy a digital camera, take you people for idiots often say that small sensors have more depth of film than larger ones and thus it is more difficult to achieve a nice ‘3d effect’ (or ‘defocussing’ or whatever they call it) with a small sensor. This is utterly false. There really is no need to lie to people; I’ve personally seen a salesman in one of the biggest photo stores in my area that ‘digital has more DOF than analog’. That’s outrageous.
What larger sensors actually do is using longer lenses to achieve the same angles of view. Longer lenses lead to less DOF. Less DOF leads to more extreme defocussing. And more extreme defocussing leads to the Dark Side. Wait, no. it actually leads to the photographic Canaan: a land flowing with milk and honey. Some folks say that the very concept of bokeh was invented by Japanese salesmen in order to sell faster and more expensive lenses, but I have an idiotic fondness for extreme defocussing that only larger formats can fulfill. As any infomercial on mechanical penis enlargers would confirm, big is better.
And you know what, Fuji is releasing a camera that has a sensor for days, 1.7 times bigger than a FF; and Hasselblad recently released another digital medium format system with a sensor of similar size. I’m normally not too amused at digital gizmoes hitting the market, but these cameras have a feature that touches my little black heart: a ridiculously short flange distance. This enables medium format mirrorless cameras (MFMILC? MFEVIL? I like more MFEVIL cause it looks like it reads ‘motherfucking evil’ and I have a sense of humor like that of a 13 year old) to use lenses from any other medium format camera system and I would really love to attach an 80mm f2 Norita lens on one of them. Heck, you could even put a Leica M lens on them and it would be able to achieve infinity focus. Before you laugh at how idiot I am and telling me on the comments box that this would be pointless because it will vignette, take into account that you can crop them to full frame (which is a peculiar concept itself) in PS and you still would have zillions of pixels in your pic, so for the price of one of them you will be able to use any 35mm or medium format lens you could imagine.
I have to admit it: digital cameras are getting more interesting. Maybe there will be one day in which digital will beat film. But this won’t happen tomorrow.
I’ve been commenting it in both instagram and twitter these days, and maybe there’s not that much to it than what it is, but I keep perplexed at the fact that, according to data provided by them, the most sold camera at Amazon this Xmas was the Fuji Instax Mini, and at the moment of writing this post, still is. If this is true, this is mindblowing.
Before you guys go three hoorays for the analog revival and crack open your Dom Perignon bottles, please take into account that this is no hard data (because Amazon doesn’t provide these) and that, if it is true, there might be a number of factors influencing it besides a surge of interest on instant photography. This said, it is undeniable that them guys at Fujifilm have been doing their homework extra hard. They really trusted in a breed of photography that its own creators, Polaroid, thought as good as extinct and made a ton of cash out of it. Good for them and for us, analog afficionadoes.
As you kids well know, the Baron has repeatedly exposed his viewpoint on the so called ‘analog revival’. Long story short: this revival exists only in the minds of those ensnared by Lomography’s marketing and some other misled beings. Analog photography has been losing ground uninterruptedly for more than a decade now. Before you throw the bathwater out with the baby: no, it doesn’t mean that analog photography will end tomorrow or in a decade, it just means that there are fewer of us that enjoy it. Rejoice, for there are only true believers left here, and all this.
But there are also some victories on our side. I’m talking about two recent events. First, it looks like the new Ferrania, an enterprise founded on the ashes of the old Italian film company, has been producing and testing film for a few months now and everything is going steadily. This is a HUGE success for the very serious, very enthusiastic, guys in its lead. Please go on.
I’ve noticed a trend lately in photo blogs, forums, and even in mainstream media towards saying that there is an ‘analog photography comeback’. As if it was dead but it was coming back. Now I play you: “But Baron I, sure there’s a comeback, cuz there new blood in analog photography because of Lomography and blah, blah, blah”. So, in the opinion of those sharp, merry, chaps, the fact that there is generational relief at all makes up for a comeback. Being themselves acute ignorants in all things related to photography, they are so astonished at the fact that a millenial feels like picking a Zenit and shooting a few rolls through it that they feel that there must be the hell of a social phenomenon behind it. Best of all is that you can’t even talk some sense into them because seeing a hipster less than 25 shooting an analog camera once in their lives is undeniable proof. They feel it in their bones, and that is enough. What do numbers and all that boring, boring, stats say about it? They say that those people’s bones are totally clueless and shouldn’t be trusted. Chemical photography supplies factories are closing one after another, most notably Kodak; existing catalogs offer less products and supply costs are skyrocketing due to lower demand and sustained increase in the price of silver. Then someone sees some Lomography cameras and way overpriced rebadged Ferrania film in a department store booth, and boom, here’s the analog revival. Baron I’s two cents: the fact that the only brand new analog cameras you will see out of a very specialised camera store or in the Internet are sold as curios and dressing props should give you an accurate idea of what’s going on really.
You know, when Oscar Barnack, the all-maker, gave the first Leica to us, he had a very specific idea of what he wanted to achieve: he wanted to give us a camera that was small enough to fit in your pocket and light enough to carry it on a sunday hike. That is, of course, the official story by Leitz, first owner of the Leica brand, and as storytelling goes, it is probably bullshit. More or less. Because you can’t trust someone who’s trying to sell you something. Except for me, the most honorable of merchants. You can trust me head-on because I love you more than I love my business. I like this creation myth though; just in the sense that it is so stereotypically German that it is almost hilarious. I see the eyes of Doktor B wide open in a closeup, the plane slowly travelling out and showing a demented grin: “Eureka! I vill kreate a kamera für zee hikers!”; all this in b&w 1930’s cinema film. Just sublime.
Why do I distrust the hiking camera myth? My two cents: too politically correct in its context to be true. Because, let’s admit it: if you build cameras, or cars, or battleships, your primary goal is selling them and everything else you’re going to add to this is just marketing.Baron I, is an exception to that, of course.