#1041. Important Camera Review : Pixii dust for the industry?

By pascaljappy | Review

Sep 17

Can an expensive 11Mpx rangefinder camera with no rear screen be the best news in a long time for the photography industry? I wouldn’t rule it out completely …

During my 2 weeks tenure, the camera delivered some of the most pleasant shooting experiences ever, all cameras in my past and present included. For sybarites frustrated with the techno-centric direction cameras of the past decade have taken, this is no mean argument.

And if you value image quality more than image quantity, a rare breed in fomo-fueled purchase times, you can only fall in love with this little gem. The Pixii, that is the camera’s name, produces photographs of stunning quality, proving once more that great pixels are far more important than numerous pixels.

Think of resolution this way: good 11Mp is enough for A2 prints. Hands up whoever regularly prints larger than that? 5% of our readership, which is already a tiny slice of photo world, maybe?

So, would you rather a camera that produces great A2 print after great A2 print or one that can occasionally print 40 inches wide and routinely messes up colour science and proper exposure?

Finally, the Pixii is beautifully built. The company is set up in BesanΓ§on, a small French city host to high accuracy machining heritage. So, while the camera’s specs instantly evoke the Leica M, in the hand, it feels more like Zeiss’ finest lenses. Modern design with very high tolerance machining.

To recap :

  • Great image quality
  • Great shooting experience. Distinctly Zen-like.
  • Great build

That could be a nice end to a short review. But none of those facts explain why this could become a landmark camera like few others. Those are merely welcome side effects of a camera manufacturer getting priorities right πŸ™‚

Now, for the serious business, imagine a smartphone, with all its image-handling feature set. Only, the camera part has a wonderful Zeiss Distagon 1.4/35 ZM, a Noctilux, a pre-Asph 35 Summilux, a Jupiter, …, feeding a sensor that feels like a neutral M9.

Does this make any sense?

In his recent article, Philippe describes the principle, so I’ll keep my explanation short : the Pixii takes photographs stored in an internal memory and transmits smaller versions to your phone via Bluetooth. From the app, you can share, delete, preset, tether … the usual. And via Wifi or USB, you can import the DNG files to Lightroom (or any software you prefer).

You’ve heard me rant all too often about digitisation companies (all the photo incumbents) completely missing the digitalisation train. David Barth, founder of Pixii (the company) took pity of you and decided to correct the universe.

You’ve heard me rant all too often about the subpar rear screens and beyond ridiculous ergonomics of some modern cameras, when we all have supercomputers with large clear screens in our pockets. David took pity of you and decided to shut me up on that count as well.

But I’m not being completely truthful. Because, what I’ve described so far isn’t really the Pixii.

The above really describes … a Pixii. The current iteration.

Because the camera is upgradeable. And the one in my hand is only one version of the various combinations that can be assembled from the parts bin. David merely started with this recipe for a number of technical and philosophical reasons that we don’t have time for here.

USB-C better than Micro-USB for you? Internal memory not large enough? This will be available as retrofits very soon (a few weeks).

To me, the concept of rangefinders is completely outmoded. Compared to an EVF, a rangefinder is like fitting a car with a map holder when you can have Waze via carplay instead. Plus my eyesight ain’t getting sharper. But many others, including David himself, think differently. And he has catered for their needs first. But I’m quite hopeful our (Philippe and I) plea for an EVF gets a nod of approval from David ere long …

At this very early stage of development, the complete roadmap isn’t firmly established yet, but the concept of retrofitting and of providing options with various bodies is deeply ingrained within the young company’s core DNA. Call it programmed future-proofness, in salutary contrast to industry standard practises.

Yes, 11Mp is plenty for many uses. And you can always stitch for more, as below. Panos take seconds rather than minutes, at that res. Isn’t the one below just drop-dead gorgeous? Stitching and global contrast/exposure aside, this is straight out of camera! Still, should you find this resolution (or other limiting aspects of this specific sensor) inadequate … you guessed it … I’m hoping you can soon just specify another. Yup! This one was chosen for its global shutter. But a new electronic shutter could be a few months away with a resolution more in line with common expectations.

Are you beginning to understand my excitement?

