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  1. #1
    Is that bokeh I smell?? 10kman's Avatar
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    Top Secret Photo equipment, does it exist?

    I've been involved in cycling for 13 years (more than half my life!), and know that there are certain gadgets and equipment options ONLY available to factory riders, people in the biz, etc.

    Are there things like that for Photography? I'm thinking about some secret digital slr, 100 megapixels, better resolution than your own eye can produce, maybe a 400mm lens with a f/1.4 or better (i'm reaching, but having fun).

    Anyone? Past or present items will cure my curiousity........

    10k

  2. #2
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Military

    There's absolutely super photo gear that isn't available to the public. The US military, NASA, and JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratories) have had megapixel digital cameras for decades. There was a time when that technology might have been classified. But the real reason it doesn't trickle down is economics. In the eighties, when good digital sensors were absolutely available, they cost thousands of dollars - just for the sensor. And the size of the components meant that they couldn't be built into a reasonably-sized camera. And now, there are much better sensors being made. You can go to optics tradeshows and see all kinds of them. But again, the prices make it impossible for them to be built into cameras that people could afford. Manufacturing techniques are the biggest issue. As the sensor manufacturers figure out ways to manufacture larger sensors at lower prices, the technology will become available to the rest of us. Until then, all the super badass stuff will still be short-run or one-offs made for scientific or military purposes. They're the ones who have the money to pay for stuff like that.
    Photo-John

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  3. #3
    Ilford Nut Dzerzhinski46's Avatar
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    Re: Top Secret Photo equipment, does it exist?

    Another area I can think of is film. The military has terribly specialized and difficult requirements for film and such. Very fast film (in excess of 3200 ISO or more), and infrared film come to mind. Infrared film is not such a secret anymore as it is commercially available, but not many people use it. It is difficult to use in any case, but can give amazing results. It gives a very surreal atmosphere to ordinary scenes, white foliage on trees (as opposed to grey in B&W), nearly black skies. Not so much a secret as a study in frustration.

    Dzerzhinski
    "But what is strength without a double share of wisdom." John Milton

    Lost Planet Cameraman #8


  4. #4
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Top Secret Photo equipment, does it exist?

    Nothing that I really know of, but pros do often get special treatment with service. Both Nikon and Canon have professional services that take quite a resume to get into, but your repairs go to the top of the list, you can get loaners, try new stuff out, actually be able to buy the latest gear without having to sit on a waiting list for six months, etc.

    I agree with John about the economics of new technology. Read my post about the History of Digital, it's an interesting story.

  5. #5
    Is that bokeh I smell?? 10kman's Avatar
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    Re: Top Secret Photo equipment, does it exist?

    Being a software developer, I know that there are computer parts in development, but they aren't released so the "market can be filled". Big example I can think of are CPU's, some of them were up to insanely fast speeds, but since we didn't already have 3, 3.2, etc. ghz chips, they weren't going to release them. And again, as you guys have noted, the military has the fun stuff.

    I figured as much with the priority service on your parts, and the loaners, if you work at a car dealership you can get that type of treatment. I want the goods baby, I wanna see the pimp-daddy stuff!!!

  6. #6
    misanthrope
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    Re: Top Secret Photo equipment, does it exist?

    Well, we've all known about the spy satellites that can resolve tiny objects on the ground from space. They've had that stuff for years now-- imagine what they might have now or in the future. Even using TerraServer/National Map aerial photography gives me the creeps!
    Hey, I can see my house from here...
    "We've all been raised by television to believe that one day we'll all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars -- but we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off."

    -Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk

  7. #7
    Around the Ocean... Ryguyinlj's Avatar
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    Re: Top Secret Photo equipment, does it exist?

    on that same token, look at the images coming out that were shot by the probe sent to Titan. The probe was launched in 1997 and the equipment on there was from then too. Just imagine what they have now, 8 years later.

  8. #8
    Co-Moderator, Photography as Art forum megan's Avatar
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    The answer that this question is begging for....

    Yes, but if we told you about it, it wouldn't be Top Secret!

    I know, I'm the only one laughing, but someone had to say it!!!!

    Megan

  9. #9
    Ilford Nut Dzerzhinski46's Avatar
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    Re: The answer that this question is begging for....

    No no,

    Quote Originally Posted by megan
    Yes, but if we told you about it, it wouldn't be Top Secret!

    I know, I'm the only one laughing, but someone had to say it!!!!

    Megan
    But if we told you, we'd have to shoot you, HA HA HA ha ha ha!!!!!! (insert maniacal laugh)

    Dzerzhinski
    "But what is strength without a double share of wisdom." John Milton

    Lost Planet Cameraman #8


  10. #10
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    Re: Top Secret Photo equipment, does it exist?

    400mm f1.4?

    not a problem. Just has to be really big

  11. #11
    Is that bokeh I smell?? 10kman's Avatar
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    Re: Top Secret Photo equipment, does it exist?

    That's the thing, does it *really* have to be that big??

    How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop????????

  12. #12
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    Re: Top Secret Photo equipment, does it exist?

    following all optical physical laws, yes

  13. #13
    Ghost
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    Re: Top Secret Photo equipment, does it exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by 92135011
    following all optical physical laws, yes
    following all optical physical laws, 3,567,234 licks to get to the center.

  14. #14
    Junior Member
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    Re: Top Secret Photo equipment, does it exist?

    You might ask Lockheed Martin or Ball Aerospace that question....they're big in the spy satellite game.

    As it happens I've been doing some work on a little f1.25 imaging system w/ a 3 giga pixel sensor. Unfortunately, it won't fit in my Nova camera bag.

  15. #15
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
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    Re: Top Secret Photo equipment, does it exist?

    "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop????????"

    Is that a metaphor for the universe?
    Walter Rick Long
    Nikon Samurai, Mamiya Master, Velvia Bandit


    Check out the Welcome Thread

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  16. #16
    Toon Army Foot Soldier straightarm's Avatar
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    Re: Military

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    There's absolutely super photo gear that isn't available to the public. The US military, NASA, and JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratories) have had megapixel digital cameras for decades. There was a time when that technology might have been classified. But the real reason it doesn't trickle down is economics. In the eighties, when good digital sensors were absolutely available, they cost thousands of dollars - just for the sensor. And the size of the components meant that they couldn't be built into a reasonably-sized camera. And now, there are much better sensors being made. You can go to optics tradeshows and see all kinds of them. But again, the prices make it impossible for them to be built into cameras that people could afford. Manufacturing techniques are the biggest issue. As the sensor manufacturers figure out ways to manufacture larger sensors at lower prices, the technology will become available to the rest of us. Until then, all the super badass stuff will still be short-run or one-offs made for scientific or military purposes. They're the ones who have the money to pay for stuff like that.

    look at the cameraquest site,

    http://www.cameraquest.com/classics.htm

    it shows various military specials

    Simon
    Simon, bombadier 1st class

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