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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Letter to Nikon

1 comment:

I have to say, over the past few years, you've made step after step that just seems to be a disappointment, not only to me, but others as well. You put out product after product that seems to be geared towards the professional everything, or the amateur everything. Where are the camera bodies for people who sit somewhere in the middle?

Currently, there is talk of you putting out a serious underwater camera, which is an excitement, to say the least, not because I shoot underwater, or ever really want to, but it shows that you are willing to branch out from the norm. The last cameras you have released have been a sad display from a great camera company. Do I understand why you released the Nikon 1 series? Yes, of course I do, do I agree with how you went about it, not even close.

This is a company who released what could possibly be the best fully manual film camera ever, the FM3a, who released powerhouses such as the F5, or cameras that actually competed with, what is arguably the most highly regarded cameras, Leica, with the SP, S3, S2, and S. Now, you've jumped headlong into a series of camera with a small sensor, to compete with Sony, Olympus, and the others who are making the best mirrorless cameras out there, and you've done so poorly. You now have a customer base who have bought lenses that cant be used if you decide, wisely, to come out with an actual full sized mirrorless. Why, because you felt like getting into the game without asking your customers what they wanted.

I shoot digital with a D90, and I love(d) is ever since I upgraded from my D50, which I also loved. It served me well all over the world, in the night and the day. As an upgrade, I was seriously considering the D600, it seemed to serve my needs, it seemed as the logical upgrade, and having only purchased lenses that were intended for full frame cameras, I started looking at one. It was "affordable", it fit my needs, and it was from my favorite camera producer: Nikon. Months in, I still have not purchased one, and instead, have sold all my digital gear, all of my nikon lenses.

I realized, the nikon D600 was not the perfect camera for me, it was the perfect camera for no one, and the adequate camera for everyone. The last time I shot a video, was never, but it is a feature that is built into all digital cameras as though every photographer needs that. It is the same frustration I find when car shopping, I do not need GPS, never will, but it is nearly impossible to get a car without it. I can only assume that companies do not realize that, though sales of cameras with video increase, it is not because people sorely want video, it is because they have no option. Is it impossible to make a cheaper, more photographer oriented camera without video, and one for shooting video and stills?

You proved, in 2000, then again in 2005, that Nikon still had the ability to create and sell amazing cameras with the S3 and SP Anniversary and Olympic editions. That would be the perfect camera for me, a digital, full frame rangefinder, to compete with the likes of Leica. A no frills camera, designed for the professional photographer, someone who does not need built in HDR, someone who does not need exposure bracketing, shooting modes, video and all the other frills used to placate to the masses. Would you sell as many of them as you would your digital SLR series? Of course not, but no one would expect you to. A rangefinder, with an ISO setting, an shutter speed setting, and the aperture set on the lens, much like manual film cameras have. Why was this ok for hundreds of years in the film world, but in the digital world it is not? With powerhouse software like photoshop, there is no need to process anything in camera, especially when everything but a point and shoot with shoot in RAW. We have a digital dark room, there is no need for all the extra options in camera.

From your customers, from your professional shooters, the groups of people who come to you for cameras to capture spectacular images, listen to us, make a camera as beautiful and as useful as the Nikon SP or Nikon S3 were, as utilitarian, as manual and spectacular as they used to be. I'll buy one moment it is announced, and I'm sure hundreds or thousands of others will join me.

Hogarth Ferguson

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