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  1. #1
    DF Jedi ilscuro's Avatar
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    Default 8 Insanely Expensive and Specialist Cameras

    In these times of economic hardship, it would be sensible to keep luxury purchases to a minimum. As the famous saying goes, bread on the table is worth more than an HD television. However, if you happen to stumble upon a small fortune in the next few weeks, either winning the lottery or marrying into a rich family, you might need a new camera to capture the joy on your face at your newfound wealth whilst everyone around you is counting coppers. So here is a list of the most expensive and ridiculously specialist cameras the world has to offer. It’s not really a case of ‘take your pick’, more like ‘imagine if you planted a money tree in your garden - what would you buy?


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    July 2008 was a big month for expensive cameras, and it was Hasselblad who got the ball rolling with their H3DII-50. News of the Swedish manufacturer’s new release traveled fast, with Hasselblad’s advertising campaign shouting that ‘a big world demands a big camera’ and the H3DII-50 itself boasting a then unprecedented 50 mega pixels. For camera users across the world, the H3DII-50’s ability to shoot up to ISO800 and Hasselblad’s lens line were equally impressive, but for the rest of us it was the enormous 50 million pixels which got us reaching for our wallets. Until we realized that it would cost us $37,000. And as remortgaging the house wasn’t economically viable, we put our wallets back and returned to looking at pictures of the H3DII-50 online and sighing.


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    After Hasselblad put their cards on the table, high-end camera manufacturers worldwide were looking at each other for inspiration. All except Phase One, who responded by announcing the arrival of the P65+, the world’s first full frame 645 format back, offering 20% more coverage than any other back before it as well as an astounding 65 mega pixel resolution. Yes, Hasselblad’s place at number one in the world mega pixel charts lasted all but one week, as Phase One elegantly blew it out of the water. The P65+’s resolution made it the first digital camera to take on the film market in the field of medium and large format cameras, although with a price just short of $40,000, it’s nearly $3000 more expensive than the Hasselblad. Whether $3000 is significant enough to put off a person prepared to spend $40,000 on a camera is yet to be seen…


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    As July 2008 drew to a close, camera enthusiasts were given one last treat, as Leaf (who have [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] before) unveiled their new AFi 10 56 mega pixel camera. Its 56x36mm sensor means it competes with the Phase One when it comes to medium-format pictures, and its 56 mega pixel resolution overwhelms the now somewhat pedestrian Hasselblad’s 50 mega pixels. But Leaf realized that in thismonth of extravagant photo equipment, it would take something special for you to be wowed by yet another camera the price of a car, so it threw in its new ‘Verto’ technology just to be on the safe side. ‘Verto’ allows the sensor to rotate internally thus making self portrait photos easier than ever before, making it the ideal camera for any photography enthused millionaires eager to show off their new look for 2009. Once again however, check the price before you get too excited. Whereas with the Hasselblad and the Phase One you might have got a little change from a $40,000 note (hypothetically speaking, of course), the Leaf comes in at a huge $43,675. Technology for making your self portrait look more attractive is, disappointingly, not included.


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    As a child, when asked what he wanted to do when he grew up, Jim Jannard probably replied ‘I want to make expensive stuff’. Because in 2005, the founder of Oakley, famous for their expensive sunglasses, decided to delve into the world of cinematography, after he was unable to find a camera which could film extreme sports and fully capture their intensity. The result? RED Digital Camera, Jannard’s own company, whose first product, the RED One camera, is the first digital video camera with a resolution that exceeds 35mm film. At its heart is a superb sounding Mysterium 35mm sensor, and 12,065,000 pixel resolution provides what the RED website describes as ‘Ultra High Definition’. And you don’t need to worry about RED releasing a new and updated camera next year which makes yours instantly outdated, as the RED One is designed to be altered and improved as new updates are made available. Still, with the complete package costing $25,000, you’ll want some guarantee of results before you buy. Fortunately, it’s available, in the form of ‘Guerrilla’ and ‘The Argentine’, the two Steven Soderbergh films displayed at the Cannes Film Festival- he filmed both using the RED One alone.


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    Apparently, the Swiss do make things other than chocolate and cheese, as the Seitz 6x17” digital panoramic camera shows, as it sent shockwaves through the world of wide-format digital photography upon release. True, it may look like a very elaborate headboard, but the 6x17” is all about taking big photos, and if an unusual shape is the cost then so be it. With 7,500 pixels vertically and 21,250 pixels horizontally, the Seitz 6x17” boasts an incredible 160 million pixel resolution, making it ideal for taking jaw dropping photos of, well, big things. What makes this possible is the internal scanner which, instead of taking in the entire scene at once like a standard sensor, scans the view through the lens, breaking the boundaries of wide-format digital photography. And according to Seitz, they made the camera software as user friendly as possible. Which is kind of them, as the camera already costs $42,000, and that’s without any complimentary cheese or chocolate…


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    It may not be a camera by right, but not many people will argue that the ZEISS Apo Sonnar T*4/700 Tele lens is not both insanely expensive and specialist and therefore worthy of a place on this list. The story goes that Carl Zeiss was approached by a ‘wealthy Qatari’ with too much money and time on his hands who wanted a custom made tele lens to use with his Hasselblad camera for shooting long distance wildlife photography. Mr Zeiss duly obliged, and the result was the Apo Sonnar T*4/700, the world’s largest ever non-military telephoto lens. Weighing in at 256kg and boasting a 1700mm focal length, the Apo SonnarT*4/700 forced ZEISS to put all their telescopic technology and knowledge into practise, eventually producing a lens more than capable of capturing a few fleeing antelope. The price was never actually confirmed, but speculation says the final figure was at least several million Euros.


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    Back in the 70s, Polaroid had an idea. ‘Instant photos’ were a hit, but there had to be some way to make them even more innovative, even more eye catching. Nobody probably ever said ‘let’s just make five really big ones’ but that’s what eventually happened, and Polaroid set about designing and creating the 20x24, five of the world’s largest ‘instant cameras’ producing prints measuring (you guessed it) 20x24 inches. Originally they were used for reproducing accurate images of artwork, however such was the demand to use one of these giants that a number of studios were set up across the world in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Cambridge and Prague to allow photographers to use them to produce art of their own. The response was good, with the chance to use a camera that’s 5 feet tall and weighs 106kg seemingly too good to miss. However, as with most equipment on this list, such spectacular photography comes with a price- a day in the studio with a 20x24 can cost up to $1500, with individual exposures often costing as much as $200 each.


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    In the world of expensive things, there’s one thing that surpasses all. Forget custom designed lenses and incomparable numbers of pixels - the thing that adds zeroes to the end of a price tag is age. It doesn’t matter how it looks, what it’s made of or what it does - if it’s old, it’s expensive. Think vintage wines and sports cars. Or cameras. Because in 2007, ‘Daguerreotype’, a camera produced by Parisian company Susse Freres way back in 1839, earned the tag 'the world’s most expensive camera' when it was auctioned privately in Vienna. Recognized as the very first commercially available camera, ‘Daguerreotype’ was discovered collecting dust in an attic in Germany by an American who had inherited the property from his father, a professor at the University of Munich. The find was hugely important for the world of photography, as questions as to whether such a camera existed were finally answered, as well for the owner, who earned a minimum 132,000 Euros from the auction, with the winning bid expected to have exceeded one million Euros.


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  2. #2
    DF Jedi blacksheep's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8 Insanely Expensive and Specialist Cameras

    £20k Leica M9 ?

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