And this evolution path extends to other areas of the camera that I am not at liberty to discuss. Or fully understand, to be honest. But what consequences I did manage to wrap my mind around made me pick my jaw up from the floor … We will be keeping track of the (r)evolutions and reporting here!!

All of this, though, lies in the future. And however near, the future depicts an uncertain outcome, while the current situation is not without some problems that must be addressed, here and now.

At this stage, the Pixii feels remarkably mature (not a single crash or glitch in the matrix) yet quite unfinished. While the promise and shooting are delightful, the current iteration is far from niggle free. Here are the most notable:

  • The camera wakes up very quickly, in appearance, but the internals that make it shine most brightly (colour science and exposure) take a good second to become fully operational. So, snappy shooting after camera slumber can produces badly exposed frames with very wrong colour balance. A beep should warn that all systems are go.
  • The APS crop doesn’t appeal to me because it multiplies the focal length of my favourite M-mount lenses by 1.5.
  • Dynamic range of this global shutter sensor is quite limited.
  • I’m not overly fond of some items on the cameras such as LEDs that (to me) serve no purpose.
  • Synchronisation with the app is shaky, to say the least. It works, but you are never certain it does.
  • The (current) internal buffer is a bit small and not fast enough. A bit of a shame because the rest of the camera feels very snappy.
  • Autonomy (using previous generation Sony batteries) is quite restricted, and batteries are charged inside the camera, via an USB cable.
  • Pixii is a startup. While that means extremely brisk support and development pace, it also brings with it uncertainty.
  • The camera is very pricey. With the huge discounts on medium format cameras these days, add 50% to the Pixii’s asking price and you can walk away with a Hasselblad X1D MkII. A very similar camera, in more ways than one, but firmly established.

However, let’s address some of those points.

Wake up time is down to software optimisation. A quick look at David’s resume show that he was director of software at LaCie, and Engineering manager at Canonical (Ubuntu). So optimisation is his middle name.

My experience with Pixii has been similar to watching volcanic islands form in the sea. Non-existent features are discussed and materialise days later. Let’s just say that wake up time doesn’t worry me (besides, it’s already about 5 times faster than my Hasselblad πŸ˜‰ )

Camera ergonomics are excellent. The superfluous LEDs (indicating sync with phone and other technicalities) are just a very minor gripe.

Sync with the app. Again, software. No sync a week ago. Shaky sync today. Probably great sync by the time this gets published. To my knowledge, iOS apps are fine. Android is a very recent addition that is not yet completely finished, or released, and which I am beta testing.

Low dynamic range is difficult to accept for most users today, because we have been spoilt, in the technical arms race that has shaken up the market in recent years. As with every blessing or curse, there is a flip side to consider. Below is the down side. It is fairly easy in tough light to get to the limit of the sensor in the highlights.

The upside is simple: vibrant, alive files that just pop in most situations. This, below, would end up looking very dull with some cameras that will remain nameless πŸ˜‰ Here, the file just just gorgeous. The solid exposure measure of the Pixii helps a lot here. For a golden hour photographer, this is lovely. But, if you like to capture everything in the scene to deal with it later in PP, this sensor isn’t the one for you.

And let me here repeat my mantra: cameras are tools for creativity. For most people, blown highlights will be a pain. For others, it will be part of their look. Good luck creating this sort of photograph (below) of a dull scene with a 15 stop DR camera …

Autonomy, as I understand it is down to component choices as well as optimisation. The current sensor, chosen for its global shutter, and processor are to blame for the greediness (I got about 130 frames out of the battery). Other internals and, possibly, the newer, larger batteries, could double that or more. But that’s just me speculating, here. It’s not something we have discussed. Whether autonomy will ever be great or not, I cannot say. But, if carrying 3 batteries is the only downside of such a wonderful tool, who cares, really? This is a camera for the talented flΓ’neur, not the intensive pro.

Price is largely linked to production volumes. When you buy 100 sensors, they cost a lot more than when you buy 10,000. Prices will drop.

More important to financial good sense, the upgradeability of this camera makes it future proof. Put differently, this could be the last body you buy. Every few years, you might want to change the sensor and processor, for example. I’ve been pestering poor David for a CCD ever since this evolution path has been on the table πŸ˜‰ Apparently, though, there are no more CCD sensors available reliably today. But there are plenty of other interesting propositions and it’s fair to say the current sensor brings much of the CCD goodness of yore with it.

