The Other End Of The Bagel

If you do not know what a bagel is, go to your local bakery and ask for one. Or go to a deli or coffee shop. You may even be able to find them in packs of four in the specialty bread section of your local supermarket. While you are there, pick up a tub of cream cheese, a packet of smoked salmon, a small bottle of capers, and an onion.

Slice the bagel round the ring, layer cream cheese and smoked salmon in there, add a few slivers of onion and some of the capers. Make a cup of fresh coffee and have lunch.

Now you will be ready to appreciate the thinking about a project that the makers of digital mirror-less camera systems need to consider; the bagel in the corner of the room.

The manufacturers of large format cameras have made them tilt and shift their lenses and film holders for over a century. The makers of DSLR cameras have made lenses that tilt and shift in much the same way.  The mirror-less people need to follow suit. Olympus, Sony, Panasonic, and particularly Fujifilm need to provide architectural, product, studio, and landscape shooters with the same facility that the older forms of camera enjoy.

One way of doing this would be to design the same thing that Canon and Nikon make for their DSLRs – dedicated short focal length lenses with mechanical tilt and shift mechanisms. The mirror-less systems that real people can really afford generally still run on APS-C or Micro 4/3 sized sensors. They have their own bayonet mounts, of course .

The focal lengths that those same real people really want range from 12mm to 35mm. They should be do-able on current designs if these are made retro-focus to allow space for the tilt/shift mechanisms. No-one needs, wants, or can have auto focus and manual apertures are all that is needed. None of us are shooting horse jumping on Mars with these things.

Or, on the other hand the designers can think about using the other end of the bagel…

There is already the facility on Pentax and Olympus cameras to shift the sensors sideways to compensate for user movement…or to stack on extra pixels in the studio. Why not put the darn thing on a gimbal and let it tilt, swing, rise and fall in response to commands from a body controller. It doesn’t have to go very far in any direction to do the job that the photographers wants – those old advertising pictures of Linhof monorails bent double like pleated snakes were fun to see but had nothing whatever to do with the amount of tilt or shift that we actually cranked into them.

All they have to do is leave some space for the cream cheese and salmon. And the capers.



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