Anyway, the Pixii proposition is simple and justifies the cost of entry thusly :

  • A durable, beautifully built, M-mount, high-IQ terminal for the mobile app ecosystem. Phones, today are capable of magnificent photographs. So much so that photo pure players with small sensors are struggling to justify their existence. See Olympus. Not so the Pixii. Not only does it open the barriers between the two worlds, it does so with a much larger sensor and much higher quality files. While phone jpgs can be lovely, thanks to computational wizardry, individual RAWs can be atrocious. In many ways, the Pixii is the modern-day Polaroid. You have that lovely instant image that can be shared, toasted with presets AND that gorgeous RAW to play with in your fave PP soft. Thank you DNG.
  • A soothing shooting experience. Yes, yes, yes, a lot of us giggled at Leica when they offered a camera with no rear screen. For a fraction of the cost, the Pixii lets us realise our mistake. When you don’t need to look back (chimp on the rear screen), a natural, peaceful flow takes over the session. And nothing in the ergonomics of the camera interferes with that. If you’ve not experienced that ease for yourself, there’s little more I can add to describe it. Freeing is what comes to mind. Free flowing. Serene.

Here again, the Pixii bridges the gap with phones. That sense of ease you get with a handheld phone is present with the Pixii, but with all the added control over your process. Control, and image quality. Show me a phone that can pick up on atmosphere like this …

If I sound smitten, it’s because I am. Someone has finally broken the mould. Cleared the mold.

This is one of the few photography-first cameras on the market. It’s as if the design team has lived in a cave for years, oblivious to the current quantitative frenzy, and created a camera that’s actually made to craft lovely images in a most relaxing and rewarding way (it does have a 1/32 000 s max aperture speed, it’s not like the team deliberately shied away from tech, they just didn’t let it dominate the user experience).

At the same time, it’s as if the mainstream manufacturers were the ones in the cave, busily ignoring the rise of the mobile world, and Pixii one of the very few to acknowledge and embrace it fully. This is no longer an either … or proposition but an acknowledgement of complementary processes.

What Pixii offers, then, is a future-proof detox Polaroid for 2020 and beyond. That makes it not a single trick pony, not a twofer, but a solid threefer! In my book, this is cause for celebration πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

All the photos in this article were made using my Zeiss C-Sonnar 1.5/50 ZM on the current 11Mp global shutter Pixii. Some were stitched to create square or panoramic frames. Apart from this assembling and some slight global contrast/exposure settings, no post-processing was applied. Simply brilliant.

Note : A green-magenta cast is apparent on some, probably due to misalignment from my old lens. None of Philippe’s photographs (made with other lenses) showed that, so the camera is not in cause. Cornerfix would probably fix that, if I needed to print the photographs.

Let me leave you with quick snaps of the camera and packaging, and a closing remark.

David is eager for feedback. At this stage of production, he is busy making final adjustments and selling off 100 cameras of a first bacth (with an upgrade warranty, should you prefer one of the next gen specs) to finance the next step in the company’s development.

So, please tell him what you think of the concept.

Purchasing today is like acquiring the first Tesla Roadsters, becoming the owner of something truly new and fantastic while helping secure the still uncertain future of a young company that could play an important role in the rejuvenation of our hobby. With the difference that Roadsters couldn’t be upgraded to new tech, whereas this can and will.

But, without even thinking about purchasing, what are your feelings about this endeavour? What do you love about it? What would deter you? What suggestions would you make? How often has a camera manufacturer involved you in its design process? Don’t hold back, don’t be shy, be part of a story of change by sending feeback πŸ™‚

Here’s to a bright future.


Here is a set of photographs made under much more difficult light than the above dawn, and processed in a larger variety of looks. I hope those show you what to expect in various conditions and various uses.

Neutral WB
Warmer WB
Great skin tones. The water is spot on.
Lowered contrast
CrΓ©puscular
 

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  • Dallas says:

    Pascal the Pixxi looks to have loads of potential, let’s hope DB has deep pockets. The images are first class.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks Dallas. Deep pockets indeed and plenty of courage are needed. But David knows the song, as they say in France. He’s been there and done that before in past companies, I imagine πŸ™‚

  • Sean says:

    Hi Pascal,
    The article’s title says it all, and yes I understand your excitement – the images are the evidence.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Last post left me gobsmacked, and I had to translate & explain that.

    This one is overwhelming.

    Somebody said the other day – was it me, perhaps? – that you simply cannot get the colours and tones of real life, in a photograph. Because there are billions of different coloured photons in real life – and we are attempting to capture them with 3 colours (RGB), then convert them to another 3 (CYM).

    The colours in these images are so real – BRILLIANT!

    And anyone who has genuflected in front of a Hassy will be as jealous as hell, over the detail in the shadows in these images. In the highlights, perhaps, a Hassy would beat it, but it looks to me that it beats most FFs there, too.

    It’s fascinating. I can’t promise David that I’ll buy one – I’ve already mapped out what lies ahead. But I love these photos.

  • Frank Field says:

    Pascal – Your images are better ambassadors for the Pixii than pages upon pages of marketing speak. The sensor handles tonal gradations nicely. I agree: there are sufficient pixels on that sensor to print to A2 size as long as the photographer has excellent shot discipline and uses relatively low geometric distortion lenses. The popular trick in today’s lens design of letting geometric distortion run very high and depending on post to correct won’t work with this camera. (I think it does not work well with any camera but . . .). Still, one would expect lenses designed for the Pixii’s mount are generally low geometric distortion lenses. I have so much come to depend on checking shot histograms on the rear monitor that I would miss it with the Pixii. I would think it all the more important when dynamic range of the sensor emphasizes the importance of getting the shot right in camera. Perhaps the Pixii folks will come to add one at some point. Excellent review. Thank you. Frank

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thank you very much, Frank.

      One of my first feedback notes to David was “ditch that rangefinder and those leds, give us an EVF and a histogram” πŸ˜‰ Old habits … But I have to say exposure is really well calibrated and I’ve only seen blown highlights on small objects such as the boat in one of the photographs. Colours and tone are surprisingly good for such a small team. There are a number of colour profiles which I have tested but not put in the review, to keep it palatable. Not presets, but very subtle changes to colour for portraits, landscapes … Again, quite impressive.

      The lenses, obviously, are mostly Leica and Zeiss and well behaved. Which is good as, just like you say, we can’t afford to loose any of those 11Mp. I’m confident future sensors will have more resolution. I just hope the team manages to get as much subjective quality out of them. The lack of internal manipulation (to correct geometric distortion, eg) is significant. Compared to my X1D, images don’t have the same level of “frame uniformity” but the upside is that they feel more alive.

      I will be following updates and upgrades with great interest. What David envisions is both spectacularly obvious in hindsight and spectacularly bold. I cannot wait to see that come to be!

      Cheers πŸ™‚

  • Yung Per Son says:

    Boomers backing off from the “it has to be full frame” position, I see

    • pascaljappy says:

      Oh, isn’t it your bed time yet? Full Frame is so pre-Covid 2020, anyway. Keep up πŸ˜‰

      • Yung Per Son says:

        I have to admit, you’re not bad at this. Still, why the obsession with full frame. All those Fuji cameras are great.

        • pascaljappy says:

          Thanks, very much appreciated. And you have no idea how much we would love to have more young people reading, commenting or submitting posts. If people love smartphones and make nice photos with them, let them show us πŸ™‚ I’ve written quite a few posts in defence of smartphones myself.

          Yes, Fuji cameras are really great. Over the years, Paul Perton has published hundreds of posts mostly made with Fujis. Great photographs, great colours.

          I don’t know why there is such a focus on full frame. The whole sector seems to think in technical terms rather than the look of photos. It’s a bit sad (and silly πŸ˜‰ )

          Cheers

          • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

            Moi? – I use FF simply because funding doesn’t extend far enough to go MF – and to compound my crimes, I shoot HF quite a lot too.

            Fuji is famous for the quality of its colours, when you use their sensors for night skies.

            Hassy’s produce ridiculously stupendous cloudy skies, highlights, shadows, etc.

            And David has exploited something I’ve long suspected – larger pixels hold more – leak less – and produce stunning images.

            Pros tell you over and over, 24MP is fine for FF – BECAUSE the pixels are larger, give better images (provided you don’t need enormous enlargements), and they’re more convenient, because the slightest movement on an FF with a 45MP sensor will be ruined by camera shake that an FF with only 24MP could get rid of. Can’t give you a reference on the run, but I’ve seen articles from a number of different pros, saying that. And rejoicing in the fact they don’t need to lug a heavy tripod with them, if they use a 24MP sensor.

            What David is doing, is turning all this “pursuit of mega pixels” on its ear – and giving you a photographer’s camera, instead.

            • pascaljappy says:

              Exactly.

              When I see my daughter and many young photographers all turn away from DSLRs because they are so complex and unpleasant to use and so disconnected from the app ecosystem, it really makes me happy that some teams are thinking differently. Cheers

          • Yung Per Son says:

            Here’s The Online Photographer, another guy that likes to talk about hi fidelity, getting it right on sensors: https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2020/09/thoughts-on-4×5-and-full-frame.html

            • pascaljappy says:

              Thank you “Yung” πŸ˜‰ TOP is a really interesting website. I think he is extremely knowledgeable and down to Earth. And he’s still going strong when many blogs are closing down. Good man!

  • Jean-Claude Louis says:

    Pascal – I like how the Pixii renders the tones and colors in your images. It reminds me of the rendering from my Leica M8’s CCD. The M8, in spite of its infuriating quirks, was my favorite digital camera. When handled carefully, the files of its 10 Mpx APS-H sensor were good enough for 4′ prints.

    I wonder if there are variations in rendering with different lenses. Leitz vs. Zeiss? Do you know which lenses were used to calibrate color and exposure? How does color rendering compare to your Hasselblad XD?

    I’m comfortable with a rangefinder; a hybrid optical rangefinder/EVF a la Fuji would be nice, but probably too complex to implement in the small body.

    Once I’m familiar with how a camera handles exposure, I don’t use the back screen, nor do I feel the need to consult a histogram. If I feel that the light is tricky, I simply bracket the exposure. A flip screen, such as the one in the new Fuji XPro-3, would come handy, though, in some shooting situations (close to the ground, overhead) and completely disappear when not needed.

    Internal storage remains an issue – both in capacity and safety. This would be a deal-breaker for me. There should be at least one slot for an SD card.

    LEDs are usually a nuisance.

    I like the possibility of customization and upgradeability.

    Interesting concept. I will follow.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Jean-Claude, the analogy with the M8 seems spot on to me. I haven’t compared the files to any from my X1D, I’m running late in work, but probably have a couple that were taken on the same morning in the same conditions. I’ll get to that this weekend, if at all possible.

      Exposure is very good, so the lack of a histrogram never bothered me at all. In fact, for 80% of my shooting, I didn’t bother with the app (not being big on social media) or with anything else than aperture, framing and focus. Pure magic.

      The SD card and tilting screens are great suggestions for David ! Thank you.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hello again Jean-Claude, here are a few photographs made with the X1D on the same day as those of the Pixii. They could be processed to be made more sexy (I did a little work on one of them) but they show you how the two compare in terms of aesthetics πŸ™‚

      This shows just how good the Pixii is! The X1D files are more conservative but the Pixii feel “just right”. Really impressive πŸ™‚

      I hope this helps.

      • Jean-Claude Louis says:

        Thank you Pascal for posting these.

        For me, the key is not just good color management, but a good balance between color and contrast. The XD (which I’m not familiar with) appears to get this right; and, based on your images, the Pixii seems to follow in step (at least from what I can see on my monitor).

        I think the Pixii gets closer to “Das Wesentliche” concept then its originator πŸ™‚ Hopefully, the deal-breakers can be sorted out.

  • Steffen says:

    I’m not getting the excitement, although it triggered the right boxes in his vision of photography. I’m all for slow shooting, manual operations, no chimping etc. but the way it is executed and what decisions are made puzzles me.

    1. Smartphone connection: Slow shooting also means that I’m not rushing on the go to edit and post my snaps on my phone. And I don’t need two devices drained out. I also don’t see that this is the bright future if only we had our photos instant on our smartphones. Maybe for some, but I can’t believe this is the target group of this super-niche camera.

    2. Internal memory: Sorry, this is a no-go. 1) 8 GB is just laughable, 2) I want to be flexible with how many photos I can shoot and 3) you can only overwrite flash storage so often that it easily runs in technical issues in the future.

    3. Sensor: I don’t agree that 11 MP is sufficient for an A2 print – at least as long as you don’t erect a barrier in front of the picture. In the last months I had time to dig deep in my archives and was editing old 6 and 8 MP files. A4 is the maximum I’d choose, maybe – a big maybe – A3 or a double-page spread. I usually do 70×50 cm prints and 24 MP works perfectly for me. Sure, one could stitch but you need to 1) recognize the opportunity right at the spot and 2) need to have longer lenses with you. That takes away a lot of the spontaneity. And why does it need to be 11 MP? Because of the pixel pitch, Philippe said. But does it matter? What are the benefits? Dynamic range and high ISO capabilities it’s obviously not. Also the crop sensor is odd for such a camera. M mount is optimized for FF, so are the lenses.

    4. Battery: Re-using common Sony batteries is a nice approach. I didn’t fully understand whether they’re replaceable on-the-fly or if I can only charge them via USB. But 130 shots without any AF and machine learning wizardry is very low. I’m actually question what the camera is doing with all that juice. A Sony A6000 is good for 3-4x – with AF, display, EVF … . Maybe that’s the constant smartphone syncing.

    5. Customization/upgrades: That sounds interesting but have heavy doubts there’s anything in there. So, you’re saying, I can just buy a new sensor, let them ship to me and swap the other out? Or a new EVF? New storage? A new connectivity chip? Can’t believe that. Nothing so far indicates that ease of replacing stuff. And even if, history told us that doing so is even more expensive than buying just a brand new. I can image more customization on ordering at the manufacturer because everything is hand-made and on-demand anyways.

    What I found interesting, though, is the discussion and this prime example of the photography world going boutique. At the same time, big brands raise their prices and address a wealthier clientele (under the fake marketing speech of “Pro”), we will see smaller manufacturers rise with not perfect but interesting and niche special offers. And their products and pricing will be like this – or Leica. Too much to swallow? Maybe. But then you may not need a new camera every year or a new lens every so month. On the other hand, the sales volume of film photography during the 1950-70’s was way below today’s standard and still companies like Nikon or Canon evolved, and customers had even more options to choose from.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Steffen, the excitement is for change. Something different from “look, exactly the same camera as the previous 3 with more pixels”. I get that you are probably not the taget audience for this one, though, no biggie.

      I can’t asnwer all your points with certainty, that’s for the team to do and the future to confirm πŸ˜‰ But here are some elements :

      2. Indeed. A new memory chip is coming in a few weeks and, from what I understand, that will be good for 1500 shots. Not enough for an off the grid exhibition but fine for the target customer, I would say. However, the security aspect would be much more reassuring with a separate SD card.

      3. In my experience a well exposed and quality 10-12Mp file can go a very long way. In fact, resolution is often meaningless. If you look at files at 100% some look so much better than others that it’s easy to understand that they won’t print equally well, whatever the number of pixels available. Jean-Claude Louis, in his comment above, explains he gets huge prints from his Leica M10 files. And that mirrors my experience. While some modern cameras have such weak colour and frankly low quality pixels that you need vastly more resolution to acheive something similar. To be honest, I’ve not tried to print large from the Pixii files, but they do look nice on screen.

      4. My guess is the Pixii is drawing a lot more current than it should because of circuits that are not yet optimised. This camera doesn’t even have an EVF or a rear screen, so you’d expect it to achieve much higher shots per battery !!! This is a young project. The batteries can be changed on the fly as in any ordinary camera. Future batteries will be larger and circuits more efficient. They have to or the company will get too much heat from lab reviewers!

      5. No, you can’t just specify any sensor or EVF, unfortunately πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Pixii test some configurations and offer those. So there will be a choice. Just like most manufacturers, in fact, but in a lower number of camera bodies. And the body is upgradeable. So if you want to change the processor or sensor (for one of the approved and tested ones) in 5 years time, it *should* be possible.

      I agree with you final points. And it makes me happy to see choice being offered outside the largely identical big 3.

      Cheers

  • Tom Powell says:

    I am highly intrigued by this. The link to the digital world is way past due and the images look wonderful. Looking forward to hearing and seeing more.

  • PaulB says:

    Pascal

    A very nice article and great images as usual. These truly show the potential that a small range finder can provide.

    I considered ordering a Pixii when pre-orders were first announced, thinking it might be fun and useful for my vintage lenses. Two things stopped me from placing the order, the reports that the pre-orders were sold out and the small amount of memory included in the body.

    A used Leica price for 4 or 8 GB of memory seemed excessive, when my local big box store was offering 2-64GB SD cards for less than $100.00.

    I might consider the camera today, if the memory offering was 64 or 125 GB (256 GB?).

    PaulB

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thank you Paul. I will let David know. A memory upgrade is just weeks away. That much I know. But how much memory isn’t clear to me. I think the camera would be fantastic for vintage lenses, as it would capture their drawing beautifully. As far as I know, there are still bodies for sale in this version, but will ask David to confirm this. Please send us photographs if you do go for it πŸ˜‰ Cheers!

  • Mahesh says:

    Need full-frame, yes. Otherwise if I am going to use expensive Leica lenses, then I am not using them fully. An EVF would be great. These 2 things and I am in.
    I do not mind if the camera is slightly bigger as a result.

  • NY says:

    Where are you finding those huge discounts on Hasselblad MF digital gear? I’d love to know!

  • Jeff says:

    I’m not sure I understand the point made with the OVF…
    Why not an EVF with multiple focus peaking modes and then allowing any vintage lens (with the proper adapter of course).
    The concept is all around the app and the phone interface… so why such a French snob take on the “object” it has to be to comfort your ego.

    Imagine the possibilities with a platform having a decent EVF and allowing you to try on any lens found at the flea market, in your attic/basement or in your existing collection.
    I would also argue that with a focal reducer included in the adapter you can get your beloved FF back if that’s all you’re missing.

    Or even better… stop worrying about the camera altogether and just make the app work with other camera brands.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Jeff, the choice of an OVF, and a rangefinder at that, is beyond me as well. I cannot find a single point in favour of that choice, given the competition. But the designer loves them and it seems that quite a few people are like him. So, he’s serving that market first πŸ˜‰

      What you describe, the vintage flea-market lens, used with a great EVF and connected to a phone via wifi, is *exactly* what I had in mind too. Maybe some time in the future πŸ˜‰

      Not sure other camera brands would open up their OS to a third-party company. Those dinosaurs still haven’t got the memo that collaboration and a rich ecosystem can make money.

      Cheers

      • Jeff says:

        Thanks for your answers πŸ™‚ I have to say your site is where the most interesting discussion is taking place and your moderation and answers are priceless.

        I’ve been reading and searching extensively about PIXII in the last 24h (hence my comment above) and having more informed views about the app and the subsequent “revolutionary” workflow:
        In my opinion, “dinosaurs” just have to incrementally improve their apps to put the whole discussion to rest. They are already 95% there to the contrary of popular belief.
        I’m currently using my digital camera with my smartphone all the time: I rarely take more that a dozen of pictures before I sync’ them and share a couple of them straight away (WhatsApp, Instagram etc…).
        In that sense my mirrorless camera has replaced the one in my smartphone, which I use only for daylight landscapes. How is PIXII a revolution compared to that? It’s not, it’s an incremental workflow improvement at best.

        …there is a similarity on how PIXII is advertising the functions compared to existing cameras with how Apple has done it for many years: run ads explaining how your device/apps work and nobody will notice the competition already does pretty much the same…

        I’m beginning to think that the product was designed to chase gov./institutional funding. The prestigious Leica/Telemeter setup is going to attract attention… but by the time they finally “get it”, there may be too much money down the drain already.

        Now what’s the next stage of grief again?

        • pascaljappy says:

          Thank you very much, Jeff πŸ™‚

          The thing with the incumbents is that don’t seem to want to evolve. Any of the three majors could replicate Pixii’s entire work in a month. But colour science is not quite there, the app exists but isn’t quite there either … It’s like they are reticent to acknowledge a coming change. Or maybe they are letting small companies test the waters to pounce in the right direction later?

          Next stage of grief πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ That’s cruel! I hope not, they are a nice team and they learn super fast. If promises are kept, there will be interesting news before the end of the year!

          We’ll see, and we’ll sure pick up the story where we left it if there is some change πŸ™‚

          Cheers

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